In the last ten years, with only a minuscule number of resistors, U.S. soldiers have put boots on the ground – and bombed, droned, maimed, and killed countless thousands of people – in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, and Libya. Over 1 million soldiers have “served” in Iraq. Although President Obama has announced that U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year, he has also said that some will be sent to Uganda in search of monsters to destroy. And then there are the other 140 countries being occupied by U.S. troops.
I have seen signs expressing support for the troops in front of all manner of businesses, including self-storage units, bike shops, and dog grooming. I have heard accounts of restaurants like Taco Bell and retail stores like Sears asking for donations for the military as a show of support for the troops.
It doesn’t seem to matter to most Americans how many wars the troops are involved in, how senseless the war the troops are fighting, how many lies the war is based on that the troops are fighting, how many countries the United States has troops in, how many foreign bases the United States has troops on, how many billions the United States spends on the troops, how many foreign civilians are injured, maimed, or killed by U.S. troops, or even how many U.S. troops die in vain. It doesn’t seem to matter what U.S. troops do, where they do it, and to whom to do it to.
None of this seems to matter to American Christians either. Nevertheless, the last place I would expect to see something about supporting the troops is in a church bulletin. I must have severely underestimated the extent of the military fetish that some Christians have because I recently came across a church bulletin from an evangelical church with a whole page devoted to supporting the troops. Thank God I did not have the misfortune of having to attend the church to get a copy of their bulletin.
Here is the page of the church bulletin in question, verbatim, atrocious formatting and all. I have only removed the names that are mentioned.
SUPPORT OUR TROOPS
We still need items to send to our adopted unit. They are requesting the following items
Nuts – peanuts, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds,Chips movies DVD, Music CDs – Country, Pop socks for boots, footie/running socks candy-red vines, jawbreakers, twizzlers, jellybeans, hard candy, pep- permint Dunkin Dounuts coffee, creamer, Hand sanitizer, hand lotion microwave popcorn Individual packs of drink mix for water bottles crackers, cheese, peanut butter, chocolate M&Ms power bars,,snickers marathon energy bars trail mix, granola bars hot choclate blistex chap stick, mini flashlights Life savers, Pretzels Beef jerky Cards, letters, pictures and holiday appropriate items.
We will be sending Leaves of Thanksgiving to our soldiers. Please take a minute to fill one out letting them know how thankful you are for them, their service & their sacrifice. A BIG Thank you to ____ ____ for creating the leaves.
Also, we are collecting non-breakable Christmas ornaments to send to our troops, please bring them by next Sunday if you’d like to participate.
If you’d like to contribute to the boxes we’ll be delivering for the troops , please see the list in the church foyer. We are trying to get Thanksgiving & Christmas items to them in enough time for them to enjoy them.
Thank you to Pastor ____ for mailing 12 boxes at the Post Office this week
I have only four brief things to say about this.
To begin with, the church should be ashamed of the horrible job of typing and formatting that went into their bulletin. There is absolutely no excuse for this.
Secondly, as I have typed on my keyboard until my fingers were numb, U.S. troops don’t defend our freedoms, and neither do they fight “over there” so we don’t have to fight “over here.” U.S. soldiers died unnecessarily, duped, in vain, and for a lie – all 4,500 that died in Iraq and all 1,800 that died in Afghanistan. Every death was senseless. The blood of one American soldier was not worth any “good” or any “benefit” in Iraq or Afghanistan that has resulted from these wars. And I am the one who has been called un-American and worse. Go figure.
Thirdly, why should anyone support U.S. troops fighting in unjust, immoral wars? It is our troops that have invaded and occupied foreign countries. It is our troops that have dropped the bombs, thrown the grenades, launched the missiles, fired the mortars, and shot the bullets that have resulted in the maiming and killing of hundreds of thousands of people that were no threat to the United States. Should the politicians, the president, the secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the congressmen that fund unconstitutional wars receive a share of the blame? Of course they should. But how could any Christian write a thank-you note to soldiers he doesn’t even know that are invaders and occupiers engaged in these things?
And finally, what is the cause of churches adopting a unit, sending things to soldiers, thanking the troops, and polluting their church bulletins with such nonsense? The answer is two-fold. One, colossal ignorance of the U.S. government, U.S. foreign policy, American history, and the Bible. And two, holding erroneous opinions like these:
- The Republican Party is the party of God.
- A theological conservative should be a political conservative.
- Opposition to war and militarism is an exclusively left-wing idea.
- The American state is a divine institution.
- The U.S. military defends our freedoms.
Support our troops? Why would any church even think of such a thing?