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Posts tagged with Israel

The Real Sin of Sodom

I recently watched an old episode of my mom's favorite television show, the "Billy Graham Crusades". Dr. Graham surprised me with some of his comments about the Biblical city of Sodom. He said that greed was one of the sins of the people of Sodom. According to Ezekiel 16:49 - "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."

Many members of the Republican Party have a problem with this same sin. So why do Christians in the Republican Party encourage this sin by supporting low taxes for those with high incomes? Why do Christians support Republicans who don't believe in helping the poor?

Sodom isn't the only Biblical location whose residents were punished by God for mistreating the poor. The Israeli prophets warned the leaders of Israel about the consequences of mistreating the poor before wealthy Israelites were taken into captivity and the land left to the poor.

Ezekiel 22:12 - "you take interest and make a profit from the poor. You extort unjust gain from your neighbors. And you have forgotten me, declares the Sovereign LORD."

Amos 4:1 - "Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, “Bring us some drinks!”

Amos 5:11 - "You levy a straw tax on the poor and impose a tax on their grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine."

Luke and other gospels carry a statement by Jesus about the problem facing the rich. " Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." Luke 18:24-5

Preachers often suggest the camel analogy is about something large going through a tight opening. The analogy is more likely a camel saying like the "straw that broke the camel's back" or what happens if someone lets a camel get its head inside a tent. People of that era likely used the task of getting a camel through the eye of a needle as a way to determine how difficult the task was.

The problem with getting a camel through the eye of a needle is the shape of the animal and its sometimes uncooperative nature. The long neck, legs and hump means the task isn't simple even with a very large needle. Keep in mind that a needle has a long portion connected to the eye.

Christian Republicans need to recognize that abortion and sexual morality aren't the only moral issues in politics. Mistreatment of the poor and how the rich acquire wealth are at least as important. Christians need to move away from the greedy Republicans who believe the rich should escape the taxes needed to fund government.

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Palestinian U.N. Membership a Very Bad Precedent

Granting United Nations membership to the Palestinians would create a vary dangerous precedent. The Palestinians aren't the only ethnic group that desire to have their own country independent of the one in which they live. Nor are they the only group that has used violence to try to gain independence.

The Kurds have long desired to set up a country they would call Kurdistan including land currently a part of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. If the U.N. grants membership to the Palestinians, shouldn't it also grant membership to Kurdistan? The Kurds have their own culture and language.

The Palestinians are a collection of Arab peoples who happen to live within the boundaries of the nation of Israel. They are called Palestinians not because they have a unique culture like the Kurds, but because they aren't Jewish. The term "Palestine" was used by the Romans to refer to a geographic region rather than any specific ethnic group.

Might the area of Chechnya also qualify for U.N. membership? What about the Basque region of Spain? Could Tibetans argue that they should have U.N. membership even though the Chinese currently occupy the country?

If the Palestinians should get their own country because they are Muslims, what about the Uighur Muslims in China?

Many other countries have groups that might want their own country if they thought it were possible, particularly in those areas of the world where European nations arbitrarily forced different ethnic groups to live in the same country. Granting U.N. membership to the Palestinians would encourage members of these groups to develop nationalist aspirations.

There is nothing special about the Palestinians. Many groups of people would like to have their own nations. The U.N. cannot arbitrarily grant membership to the Palestinians and ignore the aspirations of the Kurds, Basques, etc.

Nations that are considering voting for Palestinian membership should make sure they don't have groups that might make a similar request.

Over the last several thousand years regions of the Middle East have been controlled by whatever ethnic groups have been strongest at the time. Some groups such as the Persians and Assyrians have established empires. Others such as the Israelites have been content to control only small areas. The current situation in Israel has been occurred many times in the past and will likely to be repeated in one country or another in the future.

The U.N. should not attempt to arbitrarily adjust national boundaries or decide which groups should have their own countries. Many of the ethnic problems in Asia and Africa are due in part to the arbitrary national boundaries imposed by imperialistic European nations If the Palestinians, Kurds or other groups want their own nations they should handle their own situations rather having the U.N. impose a solution from outside.

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