Foreign Policy Is Not A Faith Based Program

By Liam Fox

Israel is the number one recipient of American foreign aid, averaging above $2.5 Billion each year(1), and the two countries have nurtured a friendly and cooperative bond. Despite a long list of issues that often divide the populations of both countries, the mutual arrangement is stable and generally favorable. This is not to say that everything that is done by either or both countries is favorable, but, as International relations go, it is a long-lasting, secure and relatively predictable alliance. Both countries have needs and agendas, and in the push and pull that is politics, they have developed an interdependent relationship.

The strategic positioning of Israel for U.S. interests in the middle East has its advantages. Although America has maintained relatively good relations with Jordan and Saudi Arabia, among others, Israel is, by far, America’s most reliable political ally in the region. In an area with shifting alliances and changing regimes, mostly unfriendly to America, the presence of a committed ally has its obvious benefits. The cost/benefit ratio of supporting Israel as that ally may have its critics, but the stakes are high, the options limited, and the alternatives lack the security of the current, lasting friendship.(2)

So, America has an ally in the Middle East that it gives support to, and that ally is Israel. What’s the big deal? Israel is a strong ally, both in the region as well as in the United Nations, with a similar political system, and one of the most powerful military’s in the world. What’s not to like? What’s the problem?

From Fact to Fantasy

From the aspect of military and economic relations and interdependence, there is nothing particularly unusual about such a relationship. It is perfectly rational and reasonable to foster such an agreement between two nations. Not everything about this type of relationship is always good, but, such a relationship is a relatively normal situation among nations. This is not to say that such a relationship is not possible, and should not be pursued, with other nations in the area, including the Palestinians. Nor is this to say that the relationship with Israel is to the exclusion of all other existing and possible relationships in the region; this is simply to say that there is nothing inherently wrong with such a relationship between the United States and Israel, or any two countries, for that matter.

Despite the relatively secure character of American/Israeli relations, international politics are rife with unexpected trauma. The tenuous nature of international relations is further, and unduly, stressed when decisions are made for reasons other than rational, geopolitical or economic, motives. Trade agreements, treaties, resources, alliances, protectorates and military cooperation may all be substantive considerations of reasonable and rational international relations. While religious beliefs and superstitions are implementation concerns and considerations, they are not credible, reliable, or desirable, as a basis for policy; domestic or foreign. To base concrete decisions on fanciful notions is less than responsible and more than dangerous.

The Delusional Dilettante

During her meteoric rise to the world political stage, Sarah Palin made a point of consulting with Billy Graham regarding foreign policy with Israel, Iran and Iraq(3). Her questions were related to Biblical ‘End-Times’ prophecy and how foreign policy should be designed and implemented accordingly. She spent time with Mr. Graham accepting both his prayers and advice. This crash course on how to manage the end of the world also proved to be a valuable photo-op and chance for Mrs. Palin to further connect to her right-wing conservative Christian base. In an interview with Barbara Walters, Mrs. Palin shared her concern over President Obama’s policy against Jewish settlement expansion. Her objections were based on her belief that many more Jews were going to be relocating to Jerusalem in the weeks and months ahead(4)(5). According to the Bible, Armageddon will not happen until the Jews have full control over Jerusalem, and Jesus won’t be coming back until we get that whole ‘Armageddon-war-to-end-all-wars’ thing out of the way. So, in Sarah Palin’s conservative Christian reasoning, we have to support Israel, at all cost, and help them expand and control the area so that Jesus can come back and either kill them or convert them to Christianity. According to the Christians, this is what happens after Armageddon. Those Jews that are not killed when Jesus returns are converted to Christianity. Considering this, the very vocal, pro-Israeli, right-wing conservative Christian agenda, does not seem very pro-Israeli at all.

The Jews/Israelis don’t care about the motivations of the Christian evangelicals. They don’t believe in the prophecies of Revelations in the New Testament. If a bunch of American Right-Wing Christian Conservatives want to keep sending them money and giving them a favored status, fine, let them. If conservative Christian administrations in America turn a blind eye to, or perhaps even encourage, expansionism in the area and the discrimination and oppression of Palestinians or Israeli Arabs, fine, bonus. They don’t care any more than I would if someone wanted to give me money and protect my interests because their interpretation of a religious myth, and the desires of an imaginary being, directed them to do so. Israel is doing the pragmatic thing and I would be surprised, perhaps even disappointed, to find they did not exploit it completely.

