02 February 2012

A Strange Encounter Part 6


The Terrible Price of Sacralism...Ignorance by Design

Historically the Sacralist impulse has led to the confusion of common nation with the Kingdom of God. The nation's agenda and policy are cast in theological and redemptive terms. Conflicts with other nations are not understood as two fallen nations in a fallen world fighting over control of the City of Man, they're not understood as rival evils, competing Beast-powers. Instead it's good vs. evil, one side is white and pure while the other side is corrupted, black, and thus evil.

One side, in this case the United States becomes a manifestation of Christ's Kingdom, or at least its proxy, and thus by extension the soldiers in its army become something akin to Holy Crusaders.


Speculative theology wedded to Sacralism can generate an argument or position for any occasion. Justification for war and violence is easy enough to come up with using twisted hermeneutics applied to Old Testament Israel.

When the population is uninformed, ignorant and highly subject to propaganda then it is no great task to manufacture consent. Our world has grown very complex and we have access to information like never before, but with that access comes a double edged sword. The powers that be can be called out much easier, it's harder for them to hide things. But on the other hand, medieval kings and Roman emperors would have salivated at the prospects of using something like television to promote and sell policy. More than enough information is available for us to discern what is happening in the world, but if no one knows how to think or work it out, then it does little good.

Generally speaking it's pretty easy to take a non-aggressive impotent country and paint them as a fire-breathing aggressor, an imminent threat to the very existence of the nation wishing to start a fight. The Establishment Media (wittingly or unwittingly) in 2002-2003 helped the Bush Administration convince the public that America's existence was at stake. Iraq was going to attack any moment and so by attacking them, we were actually defending ourselves, and preventing a mushroom cloud from appearing over an American city. 

An absurd argument, but it proved an easy sell in the face of not just geo-political ignorance, but hysterical fear combined with ignorance. And though few in the media actually suggested or verified the extreme scenarios proffered by the administration, the imagery worked, the fear was at work among the masses.

The powers that be even recruited some leaders of the False Church to draft and sign a letter to President Bush assuring him that attacking Iraq would be defensive and in accord with "Christian" Just War Theory. The Land Letter represented a low point for the American Church as the Southern Baptist lobbyist Richard Land, former special counsel to Nixon and unrepentant felon Chuck Colson, Dominionist D James Kennedy, and perhaps one of the worst offenders of promoting the false gospel of Cheap Grace and Easy Believism, Campus Crusade founder Bill Bright, signed a letter that twisted history, promoted heresy and encouraged a war that has resulted in hundreds of thousands dead. Pope Urban II would have been proud.

The effects of the American invasion of Iraq have not ended. It has affected the whole region and will continue to do so for at least a generation.

Rather than understand America's imperial mission over the past century and its worldwide aggression, especially ramped up since 1991... rather than work through the theological implications of what was happening, most Christians went along with it all. I wonder how far it could have gone before some of them would have really started to question what was happening? What would have happened if there had been another attack and Bush had been granted unlimited political capital for several more years?

Rather than Churches teaching Christians to have a Biblical Worldview, these same synagogues of Satan lauded and praised American 'Servicemen' as they 'served and defended our freedom' by militarily occupying dozens of countries around the world and in March of 2003, by bombing a country that had already been betrayed and ravaged by the United States for over a decade... a country that many workers within the NGO community claimed had been subject to a genocide on the part of the United States with over 1.5 million dead between 1991-2003.

We weren't liberating the Iraqis. We'd been systematically destroying their country for over a decade. The illegal no-fly zones and the sanctions had only strengthened Saddam Hussein. Few were sorry to see him go in 2003, but you're hard pressed to find any Iraqis outside of Kurdistan happy with the results of the American invasion, few that would say life is better, or that they've been liberated. The Kurds are happy to have him gone but their feelings toward American can only be mixed at best. American ally and up until recently American proxy Turkey has slaughtered the Kurds in the tens of thousands. American policy calls the Kurds in Iraq freedom fighters, but just a few miles away in Southeast Turkey, they're terrorists.

The Iraqis have not been liberated, they're the victims of Imperial policy. The 6000 American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and the tens of thousands of wounded and maimed are not 'serving' the people of the United States, they are pawns in a great game, an Imperial strategy dictated by American political, military and business interests.

