Connection Magazine Poll: Should the United States be at war with Iraq?
by Elizabeth Rattray
Connection Magazine recently posed the following question to folks in the Northeast Ohio Christian community; Should the U.S. be at war with Iraq? As might be expected, responses were all over the board as were the ages and ethnicities of those polled. Respondents were questioned in book stores, on college campuses, in coffee houses and at home Bible study groups. The most quoted scriptures were three Gospel accounts of Jesus answering the disciples regarding signs of the times and the end of the age (Matt. 24:6, Mk. 13:7 and Lk. 21:9). Strong feelings about a war on terrorism in general were revealed.
Katrina Webster from Stow, sees Iraq as "a great threat to the United States." She feels that the U.S. has been very patient and is concerned that "Iraq has made no moves to give up weapons." Katrina believes that America should "protect themselves, and the best way to do that is to stop them at the source. We have to go in and take possession of these weapons at any cost." Katrina perceives that "President Bush has been very wise." On March 10th, a New York Times report told of U.N. inspector's discovery of Iraqi drone aircrafts, capable of dispersing chemical and biological agents over a vast expanse.
A not so certain Billy Mortensen, of Brunswick feels that the U.S. should have only gone to war if there was "100 percent proof of an attack on the U.S. by Sadaam Hussein." Billy believes that President Bush has never shown "even proof of undisclosed chemical weaponry." Speaking with similar trepidation, Niril Sheth of Parma, has no doubt that Americans are in danger, but he thinks the U.S should have proceeded with caution because "we need to be sure." Sheth lamented, "I wish we could do it without killing civilians." His plan would be to "follow war with Christian missionaries" spreading the Gospel and changing hearts.
Two Cleveland women expressed opinion against a U.S. war with Iraq, but for differing reasons. Joyce Waters voiced suspicion of American motives, stating that "I think the real reason is being camouflaged. It's really about oil." Joyce referred to scriptures that tell of wars and rumors of wars "to clue us in to the day and time in which we are living." She has prayed that "this would be a rumor of war." Also speaking out against such a war, Tylanika Bell wants America to "allow God to handle our fighting." Bell trusts that "If there are bombs that Saddam is hiding, it will come to light." She places higher "casualties in the spiritual realm" than those in the natural. There is no price tag that can be assigned to human lives, but a Newhouse News Service report puts the monetary cost of this war with Iraq at about 60 billion dollars. Fluctuating and rising, prices at American gas pump are another can of worms.
Denise R. of Akron likened al-Qaida to "cockroaches that multiply rapidly and entrench themselves against the will of the rightful homeowners. If you don't get rid of them completely, they just move next door." Echoing sentiments from C. Greener of Columbia Station, came with his declaration that "There is an axis of evil there. It isn't about oil. It's about leaders of a free world having a responsibility." Greener says everyone should be protected from the likes of Saddam, who in his view is "a cancer that (needed) to be stopped."
Anonymously, a woman from Brooklyn e-mailed that "The U.S. made a decision a long time ago to go to war with Iraq." She says that since that decision, "the U.S. (had) only looked for ways to go to war" with a one track focus. Anonymous sees that America "(raced) toward war at all costs" without exploring peaceful options and disregarding all opposition. Pennfield resident, Wayne Schmigel sees the war as Biblical, saying "It's associated with anti-Christian values. God has blessed the United States and we should defend our religious freedom." Twenty-year old Andrew Peterman of Parma Heights agrees with Schmigel enough to have enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Andrew believes that as an American, "It is my duty to protect our freedom and to preserve it for our children." Peterman expressed appreciation for those who went before him to bring the freedoms many Americans take for granted.
Seeing great evil in Iraq, Kevin W. in Warrensville Heights doesn't think it will matter that the U.S. went to war against Iraq. "Even if we take him (Saddam) out, there will be another lunatic to take his place." Following the arrest of senior al-Qaida member, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, White House spokesperson, Ari Fleischer was quoted as stating "It's hard to overstate how significant this is." Mohammed is the suspected mastermind of the September 11, attacks on the World Trade Center. CBN news recently broadcast excerpts of teachings by Jihad leader, Abu Hamza al-Masri. The video shows him explaining how those who do not follow his beliefs should suffer the following consequences: "Well if you live on my property and you don't pay rent, you get out! And Jihad is to get you out. This is the property of God. You don't worship him, you get out. How are you going to get out? You get killed." Hamza is reported to be recruiting young Muslims in Britain to train for Jihad. Hamza defines the meaning of Jihad as, "in general striving for the sake of God to establish his law and order on earth and the backbone of Jihad is fighting. So everything fighting in the cause of God is Jihad."
An additional CBN report tells of another radical Muslim group seeking to establish a global Islamic regime starting in Britain. The group, called Al Muhajiroun is lead by Omar Izzadeen, who says "Our message is to bring Islam to the world. Islam will conquer the White House, will conquer Downing Street." When asked what he means by 'conquer', he responded, "It means conquer. It means the Americans will live under Islam, like it or not, so will the UK."
There are as many places to stand on the question of the U.S. war with Iraq as there are people on the planet, so many responses are not herein. All who responded unanimously claim themselves followers of Jesus Christ. Interestingly, not one espoused fear.