Monday, June 08, 2009

The A-Bomb as Plan-A

Unfortunately, this post is not directed at any 1 person, but at a broad mindset amongst evangelical Christians within my scope of observation. Many seem to support the use of violence to eliminate violence. Here are a couple of quotes I found in Shane Claiborne's "Jesus for President"

"We have the ability to take Hugo Chavez out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability." (Pat Robertson on the 700 Club in 2005).

"You've got to kill the terrorists before the killing stops. And I'm for the President to chase them all over the world. If it takes ten years, blow them all away in the name of the Lord." (Jerry Falwell)

These would not be surprising statements from people who have pledged undivided allegiance to the United States of America, but should they not be considered shocking in that they come from two men who have pledged undivided allegiance to Jesus Christ? And what is, perhaps, more shocking is the fact that so many evangelicals resonate with this mindset.

I think what we have here is the failure of our Evangelical imagination (among other failures). Yes, worldly nation will fight against worldly nation. No, it isn't surprising that Presidents will eliminate enemies with bombs and guns. But the Christian response to evil is different. We love our enemies. We're not war-mongers. We're not pacifists. We are called to the underground work of creating a world in which people don't become violent dictators or terrorists.

Granted, once a Hitler character emerges, the world will defend itself. I don't blame it! But Christians must come to realize that our calling is not to this last second defense, but to the first work of transforming cultures. Yes, this is more difficult. Yes, this requires great patience. Yes, future dictators and terrorists will slip through the cracks and emerge yet again. But we need to be at work at this anyway. Otherwise we are just playing whack-a-mole with the rest of the world.


shallowfrozenwater said...

i love Claiborne's "Jesus for President". he rang several bells for me just in terms of how to serve the poor and the disenfranchised better in this society. what he said about how the church needs to be good news to the poor has rung true to me for a long time (maybe he was quoting someone else though). i think that "Jesus for President" spoke more to the religious conservative though since it was trying to wake some people up to other versions of evil that Christians gloss over in the name of patriotism. i'm not American though so i can't really speak to strongly to it. i will say this though, there is a strong surge that God and country are synonymous in Western society, and that's just plain wrong. it isn't permissable for Christian leaders to advocate killing, even of one's enemy.

matthew said...

good comment shallowfrozenwater :) btw, I added you again to my left column links. I thought I had done that before, but maybe i was mistaken

Robin said...

Well said, Matt. The more I understand the teachings of Jesus, the less I understand how western culture's version of Christianity has advocated violence, even "redemptive" violence.