By Mark Tooley (Follow on Twitter @markdtooley)
Liberal evangelist Tony Campolo has outdone basketball diplomat Dennis Rodman by urging President Obama to meet with North Korea’s boy dictator. Rodman after recently visiting the communist police state had merely urged Obama to phone Kim Jong Un. North Korea, which is now possibly nuclear armed, and likely has the world’s most oppressive regime, of late has been threatening war against South Korea and the U.S.
“We need to find ways to make friends with North Korea,” Campolo is quoted as saying in CHRISTIAN TODAY. “If your enemy hungers you should feed him, if he’s naked you should clothe him. Those are Jesus’ words. Can we really overcome evil with good or was he being unrealistic? The question is: how seriously do we take the scriptures?”
Over the last two decades, the U.S., South Korea, and other countries have shipped billions of dollars worth of aid to North Korea, rescuing their people from routine government caused famines, and trying to bribe the regime into abandoning its nuclear weapons program. North Korea remains as impoverished and belligerent as ever, perhaps learning that belligerent threats earn rewards.
According to Campolo, “Jesus’ words make it clear: before you go to war, do your best to meet your enemy and see if peace can be maintained.” He seems to cite Luke 14:31-33:
31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
This parable is primarily about sinners contending against God, not geopolitical counsel. But even accepting Campolo’s interpretation, the U.S. has been seeking “conditions for peace” from North Korea for many, many years. A presidential meeting with the North Korean boy dictator would almost certainly only legitimize and encourage him.
For good measure, Campolo also wants the U.S. to disarm: “If we want our enemies to dismantle nuclear weapons we should show them we’re serious – by dismantling our own. I contend we cannot expect others to do what we are not willing to do ourselves.”
Never mind that a disarmed U.S. and ensuring power vacuum would encourage dozens of North Korea wannabes, or their likely victims, to launch or accelerate nuclear armament.
Campolo claims he’s only espousing the sort of U.S. foreign policy that Jesus would espouse: “It’s dangerous to take Jesus seriously but those who are not willing to live dangerously in his name ought not to call themselves his disciples.” Campolo’s blog is REDLETTER CHRISTIANS, which typically elevates the words of Jesus in the Gospels above the rest of Scripture, distorting context.
By God’s grace, the U.S. is not governed by persons with Campolo’s absurdly naive and profoundly unbiblical mindset. Governments are divinely ordained to protect their people, not “live dangerously.”
During his feckless term as U.S. Secretary of State, tee totaling and pacifist William Jennings Bryan was chastised for needing more grapeshot and less grape juice to undergird his diplomacy. But even Bryan probably would have more spiritual shrewdness about North Korea than Campolo.