A Progressive Theo-Political Blog Bringing You The Best and Worst of Baptist Life.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Death of Saddam

Over the last 24+ hours, many in the blogosphere have rejoiced over the death of Saddam Hussein.

Not me.

To put it nicely, celebrating the death of one of God's Creations is just tacky.

When one takes the life of another, it is always a tragedy.

We did not create life and thus have no right to take it. Disaster is the result when people and governments claim the role of God.

The Vatican has condemned the execution of Saddam Hussein. Cardinal Renato Martino had urged Iraqi authorities not to carry out the death sentence. He stated:

"I hope a crime will not be compensated with another crime. The death penalty is not a natural death. And no one can give death, not even the State."

Last month, D.W. Congdon of Princeton Theological Seminary made a passionate plea to the church to denounce the execution of Saddam. He concludes...

The question to the church, to the United States, and to the world is clear: Will we stretch out our hand to Saddam Hussein? Even if he refuses to receive our embrace, will we refuse to offer it? Can we see Saddam as a person apart from his deeds, however barbarous? Can we dare to see him in the shadow of the cross as the one for whom Christ died?

The church that witnesses to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ must be a church that has a profound and perhaps unpopular “reverence for life,” as Schweitzer declared. We must be a church that demands true justice—not justice as the world understands it, but justice as defined by the triune God, who came to the world in Jesus Christ while we were still sinners to reconcile us to God. We must embody the mystery of divine love, that gives of itself and overflows even to the least of all people. We must have our vision shaped by the gospel of justification, which refuses to see people in terms of their good or bad deeds and instead sees people in terms of God’s eternal and insurmountable ‘YES’ to each person in Jesus Christ.

Saddam Hussein is one such person. No matter the extent of his crimes against humanity, he is still loved by God, for such is the inscrutable depths of God’s being—a being who loves unconditionally, gives unceasingly, forgives eternally, and redeems completely. This is why we confess that God is love. The question for the church is: Will we demonstrate this kind of love?

Will other Christian denominations and organizations join the Vatican in denouncing the execution of Saddam Hussein? I hope so.

For the perspective of a Southern Baptist, I commend to you Ben Cole's post entitled "To bear the sword in vain."

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Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

I agree, profoundly, Aaron. I should note, however, that it is D.W. Congdon (David Congdon) of Princeton Seminary, not "C.W."

Thanks for speaking out.

1:52 AM

Blogger Monk-in-Training said...

Lord have mercy.

May Saddam feel some of that Grace that none of us deserve.

Great post BDW.

9:07 AM

Blogger mom2 said...

How can one read that post and not feel the condemnation that this nation will come under because of the murder of totally innocent little babies in the womb?
God created them also and they have committed no crimes. I believe that we either reverse that awful law that legalized abortion or we are going to face things too horrible to think about because God may completely take the hedge away from around us.

5:12 PM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...


This post was about Saddam not abortion? Did I miss something?

First, God will judge each individual on their own merits not nations.

I find abortion to be morally reprehensible. I hope and pray that the new Congress will push for measures that can reduce the number of abortions. I think it will happen.

However, I do find abortion to be permissible in certain circumstances (rape, incest, life of mother). Regardless of one's views on abortion, we should support policies that would drastically reduce their frequency. I don't see Roe being overturned tomorrow or the next day, if ever.

8:56 PM

Anonymous Lee said...

It's probably a discussion for another article, but I think abortion got tied in here somehow because it, like execution, is a sanctity of human life issue. If human life is sacred, abortion and execution are equally evil.

God does not have a covenant with the United States as a nation, his covenant is through Jesus Christ and is with individuals who receve Christ as savior and Lord. Likewise, I don't think God has developed a "most favored nation" status for the US, or for anyone else for that matter, based on the number of Christians within its boundaries and what kind of influence they have in government.

The execution of Saddam was an act of almost purely political circumstances. The bottom line is to ask the question, "Who benefits most by his execution?"

7:37 PM


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