Rather than teach the commandments of Christ, these 'churches' encouraged and still encourage their young men to shave their heads, be brainwashed, put on the uniform of death, and wage war on other nations.

And when they kill, it is justified...the dead are either guilty parties or unfortunate victims of collateral damage. There's no sin, no crime. Invading another country and killing its people is not murder, it's service. Manipulating and conquering other countries isn't theft, it's defending our freedom.

Ironically, George Bush did more than any other president in recent memory to destabilize the world order. He generated a whole generation of new enemies who wish for revenge and an opportunity to strike back at the Empire which has spread a dark cloud over much of the world. America has been at this for a long time, and when the Soviet Union fell, the lust for power only increased.

For Americans the so-called and very misnamed War on Terror has only created more terror. As a result of Imperial policy both at home and abroad we've lost freedoms and are sliding toward a police state. Despite the hopes of many very gullible people, Obama has done nothing to pull America from this path. This would not be possible if the military was not 'serving' as the muscular arm of Empire. Are these men and women in uniform serving us? Are these pawns not actually doing us harm?

They're not 'serving' us in the least, nor are they making us more free...actually their willingness to participate in evil policy, or in many cases their ignorance of what they do...is actually diminishing our freedom.

Some in a previous generation understood this when instead of cheering returning soldiers from Vietnam they jeered them. I'm not going to spit on soldiers at the airport, but I will not under any circumstance stand on applaud returning storm troopers who are destroying this nation and the world and making me less free.

Why aren't the terrorists gunning for Sweden or Switzerland? Why aren't they setting off bombs in Cambodia, Uruguay, or Botswana? Because these countries aren't out trying to conquer the world. It's funny when you leave other people alone and don't steal their land and resources, kill their children, and corrupt their culture...they don't want to fly hijacked airplanes into your buildings, which itself was an act of desperation...a guerilla attack...a flea biting an elephant, trying to get its attention, scare it off.

America is brilliant at couching its agenda in terms of benevolence, justice, and altruism. It only takes a little bit of knowledge to see what's really happening. The Bosnians needed rescuing in 1995 and the Kosovo Albanians in 1999. Look how good the Americans are. Look how caring. It couldn't be that in post-Soviet Europe America was doing everything it could to gobble up the remnants of the Soviet bloc? It couldn't be that NATO and the EU were both seeking to ensure hegemony over as much of Europe as possible while Russia was on its knees in the 1990's? It couldn't be that the United States didn't want to see Orthodox-Muslim strife spread and begin to affect other areas of Eastern Europe and reignite tensions surrounded their ally Turkey? No, it was pure altruism, because America is good and noble.

But apparently, that goodness and selflessness didn't extend to the people of Rwanda, Sudan, the Congo, Turkish Kurdistan, or North Korea? Or were there other factors, other interests or lack thereof?

Why weren't our soldiers 'serving' us there? In 1995 why was I 'serving' while I was moving bombs and missiles around to kill Serbs...but not North Koreans, or Sudanese?

I just fail to understand why the public falls for this whole line about serving and defending our freedom. Fine I understand, people weren't happy with how American soldiers were treated during the Vietnam era, but they weren't serving us or defending us there either. Was Vietnam going to attack America? The United States failed in its objectives and what happened? Aside from destabilizing the whole Indochinese  region, the Americans eventually learned Communism wasn't a monolith...nationalism never went away, and from the standpoint of the Vietnamese it wasn't about International Communism, but more a case of Civil War, a people resisting an occupier. Communism in so many cases was but a vehicle for the lower classes to express nationalistic sentiment.

Here we are 37 years after Saigon was abandoned, and now Starbucks and Kentucky Fried Chicken have accomplished far more than Agent Orange.

How were the American soldiers in Vietnam serving the country?

And when they die, both then and now, they are not only heroes but martyrs. The language used is often redemptive...our life and salvation is tied to their sacrifice, they died in order that we might live. It ends up sounding blasphemous.

10 comments:

Protoprotestant said...

I stumbled on this today...a perfect example of this heresy being promoted both past and present...

God's American Israel
http://americanvision.org/5543/gods-american-israel-by-ezra-stiles/

Cal said...

What? Isn't America the Shining City on the Hill? The Last Best Hope?

