Saturday, December 20, 2014

Good Words, and from a Conservative, No Less (5)

My response to this email.
So there it is, I guess.
It is time for just governments to call upon the true God for help, and then to use the sword to suppress real evil, to defend the righteous, and to demand unconditional surrender. And if little ones get dashed upon the rocks in the process, well that is the price that is paid for defying the living God.
No just war crap.
No limited objectives: we have the right to rule the world.
No absolute last resort: just assume the enemy is implacable and fire away.
No weighing of benefits against cost: what we do on Sunday mornings is so precious that it’s worth any price, even if those who pay the price are those we are supposed to evangelize, those of whom Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them.” (At the rate American children are spurning Jesus, maybe the best way to get them to go to Jesus would be to kill them en masse.)
And no limit of the means of violence to what is discriminate or proportional: kill and maim them now and for generations to come, and not only them, but people wherever the dust of what used to be their cities drifts to.
I hold no illusions about my ability to live under an oppressive government. If I bitch as much about Uncle Sam as I do, I can be sure I’d bitch under ISIS. Either that or I’d be such a chicken I’d shut up so my lifespan wouldn’t be measured in seconds. And while beheading is better than many ways to die, I dare not boast that I’d be anything but a simpering maggot when my turn at the chopping block came.
More importantly, contrary to the impression I have given my interlocutor, I do believe that there is a time for war and a time to kill. It is on that basis that my question for the American evangelical community, and specifically for the elders of my church, for more than a decade has been this: “Is this the time for war? Is this the time to kill? God forbids us to kill invaders in our own houses if the sun is up (Ex 22:2-3). By what logic do we slaughter innocents overseas in the name of protecting ourselves? Is there good reason to believe that Uncle Sam has been lying to us?”
I think I’ve gotten all the answer I’m going to get.
But I can’t shut up. I close with this:
I actually think that if the back of this ideology is broken - if its adherents can be shown that the god in whom they trust is actually weak and ineffective, unable to save them and unable to accomplish his purposes in this world, that they will be more inclined to turn to the true and living God.
Is that how it worked for the hippies? When we found out that “all you need is love” was a lie, how many of us came to Christ? How many Democrats, whose policies have given us unaffordable health care and ghettos seething with hate, are turning to Christ? How many Republicans are turning to Christ now that one of their staunchest defenders says their party is no different from the Democrats? For that matter, how many conservatives are turning to Christ on the basis of Christian support for the wars period?
Showing Joe or Ahmad that his god is bankrupt isn’t enough. He needs to see an alternative. We need to build that alternative, and we can’t do it if we’re going to cast our lot in with Uncle Sam.
No man can serve two masters: you can’t serve God and Uncle Sam. You can thank God for Uncle Sam when he does something that both is just and benefits people, and you can certainly thank God that Uncle Sam isn’t as bad as some local deities. But that’s entirely different from loving him (except as an enemy) and trusting him and casting your lot in with him. Every penny and every second that he takes is money and time taken from Jesus.
Do you want to educate children? Stop voting taxes for anti-Christian schools and instead start Christian schools and educational co-ops.
Do you want to heal the sick? Stop voting for candidates who promise to do it through the state and join Christian health care cooperatives.
Do you want to keep everyone from common criminals to ISIS at bay? Buy an arsenal and get your friends and trustworthy neighbors to do the same. Make sure you all know how to use weapons so your three-year-olds don’t kill themselves. Join like-minded people in networks that will pursue peace when it’s the time for peace, who will wage war when it’s time to wage war, and who will be willing to die when it’s the time to die.
I think it’s rather obvious that the presidents and Congressmen who have given us ISIS cannot be trusted to do justice or love mercy, let alone to walk humbly with God. Nor can the people who elected them. The sooner we stop considering them our fellow countrymen and start considering them enemies to be loved into the kingdom that is our true country, the better. If our love is to be more than words, we need time, money, and heart. We need as much of all three as we can get, which means we give as little to Uncle Sam as we can get away with.

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