This week, it was announced that Sarah Palin, reportedly on advice from Jeb Bush and Bill O’Reilly, will be working diligently to enhance her foreign policy knowledge (7). In addition to her ongoing religious counselling on these matters, Sarah will further her education by teaming up with the poster boy for American Nationalistic Bible-based Fundamentalism, Glenn Beck, in a series of live stage events to compliment the radio shows and television campaigns waged through Fox cable news(8). Beck, an avowed Mormon, right down to his magic underwear, makes no apologies regarding his belief that we are in the end times, and shares Palin’s vehement assertion that America must turn to God, become a Christian Nation, and live according to Biblical direction. Other than the ‘Constitution be damned’ nature of this ridiculous demand, the foreign and domestic policy implications are more than just potentially disastrous.

A History of Holy Hogwash

Just in case you’re feeling comfortable that the White House is safe from Palin’s fundamentalist raving’s, think again. These religious views are shared by several other politicians including Ronald Reagan and both President’s Bush, H.W., and W., and have undoubtedly contributed to the abysmal state of U.S. relations in the area. As an example, in 2003, George W., told French President, Jacques Chirac, of France, that he had to invade Iraq because of Biblical Prophecy(6). He stated that he saw the work of ‘Gog and Magog’, demonic forces referred to in biblical text, in the middle East, and that they were a threat to Israel, God’s chosen people.

Yes folks, this was the President of the United States giving his reasons for waging an illegal and bloody war. As ridiculous as this sounds, and in fact is, America’s past President is, unfortunately, not alone. In America, a country beset with an almost majority of evangelical Christians that believe in Creationism and the second coming of Jesus, there is no shortage of people willing to direct the foreign policy and military strength of the most powerful Nation on the planet towards Armageddon. The seemingly indefatigable and incomprehensible belief by Christians, for the past 2000 years, is that the world as we know it is going to end, soon, and Jesus is going to come back and set everything straight. Aside from the unconscionable abdication of personal responsibility this represents, their delusion has the potential to create a self fulfilling prophecy. If you give a group of fundamentalists, that believe that it is God’s plan that the world end soon, the means to end the world soon, they will most likely end the world soon. When you have these fundamentalists, both Christian and Islamic, drawing lines in the sand, literally, you’re tempting the possibility of a world of hurt, literally.

If it’s Going to be Used it Must be Proved

Aside from the issue of foreign policy with Israel, Christian fundamentalists have insinuated the bible, as an authoritative source, into almost every aspect of public and governmental discourse. An obtuse document, widely open to a variety of interpretations, has been allowed the status of super-governmental dictate without even the most basic vetting process. This is an error that Americans must correct. The Scopes trial was only a start. If the bible is going to be used as a basis for legal, policy or legislative decisions, it must be subjected to, and pass, the same sort of legal litmus test.

American politicians regularly cite the Christian bible, and its accompanying doctrine and dogma, as their reason for, or against, policy and legislation. It is a constant refrain in a myriad of debates including, but certainly not limited to, abortion, climate change, education, health care, foreign policy and gay rights. Any other document or text used in such a manner is subject to the investigation, discovery and proof of its credibility, before being allowed the power of such monumental impact. Why is this not the case with the Christian bible and the decisions that are based on its text?

Christians accept the bible and its teachings out of faith. Faith is a personal choice. Faith cannot be given to, or imposed on, another. Non-Christians cannot be required to have faith in the mythology and theology of Christianity for their public policies and legislation. Non-Christians cannot be required to have their domestic and foreign policy based on another’s faith. If domestic and foreign policy is to be based on the bible, for all American citizens, the bible must be proven to be an historically, and factually, accurate document. If not, it cannot be used as a basis or reason for any political decision regarding either foreign or domestic policy. This is a point arguable under American law. It is a point that needs to be argued.

