Yes, I know that there are some churches and individual Christians who don’t approve of war, but a huge wing of Christianity in the US has put itself in service to a warfare state. Listening to them, you’d think that Christianity and war were natural bedfellows. If you’ve spent time in Red State America, you know what I mean.
Please understand that I am not endorsing the Blue State line of crap either (I reject both wings of the Party), but that’s not my subject today.
Red State Protestants have given themselves over to “the virtues of defense,” seemingly without limit. They endlessly laud cops, firemen, and especially soldiers: anyone authorized by the state to use force. State force has become unquestionably righteous – especially if it is overseas. To these people, the US military can do no wrong.
This involves killing strangers, you understand… by Christians… people whose Holy Book say that they should love the outsider, turn the other cheek, and that every government belongs to the Devil.
Red State Religion as a Mix of Christianity and War Philosophy
Red State Christianity has become a State Religion, a Warfare Religion. So, since “judgment begins at the house of God,” let’s be harsh:
These churches are sucking up to the state for tax breaks, to follow a popular course, and to get lots and lots of members. It’s the new successful pattern, and they are following it without hesitation… to the point where they invent reasons to justify the killing of children. (“Collateral damage,” that is, not “killing.”)
A huge number of Red State churches have become whores to the US military culture, paying endless obeisance to uniformed state agents. According to them, all agents of the state are noble, are to be respected, and are most definitely to be obeyed without question. (Tell that to Sam Adams or Tom Jefferson!) All opinions to the contrary are discarded, condemned or ridiculed, without serious consideration.
This War Christianity is definitely at odds with the New Testament, which treats both war and state as barbaric relics.
I am not, by the way, opposed to stopping actual killers. What I am opposed to is telling someone to kill another person that he knows nothing about, guided by a superstition that “we’re automatically the good guys.”
And yes, I know that no one, in the midst of fire and confusion, has enough skill to avoid accidentally shooting an innocent. My complaint is with worshiping a government that places 18 year old boys in that position. These kids are being told to kill strangers, without any real evidence that the people they kill deserve it.
Is “because a politician said so” really sufficient?
These boys are coming home in pieces, or with pieces missing – and committing suicide in droves – for what? To magically turn Afghanistan into a western state? Does anyone seriously think that will happen?
And as someone who cares about history and theology, I am especially opposed to Jesus’ name being abused – yet again – by credentialed shepherds who are devoted – first and foremost – to gathering the largest flock possible, while not giving a damn that distant brown people die.
At this point in American history we are being treated to a continuing and twisted spectacle: Defenders of indiscriminate death pretending that they care about “love.”
They lie. So says me and so says John the Apostle.
Let me be clear about this: Christianity is an anti-state religion. It always was. So was the Judaism that came before it. All arguments to the contrary are fallacious, at least if we are to take the Bible as a serious reference.
But it will change…
Sooner or later, some American Christians will remember that theirs is an anti-state religion. It will doubtless begin with meetings in living rooms, barns and job sites, and will include a lot of good and talented young people. But they will make themselves despised outsiders, opposed by the current generation of Christian leaders, who have dedicated themselves to the state and haven’t any inclination to admit their errors.
In other words, the new, honest Christians will become the next link in a long and proud chain of heretics. They will be brave and committed people who are right, while all the institutions are wrong.
Are we really to believe that there is virtue in sending machines to rain indiscriminate death upon foreign people… at funerals? (Look it up!)
Must we really defend repetitive torture as being righteous?
Now, to be honest, the Red State Christians don’t say these things. Actually, they avoid facing them altogether. And that is the problem. Many of them have become, as Jesus’ friend Simon Peter said, “willingly ignorant.”
The US war machine is killing and torturing, and American preachers are straining their every muscle to thank them for it, in the name of Christ.
I’ve read Jesus’ words too many times to be suckered by this game, and I don’t think Jesus is pleased with it either.
Let’s hope that some young Christians can pull their act together and do better than the generation that preceded them. War and Christianity don’t belong together. They never have and they never will.
Christianity and War: Do they go together?