What would Jesus do?
December 9, 2002
(This letter was originally addressed to President Bush.)
Greetings of peace and joy for this holiday season.
When asked during the presidential campaign regarding the guiding principle for your personal life and your presidency, you answered that before making any major decision you ask yourself the question, “What would Jesus do?”
What would Jesus do, specifically about going to war with Iraq? I am no expert, but there is no doubt that Christ’s message throughout the ages boils down to “Love your enemies.” These are still words to live by, so simple but so tough to bring into practice.
Jesus also urged his followers to “love your neighbor as yourself.” The world today is indeed a Global Village, with all humanity as our neighbor, including Iraq.
A war against Iraq cannot be justified as an extension of the “War on Terror” in which we are dealing with faceless enemies operating in shadows, inspired by evil and hellbent on the destruction of our democratic and open society.
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I fully support your policy to bring the perpetrators of 9-11 to justice, to hunt them down to the ends of the earth. But, while Saddam Hussein richly deserves the civilized world’s wrath, he has not been connected to 9-11, and the sad reality is that the principal victims of war would be innocent Iraqi men, women and children.
Please consider the gross injustice in the inequality of the terms of war: For the people of Iraq, war would be hell right in their face with fathers, mothers and children having their limbs blown off, losing life, home and kin.
In contrast, on the U.S. side the war would be “surgical and antiseptic” with daily briefings, broadcast on CNN, FOX, etc., complete with commentary by armchair generals discussing video clips of a war waged with hi-tech, long-distance weapons and with minimum loss of U.S. life and material.
Of course, there would be no detailed and close-up images of the havoc, blood and gore on the ground. That would be bad taste and bad for business.
Mr. President, such a war would be unconscionable, unacceptable and unworthy of the high moral principles on which our nation was founded.
Please heed the voices of the millions of patriotic American dissenters and many more millions in countries across the world who are peacefully protesting your war policies and step back from the brink of war.
May peace and justice prevail.