The Warmonger's Psalm
by Laurence M. Vance
by Laurence M. Vance
The love affair that many conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians have with the military is an illicit affair. It is contrary to the tenor of the New Testament. It is an affront to the Savior. It is a cancer on Christianity.
Because the war in Iraq is going so badly, and because of the pseudo-Christianity and socialist agenda of George WMD Bush, many Christians have begun to denounce Bush and his war. Some have even criticized both from the beginning. Yet, these same Christians see no problem with Christians joining the military knowing that they might have to bomb, maim, and kill for the state in some foreign war that has nothing to do with defending the United States.
The well-known Twenty-third Psalm has encouraged and comforted the people of God for centuries. Many Christians can recite it from memory. It is a disgrace that many of these same Christians encourage young people to join the military where they will have the opportunity to do such comforting things as bomb, maim, and kill. Because these Christians think so highly of the military, perhaps they should rewrite the Twenty-third Psalm to make it more in line with their theology.
Since no one has done so yet, like the Beatitudes, I have taken the liberty to revise the Twenty-third Psalm as the Warmonger's Psalm:
The military is my god; I shall not want.
The army maketh me to lie down in green pastures: the navy leadeth me beside the still waters.
The air force restoreth my soul: The marines leadeth me in the paths of war for the state's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the deserts of Iraq, I will fear no evil: for the military is with me; thy bombs and thy bullets they comfort me.
The joint chiefs preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: the secretary of defense anointest my head with oil; my tank runneth over.
Surely death and destruction shall follow the military all the days of my life: and I will dwell on the bases of the military for ever.
This love affair that many conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians have with the military is grounded in their blind obedience to the government, based on an unrestricted, absolute interpretation of Romans 13:1, from which they have derived the "obey the powers that be" mantra. Of course, this obedience to the state is very selective, which shows what hypocrites these people are. None of these Christians would kill their mother if the government told them to do so, but they would see nothing wrong with killing someone else's mother if the state gave them a uniform and a gun. But as Joseph Sobran has so eloquently said: "Government, as we know it, is the real enemy. It produces nothing except distortions of social life, through war, taxation, regulation, and the general redistribution of wealth and resources."
I am not anti-American and anti-military; I am anti-American empire and anti-militarism.
There are plenty of veterans who have written critically about the U.S. military. If I am dismissed because I have never "served," then there are Michael Gaddy, James Glaser, and the courageous Kevin Benderman. "Who hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Matthew 13:43).
June 2, 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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