Christianity and War Revisited
by Laurence M. Vance
by Laurence M. Vance
I was asked to write something to introduce my new book, Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State, which is now available.
These thirteen essays, although organized under four headings, 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.
These essays also have one thing in common — they all appeared on LewRockwell.com over a period of about a year. The book is proudly dedicated to Lew Rockwell, whom I consider to be an implacable foe of the warfare state. But even though many of these essays 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.
Little did I know when I wrote the essay "Christianity and War" that it would anchor the collection of essays that make up this book. The title of this essay also naturally furnished the first chapter with its title and the book with its main title. This is because I regarded this initial essay as the key portion of the book. The title of Murray Rothbard's Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays gave me the idea for the balance of my title.
In addition to the general subject of Christianity and war, the first chapter contains a critique of Jerry Falwell's feeble attempt to justify, with Scripture, President Bush's invasion of Iraq. It also attempts to answer the questions: "Should a Christian join the military?" and "Should a Christian be a killer?" Chapter 2, "The Evils of War," explores the views of our Founding Fathers on war and standing armies. In chapter 3, "Specific Wars," the evils of war and the warfare state are examined through specific wars in three different centuries: the Crimean War (1854—1856), World War I (1914—1918), and the Iraq War (2003—). In chapter 4, "The U.S. Global Empire," the extent of the growing U.S. Empire of bases and troops is revealed and critiqued.
War is a subject that needlessly divides and sidetracks Christians. It is my 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.
It is a disgrace that so many conservative Christians are apologists for George Bush and the Republican Party. But not only are Christians who make excuses for Bush and the Republicans a disgrace, they are hypocrites as well, for they are the ones who would scream the loudest if a Democratic president and the Democratic Party did the same things that Bush and the Republicans have done. As a conservative, evangelical Christian, I never thought I would miss those eight years of Bill Clinton's regime.
The problem with pro-war, Bush-worshipping Christians is that they refuse to believe that Bush lied the country into war, loving one's country has nothing to do with loving the government, being patriotic does not mean blindly following whatever the government says, and some of the greatest critics of the military have been in the military.
As I state at the end of my introduction and quote elsewhere in the book, it is my desire in all of these essays to show, as Randolph Bourne said many years ago, that "war is the health of the state."
January 13, 2005
Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] is a freelance writer and an adjunct instructor in accounting and economics at Pensacola Junior College in Pensacola, FL. His new book is Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State. Visit his website.
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