Wednesday, June 6, 2012

God Bless America!

Today, June 6, is "D-Day". The 68th anniversary of the Allied Powers' landing at Normandy. Tom Hanks' seminal portrayal of Capt. John Miller in "Saving Private Ryan" showed the world what is, perhaps, the most brutal and gory portrayal of war those of us who've never experienced it will ever know...and know this, seeing a man trying to hold his guts in his torso on film is a bit closer than I ever really wanted to see it. I thank God I wasn't there, or for that matter, any other place where men are actively trying to take my life by any means necessary. We should all take a moment to pray for an eternal end to war, and strive to live in peace.

That said, I'm gonna shift gears here for a bit. A while back, I wrote a letter to the pastor of a church I attended in a few times, asking his opinion on certain matters. I must say, I was rather shocked by his response.

Prior to my other half finding this church a few miles down the road from her home, we had been attending a different church in another city. One Sunday, a preacher in that church gave a sermon about Paul the Apostle and his dealings with certain congregations of the early church, this sermon specifically being on the subject of Galatians.

I have always been what most would label as "anti-authority", and reading Chapter 5 of Galatians kinda stuck out with me. If you've never read it, and you're of the libertarian bent, I'd highly suggest you do so.

Anyhow, I wrote the preacher after attending a dinner/gaming night with some of the other "young adults" from the church. During a discussion, one of our group had asked the preacher about the use of violent force in self-defense, from a "Christian perspective".

I learned that the preacher was raised as, according to him, a "defenseless pacifist" who was taught to take the whole "turn the other cheek" thing quite literally. He explained that his views had changed, and he saw no problem with someone using violent and potentially lethal force in situations such as the protection of others or even in cases of home invasion.

It was also around this time that my study of anarchist philosophy was really gaining ground, as well as a revisitation of the Judeo-Christian bible in accordance with my own beliefs as a follower of Christ.

So there I was, writing him this letter. It was no secret that he was not a huge fan of government, especially since the election of the Socialist in Chief. If I didn't know any better, I'd even wager that he might be a closeted member of the John Birch Society...not that such a thing would, in any way whatsoever, be a bad thing!

My questions, essentially, revolved around questions of scale and costume. If it was acceptable to defend ones' life from murder or property from theft when threatened by Tyrone Q. Crackhead, how does one excuse the act of taxation? I reminded him, of course, that taxation is what pays for both government warfare and government welfare...which we were in total agreement as being very bad things.

I also reminded him that resistance to involuntary taxation invariably ended in imprisonment, and that resistance to such imprisonment invariably ended in the use of force by government...which invariably ends in death, if a person resists hard enough.

So I asked what point do "we the people" start to fight back?

He responded with what I've found to be almost stereotypical of those who support the state, especially those who hold a belief in the Christian faith. It almost always ends up going back to Romans 13, and sadly, his personal response was no different. The "submit to your leaders in government", "submit to those who hold you in slavery", etc.

Then I was hit by the "Without government, we would not have the order that God demands of society", which is also something I've heard countless times before.

My response to this, "Do you make a habit of raping, robbing, stealing, or killing? Do you refrain from such activities because government says you can't, or because you know these activities are morally wrong? If you don't do these things simply because you know they are morally wrong, why do you need government?".

If written words could make a sound, his response to these questions would have been a deafening silence.

Today, while viewing all the D-Day art and posts on the internets that occasionally weren't even trying to not look like pro-war propaganda, I came across a photo captioned "God Bless America".

For some reason, it brought me back to the discussion I had with the preacher. If we are to "submit to our rulers", "obey the law", "pay our taxes", etc because it is necessary to preserve some supposed order required by God, how can we honestly ask God to bless a nation born of violent revolution against these very ideals?

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