BURNS, Conrad "America must wean itself of Saudi Oil," New York Times, October 11,02.

by Robert Brow  (www.brow.on.ca)

Burns is the Republican member of the US Senate from Montana. He writes: "In Saudi Arabia, the Wahhabi clerics have a stranglehold on freedom. The institutions of church and state are one entity. Women live as third-class citizens. Textbooks teach hatred and disdain for the US. Young men genuflect to jihad as they are indoctrinated into a bastardised religion of terror. The result is the absence of democracy. And, of course, 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers - and their mastermind, Osama bin Laden - hailed from the kingdom." He has correctly noted the immense influence of a religious model on a nation and its impact throughout the world.

Our first duty is to render to God what is God's, which is also the first requirement of Islam. But it is interpreted in terms of jihad by the Wahhabi model of that religion. Hopefully we interpret the requirement to include thanksgiving that God is in control and rules among the nations, we love enemies, and we pray for the situation.

How do we render to Caesar what is Caesar's (Matthew 22:21)? On our list we have some for whom the model includes never using the sword against our nation or any other nation. Others are ready to go to war when Caesar thinks it is time to do so (none of us have access to all the facts that govern such decisions). Most of us are somewhere in between. I think Christians were right to support our nation against Hitler, but we soon became unwilling to support a war in Vietnam. I supported the war to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan and Bin Laden if possible. None of us are ready to go to war against Saudi Arabia. And as regards Saddam Hussain I agree with the CIA assessment that a war against him would unleash weapons of mass destruction in all directions. "If it ain't broke don't fix it." Better wait to see how God might change the situation.

But Conrad Burns' remedy seems non-violent and totally sensible. Stop using Saudi and Iraqui oil. If every Christian cut oil consumption by half the problem would be solved. Except that my family are going to use up a barrel of oil to meet this week-end for thanksgiving.

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