Christianity and War Revisited Again
by Laurence M. Vance
by Laurence M. Vance
Christianity and war: Are there any two things that one would think are so opposed to each other that "never the twain shall meet"? Unfortunately — and to the shame of Christians — that is not the case. And that is why I have revisited this subject yet again.
I don't suppose there is anything I write and speak about with more fervor than the biblical, historical, and political fallacies of Christians on the general subject of Christianity and war. In fact, my first article on the subject, back in 2003, was called "Christianity and War." After twelve more essays that addressed the themes of Christians joining the military, Christians killing in war, the evils of war, standing armies, the follies of the Crimean War, World War I, and the Iraq War, Christian justification for the Iraq War, and the U.S. global empire, I published at the beginning of 2005 a slender volume titled Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State that was introduced in an article here and reviewed on this site here and here. After the completion of these essays, I honestly thought I would have nothing else to say about the subject. But even as that book went to press, I realized that much more could and should be said, so I continued writing. The attacks on me (communist, anti-American, liberal, leftist, anarchist, pacifist, hippy, peacenik, Quaker, traitor, coward, appeaser, anti-war weenie) and the continued Christian support for Bush, the Iraq war, and the military only confirmed that there was much more that needed to be written. By the beginning of 2006, I realized that a new edition of Christianity and War was needed. I am pleased to report that a new, greatly expanded, second edition is now available.
I have repeated in the introduction to this new edition what I said in the introduction to the first edition. These essays
have one underlying theme: opposition to the warfare state that robs us of our liberty, our money, and in some cases our life. Conservatives who decry the welfare state while supporting the warfare state are terribly inconsistent. The two are inseparable. Libertarians who are opposed to war on principle, but support the state's bogus "war on terrorism," even as they remain silent about the U.S. Global Empire, are likewise contradictory. Christians who condone the warfare state and its nebulous crusades against "evil" have been duped. There is nothing "Christian" about the state's aggressive militarism, its senseless wars, its interventions into the affairs of other countries, and its expanding empire.
War is a subject that needlessly divides and sidetracks Christians. It is the author's contention that Christian enthusiasm for the state, its wars, and its politicians is an affront to the Saviour, contrary to Scripture, and a demonstration of the profound ignorance many Christians have of history.
This edition is likewise dedicated to the leading opponent of the central state, its wars, and its socialism: Lew Rockwell. New, however, is a foreword by Mike Reith, a retired Air Force major. The book now contains seventy-nine essays, organized under the headings of Christianity and War, War and Peace, The Military, Christianity and the Military, The Iraq War, Other Wars, and The U.S. Global Empire. The new table of contents can be viewed here. The essays span the four-year period from late 2003 to late 2007. Although many of them reference contemporary events, the principles discussed in all of them are timeless: war, militarism, empire, interventionism, the warfare state, and the Christian attitude toward these things.
The first chapter is the largest, and contains twenty essays under the general rubric of "Christianity and War." Besides discussing that subject, here I introduce some real Christian ministers who spoke out against war, point out the biblical errors of two other ministers who favored war, give a test to Christians to see if they are warmongers, identify the Christian axis of evil, expose the hypocrisy of Christian warmongers, reveal the unholy desire of Christians to legitimize killing in war, declare what the Church should be saying about U.S. foreign policy, discuss the fallacy of those who say that the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" never applies to killing in war, describe the use of religion in wartime by the state, explain how killing for the state can be murder, explore the attitude of the early Christians toward war, and answer the questions "What about Hitler?" and "What happened to the Southern Baptists?"
In chapter 2, "War and Peace," the evils of war and warmongers and the benefits of peace are examined. In chapter 3, "The Military," the evils of standing armies and militarism are discussed, including a critical look at the U.S. military. In chapter 4, "Christianity and the Military," the idea that Christians should have anything to do with the military is shown to be illogical, immoral, and unscriptural. In chapter 5, "The War in Iraq," the folly of U.S. policy in Iraq is laid bare. In chapter 6, "Other Wars," the evils of war and the warfare state are chronicled in specific wars: the Crimean War (1854—1856), the Russo-Japanese War (1904—1905), World War I (1914—1918), and World War II (1939—1945). In chapter 7, "The U.S. Global Empire," the beginnings, growth, extent, nature, and consequences of the U.S. Empire of bases and troops are revealed and critiqued.
The book also includes the text of my talk to the Republican and Democratic staff aides of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, DC, in May of 2006 and my lecture at the Future of Freedom Foundation's Conference on "Restoring the Republic: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties" in June of 2007.
In view of the terrible Christian track record on support for the state, its wars, and its military, I suspect that this will not be the last edition of this book. Nevertheless, I send forth these seventy-nine essays as salvos against Christian warmongers and the warfare state that they shamelessly defend.
January 21, 2008
Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from Pensacola, FL. His latest book is a new and greatly expanded edition of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State. Visit his website.
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