Trying To Use Evangelicals As Ammunition Against War

In its liberal quest to avoid unbiased reporting and beat the drum against both President Bush and the war in Iraq, the Fish Wrapper is now attempting to use evangelical Christians against both of them. This is displayed in Tuesday's article by Julie Sullivan entitled "Evangelicals: Against abortion and now war."

The purpose of the article is to show how evangelical Christians who initially supported President Bush's decision to invade Iraq are now changing their minds. However, if you look through the article, Sullivan fails terribly, because she really has no data to back up her point of view. She even admits it up front:

No polling data conclusively demonstrate that opinion among the broad national base of conservative evangelicals has shifted. But some prominent national evangelical leaders say that debate about -- and, in some cases, outright opposition to -- the war is breaking out among Christian conservatives whose support was key to President Bush's election victories. For those evangelicals, they say, frustration from the Republicans' failure to overturn abortion rights has fueled their skepticism. Others decry the war's human toll and financial cost, and they're concerned about any use of torture.

[...]

On Sunday, the National Association of Evangelicals, which says it represents 45,000 evangelical churches, endorsed an anti-torture statement saying the United States has crossed "boundaries of what is legally and morally permissible" in its treatment of detainees and war prisoners in the fight against terror.

So not only does she have no data to back up her claim, but she only has frustrations about abortion rights and use of torture. Even the statement she references isn't against the war, but rather on their perceptions of torture used by the military (information they probably got from the MSM) in fighting the war, not the war itself.

But, to the contrary:

But since 2003, polls showed that a higher rate of conservative Christians than other Americans favored military action. The head of the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention issued important early support, saying the president's response to the Iraqi threat was justified.

So there is no polling data to show that opinion of conservative evangelicals has shifted, but there are other polls that show that conservative Christians support the war at a much higher rate than other Americans. Sort of goes against the thesis of the article, don't you think?

Another reference she uses is Tony Campolo, a liberal minister who has been an critic of the war since the beginning.

"This war has challenged their confidence in the party," says Tony Campolo, an evangelical Baptist minister who lectures across the country on social issues. "Add to that that they feel the Republicans have betrayed them on the abortion issue," says the prolific author and frequent talk-show guest, "and you are beginning to see signs of a rebellion."

She even manages some quotes from Daniel Lockwood of Multnomah Bible College and Seminary:

Daniel R. Lockwood, president of Multnomah Bible College and Biblical Seminary in Portland, says he has seen a "sea change" among his students, who are looking beyond traditional conservative issues such as abortion and homosexuality to the environment, children with HIV/AIDS and the poor.

"More and more, students are very interested in social justice and issues often associated with the middle and the left," Lockwood says, "and the war is a piece of that."

But notice he doesn't say they are changing their minds against the war; he just says that it is something they are more and more interested in (I've sent an e-mail to Mr. Lockwood asking about this quote, so I'll update when I get a response). So it looks like Ms. Sullivan is stretching everything she can to give the appearance that she wants.

But the bulk of the article is about the Brownlows, a local couple who initially supported the war but now spend their time speaking out against it, even though they have a son currently stationed in Iraq (does this remind anyone else of Cindy Sheehan besides me?).

Suzanne Brownlow shivers on the Interstate 205 overpass as a cutting wind whips her sign: "Honk to End the War." Her weekly demonstration is the latest turn in a fractious journey that has taken the evangelical Christian mother from protesting abortion clinics to protesting the war in Iraq.

"I feel like at least we are doing something," Suzanne Brownlow says, waving with her husband, Dave, and two youngest children near Clackamas Town Center.

The Brownlows voted for Bush in 2000 because of his more conservative views. But a month before the 2003 invasion, the Damascus couple began campaigning against his Iraq policies. Dave Brownlow ran for Congress three times, twice on an anti-war ticket for the Constitution Party. Since November, the couple have lobbied lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and Salem to bring the troops home. Last month, they founded Believers Against the War to influence other evangelical Christians.

On a recent Saturday, a motorcyclist, sleek in black leather, spotted the Brownlows' banners, raised his gloved fist and flipped an obscene gesture. The Brownlows smiled, because many others were honking their support. Then a woman driver slowed and screamed, "Get over it."

Suzanne Brownlow's serenity finally broke. While the Brownlows' views on the war were evolving, their eldest son, Jared, graduated from high school and joined the Army. Now he's serving near Baghdad.

"How can I get over it?" she said. "My son is in Iraq."

[...]

Before the war in Iraq, the Brownlows were concerned about issues that at the time were often linked with the religious right.

Suzanne and Dave Brownlow met at a church singles group in Houston 26 years ago. As born-again Christians, they vowed their marriage, like their faith, would be politically active. He picketed Planned Parenthood clinics; she organized for the Concerned Women for America.

