Dear President Obama,
I want to begin by thanking you for your service to our country. On one level it has been a personal blessing to see a man who looks like myself and my son, act as the leader of these United States. It demonstrates our country has made some significant strides and offers hope for the future.
I am penning this letter to you on this Thanksgiving Week to appeal to your foundational experience as a community organizer whose experience to pursue justice and relieve oppression can have a benefit for our current situation.
Your vision to welcome thousands of Syrian refugees is very admirable, in fact, I believe it is in the best keeping of Christian principles to create an atmosphere in which those who are experiencing injustice to find a place of relieve. Men, women, and children regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, or religion should have the opportunity to flourish as God intended. I believe all humanity has been infused with the sense to create and achieve for the betterment of themselves and the society. Therefore, it is just to welcome Syrian Refugees-Christian and Muslim-who desire to be positive and significant contributors to our American nation.
At the same time, my Christian understanding of justice considers not only the situation of the oppressed and vulnerable but the perpetrators of the unjust situations. If I may be quite clear, I believe this is where you are failing as the leader of our nation. It appears you are very apprehensive to use force to execute justice to relieve oppression. In my opinion, your experience as a community organizer is preventing you from fully using the resources of the United States to bring about full justice. Justice for the oppressed. Justice on ISIS. Justice which protects the people you represent.
God grants to government the use of a sword to execute justice on behalf of its citizens. This righteous use of the sword has two purposes, 1) protection of the innocent and 2) punishment of the guilty. In our American context, you stand as Commander in Chief of the most lethal fighting force on the planet. The United States Military is the swift sword of America’s arm to carry out justice for all persons. It is a justice granted to the government alone and protecting opportunities for human flourishing.
As a former Army Officer I have seen the pains of war. War creates widows, orphans, and the handicapped. War reveals the depth of human depravity but in some strange way uncovers the majesty of courage in the face of death. War and violence should be the last option but it is an option in the face of injustice. I will not impose on you Jesus words to “turn the other cheek” or “those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” On the former, this mandate is not appropriate for government which has the charge to protect its citizens. On the latter, this is a warning and not a mandate for pacifism on the part of governments. To the Church I alone would offer these statements. If a government chooses to turn the other cheek, injustice will spread like a cancer. Darkness will consume free ways of life and all persons will die in the suffocating atmosphere of unrighteousness.
So as you contemplate justice on behalf of refugees, please consider justice which will stem back the hand of evil men and women. We all have our part to play in this work of a just society. As the President you lead a government to “establish justice…and provide a common defense.” As a Christian it is my responsibility to encourage justice, turn the other cheek, and to love one’s enemy. It is a reality, you do not have the luxury to tell our nation to turn the other cheek, while I do not have the luxury to tell our society love only those like us. We all have a cross to bear.
I leave you with this sir,
Love justice and walk humbly with God.