Praying for Saddam Hussein
by Gary Sloan (e-mail: [October 30th, 2002]

Astonishingly, despite mountains of commentary on the Iraqi imbroglio, no media pundit has raised the obvious question: Why hasn’t George W. Bush used the ultimate weapon against the intransigent Iraqi strong man?

“Instead of bullets and bombs, or even diplomacy, he should employ the true ultimate weapon against the Iraqi leader: humble supplication.”

No, not nuclear bombs. While they can indeed humble an obstinate foe (cf. Hiroshima and Nagasaki), they can have unpleasant side effects on the environment and complicate international diplomacy. Even when nuclear strikes are maximally surgical, some collateral damage is bound to occur. The world community may question the moral legitimacy of vaporizing thousands of women and children to bring one man to his knees.

A better course is available to a Christian president. President Bush isn’t constitutionally obligated to emulate Constantine, Charlemagne, Richard the Lion-Hearted, Henry V, Louis XIV, Peter the Great, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and many other Christian heads of state who opted to meet force with force, violence with violence, swagger with swagger rather than to turn the other cheek and forgive enemies 77 times—as Jesus Christ recommended.

Mr. Bush, we all know, is a true Christian. During the presidential campaign, he cited Jesus as the biggest influence on his life. And last February, at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, he said the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 had put him “on bended knee.” He urged Americans to turn to prayer in “this time of testing.”

The president understands the incomparable power of faith. He told the assembled lawmakers, foreign leaders, and prominent clergy in attendance at the prayer breakfast that “faith shows the way to self-giving, to love our neighbors as we would want to be loved.” Faith instructs us “never to target the innocent.”

As an ideological disciple of Jesus Christ, Mr. Bush undoubtedly prefers pacifism to bellicosity. Hence, when he says the United States may unilaterally invade Iraq if Saddam Hussein attempts to thwart the U.N. weapons inspectors, the president must be acceding to pressure from his national security advisers and hawkish legislators.

Mr. Bush should disregard all secular strategy and counsel. Instead of bullets and bombs, or even diplomacy, he should employ the true ultimate weapon against the Iraqi leader: humble supplication.

He should immediately begin to plump for national--nay, international--prayer rallies, not pre-emptive (and peremptory) strikes. Prayer is safe, feasible, tested, and cost-effective.

Christian doctrine recognizes the universal efficacy of prayer and the infinite power of divine love. The most egregious reprobate is redeemable. Verily, even for Saddam Hussein, love conquers all.

While some U.N. members will grouse that the president is circumventing U.N. authority, Mr. Bush must be resolute. The beneficial results of relentless prayer are incalculable. Touched by grace, Saddam may even give us his oil.

Resources and Avenues for Further Study

  • Google News: Saddam Hussein
  • Washington Post: Iraq and the War on Terrorism

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