They had Jared, now 20; Desi, 19; Jace, 15; and Sierra, 12, and moved to Oregon in 1990 for Dave's job in industrial design and marketing. They home-schooled their children, were foster parents for three medically fragile youths for Heal the Children and housed eight foreign-exchange students. They say those experiences "made the world smaller for them."

[...]

They campaigned on behalf of Republican Sen. Gordon Smith and then-Rep. Jim Bunn of Oregon and citizen-activist Lon Mabon. In 2001, Suzanne Brownlow won the Concerned Women for America's National "Diligence" award.

Now here's some interesting information.

But by 2002, troubled by the lack of progress on the anti-abortion front and the legality of the president's war powers, they joined the Constitution Party. Soon after the invasion, Dave Brownlow began writing articles opposing the war.

Meanwhile, Jared Brownlow -- long fascinated by military histories, movies and photos of his grandfather, a World War II tail gunner -- joined the Army.

Since their son deployed last fall to Iraq, his parents say he has not objected to their anti-war efforts.

Suzanne Brownlow says she had no choice. Increasingly overcome with worry, she has trouble eating and dreams of helicopters landing in her yard. Her husband starts every day clicking onto casualty Web sites. The couple keep two clocks in their living room, one for Oregon and one for Iraq.

Although many churchgoers are active against the war, the Brownlows say they still feel self-conscious sharing their views with their Christian friends, or even praying at their Damascus church for their son's platoon. People have told them that freedom isn't free or that they must support the troops.

"As if to say that by allowing our sons and daughters to languish in a vast Iraqi shooting gallery," Dave Brownlow says, "we are somehow supporting them."

Here's something for Mr, Brownlow to think about. The last time I checked, the U.S. military is an all volunteer force. No one is forced to join. And believe it or not, many join because they know what we are doing is critical. I have a brother currently in Marine boot camp, and it is very likely he will be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. He joined of his own free will, as did all of the other recruits he is with. Therefore, it is a little presumptuous of people like the Brownlows to assert that we are "allowing" our soldiers to die over there.

But there are other upsides for the Brownlows:

For the Brownlows, though, opposing the war has led to some surreal moments, such as standing alongside Susan Sarandon and Jane Fonda at a national march. She and her husband recall looking at each other and saying, "I can't believe we're doing this."

If I was standing with Sarandon and Hanoi Jane, I wouldn't be able to believe it either, but my reaction would be one of disgust, not wonderment.

So, to summarize, to support her theory that evangelical Christians are revolting and fighting against Bush and the Iraq war, Sullivan provides

  1. an admission that there is no data to support her claim
  2. one couple that protests the war
  3. one liberal minister
  4. one bible college president who says that students are interested in "social justice and issues often associated with the middle and the left."

Wow, that's some pretty impressive data to support that headline. No liberal media bias here...

Wow, those were quite the

Wow, those were quite the comments. Let me see if I can address them one at a time.

First, Dave, you were correct. I incorrectly stated that you initially supported the war. I went back and re-read the article, and you didn't. My apologies.

However, that ties in with another point. Suzanne stated that my understanding of the article was unclear. Actually, it was very clear. She makes the claim that all these evangelicals are against the war, but then also states that "No polling data conclusively demonstrate that opinion among the broad national base of conservative evangelicals has shifted." That's not a real solid thing to base your claims on, isn't it. And then, she sticks her foot in her mouth even more. When she says that evangelicals are turning against the war, that implies that they initially supported it. But then she uses you, two people who never supported it in the first place, as support for that argument. Doesn't that seem a little illogical to you?

As for your Biblical quotes, it never ceases to amaze me how people like you - usually liberals, but conservatives in your case - like to cherry pick verses like that to make your point, instead of looking at the Bible as a whole. How many times in the Old Testament did God use force to go so far as to wipe out whole cities. Have you ever heard of Joshua? He certainly didn't make his name as a peaceful leader, did he? What about David, a man after God's own heart, and all his mighty men? How many wars did he fight in, especially against people that attacked his country? Should he have just sat back and "loved" the Philistines when they attacked Israel? Even Jesus himself wasn't only about peace and love. For instance, what do you think when he says this?:

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn
" 'a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -
a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.

Jesus wasn't this peace and love hippie that people like you make him out to be. You should read all of the Bible before you start cherry picking your quotes and taking them out of context.

Now Dave, I get to correct one of your mis-quotes. I never said

since our soldiers "volunteered," that they have become defacto slaves.

What I said was all soldiers volunteered for the military. They knew what they were getting into. Every time I hear words from soldiers (even from the mainstream media), it is all about how we are doing a great thing there, and how we need time to do it. What does your son think? I noticed the article only mentioned that he doesn't object to what you are doing, but how much does he support it?

And also, what about the hundreds of thousands of people that Saddam slaughtered? Did you pay attention to his trial? Have you paid attention to all of the mass graves that are still being found? How many more do you think would have been slaughtered if we hadn't taken him out? Haven't you heard about all the people that have thanked us for getting rid of him? Or do all those people not matter because they're not Americans? What do you think God meant throughout the Bible when we are commanded to help the defenseless and the needy? Are we only supposed to do it when it's convenient for us, and we really don't have to make much of an effort? Or are we supposed to do it whenever possible?

