Does U.S. have the moral authority to comment on Myanmar coup?

Does the U.S. have the moral authority to comment on the Myanmar coup? In a word, No! We have a ways to go before we will have much moral authority at all when it comes to issues like this. For anyone who might have been living under a rock lately, let me explain why.

Does U.S. have the moral authority to comment on Myanmar coup?

Does U.S. have the
Moral Authority
to Lead?

What is the Myanmar coup about?

Here’s a short excerpt from AP News to explain what happened in Myanmar.

Myanmar’s military staged a coup Monday and detained senior politicians including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi — a sharp reversal of the significant, if uneven, progress toward democracy the Southeast Asian nation has made following five decades of military rule.

An announcement read on military-owned Myawaddy TV said Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing would be in charge of the country for one year. It said the seizure was necessary because the government had not acted on the military’s claims of fraud in November’s elections — in which Suu Kyi’s ruling party won a majority of the parliamentary seats up for grabs — and because it allowed the election to go ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic.

While there are questions about Suu Kyi’s stance on and treatment of the Rohingya, a largely Muslim ethnic minority that lives in western Myanmar, the initial point of emphasis for me is the claims of election fraud. Having said that, the treatment of the Muslim ethnic minority is certainly an issue.

Why do I question whether the U.S. has the moral authority to comment on the Myanmar coup?

Here’s the part about living under a rock. Election fraud in the U.S. has been a major talking point for Donald Trump and the Republican party for years. Eventually, it led to what’s variously called a riot, insurrection, coup attempt, at the Capitol Building in Washington DC on January 6, 2010.

Given all that, how does the U.S. have the moral authority to comment on anything related to election fraud? I think Trump and the Republicans, and sadly that includes the Christian Republicans, have given up their moral authority on this issue. Way too many of them still cling to those false claims of a fraudulent election here in the U.S. How then can we say anything to anyone else about election fraud and how to handle it?

Quite simply, I don’t see how we can. As the image at the top indicates, part of moral authority should be the ability to say, “Follow me”. “Do what I do”. Moral authority doesn’t really come from someone who has to constantly give a message of, “Do what I say, not what I do.” To be sure, perfection isn’t possible. But sadly, the group I mentioned above – Donald Trump, Republicans who support(ed) him, and especially the Christians who support(ed) him – have led us to where we are now.

What about the Muslim Rohingya?

As for the Rohingya, since they are Muslims, it also raises a very large red flag for Trump and his supporters, including his Christian supporters. He, and they, are certainly in no position to object to Suu Kyi’s treatment of them. While Trump, as far as I know, never advocated ethnic cleansing by death, his policies and words do indicate a desire to cleanse the U.S. of Muslims by way of his actions to prohibit them from coming into the country and by telling them (and other minorities) to go back to their own country. Some of those he told to go back to their own country were, amazingly enough, born right here in the U.S. Therefore, it seems the issue wasn’t the country of origin, it was either ethnic or religious affiliation – or both.

Does the U.S. have the moral authority to comment on the Myanmar coup?

As you can see, just from those short outlines of what the U.S. has been doing lately, we do not have the moral authority to comment on the Myanmar coup. As much as people like Trump and dislike Biden – maybe especially Evangelical Christians – it is Trump who has abdicated the moral authority of our country in this area.

Sad, since these are things that Christians should be concerned about. Instead, we’ve been focused on White Supremacy and forcing his brand of Christianity on people – even other Christians. Christians may remember that Jesus never advocated or used force. Far from it.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

10:2-4 pp — Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16; Ac 1:13
10:9-15 pp — Mk 6:8-11; Lk 9:3-5; 10:4-12
10:19-22 pp — Mk 13:11-13; Lk 21:12-17
10:26-33 pp — Lk 12:2-9
10:34, 35 pp — Lk 12:51-53

Mt 10:1 He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
Mt 10:2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Mt 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9 Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10 take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.

Mt 10:11 “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Mt 10:17 “Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Mt 10:21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Mt 10:24 “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!

Mt 10:26 “So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Mt 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

Mt 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
“ ‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
Mt 10:36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

Mt 10:37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Mt 10:40 “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”

Walking away from those who disagree. Going out like sheep. Being innocent as doves.

None of those are characteristics of Trump or his Christian followers.

Yes – Jesus says He will come back with a sword. But the sword isn’t how we are to go out to spread the Gospel. Rather, if you read the letters to the churches in Revelation – you see that Jesus will use that double-edged sword for – among other reasons – to fight against those who call themselves Christians but do not act out of love! I invite you to check out Seven Letters to Seven Churches for more on the letters in Revelation.

It’s time for the U.S. to work on getting its moral authority back. Not by way of the government. Instead by way of actually following Jesus.


Image by Tumisu from Pixabay


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