Why Should the Iraqi Prisoner Abuse Episode Be So Shocking to Us?

Why Should the Iraqi Prisoner Abuse
Episode Be So Shocking to Us?

The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
Isaiah 24:5 (NKJV)

Reaction was quick and extremely indignant -- then the finger-pointing blame began -- President Bush became very high profile as he expressed his feelings on the matter.

Mass media people, as could be expected, are milking the cow on this thing until they even suck out its entrails! The motive of a majority in the mass media culture is obvious -- this is a chance to really nail the president's hide to the wall and enhance the image of John Kerry who aspires to be the next president of the United States!

But why do we express such indignation over the fact that U.S. military personnel have been guilty of humiliation, abuse, and what amounts to torture of Iraqi prisoners? Why do we fail to recognize that this is a very natural "fruit" being born as a result of the seed we have been sowing in our culture for about a half century?

Stop and think for a moment -- how old are those United States military people who are going to be court marshaled for their part in the prisoner abuse scandal? Further, how old are their superiors, non-commissioned as well as commissioned officers?

Now then -- stop and consider the condition of the culture in which they were raised from the time they were born. A lot of changes began in the 50's and the deterioration of our country in terms of its ethics, morality, and spirituality has been accelerating at an alarming rate. Such a deterioration has positioned our nation in a "graveyard spiral" from which it is unable to recover -- at least no concerted efforts on the part of elected officials and church leaders are being employed for the necessary recovery at the present time!

Here are a few things to note:

    a Supreme Court ruling declared public classrooms to be off limits to God -- no prayer, no reading of the Bible, and essentially God was not to be mentioned in any way -- in effect, our young were never to be reminded that there is a God Who put a mighty universe together! You see, there was a time when it was standard practice to have readings from the Scripture and the praying of the Lord's Prayer each morning in each classroom before class activities got underway. Honest examination of the social and moral conditions prevailing during those years will show that there is a sharp contrast between how it was then and how it is now that God and His Word have long since been kicked out of all public schools!

    the teaching of evolution which permeates the public school curriculum (and is reinforced at the college and university level) persuades the young that since we have evolved from lowly life forms, life really has no great significance or purpose. Once you become convinced of that, then life becomes very self-centered and selfish when it comes to the issue of living day by day -- one's world view becomes that of getting all that I can for myself with the greatest amount of pleasure possible in the process -- it will be fun & games all the way to the end! Again, bear in mind that one is not permitted to entertain and make known the fact that there is a God Who brought all things into existence and Who knows every human being before that human is conceived in the womb -- and most offensive in the public school arena would be the suggestion that Almighty God has a special plan for every human life.

    the entertainment industry began to resemble an evolution from the respectable Dr. Jekyl to the violent and grotesque Mr. Hyde! There was a time when the movie, music, and television industries had a value system which was in agreement with much of the value system as taught by the Christian faith. Some of us senior citizen folk can remember the time when there was no profanity in the movies, men and women were not seen naked and in bed together, violence was held to a minimum, and the films had what was called a "happy ending!" The same was true for a time in the early years of television. The music industry produced music that could be understood and for a time there were a number of popular songs which had a spiritual theme to them.

    But then things changed and not for the better -- the movie, music, and television industries became badly corrupted and began to produce what can be described as nothing less than the most vulgar, immoral, violent, and hopeless kind of products. Big name people associated with these industries began more and more to flaunt immoral lifestyles laced with substance abuse before the public. These people were and continue to be idolized by the young, and often what the young idolize they will try to imitate!

    then came a Supreme Court ruling of the most abominable kind -- on January 22, 1973 a group of judges decided that it is a "constitutional right" to destroy an unborn child by intentional choice.

    At this point in time the tally is past 43.8 million victims -- WW II photos of German death camps revealed piles of bodies and skeletons many feet high -- how high do you suppose the pile would be if we piled all 43.8 million victims of the U.S. version of "holocaust" in one place -- we would have a mountain of tiny skeletons, would we not? Worse yet is a side benefit to all this -- human life has no significant value and is disposable depending on decisions made. With our young growing up in an environment such as this, why should they be any different? And why should they place any significant value on a human life when judges, politicians, and other influential people have exerted their influence to the extent that it is a "constitutional right" to destroy human life at an average of over 100,000 per month in "the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

    the church in the United States (all those bodies claiming to identify with the Christian faith) also suffered disaster during the years of the 20th Century. Starting at the beginning of the 20th Century heretical ideas were imported from Europe and seed was planted in a number of seminaries. Simply stated the heresy amounted to this -- the Bible is not a totally reliable volume of information. It is filled with myth and many things reported did not really happen. Miracles were often denied. The Person of Jesus Christ was often the center of attack -- starting with a denial of the virgin birth and following through with denials of His miraculous deeds, the significance of His atoning death for the sins of the human race, His literal resurrection from the dead after crucifixion, and His promised return to earth again in order to rule it at some future point in time!

    To be sure, there were pastors, churches, and congregations who resisted the rampant apostasy which spread like a deadly melanoma in the human body. And there are those who continue to do so today, but these are a distinct minority number. Just one statistic will tell at first glance that something is horribly wrong in a nation that claims to be one which is "under God" -- the fact that we cannot get even half our population of 290 million people into a place of worship on any given Sunday! There is a slight increase in church attendance on Christmas and Easter, but even this is minimal at best!

    The tragedy is that a large percentage of our population is not involved in the church -- total families with young have no significant exposure to God's revelation to us. And this means that there is no familiarity with God's standards for human behavior and relationships, what God has done to provide a remedy for humanity's greatest problem which is sin, and what God's plans are for the future -- plans which will impact the whole planet and the population living at the time in which those plans are fully implemented!

As at the beginning, so again the question is posed -- why should the Iraqi prisoner abuse episodes be so shocking to us? The vast majority of our young have been raised in a culture that has determined that they should not be exposed to God and His revelation while they are in some of the most significant growth and development stages of life. They were not grounded in a value system which reflects the real existence of a Creator God to Whom we are accountable. And since that created a spiritual vacuum, the alternative has proved to be very deadly, unfulfilling, and hopeless! You have just read some of the significant factors which have brought us and a majority of our young to this point.

So when some who are in the military treat Iraqi prisoners as they did, why should we be surprised or shocked? But more importantly, how far up the military ranks does this sanctioning (and ordering) of such treatment go? With the military's reputation of dodging responsibility the further up the ranks you go, it is more than likely that the low ranking people will be the only victims of the axe on this one!

The few of the young who have been exposed to God's revelation due to parental example and teaching as well as the influence of a Bible believing church in which they are actively involved have not been able to turn back the tide of evil which dominates the lives of their peers -- no more so than could a few individuals have turned back a gigantic wall of water with buckets in their hands as that wall of water from the failed South Fork Dam raced down the Conemaugh Valley toward Johnstown, PA in May of 1889!

Unborn Children Brutally
Mutilated & Murdered in USA

since President George W. Bush
expressed outrage at the
abuse of Iraqi prisoners

May 5, 2004

Watch this for about 60 to 90 seconds
and see what happens!

O LORD, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? even cry out to You, "Violence!" And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds.
Habbakuk 1:2-4 (NKJV)

May 20, 2004

Clayton D. Harriger
Elder in Full Connection
Western PA Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
and presently serving as pastor of
Gipsy Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Gipsy PA

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