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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Money and Power

The situation in Libya is a perfect illustration of the futility of a foreign policy based on money and power.

The US has known for years that Gadhafi (his own spelling, by the way) is a thug, and that he was probably complicit, if not wholly responsible, for the Lockerbie bombing. But we had to wait around until the Libyan people themselves began shedding their blood before we decided to stand up to a murderer and demand his due. And even then, we had to gather up all the other opportunists in the neighborhood to give him a good thumping, and get out as quickly as we can before someone starts throwing blame around.

Meanwhile, the conditions ostensibly provoking our military involvement in Libya exist in, oh, a dozen or more other countries in the world, some right in the neighborhood (Ivory Coast, Syria) and some too economically close to US money interests do anything about it (China, Saudi Arabia). Plus, power costs money, and throwing Tomahawk missiles around at about a million dollars a pop is not something even the US can do willy-nilly or indefinitely. We have to spend our power selectively, especially if we want to look good doing it.

But America looks opportunistic and hypocritical in the Libyan affair, and we seem to sense that. Witness how eager President Obama is to get others to take over leadership and responsibility for whatever happens there. Secretary Gates says Libya is not in our national interest, but there we are, spending hundreds of millions and knocking over all kinds of buildings in the name of protecting helpless oppressed people.

The fecklessness of a foreign policy based on power and money could hardly be more on display than in this war of opportunity against Gadhafi. Of course, this is the best we can expect from secular governments who are always playing domestic politics even on the international stage.

But is this what we should expect from a President who claims to be a Christian? Claims to read his Bible and pray daily? Wants us to think that his faith is an instrumental and vital part of who he is as a person?

Do I expect too much of President Obama? Probably. But it would help my opinion of him considerably if he gave any public indication at all that he had sought the Lord on this and all his other foreign and domestic policy decisions. Perhaps he does and just doesn't want to talk about it in public. If so, then my personal view is that he's not listening very well to what the Scriptures teach about the role of government and the way nations influence other nations.

For it is righteousness, not money and power, that makes a nation stand out, and makes it the envy of other nations and a powerful voice for good in the world. We will not spend or fight our way to a better world. A better world comes with the unfolding of the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The nation that declines to seek this as its defining objective and unfurl this as its identifying banner will not be able to pay or bully its way to freedom and peace.

And a President who claims residency in that Kingdom should, I think, do a bit more to make its interests and agenda his own.

Additional related texts: Deuteronomy 4.6-8; Proverbs 14.34; Romans 13.1-4

A conversation starter: "What aspect of President Obama's Christian faith do you suppose motivated him to attack Libya?"

T. M. Moore

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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