|Saddam Hussein Converts to Christianity in Custody|
- Thursday, May 27 2004, 8:05:11 (CEST)|
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Saddam Hussein Converts to Christianity in Custody
Southern Baptists call for immediate release of former dictator
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TIKRIT, IRAQ – In another shocking development in the unfolding story of Saddam Hussein's capture, sources in Iraq have informed The Holy Observer that the former Iraqi dictator converted to Christianity shortly after being taken into custody.
Numerous accounts of the raid that led to Hussein's capture corroborate the story that upon being removed from the "spider hole" in which he was hiding, Hussein spotted a WWJD bracelet on the wrist of a 4th Infantry Division soldier and began pointing at it and yelling excitedly. Witnesses relate that the soldier then walked Hussein through the four spiritual laws with the help of an interpreter and a pocket-sized Arabic translation of the New Testament on the way to the undisclosed location where Hussein is being interrogated.
Sources tell THO that Hussein then prayed the prayer of salvation and related to the soldier that he first became interested in Christianity when members of his regime presented him with materials being circulated by Southern Baptist missionaries who were expelled from the country for proselytizing. The materials were specifically targeted to Muslim men, and they explained the many similarities between the Southern Baptist and Muslim views on the role of women, abortion, homosexuality and other social issues. Sources say Hussein was fascinated by these materials, and expressed interest in becoming a member of the Southern Baptist Convention.
In a statement released by Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee Chairman Gary A. Smith, Southern Baptist leaders expressed solidarity with Hussein and called for the fallen despot's immediate release.
Saddam's $750,000 to be donated to the SBC
"This is a man who has asked for God's forgiveness for his sins," Smith said in the statement. "We know that his transgressions are many, but let he who has no sin cast the first stone…we look forward to welcoming Saddam Hussein into the Southern Baptist fold."
While it did express concern over the fact that Hussein's conversion did not happen with the use of a King James Version of the Bible, the statement goes on to say how effective a repentant Hussein could be as a coordinator of missions in the Middle East.
"We believe that, as a Christian, Saddam Hussein would have the visibility and the knowledge to impact the Middle East for Christ in a way that has not happened since the crusades," Smith said. "Let's not forget that the Apostle Paul was a despicable persecutor of Christians before his conversion. The good that Saddam could do would outweigh the evil deeds he has committed, and that is why we are calling for his immediate and unconditional release."
But some international religious leaders are not quite so optimistic about the sincerity of Hussein's conversion.
"I think this is a pretty obvious public relations ploy by Hussein," said Robert Holmes, president of the Center for the Study of World Religion – a London-based religion think tank. "He has a history of doing whatever is necessary to survive, and he thinks that he can endear himself to Americans by converting to the predominant American religion. What he doesn't understand in this case is that becoming a Southern Baptist will actually win him very few friends. He would have been better off converting to Scientology."
U.S. defense officials would not comment on the validity of the conversion story, but a senior Pentagon official did confirm to THO that Hussein has been wearing a t-shirt that says "My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter" while in custody.
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