Piper on Terrorism: The Selective Silence is Deafening

Credit: Nicholas Gratzl


John Piper loves to inveigh against Muslim extremism.  See: “France: a Fabric Torn” and many other writings from Piper and his tribe.

 
I would love to see Mr. Piper with any remote consistency address the elephant in the room that so many other disciples of Jesus acknowledge. What is this elephant? The destructive militarism of Western nations that dishonors and demeans the lives of those who are NOT in the “in” crowd of the West.
 
It’s called contextual reasoning, or to put it more Biblically, authentic prophecy, to be honest about the negative effects of the oppressive violence of empires (of which the U.S. is the most powerful) that contribute to the violence of others in response.
 
If Mr. Piper and others of his ilk are silent when Isaiah and Amos would have been shouting, it should raise some important questions about whether their writings and speeches should be privileged the way they are by evangelical Christendom.
 
I am not seeking to justify ISIS in any way.  We should not be silent about their rampant evil.  Neither should we be silent about the recent unjustifiable actions of the West (by recent, I mean from the Shah of Iran to present day) particularly directed towards our Arab and Muslim brothers and sisters. The silence is deafening. The silence reveals idolatry.
 
Here is one simple, easily obtained bit of evidence that shows the hypocrisy of the West: “Hundreds of Civilians Killed in US-led airstrikes on ISIS Targets.”

It is painful to acknowledge a more full picture of the truth.  Christians need not shy away from this pain, though.  It is the pain of deep repentance from deep complicity with a system that has caused torrents of blood.  We are to weep with those who weep: whether they are our next-door neighbors or our Global South and East neighbors.  May God give us the strength and the courage to do so: especially as a consistent commitment to this path will lead to marginalization in Western culture.  Rev. Jeremiah Wright encountered this marginalization and rejection in a selectively-quoted sermon in the runup to the 2008 Presidential Election where he proclaimed that Malcolm X was right decades before that “America’s chickens were coming home to roost.” Malcolm X said this about the scourge of racism, while  Rev. Wright said this about the awful series of events on September 11, 2001.  Listening to the broader context of the sermon, however, provides a deeply uncomfortable truth for Christians.  We must confess that Rev. Wright is correctly following the symptom of 9/11 to a proper diagnosis of the cancer of Western militarism that subjugates and tears apart the bodies of those who do not comply.

We are not called to be chaplains of the Western system, but prophets of God’s global community, tearing down sinful barriers of nationalism, militarism, racism, cultural blindness, and other maladies.  May we strive toward this embodiment of the people of God.

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