Posts Tagged ‘Tibet’

Beijing Games: Why I’m Tuning Out This Olympics

August 8, 2008

There are people who will disagree with me. And this is the kind of issue that reasonable and decent people can see in different ways.

I love the Olympics. As a lover of sports, and a fan of the catharsis that watching sports provides, I have spent untold hours in my life cheering my American athletes.

But not this year.

This year, I would feel dirty if I were to tune in.

China is one of the worst offenders of human rights on the planet. It has grown powerful wealthy by exploiting its poor underclass with low pay and subhuman work conditions. This country that tramples upon the human spirit is therefore the worst possible place to celebrate the human spirit.

Beyond its forced annexation of Tibet, and beyond the smog that is literally five times worst than the worst polluted cities in the West, China has proven how unfit it is for the Olympic Games just in obtaining and then preparing for the games.

China made a number of promises to secure the Games – and broke every single one. They were supposed to improve their human rights conditions, but their megalomaniacal determination to control everyone and everything pertaining to the games, they have actually become even worse human rights abusers than they were before.

Journalists are finding that thousands of web sites have been disabled. They would have to look to find the wiretaps that have been planted in Chinese hotel rooms.

In my view, having the Games in Beijing is tantamount to celebrating totalitarian tyranny. It is tantamount to selling out our most noble human values in order to either be “politically correct” or to simply appease evil in the name of “inclusion.”

My parents are planning to watch the Games. On their view, they are supporting the athletes. No way would I call the people who instilled my values “bad people.” Like I said, this is an issue over which decent people can disagree.

On my view, watching the Beijing Olympic Games rewards the Olympic Committee and China. Money and the ratings points that produce more money is all these people care about, and the only way to hurt them and force them to not deprecate the human spirit in the future is to hit them in their wallets. Hence, my decision.

What do you think?

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Sharon Stone on China’s “Karma” and lessons we can learn

May 28, 2008

Sharon Stone got herself into some hot water on the red carpet:

“At first, I’m not happy with the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans …,” she said on camera Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival, referring to the country’s alleged human rights violations. “And then all this earthquake and stuff happened and I thought, ‘Is that Karma, when you’re not nice that the bad things happen to you?'”

Now, please note: Sharon Stone is to conservatives and Republicans what . As an example, here’s one of her remarks to illustrate:

Basic Instinct star Stone, 46, was keen to enjoy an intimate moment with Oscar-winning co-star Halle Berry, but believes a puritanical streak running through the country put an end to any potential girl-on-girl action.

Stone says: “Halle’s so beautiful and I wanted to kiss her. I said, ‘How can you have us in the movie and not have us kiss? That’s such a waste.’

“That’s what you get for having George Bush as president.”

Now, the question is, is Sharon Stone a hater? Is she just so full of intolerance that… well, that she’s as morally reprehensible as Christian bigots such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell?

You might recall the outrage and furor over the two Christian leaders saying that 9/11 was God’s judgment as a consequence of the United States’ embrace of paganism, abortionists, feminists, and homosexuals.

It is important to note that Jerry Falwell (and Pat Robertson) quickly apologized, unlike Jeremiah Wright – who merely defended his anti-American statements all the more vigorously when confronted with them.

And let me further point out that liberals were quick to claim that fundamentalist Christians – in claiming that 9/11 was divine judgment – were every bit as evil as the terrorists who flew the planes into the buildings. That’s an incredible claim, tantamount to saying that a kid who says, “My brother will beat you up for taking my lunch money!” is just as despicable as the kid who knifes another kid for a pair of desired sneakers. I mean, get real!!!

The issue of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell came up again in the aftermath of Jeremiah Wright’s views, with liberals – scrambling to defend Barack Obama – saying that what Wright said in his “chickens coming home to roost” for Hiroshima and for American terrorism and racism – was no different than what conservatives like Robertson or Falwell said. I’ll come back to that comparison later.

Do you think that there’s such a thing as “karma,” or “divine retribution,” or “what goes around comes around”? Is a person evil for thinking there is?

Or is it better, less judgmental, more “politically correct,” to argue that no matter what someone does, or no matter what a nation does, there are no punitive consequences and there should be none?

If we see another Nazi Germany arise, should the country get off scott free? Or should the wheels of cosmic judgment turn upon them?

As a Christian, let me explain my perspective.

One of the things God ultimately does is ensure justice in the universe. God cannot be loving unless He is just. In illustration, consider the following story:

A family is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by a gang of violent predators. They tie up the father, and then take turns repeatedly raping the wife and daughter until dawn, and then they take all the valuables and leave. The next day, the father hears that the thugs have been captured. He storms into the police station shouting, “Where are they?” And the police say, “We let them go.”

“You let them go? Didn’t you have any evidence?”

“Oh, yes. We confiscated several of the articles that were stolen from your home, and DNA from the men matches the semen found in your wife and daughter.”

“Then why did you let them go?”

“Because we’re a loving police department, that’s why.”

