In the debate over U.S. action in Iraq, there is little consensus among Christians. Before the war began, Robert A. Seiple wrote in The Christian Science Monitor, "Although this will disappoint many of my friends in the faith community, I come down on the side of President Bush."

Seiple is president and founder of The Institute for Global Engagement. After 11 years as president of World Vision, Seiple spent two years in the State Department as the first U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.

What's your response to the war in Iraq? And how have you viewed the response of the Christian community?

There was a great deal of controversy and hesitancy as the events in the United Nations played out. And people came down on different sides. I have to say that in my own family we were not of one accord on this.

My point of view was in favor of the action for three reasons. First, the Middle East is a cauldron of activists who hate the United States and the West. There's a great deal of terrorism that is spawned there and kept there. Right in the middle of this cauldron is this country of Iraq, that also hates us and has the ability to create the kind of weapons that could really play havoc in the world after 9/11.

Second, when I was in the State Department for two years as the Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, I read all the cables coming from in and around Iraq. Saddam Hussein did the most brutal things to the Shiites in the south and we sanctioned Iraq because of that. But the guy is absolutely heartless and probably the most brutal dictator that we have seen in the last 100 years.

The third reason is that many people say we shouldn't go to war but, my goodness, we were already at war. And war was ...

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The Dick Staub Interview
Dick Staub was host of a eponymous daily radio show on Seattle's KGNW and is the author of Too Christian, Too Pagan and The Culturally Savvy Christian. He currently runs The Kindlings, an effort to rekindle the creative, intellectual, and spiritual legacy of Christians in culture. His interviews appeared weekly on our site from 2002 to 2004.
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