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Home arrow Blog arrow April 2009 arrow April 29, 2009

April 29, 2009

April 29, 2009:Failures of Intelligence has reaped the Militarization of Christianity





"The Crusade for a Christian Military: Jesus Killed Mohammed" by Jeff Sharlet in HARPER'S May 2009 edition was a chilling clarion call regarding the entrenchment of Christian fundamentalism in the USA military that began during the Cold War, accelerated during the Vietnam era and which has wrecked havoc on the very soul of our nation.

Fundamentalist [referred to as evangelical by Sharlet] Chaplains began to join the military in droves as they aligned themselves with the Industrial Military Complex in opposition with Catholics and mainline moderate Protestant denominations such as Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians who were of one voice speaking out against American terrorism in Vietnam and for following in the ways of the nonviolent Jesus.

“Starting in 1987, Protestant denominations were lumped together simply as “Protestant”; moreover, the Pentagon began accrediting hundreds of evangelical and Pentecostal “endorsing agencies,” allowing graduates of fundamentalist Bible colleges—which often train clergy to view those from other faiths as enemies of Christ—to fill up nearly the entire allotment for Protestant chaplains. Today, more than two thirds of the military’s 2,900 active-duty chaplains are affiliated with evangelical or Pentecostal denominations." [1]

"For decades, the military built a sense of solidarity out of a singular purpose, the Cold War struggle between free markets and state-planned economies—the shining city on a hill versus the evil empire…meshed neatly with ideologies [that connected] nationalism and fundamentalism…Communism…the dark alternative should we fail to unite. Fundamentalism thrived…a neat, black-and-white [theology and] a foreign policy. The end of the Cold War deprived militant evangelicals of that clarity [and] the emergence of “radical Islam” [became] the object of a new Cold War." [Ibid]

The roots of American evangelism sprang from the original altar call for Christians to stand up against slavery. What has been passing for Christianity in our military today is the antithesis of what Jesus was all about.

"Everyone but Christians understands that Jesus was nonviolent."-Gandhi

Clement, Tertillian, Polycarp and every other early Church Father taught that violence was a contradiction of what Christ was about. The first and greatest heresy in the Christian faith occurred in the third century when Augustine penned the "Just War Theory" for church and state united and "our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system."-Dorothy Day

One of the greatest Christian spiritual leaders of all time, Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk that listened to Bob Dylan LP's in his hermitage in Kentucky during the '60's was the first religious voice to rise up and speak out against the Vietnam War.

Merton also said, "The duty of the Christian at this time is to do the one task God has imposed upon us in this world today. The task is to work for the total abolition of war. There can be no question that unless war is abolished; the world will remain constantly in a state of madness…The church [meaning all Christians] must lead the way on the road to the abolition of war…Peace is to be preached and nonviolence is to be explained and practiced."

The deep spiritual darkness of Christian fundamentalism in the USA Air Force Academy in Colorado enabled the likes of Walid Shoebat, author of "Why We Want to Kill You" to speak to the troops in his role as a former fundamentalist Islamic supposed terrorist who is now a converted fundamentalist Christian.

Shoebat is one of the infamous darlings of fear filled Christians and Jews [Read More:
The Walid Shoebat Show and "America is Beautiful, but she has an ugly side." - Neil Young ]of the cult spewed by the likes of John Hagee and the idiot wind blown by FOX's Hannity & Colmes, Bill O'Reilly and Neil Cavuto who have all hosted Shoebat as did the US Air Force Academy on Feb. 6, 2008 when he was the headline act at their annual political forum.

Walid Shoebat, has built a lucrative speaking career by manipulating the fears and whipping up hatred between Jews and Muslims. Shoebat insists that Israel should "wake up and smell the Hummus. We must return to the status quo – the occupation…Israel should stand strong and fight – dismantle Hamas and take away all the weapons, the way it used to be. The introduction of weapons into Palestinian society by Israel [under the Oslo accords, Israel gave assault rifles to Arafat’s ‘police force’ –ed.] was a disaster and they must be confiscated.” [2]

Israel originally supported Hamas to be a wedge between Fatah when Arafat became too popular with the Palestinian people.

