The Hypocrisy Of War In A Nation That Professes Christianity
by Rev. Paul J. Bern
Being the proactive Christian and Jesus follower that I am, I make it my business to follow current events, particularly anything having to do with Israel and the Middle East (since the majority of Bible prophecy has to do with both). It’s in our best interest to do so due to America’s very serious financial situation, not to mention the dangerously overextended US military which has bases in over 100 countries while fighting two wars. Rev. Billy Graham has prophesied that these multiple wars, clandestine activities and other occupations “will end in disaster”. This brings me to the point I wish to comment on today, and that is the hypocrisy of war in a nation that calls itself Christian and proclaims its devotion to Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. You can’t profess to worship Christ as a nation while waging war, they are diametrically opposed to one another. We can’t bemoan all the wars overseas and all the over-the-top violence going on in America’s streets while continuing to be the world’s largest arms manufacturer and exporter. We Americans are going to have to make up our minds what we want, because we can’t have it both ways as a nation. Either wage war or wage peace. As for me, I choose peace. Killing only begets more killing.
The latest chapter in Washington’s plan for global domination is the threat of war with Iran. The US incursions into Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya were really bad ideas no matter how you look at it. What is America doing over there? First, the 2nd war in Iraq was based on a series of lies about weapons of mass destruction. Second, we already got Osama Bin Laden, so why are we still in Afghanistan? Why is the US still conducting drone strikes inside Iraq and Syria? As for Libya, Italy and France were perfectly capable of managing the Libyan crisis from just across the Mediterranean Sea, they didn’t need the US to come all the way across the Atlantic to help them out. These two regional powers don’t need or want our help. Yet the US military continues to stick its nose into every situation it can find globally as if America is the world’s policeman. America can’t afford to continue to spend more money on military hardware than all the other countries of the world combined. This is clearly unsustainable. Our country’s aggressive actions are also infuriating a large number of people worldwide, and I believe it is the primary cause of much of the world’s terrorist activity.
What would Jesus say about this if he were here right now? God bless America? I think not! The US military entered and occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention the air war in Libya and the drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, without getting a formal declaration of war from Congress, a requirement of the US Constitution. Of course, the American public is being told that there are no US troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria, but US Special Forces and the CIA have been ‘in country’ right up to this very day. Not to mention the fact that the US military is lately beginning to set its digitized sights on China. Our country’s “leaders” have forgotten that Hitler lost the Second World War when he opened up three battle fronts against the USA, Great Britain and Russia within a year. Although they held their own at first after scoring significant battlefield victories, the Nazis ultimately found themselves overwhelmed. What do you think will happen if the US opens up just as many battle fronts at once? Apparently our nation’s “leaders” haven’t learned one stinking thing from history. America has charted a course towards disaster!
We are going to have to face up to the fact that we live in a very violent society, and that perpetual war for profit – not for victory, but for humongous amounts of money – is only a superficial symptom of a much more deep-seated problem. Violence surrounds us. Like it or not, it is ingrained into and embraced by U.S. Society. We are bombarded with violent imagery on a daily basis if we watch much TV or rent a lot of movies. The nightly news is full of it, and the followers of Christ are sick and tired of all of it. Come to think of it, so is nearly everybody else.
More than 50 years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower warned of the growth of the “military-industrial complex”. He cautioned us about the need to guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, “whether sought or unsought,” by this military industrial complex. “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist,” he said. George Orwell once wrote of “perpetual war,” a situation in which war operates as a means of controlling the population by constantly rallying them against a common enemy. This is exactly the situation we are faced with in America today, with its military/industrial/incarceration complex running in overdrive. At the same time, the American people have figured out that if all the money spent on wars was spent on its people instead, we could give every American free health care, free higher education or free vocational retraining for life, with a minimum wage that is double its current rate. There are many people constantly, loudly lamenting their shortage of money. They fail to realize that vast portions of their incomes are being drained off by their country for war, death and destruction.
Obama administration officials said the United States decided to wage war on Libya because of the threat Moammar Qaddafi was to his own people. Why not attack Bahrain or Yemen? Tyrants in those countries are committing similarly repugnant acts against their citizens. Why not attack Syria since atrocities are being committed against the people there? I am very excited that ordinary people are rising up across the Middle East to cast off autocrats, tyrants, kings and dictators, not to mention the secret police who harass the citizenry daily. People want peace and justice, not war and violence. And they want it here in America too. That is why we will see very soon here in the US a similar political movement that we have seen previously in the Middle East. The Arab Spring of 2011 has evolved into the ‘Occupy’ and the ‘we are the 99%’ Movements here at home and other capitalist countries, and they are just the beginning of what is to come.
Given the near silence of our nation’s pulpits in the face of the violence and war that surrounds us, the exertions of our theologians in justifying war, and the propensity of religious people to condemn abortion while proudly sending their sons and daughters off to fight and kill “the enemy”, it is certain that future historians will view organized religion as a slave to the vast war machine that engulfs us. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. prophesied, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Will we rise up against the madness of violence or are we dead already? What’s it going to be, people?