Until 1954, November 11 was called Armistice Day in remembrance of the end of World War I on 11/11 at 11 o’clock in 1918. It was a day to be thankful for the peace that comes from the termination of international homicidal hostilities.
An Act approved by Congress on May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” But in 1954, the 83rd Congress, at the “urging” of the veterans’ service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” So, since 1954, it has been a day to honor all those who killed in U.S. wars and all those who were killed in U.S. wars. Operationally November 11 in 2022 is not a day on which a society remembers and celebrates the peace that flows into the heart and into the culture from stopping the mass slaughter of human beings called war. It is instead military propaganda lollapalooza. It is a day that tries to sanctify and glorify the evils—evils according to Jesus’ teaching—of war and thereby make it attractive to those human beings under 24 years of age whose brains are not fully developed, while simultaneously giving a psychological and spiritual boost to those who are still living who butchered other folks like themselves and forever wrecked the lives of those who loved the person(s) they mowed down, shot down and cut to pieces in a U.S. war.
Christians might give a thought or two to the fact that today, November 11 is the universal feast day of St. Martin of Tours, a son of a pagan Roman soldier who himself was also a Roman soldier. But, who became a conscientious objector to military service and to war by telling the Roman government, “I am a Christian. It is not lawful for me to kill.”
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy
Epilogue: By far the most common story a Christian will hear from his or her Church or see in Christian art about St. Martin of Tours is that the Roman soldier, Martin, saw a man without a cloak who was cold and took off his own cloak, cut it in half and gave the freezing man half of his cloak There are thousands of depictions of this incident in Christian art inside and outside Church buildings. I do not ever remember going to Mass on November 11 and not hearing this story as part of the homily. The problem is the story is pure hagiography, mere legend, a pious fiction, that has no basis in evidence from history. This is a pure piece of Constantinian Christianity propaganda, the moral equivalent of the Christian soldier who gives a five years old boy a candy bar after he and his comrades have destroyed the little boy’s city, house, mother and father.
This militarized picture and the story it represents of St. Martin or Tours, while having no basis in historical fact, is the only consciousness that perhaps 98% of Christian have of him. Yet 75% of his long life was spent outside the military as a Christian missionary, as the founder of monasticism in Gaul, as one of the most extraordinary healers in Christian history, as a Bishop who actively protested Emperor Magnus Maximus’s killing heretics and against government interfering with Church matters, and who was the first or one of the first non-martyrs to be venerated as a saint. All these historically verifiable facts, including his conscientious objector status, are swept out of the ordinary religious consciousness of Christians by Constantinian Church leadership in favor of the pious fiction of the militarized Christian killer with a heart of gold. Why?
We know why this is done by Church leaders, and it must stop! Why must it stop; simply because it is not “teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.” Why must it stop; because it is a lie, which is an evil. Why must it stop; because it is camouflaging the evil of the mass homicidal violence of war, which soldiers execute, under the guise of a Good Samaritan-like story.
But it won’t stop! Why, because the institutional Constantinian Churches and their leaders garner so much wealth, political power and prestige by propagating as just, good and holy ideas, ways and means that are the antithesis of what Jesus taught in the Gospels. An example of the being, when they contemptuously contort the explicit teaching of the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels, who imperatively taught, “Love your enemies,” “Love one another as I have love you,” and “No greater love has a person than to lay down his or her life for their friend,” to mean, “No greater love has a person than to kill for his or her friends.” And, to disdainfully brazenly invert Jesus’ teaching in this manner in the face of what the world knows is the everyday reality of war as summed up precisely by General George Patton: “You are not here to lay down your life for your countrry.You are here to see to it that the other son-of-a-bitch lays down his life for his country,” is to play the temple prostitute for the economic and political big guns who they have chosen as their sugar daddies.
These “authoritative” bizarro interpretation by Church leaders in the name of the Church and of Jesus are essential if Christian grunt in the foxholes or in the Pentagon is going to keep on keeping on doing the heinously unspeakable, namely, maiming, mutilating and slaughtering other human beings with that level of gusto that comes from knowing they are doing. God’s will. But such is the level of commitment that the
elites who control government and finance need to indefinitely keep and enhance their wealth, political power and prestige, prerogatives and comforts.
In Churches on November 11th this year the bishop, priest or minister says “Let us pray for all our veterans living and dead who bravely responded to the call to defend our country from its enemies in far off corners of the world, etc.” The call to prayer you should be hearing from your Church leaders but will not is, “Let us pray in thanksgiving for the cessation of armed conflict on 11/11 at 11 A.M. in 1918 and for all the other times human beings have laid down their swords and shields and struggle for peace and harmony by way of other means.” November 11th is no longer Armistice Day, it is Veterans Day—and that makes a universe of difference. Just ask St. Martin of Tours if there is any need for clarification of thought on this matter.