The tragic waste of American lives in Iraq (the death count is now up to 1,601) has caused support for Bush’s war to decline. Evangelical Christian support for the war also appears to be waning. Unfortunately, however, it is generally not out of principle, but only because the war is going so badly. Thus, many Christians who now oppose the war in Iraq are still warmongers at heart.
The Beatitudes found at the opening of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:3—12 have been a source of inspiration to Christians for centuries:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
It is a shame that some of the same Christians who have found comfort and direction in the Beatitudes can also be found making apologies for the state and its wars. Rather than be a hypocrite, they should rewrite the Beatitudes so as to make them more in line with their theology.
Since no one has done so yet, I have taken the liberty to revise the Beatitudes as the Warmonger’s Beatitudes:
Blessed are the defense contractors: for theirs is the taxpayers’ money. Blessed are they that kill: for they shall not comfort. Blessed are the soldiers: for they shall bomb the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after blood: for they shall shed it. Blessed are the vengeful: for they shall not show mercy. Blessed are the war lovers in heart: for they shall see combat. Blessed are the warmongers, for they shall be called the children of Mars. Blessed are they which persecute for the state’s sake: for theirs is a government contract. Blessed are ye when ye shall revile foreigners, and persecute them, and say all manner of evil against them falsely, for the state’s sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in the military: for so persecuted the military foreigners which were before you.
That many evangelical Christians have started questioning the necessity and morality of Bush’s war, just as some in the military have repudiated their service in Iraq for the state, is a welcome sight. The real test will be when the United States bombs the next country.