I always think of the JQAdams quote:
"The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."

The guy was quite reasonable but this is foolishness at highest magnitude!

I bought the whole Iraq weapons into Syria line when I was a staunch conservative. Now, I see a ROTC kid walking along in uniform and think, "Do you even know what you're doing?". The Gospel of Jesus is radical indeed.

Protoprotestant said...

I don't deny many of the Founding Fathers and many in early America can be quoted tying Christianity in with the formation of America.

But it was wrong!

And in the case of so many like Adams, they didn't always mean the same things that Evangelicals would mean today. Sometimes Christianity to them was a sort of moral materiel for culture to function. It wasn't even remotely tied in with some kind of Biblical gospel based definition of Christian.

This just muddles it all the more. We're dealing with a convoluted definition of Christian and Christianity and then tying it to a national narrative and rarely does anyone question the theological validity of even attempting to do that.

And THEN...no one questions whether or not the revolution was even valid. Americans seem to forget there were many many Christians who opposed the Revolution and believed the revolutionaries were in sin. Not all of them were pro-British either...many were just simply opposed to what has happening.

Many of those people were actually persecuted and driven out. Interesting that the land they fled to and the country they helped to form has a very different legacy. I've also got some good German Reformed folks in my pedigree who fled up to Coburg Canada in the 1780's. They came back in the 1840's-50's...but at one time I'm guessing they were UEL's.

Of course I also had family members who were fought in the Revolution and I'm sure they were proud of it.

As far as the WMD's Scott Ritter and Hans Blix were excoriated by the American media and Conservative movement. They have been vindicated. Saddam had a WMD program dating back to his days when he was our ally and we were backing him. Osirak dated back to the 70's in colloboration with the French, but Israel ended that in 1981.

But by then he was the new US friend in the fight to bring the Khomeini. Everyone forgot Israel's attack and wondered why he was lobbing SCUD's in 1991.

It's all such a mess and there's very little truth or honesty out there and almost ZERO in Christian circles.

I guess I fell for it all in 1990-91 and cheered on the assault. But by 1995 I was a different person. My Rush days were over and I was on a totally different page long before March 2003.

The Shining City on the Hill? Did Reagan really think that he was somehow standing in line with Cotton Mather and John Winthrop? Good night can you imagine John Adams and Cotton Mather getting along? I think not.

Anonymous said...

I checked out the Stiles article. It makes me rather ill to know that many, if not most, of the homeschoolers in our local group would love to read that.
sigh.
Another great article.
Lisa

Cal said...

Haha, Adams and Mather! Could you imagine his father being there for an Edwards lecture? Oh the duke of braintree would have some feisty words for the old-school puritans. They'd all be tyrants in his book and he a damnable reprobate.

Everytime I think of the Sacralism between protestants and catholics, it's deeply depressing. I thank God for records about the Anabaptists and Poor of Lyons. Truly, a remnant lives in the darkest spots, even now!

Aside question: Would you identify with 'Protestantism'? I try and distant myself from that label because it is so massive. I can hardly imagine groups like Menno's being accepted as 'Protestant' by Calvin et al. Maybe 'Radical Reformers' or 'Radical Protestants'? Perhaps a reluctance to fit the WASP portrait. At the end of the day it all depends on the heart, and that contains no labels save the name the King has given it.

Anonymous said...

Labels are difficult, aren't they.
I call myself "Christian" but also find myself explaining that term quite often. It's been hijacked.

Maybe if we really, truly live the part - less explaining is needed.
The Holy Spirit just shines thru.

Lisa

Jim said...

I think this series would have been more interesting if you had met this guy on the bench at the mall. I ran across a link to this site in my local newspaper. I sometimes wonder if we are just making things up fancying the state of christendom in america is really so bad... then I find things like this.

http://www.usachristianministries.com/2011/12/22/who-is-the-most-god-fearing-presidential-candidate/

-Jim (fb)

Protoprotestant said...

Jim,

wow, thanks for sharing that link. That's...really something. It certainly would have been more interesting.

I'm afraid with people like that, they're so blinded that really can't even beging to understand what you're saying. It was kind of like that with this guy I talked to. What I was saying was critical of Bush, Republicans and the Christian Right narrative.

