The Christian war-hawks of America make me angry

27 09 2007

Please stop using the Bible to justify the current U.S. presence in Iraq.

Just stop it.

I know, I know. The Bible says that God blessed the Israelites when they massacred their enemies in the land of Canaan. It even says that God commanded them to kill their enemies, even women and children. I’m not going to tackle why that is right now because that’s not the issue here.

The issue is your shoddy interpretation and application of the text.

You’re missing the fact that this is a biblical story. It is NOT a truism that applies to all times and all places. God is not commanding everyone to kill their enemies. Nor is he calling all of his people of all times to violence. He is ESPECIALLY not calling 21st century Americans to violence in this text.

It seems to me that you’re operating out of your Republican agenda and coming to the biblical text looking for an excuse and a justification to fight your war that you were already fixated upon anyway. This is what biblical scholars like to call “eisegesis.” That means that you’re reading into the text what’s not really there. You’re coming from your own time and place and making your actions and ideas fit into the text where they don’t really go.

You know what, though? It’s one thing if you think the war in Iraq is a good idea based upon current political and international circumstances. You’re wrong, but I can at least respect that opinion.

But don’t use the Bible and say, “God blessed Israel at war, so God’s blessing America at war today.” It’s just wrong on so many levels.

And since when is pre-emptive war a Christ-like response to the world’s problems?

Christ calls his people to nonviolence. It is because of the call of Christ that Christians must no longer support this type of violent war-mongering in our society. Just stop it. To do so is evil, oppressive, intolerant, and ignorant.

If we do not stand up as a people of God and prevent our government from making another mistake by continuing to provoke Iran and other groups like them, then we are in deep trouble. Quite frankly, I am growing terrified of the current administration’s aggressive foreign policy. Let us learn from our mistakes in the very recent past. Let us promote peace and diplomacy and justice.

Now, I am not sure how to reconcile my faith in Christ and my love for our country when I am confronted with these statistics:

  • The US military budget in 2006 was larger than the next 25 nations combined. In other words, the strongest 25 countries in the world would have to switch from being US allies (as most of them are) to US enemies in order for the US to be confronted with an equal force.
  • 10 percent of the US military budget, if reinvested in foreign aid and development, could care for the basic needs of the entire world’s poor.
  • The US produces 53 percent of the world’s weapons, supplying most of the world.
  • The US, Great Britain, and France make more money selling weapons to developing countries than they give those countries in aid.
  • 163 of 202 nations in the world have US troops stationed within them.

As a believer in the God of Peace and Christ the peacemaker I don’t know how to deal with these issues.

(Thanks to Mark Hobbs for providing these statistics in his review of Brian McLaren’s new book, Everything Must Change.)

[edit] Here’s a great article by Jim Wallis on dealing with Iran.




One response

3 10 2007
Mark Hobbs

You’ve got to order Everything Must Change. I really want to hear your thoughts on it. As I near the end of the book, I am getting the feeling that this is the book McLaren was born to write. It is a prophetic call to change.

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