Every Monday in Citizenship Confusion, Alan Noble discusses how we confuse our heavenly citizenship with citizenship to the state, culture, and the world.
This morning, The New York Times released several reports on “[a] trove of more than 700 classified military documents” concerning prisoners in Guantánamo Bay.” Last year these files were leaked to WikiLeaks, and someone with access to them at WikiLeaks just recently passed them along to The New York Times. naturally, the Obama administration condemned the leak.
Some Christians might be opposed to reading, sharing, and publicizing these illegally leaked, top-secret government files. As long as our government keeps us safe we can trust them to do what is reasonable and necessary, and if that involves abuse, we merely need to acknowledge that our enemies are religious fanatics, incapable of rational discourse, so some say.
Others might simply be indifferent. with all the more pressing problems in our own country, how can we possibly take the time to read reports about documents concerning certain prisoners held at a particular prison?
But if we are called to love those who curse us (which, I suspect, might literally be the case with some of these prisoners) should we assume that the prisoners at Guantánamo Bay have been treated fairly, at least since the fallout from a few cases of abuse? Should we trust that our government shares our love of our neighbors, or at least acts in a manner that is consistent with such love, although the motives might be self-serving?
I’m certainly not going to suggest that it is every Christian’s obligation to read reports like the ones The New York Times released today; however, I will say that it is good and right for us to seek to hold government accountable for its actions, particularly since it reflects on us as citizens, and more specifically American Christians. whether or not we view Guantánamo Bay as a success or failure will probably help to shape how our government will incarcerate and try foreign combatants in the future, so it is significant and worthwhile for us to consider these reports.
It is right for us to be concerned about our national security. However, we must keep in mind that Christ calls us to be concerned about the well-being of our neighbors. Even the people who desire to kill us are our neighbors.