Therefore I'm the enemy...period. I'm just wrong...the details don't matter.

For years a friend and I have laughed and laughed about being in one of these churches...the Independent Fundamental KJV-only etc.... the pastor would get worked up, bring up some point and say you know what? They're wrong! (said with great dramatic effect)

Then we'd wait for the explanation and it didn't come. Wasn't necessary I guess...it was just...They're Wrong!

You just can't even talk to people like this. They're worshipping an idol and I'll give them this...their zeal has become blind devotion...blind being the key word.

Protoprotestant said...

Labels are hard. Like Lisa said, the label Christian is pretty meaningless today. I won't disavow it but some of these people make me want to. Depending on who I'm talking to I feel like I have to add a disclaimer. Yes I'm a Christian BUT...I'm not this or that.

As far as Protestant, it's kind of the same thing. I too want to escape the WASPy label and I certainly don't want to identify with much that has been called Protestant.

In most Prototestant Church histories the pre-Reform groups are viewed as a sort of Protestantism in the rough. That's true in part and truer with certain groups. But that's not the whole story. Many of them also represented some key theological points quite different from what would later come out with Luther and Calvin.

That's why we're kind of 3rd Stream...perhaps more anti-Catholic than even most Protestants and yet not terribly keen on most Protestants either.

In one sense I am very much a Protestor, I just happen to be Protesting the Protestants as well.

I can't deny that I'm largely coming from a Protestant persepctive. Even with all their problems much of their theology is reasonably and sound and certainly moreso than that coming out of Rome.

Protestants can read here and understand me much easier than an RC could. And yet, you're right there's also something very non-Protestant about what I'm saying.

In a lot of Ind. Fund. Baptist Churches they try to label themselves as non-Protestants and argue that there was a stream of Ind. Fund. Baptist Churches stretching through the ages. The Waldensians, Lollards, and Hussites were all Independent Fundamental Baptists...patently ridiculous.

They want to say they were never RC's and that's driving their forced reading of history. The reality is they very much come out of the Protestant tradition. They are a deviation from Reformed Puritanism and cannot deny their Protestant roots. Their ignorance of history and theology allow them to live our their fantasy.

So because of those folks I usually grit my teeth when I hear Protestants trying to claim they're not Protestants.

I am but I'm not. The label just doesn't mean much. It's like "Evangelical"...what's that? It's probably more a social construct than a theological one.

If Protestantism is defined by adherence to Lutheran or Reformed ideals...then the gatekeepers of those movements are likely to say you(Cal) and I are not Protestants.

At which point I shrug my shoulders and say...fine.

Cal said...

The funny thing is, I think in some cases catholics here may understand better than protestants what the Scripture is trying to say.

Let me explain:
I'm not talking about magisterium, or bishops or particularly any author or apologist (especially from a European country! with perhaps the exception of England). I mean in the terms of an American catholic. They're a strange breed. They've been persecuted by the Protestant establishment and inculcated with the culture. Remember how Kennedy (hardly a committed catholic) how to put to rest the fear he was just a papal drone and was going to make Washington subject to Rome? A lot of those who either are inculcated in the culture or are somewhat thoughtful are not asking for Rome to rule over the US.

I look at those like Dorothy Day and have to say, she gets it much more than the sacralist Protestant.

Now, I think the Roman polity is an expression anti-Christ, but I guess I'm not so harsh. I think there is a remnant inside Roman Catholicism, but they're not being logically consistent to the demands that the Vatican expresses.

I think if I lived in Italy I would be expressing things differently. If I were in Russia, I would probably have harder words for the establishment of Russian Orthodoxy. But here in America we have the wing-nut "evangelical" (the gospel of Washington) establishments. Perhaps that'll change as the Roman polity gets brought into the ecunmenical, Western bulwark to defend against the Chinese, Russians and Islam. The fact that a catholic and mormon are the frontrunners shows this swing. I'm just waiting for a full swing absorption of Salt Lake City into the fold of christendom.

With labels, I just tell general people I'm a 'Disciple of Jesus' or 'Follower of Jesus' now. If they ask me if I'm protestant, I say no but try and qualify it without getting into a whole discussion of the reformation.

It's tough trying to explain truth from within a broken paradigm! Which relates back into the left-right of the original post, rather frustrating sometimes.