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IN THEORY:Reflections on war in Iraq

March 17, 2007

War is always a dreaded thing. There is never a good war. Innocents on both sides suffer. I was in the air on the way to East Africa the day the bombs began to fall on Baghdad. If you remember, the press leading up to the war was loud and scary. The night before I left, we received a warning about a terrorist threat to the airport I was to fly into. Rocket-propelled grenades had been targeted at Western aircraft. I was to fly into and out of that airport four times. That night, I lay on my 1-year-old son's bed and held him as he slept. I prayed and cried asking God if I was being stupid for going. I didn't want to orphan my kids over my own stupidity. I knew he could take care of them, but that is a tough journey for any child to walk. I felt I had my answer and confidence in God's provision regardless of the outcome. We were going to open medical clinics and sign government papers to begin a new vocational training school for orphans with AIDS. The clinics also serve refugees from wars in Congo, Sudan, Rwanda and northern Uganda. Since that trip, these ministries have blossomed. That trip ignited fires in the hearts of people who now are going back and serving there, even this summer. Hundreds of children are receiving ongoing care through these ministries. Hundreds of families benefit from the clinics annually. Lives are saved. Kids are fed, educated and given hope. We have even received letters of commendation from Uganda's president.

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All of that could have been lost because of the threat of war. War threatened by terrorists, and war threatened by our government. War is always devastating.

RIC OLSEN

Lead Pastor

The Beacon

Anaheim

What a great relief to see that public opinion has changed. This is essential to ending the war in Iraq.

To question the motivation for the invasion four years ago was considered unpatriotic and fringe thinking. Fortunately, we find rebels and prophets who defend spiritual, humanitarian and ethical values by challenging decisions to go to war right from the very beginning. Too many religious organizations defer to government power and oppose war only when the tide of public opinion has already turned, and it has become safe and expedient to do so. It is the primary role of the world's religious traditions to uphold the dignity and care of every human being, not just those born in the United States. The current protests by mainstream religious groups will play an important role in ending the war.

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