Shoebat feels very strongly that the ongoing war against Israel has nothing to do with an Arab desire for a Palestinian state, “Never in history was there a Palestinian state, we never wanted a Palestinian state – even today the Palestinians do not want a Palestinian state…They want the destruction of the Jews, period. It’s a religious holy war."[IBID]


"How can you kill people, when it is written in God’s commandment: ‘Thou shall not murder’?”– Leo Tolstoy
 
During his time at the Air Force Academy, Sharlet encounters fervent fundamentalist militant American soldiers who are most misinformed of their very own faith that they neglect for a Christian "our manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, which means that we will try to be peacemakers." -Dorothy Day

There are currently thirty-five wars being fought and the USA is connected to every one of them. Over forty-thousand people die every day of starvation. Three billion humans endure dire destitution. Three hundred children have already been killed by unmanned drones under the Obama Administration. We warehouse twenty-five thousand nukes and inhabit a world darkened by bureaucratic systematic institutionalized structures of violence that kill human beings through war and poverty and all the consequences of destruction and despair that flow from corporate greed, violence and religiosity.

Nonviolence is at the core of every religion and Jesus promised it is the peacemakers who are the daughters and sons of God. Jesus denounced injustice, turned over the tables of the bankers in the Temple, was arrested, jailed, tortured and brutally executed, but remained nonviolent, compassionate and forgiving to all.

Jesus called us to love our neighbors-meaning everyone on the planet, to be compassionate to all, to seek justice for the disenfranchised, to forgive our enemies, to put down the sword. His death on the cross was in vain if those who claim to follow him do not have eyes to see and ears to hear that his message was we are to end the cycle of violence for God created, loves and is in all beings and all creation.

It is a lack of imagination that accepts a future of endless war. It is fear of the other that fuels fundamentalism. The brand of Christianity being espoused in the military is a fear-filled ideology that supports empire in this world and does not support what Jesus stood and died for: forgiveness, compassion and nonviolence.

The militarization of Christianity has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus who promised it is the peacemakers who are the children of God and not those that bomb, torture, starve or occupy others.

The militarization of Christianity defies that "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out all fear because fear has to do with punishment." 1 John 4:16, 18

The militarization of Christianity as professed by anti-Christ's [against the teachings of Christ] from the pulpit by John Hagee and in the fictional "Left Behind" series of profane theology expresses the spirit of the anti-Christ: fear of the other that drives one to violence.

The militarization of Christianity thrives on fear of the other but Jesus said: "FEAR NOT! You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free."
 
The militarization of Christianity leaves behind all the non-negotiables for those who claim to be a Christian; which is you must forgive, bless and love your enemies.

The problem is not with Christianity but that too few have done it the way Jesus taught and modeled: to always work for PEACEFUL resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with compassion and forgiveness, as Jesus did when nailed to a cross and he prayed:  "Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing."


Christians are called by God to prayerfully use the gift of discernment and to test all things according to the teachings of Jesus. A follower of Jesus- or anyone with a good conscience- would choose equality, fraternity, community and nonviolent creative resistance to the evil that is violence.

It is willful ignorance, apathy, arrogance and misinformation that are holding back the transformation of hearts and minds to understand that war is the ultimate form of terrorism and supreme expression of the spirit of the anti-Christ; meaning against what Christ taught and modeled with his life.

"The first casualties of the military’s fundamentalist front are not the Iraqis and Afghans on the wrong side of an American F-16. They’re the spiritual warriors themselves." [3]

Christ laid down in the Sermon on the Mount principles by which to guide lives, “Whoever hears these sayings of mine, and put them into practice, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded upon a rock.  And everyone that hears these sayings, and does not put them into practice, shall be likened to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.” (Matt. 7:24-27)

St. Paul warned all followers of Christ to "not judge the non-believer; it is none of your business. But, when it comes to the believer, provoke one another to good works."

 The militarization of Christianity and all terrorism committed in the name of God must be confronted. Our troops require good intelligence and our world is desperate for Christians to follow what Jesus actually said. All are missing in action within the Industrial Military Complex. 


1. Jeff Sharlet, HARPER'S, May 2009 pages 31-43.

2. http://as-clips.blogspot.com/2007/09/shoebat-from-plo-terrorist-to-lover-of.html

      3. Sharlet, HARPER'S.


   
 
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