Wednesday, December 20, 2006

From a Fissure to a Chasm

“Turn with me to the third chapter of Ecclesiastes,” instructed our pastor.

“Let's leave,” I whispered tightly to my wife Korrin. She quietly but firmly shushed me, and she had a point.

At the time – March 2003, the Sunday before the beginning of the most recent Gulf War – our family hadn't yet welcomed our youngest daughter, Sophia, who would be born the following January. Nonetheless, there were six of us, situated very near the front of the chapel, and had we chosen to take our leave at the beginning of the service we would have caused quite a spectacle. So we sat through the entire sermon, which was a potted, pre-fabricated homily on the theme of the supposed virtues of war, just as I knew it would be.

Our pastor at the time was a young man, well-turned out and personable with a remarkable high baritone singing voice. His sermons tended to be well-crafted and theatrical, and generally very effective. This particular installment was less than inspired or inspiring, because the pastor seemed determined to circle the point he was making without running directly into it.

The Bible says that “there is a time for war,” he said in at least a half-dozen different ways, none of them sufficiently clear or specific to permit his audience to answer this question: Was the then-impending war in Iraq one Christians could support in good conscience?

Although he was emphatic in making the case for the righteousness of war in the abstract, our pastor seemed unable to make a case for this particular venture. His message appeared to be that when our Leader commands us to kill, it is our duty as Christians to obey.

The following Saturday, several days after the invasion of Iraq had begun, our family happened to be driving down the main street of Appleton, Wisconsin – our residence at the time – en route to the YMCA. Just short of our destination we saw two contending demonstrations. On our left was a small group gathered behind a large banner bearing the legend “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!” -- which is always phrased as an imperative, and generally in capital letters with an exclamation point. Most of the people arrayed behind that sign were people from the church we were then attending.

On the right side of the street was a somewhat larger group of anti-war protesters drawn from various local activist groups. Korrin and I glanced at each other briefly and – without a word, practically in unison – shouted our support for the peace protesters through the windows of our mini-van, as I honked the horn to get their attention.

“It would appear,” I commented to Korrin as we pulled into the parking lot at the Y, “that we are attending the wrong church.”

Hey, Christian war-bots -- remember this guy, the Prince of Peace?

We migrated to three other churches, only to encounter the same problem: Theologically and politically conservative churches were badly infected with the leaven of Bushiolatry, and saw nothing amiss in their approval of the blood sacrifices being offered up in Iraq.

By late 2005, Korrin and I had found a theologically suitable church whose pastor was a disillusioned ex-Republican and recent recruit into the Constitution Party (which, alas, has problems of its own with which to grapple). We had also become regular weekend participants in anti-war demonstrations in Appleton and as far away as Milwaukee.

Just shortly before leaving Appleton to move to Idaho in November of that year, our family took part in that most stereotypical liberal exercise, the candlelight vigil for peace. We didn't join in the John Lennon sing-a-long, or participate in any of the New Age rituals some protesters insisted on performing.

We attended those events to give voice to our opposition to a monumental crime against Christian decency and constitutional law – and, when opportunities presented themselves, to explain to fellow protesters the intimate connection between a large, interventionist government (which many of them supported) and an aggressive, interventionist foreign policy (which they obviously opposed).

With remarkable consistency we found that anti-war activists were willing to reverse-engineer their assumptions about big government from their opposition to the war.

We also found that our friends and family members who are conservative supporters of the war have been utterly unwilling to reconsider their positions in spite of their advertised hostility to big, invasive government.

It's likely that millions of other politically and theologically conservative Christians have had similar experiences. Perhaps more than a few of them have reconsidered their support for the Iraq war as the multi-layered rationales for this misadventure have been abraded way by the pitiless sandstorm of reality.

Roughly four years ago, as it became clear that the Bush Regime wouldn't settle for any outcome in Iraq that didn't involve invasion, occupation, and the theft of that nation's energy resources, a small but significant fissure became visible between those who pledged their devotion to the Dear Leader, and those of us who don't reside in the reality-optional realm where Bush's will is the only standard.

That fissure has now become a chasm. And others will soon develop as well.

The Wee Decider has let it be known that, well, gee golly Ned, it would be a ripping good idea to expand the size of the Army.

Like any small child too long permitted to believe in the invincible sovereignty of his whims, the Bush-baby doesn't explain exactly how this is to be done. He's simply going to have incoming Minister of War Robert Gates devise a “plan” to accomplish this objective.

It works like this: Georgie wants, and Georgie must have it, so the nice adults surrounding him have to find some way to get it for him.

Perhaps Mr. Gates can simply inform the Pentagon's recruitment officers that they needn't be so picky, and that they are now free to enlist the hordes of would-be inductees who are being turned away – their hopes of glory cruelly dashed, their eyes bright with frustrated tears.

Those hordes, of course, have made their absence keenly felt. This isn't going to change.

Which means that at some point, the order will be given to send forth the draft-nappers. When this occurs, parents in countless conservative churches across the nation will likely be treated to yet another version of the same homily based on the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, as pastors try to swaddle child sacrifice in the sanctified robes of Christian duty.

