Genocide, Christian Terrorism, and the Threat of the LRA

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Genocide, Christian Terrorism, and the Threat of the LRA

Post  Sweedle P. on Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:44 pm

A news article on CNN.com this morning reported the brutal attack by a rebel group targeting Congolese in a remote Makombo area. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 321 unarmed villagers were killed and 250 were kidnapped, of which at least 80 were children.

The brutal attack was carried out by the Lord's Resistance Army, a sectarian Christian militant group based in northern Uganda led by the self-declared prophet Joseph Kony, who claims to be a spokesperson for God and a medium for the Holy Spirit. The rebel group's stated aim is to replace the Ugandan government with a democracy based on the Ten Commandments.

An interview with LRA second in command, Vincent Otti:
Lord’s Resistance Army is just the name of the movement, because we are fighting in the name of God. God is the one helping us in the bush. That’s why we created this name, Lord’s Resistance Army. And people always ask us, are we fighting for the [biblical] Ten Commandments of God. That is true – because the Ten Commandments of God is the constitution that God has given to the people of the world. All people. If you go to the constitution, nobody will accept people who steal, nobody could accept to go and take somebody’s wife, nobody could accept to innocently kill [sic], or whatever. The Ten Commandments carries all this.
The massacre in Makombo is the deadliest documented attack by the LRA since the rampages of Christmas 2008. According to Human Rights Watch, dozens of other attacks have been carried out in other areas in recent months, and the group has been accused of killing, abducting, and mutilating scores of people in the past.

The news highlights a fact that many Christians often seem to ignore or miss completely: Islam is far from the only religion that ever promoted terrorism. Christian terrorism is real, and many of God's prophets in the Bible were called upon to do acts similar to what the Lord's Resistance Army is doing. The fact is that the Bible promotes full-on genocide, or the systematic destruction of entire populations of human beings. There are acts commanded by God of Moses (Exodus 11-12, Numbers 31), Joshua (Deuteronomy 7, 20; Joshua 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, ...), and the slaughtering of the tribe of Benjamin by the other 11 tribes of Israel (Judges 19-20), not counting those acts which the Lord supposedly carried out Himself.

A report released by Human Rights Watch said that in the northeastern Congo attack by the LRA, gangs tied up villagers, mostly men but women and children as well, and hacked them to death. They also crushed their skulls with axes and heavy wooden sticks. Those who were abducted, including many children aged 10 to 15 years old, were tied up with ropes or metal wire at the waist, often in human chains of five to fifteen people. They were then forced to march off with them. Anyone who refused, walked too slowly, or tried to escape was killed; children were not spared. Which passage in the Bible most describes the acts of the LRA?

Numbers 31:
31:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
31:2 Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people.
31:7 And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.
31:9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.
31:11 And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts.
31:12 And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.
31:15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
31:17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
31:18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
31:40 And the persons were sixteen thousand; of which the LORD's tribute was thirty and two persons.
The rest of the chapter describes the dividing up of loot pillaged from the cities, including roughly 16,000 girls and women "that had not known a man by lying with him." Compare that to the approximately 250 Congolese the Lord's Resistance Army took and it seems the LRA has some catching up to do.

According to ReligiousTolerance.org, most of mainstream American Christianity is divided over how to reconcile the violence of the Bible, particularly the genocides of the Old Testament, with the more modern idea that genocide is one of the most reprehensible, horrifying and disgusting crimes of which humans are capable. "Many liberal Christians, liberal Jews, historians and biblical archaeologists believe that all three [great genocides of the Bible including the worldwide flood, the Passover incident, and the conquest of Canaan] are religious myths -- stories of great spiritual significance about events that never actually happened," the site says. However, "Jewish and Christian conservatives generally believe in that the authors of the Bible were inspired by God and thus their writings are inerrant. They believe that the genocides happened exactly as described in the Bible."

Then, which is it? Did the Bible's all-loving Creator actually preside over acts of genocide by His people? Most importantly, if we believe He did -- and defend it -- what is to stop us from justifying the horrible atrocities committed by the Lord's Resistance Army? My answer to that is an easy one: genocide is never justified, even if commanded by the Lord.
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Sweedle P.
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