Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Does God Love War?- Redux

Here is another, longer and admittedly stinging excerpt from the audio links in the post "Does God Love War?" Found HERE.

*note: This missive is not an assertion that all war is inherently wrong and that there in no distinction between the administration of justice and the return of evil for evil. It is an assertion that aggressive militarism, the glorification of warfare, the failure to recognize that it is born of sin and human failure and the pimping of it by religious and political institutions is misguided at best and possibly disastrous, damning heresy when not discerned and/or allowed to go unchecked by Godly, moral reflection.

I will acknowledge that there are certain realities that are in fact inevitable. War will happen. Sin is an inevitable reality of the human condition. Does that give me the endorsement and permission to rationalize and participate in it joyously whenever it seems unavoidable?
Wars will happen. Yet, I will not glorify them, spiritually assent to them, mentally bestow upon them the power of redemption, allow them a position of idolatry in my life or seek ways to religiously validate them through tortured interpretations of the Gospels or the book of Revelation- from battle stories in the Old Testament. No I will not.- S.S.

And now for the excerpt:

"We make our heroes out of clay. We laud their gallant deeds and give them uniforms and put colored ribbons on their chests for acts of violence they commit or endure. They are our repositories of glory and honor- of power, self righteousness, patriotism and self worship - all that we want to believe about ourselves. They are our plaster saints of war- the icons we cheer to defend us and make us and our nation great. But they are part of our civic religion- our love of power and force. Our belief in our right as a chosen nation to wield this force against the weak and rule. This is our nation's idolatry of itself- and it has corrupted our religious institutions just as it has corrupted religious institutions in other nations- fusing the will of God with the will of the State to create a potent and deadly form of idolatry.

When those who return from war find the courage and the honesty to disrupt our festivities and our love affair with ourselves- our worship of this idol- we cast them out like lepers. We condemn those who return from war for their own mutilations. we listen only when they speak from the script we hand them. If they speak of terrible wounds- visible and invisible- of lies told to make them kill- of the false civic religion and idol we worship- we fill our ears with wax. "Not our boys", we say "not them- bred in our homes endowed with goodness and decency- blessed by our god." For if it easy for them to murder and kill- if the nation is not blessed and righteous and glorious- what does this mean about us? and so it is simpler not to see. We do not listen to the angry words that pour forth from their lips- wishing only that they would calm down, be reasonable, get some help, go away.

We the deformed, brand our returning prophets as madmen and cast them into the desert. Wars come wrapped in religious and patriotic slogans- calls for sacrifice, honor promises of glory. They come wrapped in claims of divine providence. It is what a grateful nation asks of its children- it is what is right and just. War is waged to make the nation and the world a better place- to cleanse evil. And war is touted as the ultimate test of manhood- where young men can find out what they are made of.

War from a distance seems noble. It gives us a feeling of belonging, of comradeship, of power, a chance to play a small bit in the great drama of human history. It promises to give us an identity as a warrior, a patriot, a believer- as long as we go along with the myth- the one the war makers need to wage war. But, up close, war is a soulless void. The world of war descends to barbarity, perversion, pain and an unchecked orgy of death. It is a state where human decency and tenderness is crushed- where those who make war work overtime to reduce all love and sensitivity to smut and filth.

In war the moral order is turned upside down. All that is repulsive and feared in peacetime is lauded and cheered in war. The noise, the stench, the cries of pain, the eviscerated bodies, the bloated stinking corpses spin us into another universe. And in this moral void, often blessed by the church or the mosque or the synagogue- the hypocrisy of our social conventions, our strict adherence to religious edicts and virtues and utter refusal to honor others comes unglued. War, for all its horror, has the power to strip away the trivial and the banal, the empty chatter and self righteous obsessions that fill our days. It lets us see."- Chris Hedges

"The failure of religious institutions, whose texts are unequivocal about murder, to address the sinful state of war has left them unable to cope with the reality of war. These institutions have little or nothing to say in wartime because often the god they worship is a false god- one that promises victory and blesses violence. Wars may have to be fought for survivlal- but they are always tragic- always sinful and always bring to the surface the worst elements in any society." - Hedges

Why We Fight? See about the Military Industrial Complex HERE. Don't miss it.

See HERE also.


Scott Starr said...

Interview in Hermann Göring's cell (3 January 1946)

Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

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