When this happens, how many parents will look on their children – both sons and daughters, since the New Model Slave Army would be “gender-inclusive” -- and decide that the State, the coldest of all cold monsters, is entitled to feast on the warm, living flesh of their offspring?

How many, on the other hand, will find themselves blinking awake in mortal horror as they realize – however tardily – that it is utterly perverse to allow strangers living in a cocoon of privilege to steal their children, in order to have them either kill or be killed by children of other parents with whom they have no quarrel?

The chasm opened between those two types of parents could conceivably lead to an actual shooting war in this country, one side of which would be considered entirely just by non-pacifist anti-war activists like myself. Our National Anthem points out that it is the duty of “free men” to “stand between their loved homes and the war's desolation,” and that this is a “cause [that] is just.”

God grant that I'm entirely wrong, and that what we're contemplating here never transpires. But it's clear that our rulers are perfectly willing to allow young Americans – including, may God forgive us, young mothers – to kill and die in Iraq simply because neither of the ascendant factions wants to risk the political liabilities for “cutting and running” from a war we should never have fought.

Those bastards (no other word is suitable, at least none I would use) care that little for the lives they waste in the service of their own convenience.

The time will most likely come when the battle-cry of the patriots at Thermopylae so suitably adopted by the gun rights movement, will be adopted as well by those of us determined to protect our children from those who would steal them to serve in the imperial Slave Army: Molon labe!

Roughly translated, the phrase means: If you want them, you're going to have to come and get them.

That's not an invitation. It's a warning.


rick said...


great piece. i saw the idea of expanding the military as really ominous. it's funny how in at least two state constitutions that i know of (VA and NC) that it even mentions that standing armies are dangerous to peace, yet both states welcome standing armies on their soil with open arms.

that being said, how in the world is the govt to pay for a larger army? its debt is larger than every country's debt on this planet combined!! this just baffles the mind. truly some folks in DC have been drinking from lead goblets.

Truth Addict said...

Will, I love your new found liberty that this blog affords you. I don't know of anybody else who can succinctly state, with verbally conceptual precision, exactly that which needs to be said. Thank you for pointing out the falsehood that the modern day church, infected with neo-conservative worship, is spewing to it's masses. I'm becoming increasingly freed from the fear of criticizing the church as I embrace my suspicion that they generally no longer serve the Lord, but rather the State. The devil cometh as an angel of light.

Warren said...

Will, After reading many alternative blogs I was convinced that I, as a Christian, was alone in my thinking that something is terribly amiss. That noone that sees the darkness is a Christian. Thank you for proving me wrong.

I enjoy your writing please keep it coming. May God bless you.

DRS said...

The von Mises institute recently ran a great piece by Tom Woods on the Anti-Imperialist League of the late 1800/early 1900's that dovetails nicely with this post. <>

Two things stood out:

First, even though Will has expressed his contempt of Carl Schurz for his background as a revolutionary "forty-eighter" and his role in the injustice done to the Ponca tribe (and other tribes I assume), it turns out that later in life Schurz was active in opposition to the Spanish-American war.

As for the concern for our kids and the draft-nappers, here's an excerpt (from Woods' article) from a petition that one member of the Anti-Imperialist League wanted to send to Congress as early as 1896. A bit tongue-in-check, but it's a direct hit.

"It is requested that an act may be passed to the effect that any citizen of the United States who proposes to force this country into a war . . . shall be immediately conscripted or entered upon the army roll for service from the beginning to the end of any such war when it shall occur. It is suggested that Senators of the United States shall be assigned to the position of general officers . . . [and] that Representatives in Congress shall be assigned to the command of brigades…. Of course, men who in high public position have … expressed such an earnest desire to assert and defend the honor of the country at any cost, would most enthusiastically vote for this enactment and would immediately enroll themselves for active service in the field.

"This proposal for the immediate enrollment of the Jingo army will at once develop the sincerity of purpose of the advocates of aggression and violence by their enlistment. An indirect but great benefit would then ensue by the removal of these persons from the high positions in which they have proved their incapacity to deal with questions of peace, order and industry and to given them the opportunity to exert and prove their military prowess."

Wayne in PA said...

As an answer to rick on how they will pay for the larger army, think: "Federal Reserve" just another secret tax! Truth Addict & Warren: I am also stuck in a modern 501c3 church where most members see the state as our protection from the terrorists and don't have a clue what's going on. I am very lonely in my thoughts and when they are brought up I am always told that it's God's Sovereignty, but I know he uses means....... I ain't budging, they can't prove their arguments from scripture and I can. Forward with the truth Will, thank you and God Bless,

dixiedog said...

I agree with you on the churches and Christians in general. But I'm much more somber about the whole picture.

It's amazing how folk, who grasp the truth and can convey the reality of the state in toto in such poignant detail, never seem to be or become "movers" and "shakers" in various professions, including pastoring a church. Folk just can't stand hearing or reading the truth about these matters, perhaps because it incites some painful introspection? Dunno.

