February 25, 2010

Christian Terrorists

Rarely a day passes in which I don’t at some point feel a sense of shock at the huge number of American Christians who so fervently support war and torture. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t get over it. Which I guess is why I keep this blog. When most people see this kind of shit, they shake their heads in frustration but then manage to move on with their lives. But we bloggers live in a state of perpetual shock and disgust, screaming about the same shit week after week, month after month, year after year.

How in God’s name do Christians not see their hypocrisy? It’s right there in the Sixth Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Kill. And then Jesus talks about turning the other cheek and loving your enemies. And yet Christians, seemingly sincere, Bible-reading Christians, continue encouraging their children, or at least other people’s children, to join the military so they can go overseas and kill a bunch of innocent brown-skinned people. For their country. Somehow killing people for the United States of America—with its history of committing genocide against the Native Americans, firebombing German and Japanese cities, supporting evil dictatorships, etc., etc.—is justified in God’s eyes.

I recently read an article by a guy named Frank Fleming. A professing Christian, Fleming suggests that we fight terrorism by proselytizing Muslims. As he writes, “I think if we could convert many in the Middle East to Christianity, we would have a lot fewer problems with the region. First off, I don’t know of any Middle East Christians who have tried to blow us up. So if we can convert people over there, we could be removing enemies from the battlefield without violence.”

Fleming goes on to write that many Muslims think “blowing people up is the best way to express their religious devotion, and not many of us have really read the Koran and the supporting hadiths to come down on one side or the other in that debate. There are still debates in Christianity I’m trying to figure out. Who has time to learn an entirely different religion? But if the people in the Middle East were saying, ‘We’re blowing you up for Jesus,’ we actually know pretty well where to point to in the Bible to show them that’s wrong.”

You see what I mean? You see why I’m such an angry guy, why the shock just won’t go away?

The United States government is currently engaging in actions that plainly contradict the teachings of Jesus. We torture people, we drop bombs in civilian neighborhoods, we support the Israeli government as it literally starves the people of Gaza. Yet Christians cheer on these actions more enthusiastically than anyone else in our society. A small number of sincere, levelheaded believers keep pointing to the Bible and explaining these murderous actions are wrong, but it makes absolutely no difference.

Fleming doesn’t “know of any Middle East Christians who have tried to blow us up.” But I’m sure he knows of many American Christians who have tried to blow them up. But somehow it never crosses his mind that that, too, might be wrong. Blowing Muslims up—no problem. Blowing Americans up—well now we have a problem, now we need to bomb the shit out of their homelands, torture anyone we capture, keep bombing the shit out of their homelands, keep torturing, keep bombing, and so on ad infinitum. All for the sake of our country. All in the name of Jesus.


Michael E. Lawrence said...

I wonder what this guy would say about the destruction that has been visited upon the Chaldean Catholics since the American invasion of Iraq. An entire culture has been just about wiped out by the violence the U.S. military started. One must also wonder how many atrocities the U.S. can commit against Middle East Christians before they, too, turn against us.

Don Emmerich said...

An argument can also be made that all of America's mass-murder has closed many to the Gospel. Many non-Christians throughout the world associate the United States with Christianity. When people in such places Gaza City, Baghdad, and Kabul think of Christianity they think, not about a humble carpenter coming to give his life for others, but of bombs falling from the sky, of women and children burning to death.

Liberty said...

I share your frustration. It's so annoying to hear Christians say things like "just bomb them" or "turn it all to glass!" And I always have to wonder- do they truly realize what they're saying?

I do think that that kind of thing is easier when the subject of our destruction is far away, like in the Middle East. There are probably some Middle Easterners that think their countries should just bomb us, and I think all that stems from a couple basic things- a misunderstanding of the true situation, and also detachment and distance from the object of their ire. If Christians can't see the Middle Easterners, it isn't people they're bombing; it's just a piece of dirt somewhere (that most of them can't even pick out on a map).

Don Emmerich said...

Liberty --

You're exactly right. That's what it's up to people like us to explain to others what our actions are actually achieving. We need to remind people that we're not just bombing a bunch of munitions factories over there but that we're bombing actual humans people, people just like us.