Letter | Don’t base foreign policy off cherry-picked Bible verses

07/23/2014 4:20 PM

07/23/2014 4:21 PM

Re “Wilkes’ column contradicts biblical support for Israel” by Dennis R. Dunham on July 21

Cherry-picked biblical quotations are hardly predicates on which to base U.S. foreign policy. Foreign policy is not a Sunday sermon. It is a complicated matrix that requires contemporary expertise steeped in the issues at hand, not homiletic zeal bracketed between biblical blinders.

I invite Mr. Dunham to reread the Bible, in which he’ll find a weepy Almighty declaring (Jeremiah 42:10): “I am sorry for the disaster that I have brought upon you” in the wake of a 6th-century BCE debacle that an apologetic God himself unleashed upon Judah. God is clearly no dream-team policy adviser – in fact, making questionable promises and decisions.

So in Mr. Dunham’s reliance on Hosea, we, I suppose, should revel in Samaria’s fate (Hosea 13:16) in which “their little ones shall be dashed to pieces and the their pregnant women ripped open.” Is this outcome apropos to Mr. Dunham’s Illumination prayer that sends up the receipt of God’s “truth in faith and love”?

As to the romance with the Genesis covenant, God again proves a poor foreign policy oracle. In Genesis 15:18-21, God has the progeny of Abram (he’s not Abraham until Genesis 17:5) holding turf from the Nile to the Euphrates and beyond: unattainable bravado that falls by the biblical wayside.

And Mr. Dunham cites John 4:22 in which Jesus declares, “Salvation is of the Jews.” But is Jesus himself a properly credentialed messiah (despite John 4:25-26), given a far earlier assertion by God in Isaiah 45:1 that Cyrus, conqueror of Babylon and liberator of the exilic Jews, is “his anointed [his messiah]”? Calibrating God’s reliability, one must wonder if the messianic mix-up is one more divine policy pratfall that could spin Congress into endless consternation.

Washington has enough foreign policy worries without adding a wobbly God to its list.

The writer holds a doctorate in theology and was a senior policy adviser to the intelligence community.

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