It's been going on for years now. Almost daily we read that another child, another parent.. is killed in Afghanistan or Iraq by U.S. weaponry in Mr. Bush's "war on terror." Sometimes it's a wedding party, or a bunch of kids, or a family of six.. who may even be killed on camera in real time for all the world to see and hear.
But no matter how bad it gets, nothing seems to change.. among Christian supporters of the Bush administration. "Stuff happens in a war zone.".. I've been reassured by countless pro-war Christians that, as long as civilians aren't intentionally targeted, taking their lives is okay, maybe even predestined, God's will...
Which bible do Bushies read ?
As Lutheran Church member Naate Aaseng mentions, they must be reading from a different Gospel
On the other hand, many of the policies for which Jesus spoke passionately, such as income redistribution (Luke 18:22), rejection of the death penalty (John 8:7), and nonviolent resolution of disputes (Matt 26:52), are vigorously opposed by the Christian right.
when a group claiming the mantle of the Christian party champions issues that Jesus did not champion and opposes issues Jesus did champion, it's fair to question whether they are trying to manipulate the sincere faith of believers to use God to advance their own agendas.(2)
Washing away Christian Compassion
Failure to Care: How it Happens
The reasons for blindness or indifference toward civilian casualties are several. Many if not most pro-war Christians, particularly those in the southern and midwestern states:
- rarely see news accounts of civilian casualties
- have been immunized against thinking for themselves or doubting the Bush administration with certain Bible verses (Paul, not Matthew)
- are told not to worry, when they do hear of civilian casualties, that life in the flesh is less important than life eternal..
- feel they dare not oppose this or any war because talking about peace, objecting to war's human cost, or even referring to the United Nations has become associated in their minds with the Antichrist and eternal damnation, thanks to fictional works based on Thessalonians such as the Left Behind books and video..
- have been convinced by right-wing preachers, authors and radio hosts.. to shift their allegiance away from Jesus' teachings about merciful behavior .. to the more pro-violence, pro-war values espoused by various non-Gospel biblical writers.
But most importantly, conservative Christianity in the U.S. has succumbed to that which it has, in decades past, most rigorously warned against: moral relativism. By restricting any discussion of morality to sexual behavior, right-wing politicians have obliterated the once-central Christian teaching[s].. Cleverly "working the room," pro-war politicians have infiltrated churches to such a degree that killings and torture are no longer within the province of morality. When morality is only about sex, no aspect of war - even the killing of entire families - can arouse criticism, much less condemnation.(1)
Paul, not Matthew
As Steve Erickson reminds us in his LA Weekly article,
[Hence] the evangelical Army general who is its deputy undersecretary of defense, William Boykin [says that] ours is "an army of God, in the house of God," and that George Bush is in the White House "because God put him there,"..
To secularists, including those who believe in God and attend church or synagogue or mosque on a more or less regular basis, the revelation of a CIA operative's identity by someone in the government as a form of political retribution seems beyond the pale, particularly in an era of terror.. But in the theocratic view of power, national security and political self-interest are inseparable when both are factors in a presidential power that's in the service of Divine Will. From the vantage point of the theocratic psyche, a divinely interpreted national interest overwhelms narrow ideas of security as held by [others] The theocratic rationale for the Iraq war and the United States' subsequent presence in Iraq exists far above petty secular anxieties about justifying either..
[To Bushies, the public war reasoning - i.e. DSM] couldn't be more beside the point.
It was never a matter of reasons justifying the war. Rather, the war justifies the reasoning. Some might suggest that the president's case for the war was made in bad faith, but there is no "bad" in the president's perception of faith... That Iraq had nothing to do with those who attacked America almost two and a half years ago is only a distracting detour in moral reasoning, fine print for those whom God hasn't called.. (3)
- Whiskey Bar: The Grand Delusion [Billmon] Working [his] way through Shadia Drury’s book: Leo Strauss and the American Right .. What strikes me most about the Straussians – and by extension, the neocons – is that they’ve pushed the traditional liberal/conservative dichotomy of American politics back about 150 years, and moved it roughly 4,000 miles to the east, to the far side of the Rhine River. Their grand existential struggle isn’t with the likes of Teddy Kennedy or even Franklin D. Roosevelt, it’s with the liberalism of Voltaire, John Locke and John Stuart Mill – not to mention the author of the Declaration of the Independence... One of the Straussians’ most important innovations has been to reconcile their brand of elite conservatism with Southern fried demagogic populism ala Huey Long and George Wallace. That’s a pretty radical concession for a movement with its mind (or at least its heart) planted firmly in the fifth century BC. But it's solved the traditional dilemma of old-style conservatives in America: How to win power in a society that has no landed gentry, no nobility, no established church – none of Europe’s archaic feudal institutions and loyalties..
- pdxleft: Who Is Leo Strauss and Why Should We Care?We were listening to Newt Gingrich smarmily intone about God and family values on CSPAN and my brother turned to me and said, "They want to repeal the enlightenment."...
- On the Eve of the Millennium: The Future of Democracy Through an Age of Unreason - A prescient 1994 book describes "the mounting attacks on Enlightenment values that jeopardize the very survival of the democratic institutions they inspired. "All my life," writes Conor Cruise O'Brien, "I have been fascinated and puzzled by nationalism and religion; by the interaction of the two forces, sometimes in unison, sometimes antagonistic." In these wide-ranging and penetrating essays, O'Brien examines how throughout the world today these age-old forces are once again threatening democracy, the rule of law, and freedom of expression -- particularly in the United States, the nation founded on Enlightenment values. He weaves together beautifully written discussions on these and other timely, related topics. Enlivening his grim predictions with dry wit, he nevertheless conveys an apocalyptic sense of the threats facing democracy as we approach the third millennium.
- The millennial struggle continues a few words in defense of the Enlightenment, that hard-won legacy of human thought that remains under continuing assault by the forces of intellectual darkness. For instance, at a time when human beings have developed powers of scientific observation that were once unimaginable, it is amazing that society is still besieged by a "religious right" which insists on teaching children such notions as the literal truth of the Bible.. Ironically, the fundamentalists do not hesitate to employ the means of science -- including computers, modern weaponry and mass communications -- in their crusade to suppress reason. They possess the confidence of their militant ignorance, while the rest of us are hobbled by the doubts that are inherent to rationality.