Tag Archives: military

The Whole “USA’s Got My Back” Thing

This might seem like a slight tangent from the topic of politics, but I assure you it is not. I’m kind of hoping someone else can lend some insight into this.

After reading the gospel and finding no way to reconcile “love your enemies” with going to war, I started looking for some theological insight that would make sense of how we as a religion had come to this point. Someone suggested a fascinating book called, The Powers That Be, by Walter Wink, which contained this brilliant quote:

Christianity’s weaponless victory over the Roman Empire resulted in the weaponless victory of the empire over the gospel. A fundamental transformation occurred when the church ceased being persecuted and became instead a persecutor. Once a religion attains sufficient power in a society that the state looks to it for support, that religion must also, of necessity, join the repression of the state’s enemies. For a faith that lived from its critique of domination and its vision of a nonviolent social order, this shift was catastrophic, for it could only mean embracing and rationalizing oppression.

It was this “victory of the empire over the gospel” that had been nagging at me so much. It seems that we’d been given an opportunity at power, military power through our voting, that we chose to embrace rather than relinquish.

Where this plays out today is the constant talk you here about “protecting our freedom” not just on news and from politicians, but from pulpits and pastors. Another terribly theologically incorrect statement. As Christians, we believe true freedom comes through Christ, and that freedom is not furthered nor protected by military might.

And yet, as much as I insist on the above statement, it is only ‘lip service’ to an idea, because whether I ask for it or not, the military is ‘protecting my freedom’ by violent domination over it’s enemies, which runs completely counter to the gospel I insist to believe in.

Conscientious Objector

I’ve been checking out Voxtropolis recently (a blogging community of sorts), and had the amazing privilege of running across the blog and recent story of Jake.

For most of the past five years, Malloy, an MU graduate, was a cook stationed in Washington, Mo. But, in July, when he learned his unit would begin training for probable deployment to Iraq, Malloy suffered a crisis of conscience. Unable to reconcile Christ’s teachings with the use of lethal force, Malloy filed a claim with the Army, asking that he be classified as a conscientious objector.
(via. Columbia Missourian)

Jake story is amazing to me. Very rarely do we allow our convictions to challenge us to do something outside of the realm of what is normally acceptable. I am often guilty of being convicted of things, but not willing to follow through on them because they are not socially acceptable. I fear that if I was in his shoes I would find myself justifying my current position and disregarding the clear convictions of my heart.

Here is some of what Jake wrote in
his claim as a conscientious objector:

I am in doubt as to the rightness of taking a human life primarily because of the nature of our loving God. He is patient with us, not wanting any to perish (2 Peter 3:9); I believe those having the Spirit of Christ should be likewise patient. Further, we see that God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked but rather desires them to repent and be saved (Ezekiel 18:23, 33:11). We also are fallen and evil (Romans 3:23), and as such should not think our sins any less heinous than the most vile of offenders (James 2:10-11). In fact, while we were enemies of God ourselves, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). This is the foundation of Christianity. We do not take life, but give life, just as Christ gave his as an expression of his love for us (1 John 4:10) and as an example to us (Ephesians 5:1-2). While we were enemies of God, we also were inclined toward every evil practice. Our hope must be to bring an end to evil by filling souls with the love of Christ. Weapons of death cannot solve this problem. When we kill an individual, we add fuel to the fire of hatred within that person’s family. The God of love and the sacrifice of His Son is the hope for peace among nations and in our very lives. Knowing God has redeemed me from death, I could not put another to death for any wrong (John 8:7, Matthew 18:21-35).

A week ago Jake learned his claim was denied.*