My regular readers know I'm a huge proponent of the war on terror, and could never claim to be a fan of the world's rabid dictators like Saddam Hussein. Many people defend the man simply because George W. Bush regards him as an enemy; I refuse to put myself in that camp. He has ordered the execution of far more than the 148 victims he was formally convicted for. He did have weapons of mass destruction. He was a monster, ranking in the same league as Hitler (even if his body count of innocent victims didn't climb as high).
And yet as I said prayers with my kids tonight, I found myself telling them about this bad, bad man who did terrible things to his people, and we said a prayer for him, that he would come to know the love of Jesus and would cry out for deliverance.
We can be fairly certain he has heard the Good News, as a Vatican envoy visited him in the 11th hour before the invasion of Iraq to ask why he wouldn't comply with UN weapon inspections. In March of 2003, Brendan Miniter of the Opinion Journal wrote:
When Saddam Hussein met with papal emissary Cardinal Roger Etchegaray in Baghdad a few weeks ago, the Iraqi dictator responded to questions about why he wasn't cooperating with United Nations weapons inspectors by drawing a long knife. Holding it for the cardinal to see, he ran his finger along the sharp edge of the blade--it was an obvious gesture at intimidation.
But Mr. Etchegaray wasn't stricken with fear. He simply reached into his pocket and drew out a rosary.
"We Christians have weapons too," the cardinal told the dictator.
This exchange gives me hope for Hussein's soul, for even he can find redemption at the foot of the cross.
I find that tremendously comforting when I consider my own fallen state. I know, in my heart of hearts, that I am capable of any & all sin. Who's to say that if I were transposed into Saddam's place that I wouldn't have turned out the same way? I'm as big a sinner as the next guy, so to know that so obvious an example of human wickedness is not beyond the mercy of God gives me courage in my own struggles.
Let us all offer a prayer for his eternal security.