This guest post comes to us from Greg Cheney. Greg lives in Alaska with his wife, Kari, and their twelve children. You can visit his Christian blog at www.hislawislove.com.
Stop and think about it. What would you think if an armed individual invaded the home of your son with the intention of killing him and his family, and in defense of his family, your son grabs a weapon so that he might stop the threat, but the invader shoots him and kills him….and then claims self-defense as his rationale for killing your son, because, after all, your son might have used his weapon to harm him.
What would you think about a group of people from the invader’s hometown that would defend this warped view, claiming 1) the invader was young and should not be condemned for killing your son because anyone would react that way if someone was pointing a weapon in his face, 2) your son was from a town where people do things differently, so in the grand scheme of things, the world was made better because your son is dead, and 3) the invader was only following someone else’s orders, so those giving the orders should be the only ones held accountable.
Let’s take the personal element out of it and replace your son with a stranger in this scenario. Would you then be willing to let the killer off the hook? No? Then why do so many Americans defend the actions of U.S. military members when they invade other nations and kill their sons, and then use these same claims as justifications? Even more amazing is the fact that many professing Christians support these very actions, and ardently promote these actions, by replacing the invader with U.S. military members, and the family member with the sons of citizens of Iraq, Afghanistan, China, Vietnam, Germany, Russia, etc.
Self-defense is one thing (see again the actions of the son), being an aggressive invader is something else.
Christ never instructed his followers to seek and kill people that practice false religions, he commanded his followers to make disciples of all nations. “And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” (Luke 9:53-56) After reading these words of our Lord, how can a Christian justify being part of any group or institution that destroys the lives of men, women, and children across the world? I think that many professing Christians in America know not what manner of spirit they are of. Christ certainly never commanded the U.S. to destroy people that do not look, act, or talk like Americans, because the U.S. is not his Kingdom, and because his purposes are served through the loving sacrifices of his Church, not death and destruction. Some professing American Christians may think that being an American and being Christian are synonymous, but this shows their blindness and arrogance.
A friend of mine recently stated in a discourse between the two of us that he is unwilling to “condemn the 19-year-olds” that are in foreign nations killing people, because they are getting shot at, and besides, they are just following orders he said. If you do not see the problem with this, please reread the scenario at the beginning of this post. I attempted to convey the principles of this scenario to my friend, but rather than using the scriptures (not that the scriptures would support his view) or any sort of response involving some trace of critical thinking, his rebuttal included gems such as “enjoy your blanket of freedom paid for by condemned souls”, and “just as I tell the snowflakes that say this country is evil, you are still choosing to be here.” I can only shake my head at this bluster.
(I am starting to feel like Laurence Vance who perhaps has been called everything under the sun by those whose religion is Americanism! Because of his boldness as a follower of Christ, Mr. Vance’s writings have influenced me greatly, and I share his posts on my blog regularly. It looks like I will also be sharing in the vitriol he receives! – albeit on a smaller scale.)
I told my friend that his comments do not bother me, because my allegiance lies with the Kingdom of God, not an earthly kingdom. I further told him that I believe those who hold to the position I am advocating for have more courage and care more about the people in this land than those who promote and support militarism. Why do I say that? Because we are speaking an unpopular message based on Christian principles rather than just “going along to get along”, and because this stance takes the eternal destiny of all those involved into consideration, including military members.
According to my friend’s logic, if someone in the military is ordered to kill American citizens, and he follows through with it, he is guiltless because he was only following orders. I asked him where he draws the line. When would it be wrong to follow orders? If there is only one instance where obeying orders would be wrong, the argument that obeying orders always relieves the actor of guilt is destroyed. I never received a response.
I would defend my family from an aggressive invader. If my community was being invaded by killers, I would be among the number seeking to stop them. But I cannot support killing for the state. I cannot support the armed invasion of other countries and territories because that is not the mission Christ gave his followers. I cannot support militarism and interventionism for the sake of those that are being killed, and I cannot support it for the sake of those who are doing the killing. I care about the eternal destiny of both.