As for President Bush, he is more of a Christian than you demonstrate. Granted, he has his failings, but as Jesus says (since you like to quote him), let he who is without sin cast the first stone. He has done more to help the needy and defenseless than any bleeding heart liberal ever has, but he just doesn't get the notoriety from the MSM like a Democrat would, just because they hate him so much. I thank God that we have a President who has a spine instead of someone like you who figures that if we just love these Islamofacist Muslims, they'll just love us back.

By the way, I wasn't the only person who noticed how bad the article was. Newsbusters did a piece on it, too.

Christian Change of Mind About the War

I did support the Iraq war in the beginning, as I believed the story that they had given support to Islamic terrorists that had attacked America. Only later, when I learned that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11, and had no means to attack America with WMDs, did I begin to question the morality of the war. I'm not against all war, and I'm no friend of Muslims or Cindy Sheehan; but I do believe that, as Christians, we are obliged to weigh the actions of all men by the Word of God, and to stand in opposition to unjust government actions, especially where large loss of life is involved. I do see the correlation between opposition to abortion, and opposition to unjust imperialistic wars. They are both industrialized murder. I once had a liberal Democrat atheist confront me, and ask me, if I opposed abortion on moral grounds, why I did not oppose the Iraq war, as they were both essentially murderous. It was a rare moment of honesty for them to admit that abortion was murder, and I could do nothing to respond except to surmise that by restraining the madness of Saddam, less people were dying now than before, and so lives were essentially being saved. Now that Saddam is dead, and Christians are fleeing Iraq to escape persecution more than ever before under Saddam, I realize that things are not as they seem. I am disappointed that Christians are unwilling to weigh the actions of our government according to the Word of God, but they continue to blindly support a Republican administration.

Evangelical ammunition

You claim that I was a supporter of the Iraqi invasion. Not sure which orifice you pulled that one out of, but let me assure you, I NEVER supported the invasion of Iraq, and spoke out against it long before we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

I did support the invasion of Afghanistan - until the stench of the 9/11 lies became too obvious to ignore. Clearly, knowing what we know now, that too was an illegal invasion/occupation.

The reason there are so many of God's people supporting imperialism and warfare is that most have forsaken the gospel of Christ and turned their hearts toward the corrupted teachings of men. Political allegiances have been bought in exchange for the love of sound doctrine.

The government incorporated, 501c bribed church has turned away from the Saviour and has bowed to Caesar - headed up by George Bush, a liar and a murderer like his father the devil. I often wonder if it will be God's own people who will be the most enthusiastic supporters of the antichrist if he will only toss out enough godblessameircas!

Another correction: You said that since our soldiers "volunteered," that they have become defacto slaves. Nothing could be further from the truth. The oath they swore was to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic - not to become members of an imperial fighting force at the beck and call of the madmen who have seized control of our government. Which means our troops should be pointing their guns toward Washington DC, which is where our real enemies have set up camp.

Thanks for letting me correct the record,

Dave Brownlow
www.davebrownlow.com

Trying to use evangelicals

Quite interesting to read your scrutiny of Julie Sullivan's article. Your purpose and supposed benefit was just as unclear as your understanding of the article. Let me help you out:
1. There are more evangelical Christians turning away from their original support of the war;
2. The Brownlows aren't the only ones (see the Constitution Party); and
3. We anti-war evangelical Christians are disappointed in the rest of our brothers and sisters in the Lord who are still supporting this unconstitutional, unbiblical war.

This week, the 31st soldier (just since their October deployment) was killed from our son's unit. If you don't have a loved-one, you cannot understand how nerve-wracking that news can be for a parent! But, even more to a parent who sees this war as ill-conceived and unprovoked! You just don't know what parents like us is going through. So, don't waste your time trying to pick out errors in an article of some reporter (who really cares about our troops. You need to spend time researching the facts yourself and see why you are believing lies from an adminstration whose president (and father) is a member of the "brother of death" (Skull & Bones Society).

You need to begin with what the Bible says about how we should live: "Pursue things which make for peace." Romans 14:1; "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever." Isaiah 32:17; "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Hebrews 12:14; and "Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace" Psalm 37:37.

Being a Republican, by the way, is not equivalent to being a Christian, nor a conservative. And what is a "conservative", by the way?

If you aren't into the Bible as your counsel, then maybe you might respect the words of our country's founders:

"Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it." Thomas Jefferson

"Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all." George Washington

"America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy." John Quincy Adams

OVER 3,250 TROOPS ALREADY KILLED! How many more need to die before you will say "Enough"?

Praying that all Christians will come to their senses about this immoral war, and commit to ending it.

Suzanne Brownlow

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