The American-Israeli relationship is important, as are many other relationships that America has with foreign powers, but not for the reasons, and certainly not for the agenda, of conservative Christian fundamentalists. Abortion, civil liberties, gay-rights and education are all issues that need to be open to public discussion, debate and resolution, but again, not directed by the agenda and limitations of Christian fundamentalists. The courts do not want to hear a case disproving the existence of the Christian god, yet we are subject to the authoritarian dictates, as interpreted by those looking for the interpretations they prefer, of that unproven being’s discredited holy text(9). We don’t need to argue the proof of a god. What we must do, is demand the legal, scientific and historic credibility of the bible if it is going to be cited when establishing policy, procedure or law. Christians cannot be allowed to have it both ways any longer. If biblical Christian teachings are going to be used as the basis for, or influence on, foreign and domestic policy, they must be proven credible, or be removed from the discussion as irrelevant. When Christianity decided to assert itself into politics and the affairs of the state, it removed itself from the protections of a personal choice of faith and has subjected itself to the rigors of academic and scientific analyses. This is not a case of religion being attacked but a case of defense from the onslaught of tyrannical religious law and dangerously delusional prophecy. The rules have been skewed. Christians are not required to offer any proof of their religion yet they are allowed to offer their religion as reason and basis for policy and legislation. This must stop. When it comes to politics; the bible cannot be used unless the bible can be proved. Amen.

Editor’s Note:  Please follow Liam Fox  on Twitter.

(1) – http://wrmea.org/component/content/article/245-2008-november/3845-congress-watch-a-conservative-estimate-of-total-direct-us-aid-to-israel-almost-114-billion.html
(2) – http://www.wrmea.com/us_aid_to_israel/index.htm
(3) – http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/11/28/sarah-palins-visit-with-billy-graham-dinner-prayer-and-a-phot/
(4) – http://www.alternet.org/blogs/video/144111/what_sarah_palin’s_”jewish_people_will_be_flocking_to_israel”_prediction_really_means/
(5) – http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/11/17/sarah_palin_is_even_crazier_than_i_imagined
(6) – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2009/aug/10/religion-george-bush
(7) – http://newsbusters.org/blogs/scott-whitlock/2010/02/25/bill-oreilly-nails-stephanopoulos-critique-palin-compares-nancy-pelo
(8) – http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0210/33535.html
(9) – http://www.amazon.com/God-Delusion-Richard-Dawkins/dp/0618680004

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8 Responses to Foreign Policy Is Not A Faith Based Program

  1. Lena February 28, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Uh-huh. I suppose the author was at the meeting with Billy Graham and also lives inside Sarah Palin’s head, so they know exactly what was said and exactly what Sarah Palin was thinking.

    Why don’t you ever get upset at the Arabs for waging a holy war against Israel? Faith is a part of politics because it is a part of human nature. It should not be the basis of foreign policy, but as long as there are those who call for the destruction of Israel, the United States had better stand by Israel. Period.

    • Ole Ole Olson February 28, 2010 at 8:39 am

      I think you misunderstand what the article is really about.

  2. Rachel February 28, 2010 at 8:36 am

    “American politicians regularly cite the Christian bible, and its accompanying doctrine and dogma, as their reason for, or against, policy and legislation. It is a constant refrain in a myriad of debates including, but certainly not limited to, abortion, climate change, education, health care, foreign policy and gay rights. Any other document or text used in such a manner is subject to the investigation, discovery and proof of its credibility, before being allowed the power of such monumental impact.” – Has the author of this ridiculous article heard of Climategate yet? Where was the investigation, discovery and proof of any global warming credibility? Kinda been blown out of the water now hasn’t it?

    • Ole Ole Olson February 28, 2010 at 8:43 am

      Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing in the hacked CRU emails negates one iota of actual evidence supporting the science behind man-made climate change. It is a proven fact, with decades of research by literally millions of scientists spanning over 140 countries. In fact, a scientific uber-consensus exists, with 97% telling us this.

  3. Gilbert Mercier
    Gilbert Mercier February 28, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Editor’s Note:
    At News Junkie Post we have a ZERO tolerance for personal attacks towards our contributors and the posting of spam links.
    Any and all comments of this nature will be deleted promptly. Thank you and enjoy the conversation here.

  4. Stephen Dufrechou February 28, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Stellar article here, Liam….. looking forward to following your work further.

  5. Tracy Hall Jr February 28, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Go ahead, name some well-known Jewish commentator and refer to him as “an avowed Jew, right down to his magic beanie.”

    I dare you!

    Such religious bigotry does serve a useful purpose: it immediately spared me the trouble of reading the rest of your tirade.

    hthalljr’gmail’com

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