It seems sensible and logical that followers of someone called the Prince of Peace would not act like they are following Mars, the Roman god of war.
As I have maintained whenever I speak about Christianity and war, if there is any group of people that should be opposed to war, empire, militarism, the warfare state, an imperial presidency, blind nationalism, government war propaganda, and an aggressive foreign policy it is Christians, and especially conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians who claim to strictly follow the dictates of Scripture and worship the Prince of Peace.
I have also maintained throughout these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that, even though it is Christianity above all religions that should be opposed to the evils of war and militarism, in the Church will be found some of the greatest supporters of the military and the current wars.
The "criminality of war," as Howard Malcom, president of Georgetown College, wrote in 1845, is not "that tyrants should lead men into wars of pride and conquest," but that "the people, in governments comparatively free, should so readily lend themselves to a business in which they bear all the sufferings, can gain nothing, and may lose all." That people would act this way, Malcom says, is an "astonishment indeed." "But," he continues, "the chief wonder is that Christians, followers of the Prince of Peace, should have concurred in this mad idolatry of strife, and thus been inconsistent not only with themselves, but with the very genius of their system."
I have heard and read many Christians criticize Obama â€“ and rightly so â€“ for his horrendous policies, but I have heard and read little or nothing from Christians of how Obama has continued the war in Iraq, escalated the war in Afghanistan, and expanded the bogus war on terror to other countries.
The above sign from a church in Maryland can unfortunately be seen almost anywhere in the United States. Although some Christians have begun to criticize Obama and the Democrats for the things that only a short time ago they were silent about when perpetrated by Bush and the Republicans, support for the military among Christians â€“ no matter where it goes, why it goes, what it does, how much it costs, how long it stays, and how many foreigners it kills â€“ is so entrenched, so sacrosanct, that I am at the same time bewildered and embarrassed, angered and ashamed.
The result of this mindset is a perversion of the very Scriptures that Christians claim to believe and follow. So, just as Christian warmongers would, if they were honest, reciteÂ The Warmongerâ€™s Psalm (Psalm 23), assent toÂ The Warmongerâ€™s Beatitudes(Matthew 5:3-12), and prayÂ The Presidentâ€™s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), so they would acknowledge that they manifest The Warmongerâ€™s Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
In contrast to the works of the flesh (adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, and revellings), the Apostle Paul in theBook of Galatians mentions the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
But in place of these virtues, warmongers have substituted pride, indifference, vengeance, ignorance, malice, arrogance, lust, foolishness, and blasphemy.
Christian warmongers have pride in the U.S. military â€“ the greatest cause of terrorism and instability in the world. They are indifferent to the tremendous suffering of foreigners who get in the way of the U.S. military. They want vengeance for 9/11 now matter how many innocent Muslims have to die. They have a tremendous and willful ignorance of the true nature of U.S. foreign policy. They have malice toward foreigners who never harmed Americans until the U.S. military starting bombing them. They have an arrogant "USA, USA" patriotism that supports an interventionist and militaristic foreign policy. They lust for the blood of foreigners by supporting bombing, drone attacks, torture, and indiscriminate killing. They make foolish statements like the military is defending our freedoms by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. They blaspheme God by asking him to bless and protect U.S. soldiers.
I realize that I am making some serious accusations, but the truth is simply that most Christian warmongers donâ€™t care whether there are Predator drone attacks against Afghan and Pakistani peasants as long as a Republican-controlled government gets to conduct the attacks.
June 23, 2011
Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State, The Revolution that Wasn't, and Rethinking the Good War. His latest book is The Quatercentenary of the King James Bible. Visit his website.