A world without justice is a world without love. A universe that wouldn’t even in theory punish a China for brutalizing Tibetans is a universe that frankly doesn’t care. If there are no consequences for evil, then there is no real difference between a “good nation” and an “evil nation.”

And the same is true of individuals that is true of nations. I would argue that if there is no God, and if there is no immortality of the human soul, then there is no moral difference between a Mother Teresa and an Adolf Hitler – because they both die and are gone, and their ultimate end is exactly the same. Without the consequences of ultimate judgment, the only conclusion is that people and nations alike ought to be as self-centered as they can possibly be.

If the leaders of ethnic China want to seize the land and resources of ethnic Tibetans, and force them to live under whatever brutal conditions they wish to impose, who are you to say it’s “wrong”? And if a man tries fulfill his evolutionary biological destiny and propagate his DNA by force, who are you to label it as “rape” and condemn it? Who made you God? Who made this particular society “God”? If the universe itself doesn’t care enough about such behaviors to enforce consequences, then why on earth should you?

We are told repeatedly in the Bible that God judges the nations. Psalm 82:8, for instance, says: “Arise, O God, judge the earth! For it is Thou who dost possess all the nations.”

We are also told throughout the Bible that there are consequences for sin and depravity. Jesus Himself – who is frequently perverted by non-Christian religions and philosophies – spoke and taught more about hell than anyone in the Bible. One of the most quoted verses in Scripture – John 3:16 – says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”

Having said all of this, I think that Jerry Falwell was wrong for claiming that 9/11 (or Hurricane Katrina) were acts of divine judgment. Here’s why:

I believe in individual human sin, and I believe in the corporate sin of nations, and I believe in divine judgment. But I am not so quick to claim that I know when God will act in judgment.

Genesis 15:12-16 records an interesting event regarding divine judgment:

Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him. And God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve; and afterward they will come out with many possessions. And as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. Then in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”

God says to Abraham that one day his descendants will inherit the land He has promised, but not until the fourth generation, “for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.” By the time of Moses and Joshua, the measure of iniquity was full, and God gave the Hebrews the land and used them as an instrument of judgment. But note: not until that iniquity reached a certain critical threshold.

So I would be asking Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell this: who told you that the iniquity of America is now complete? And of China, how do we know that the cup of its sins is full? I would argue that they don’t know, and neither does anyone else other than God and His angels.

Now, is it possible that China is being judged for its sins with this catastrophic earthquake? Sure it is. God has used earthquakes (Zechariah 14:5; Revelation 11:13). And is it possible that God used the terrorists as an instrument of judgment against the United States? Sure it is. God frequently says He has used nations to judge nations (read the Book of Isaiah).

But I don’t know when a particular earthquake, or when a particular enemy attack, is an instrument of divine retribution. God did not make me one of His prophets. I am not busily carving away on the parchment roll that will one day be known as “the Book of Mikey.”

2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” And so I know that God is not just waiting to stomp on every sinner and on every sinful nation. God is not arbitrary or vindictive in His judgment. He brings it in His wisdom, and in His time.

What do I do? I humbly pray that God does not judge me for my own sins. When I am being consistent, I put aside the tendency to call upon God’s judgment to fall upon others as well. And so when a calamity befalls someone or some nation, I can recognize that God did not call upon me to be an instrument of His judgment (He can take care of that department Himself), but rather as an instrument of His grace. Because another thing the Bible tells us is that even in judgment, God practices grace, and is willing to bring restoration.

Now, what’s the difference between what Jerry Falwell said and what Jeremiah Wright said?

Both men suggested that America was getting it’s just desserts. I would submit that the key difference is that Falwell was basically being “pro-Bible” and “pro-biblical morality” and Wright was basically being “anti-America” and “anti-greedy-racist-white-America.”

For those who want to compare Jeremiah Wright with Jerry Falwell, I would say, “Fine. Anyone who spent 20 years in Jerry Falwell’s church shouldn’t be president, either.” Keep in mind, liberals and Democrats savagely attacked Jerry Falwell for his remark: if one can compare Wright’s statements with Falwell’s, then one at least ought to savage both men evenly. But the liberals who frequently make such an analogy (such as Alan Colmes, who has made it often on Fox News’ Hannity and Colmes) aren’t willing to actually criticize their side’s guy, just the other side’s guy.

The terrorists who attacked us were personally carrying out “Allah’s vengeance” upon their enemies.  And in hateful act after hateful act, terrorists have attacked and bombed and murdered in the name of their God.  Christian fundamentalists, by start contrast – who passionately believe in God’s divine vengeance – are waiting for God to do His own judging. Big difference.  Muslims believe that God is too transcendent, too grand, to care.  Humans are like ants to Allah.  But Christians believe that God is intimately involved with His creation, and involved with justice and judgment.  And so every Christian who takes God at His Word waits for God to take His ultimate divine judgment into His own hands.

The Bible assures me that God judges sin.  It doesn’t tell me when, or how.  That is up to God.