Recently President Donald Trump of the United States ordered an attack that killed Major General Qassim Suleimani, who led Iran’s Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a unit within the Iranian military command structure.
Trump’s order was urged and counseled by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an avowed evangelical Christian, based on the yet unsubstantiated claim that Suleimani was plotting “imminent attacks” on U.S. personnel.
So Trump plotted with Pompeo and others to kill Suleimani. The plot was carried out by a drone strike as Suleimani traveled in a motorcade along a highway after landing at an airport in Baghdad, Iraq.
“I don’t believe Pompeo’s claim to be ‘pro-life.’ Pompeo didn’t consider the life of Qassim Suleimani to be sacred, a gift from God, or otherwise deserving of respect.”
Jesus, who Mike Pompeo claims to believe and follow as personal Savior, rejected the conventional wisdom (of his time and now) that enemies should be hated. Instead, Jesus taught his followers to “[l]ove your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be children of your Father in heaven…” (Matthew 5:43-45). So how was killing Suleimani in line with that mandate?
How does killing an enemy who was not trying to kill you square with the gospel of Jesus, who taught “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9)?
The harsh truth is that Mike Pompeo counseled Donald Trump to murder Suleimani contrary to the gospel of Jesus. Pompeo counseled Trump, someone known to be amoral (if not immoral), to kill Suleimani when Suleimani was merely riding in a motorcade leaving the Baghdad International Airport. Riding in a motorcade doesn’t amount to an imminent lethal threat against anyone else, even if the rider is an Iranian military commander.
Pompeo actively, voluntarily and deliberately counseled, encouraged and assisted Trump’s decision to kill Suleimani. Pompeo was an accomplice to murder.
Donald Trump’s willingness to plot, commit and then lie to cover up murder confirms what Mark Galli, former chief editor at Christianity Today magazine, wrote in his last and most controversial editorial.
One day after Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of abuse of office and obstruction of Congress, Galli added this evaluation of Trump’s character: “[T]his president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone – with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders – is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”
“How does killing an enemy who was not trying to kill you square with the gospel of Jesus, who taught ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God’” (Matthew 5:9)?
One would hope followers of Jesus would operate as checks on people who are “morally lost and confused.” That is what makes Pompeo’s conduct concerning the Suleimani murder disappointing. And it brings to mind something else Mark Galli wrote.
“To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump … Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?”
Count me among the people who do not “take anything [evangelical Christians like Mike Pompeo] say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness.” I don’t believe Pompeo’s claim to be “pro-life.” Pompeo didn’t consider the life of Qassim Suleimani to be sacred, a gift from God, or otherwise deserving of respect.
Murdering Qassim Suleimani violated the gospel of Jesus no matter who tries to justify it. Donald Trump isn’t Jesus. If Mike Pompeo doesn’t know that, he doesn’t know Jesus.