Anyway, this country is soooo back-asswards these days in just about everything and all kinds of philosophies and ideologies are eaten up by the masses. Yeah, there's a chasm alright, but not just in the Christian church, but societally across the board, which no doubt is assisted and abetted by the church chasm. The country is beyond hopeless and it's beyond obvious that we'll never return to the freedom, however constrained it might have been in some ways, of yore.

The way I see it is that a society, where in essence one side promotes a sort of unbridled "freedom," i.e. you live how you want, I'll live the way I want and another side that tries to mandate a man-made and man conceived "right" way for everyone to live to be enforced by the state literally, is either way doomed to be consumed and controlled by the state. It's obvious that both methods rely wholly upon the state. The former requires the state to arbitrate on-the-fly "right" and "wrong" whimsically. The latter requires the state to enforce a man-made, man-conceived "right" and punish a man-made, man-conceived "wrong" upon everyone. Nothing foundational or concrete.

Ergo, they're both hopeless extremes that cannot possibly work w/o state interference as the state plays the key role in settling the matters either way. The only way that a society can live, work, and play in relative peace and harmony is for the aggregate whole to share the same value system, a concrete and solid sense of what's right and wrong, and general worldview voluntarily.

Only ONE value system, not multiple value systems, is what folk are going to live by, either voluntarily or be forced upon them. The question is, which one will it be? I think by now the answer is obvious.

There is, after all, some core truth to the phrase "government of the commoners, government for the commoners, government by the commoners." Ok, it's a little doctored, but you get the idea.

Anonymous said...

Will --

Great piece, as always. You concept of the chasm, and the search for a church that doesn't worship at the altar of Caesar and his State, struck a particular chord with me, however.

Have you ever investigated any of the unincorporated church movements or aguments? (Heal our Land,, etc)

I would submit that as that "chasm" widens, one of the major dividers will be between State-approved churches, chartered and ultimately beholden to Caesar, and those created by the Creator, who know Whom they serve.

When pastors owe their livelihood to Big Brother's largesse, and live under the protection of the 'corporate veil' provided by the prince of this world, it's no surprise that they'll avoid Scripture which their master says is no longer PC, and parrot Caesar's line to the stolen flock.

There are more non-501-(c)3 true 'ecclesia' out there than you might think, and they tend to be a whole lot more open to reading the Word for what God actually says than what The Man says it oughtta say.

TravisTHeadcase said...

One thing I might add; in addition to making gargantuan profits for the oil companies through war created scarcity, is that this war is being used as an urban training excercise for the troops.
One of the goals of guerilla warfare is to induce psychological trauma on the invader in the hopes of making him an ineffective warrior. However, if the occupier has sufficient drugs and adequate mind-control over his troops, it can backfire and turn the occupier into a sadistic raving lunatic, as we have witnessed on a few occassions.
It's a horrible thing to witness the carnage created by I.E.D.'s upon one's unit, and rage can and does build up significantly afterwards (post traumatic). This can lead to complete de-humanization of the troops if not properly addressed. You may remember what happened at Fort Bragg just a few months after the invasion in Afghanistan, when three Spec. Forces soldiers brutally murdered their entire immediate families.
I am of the opinion that when our troops get home they will have few employment opportunities other than law enforcement. Having been de-sensitized by the endless exposure to extreme adrenaline situations will render our troops more likely to consider firing on American citizens should a civil uprising occur. That coupled with the fact that it has been well documented within the Spec. Forces that today's "one-man Army" does not possess the same moral and Constitutional discernment as say, a soldier of twenty years ago.He is more likely to blindly follow orders from a superior officer, regardless of whether the orders are lawful or not.

TravisTHeadcase said...
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rick said...


i must disagree with you, and at the same time agree with you. first the disagree, for those service members who have something to fall back on, their faith, there may not be such a problem. i went to iraq and came back, and i am in no way de-sensitized by what i saw or experienced. the fact that i am even reading this blog and agree with what Will is saying is a case in point....BUT i'm Christian, and have been for some time. not everyone can say that.

for those who go over with no faith, or who are not saved, then i would agree with you on the most part, but it depends on the person and their job. some folks have it easier than others in both theaters.

i would not however generalize folks serving overseas, nor would i put them all in the same group. it's easy to do so. if ever anyone should ask you for facts supporting your claim, i'm sure you could rattle off several cases, as could i. but if someone asked you to offer cases where people were not affected, would you be able to offer evidence? i could, i could site entire units that went over and came back, and everyone was good to go. it all comes down to the person. some folks thrive on stress, some folks fall apart.

but yes, there are numerous cases supporting your claim (and having folks go over for a 4th time is a sin IMO), but the war, in all of its side effects, is not having such a disastrous effects on people's minds, as it is on their marriages.

will some soldiers shoot an american in the back? i'd say no more so than any other american who is uninformed. soldiers are far less dangerous than a mob of uniformed citizens IMO.

but...there is that goodyear strike that will demonstrate what is to come.

lastly, i see a lot of "support our troops" stickers everywhere. i got an idea for a better sticker, "bring them home". but that sticker would not be as funny as the one i saw that said, "support your local stripper."

TravisTHeadcase said...
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TravisTHeadcase said...

Thanks for the feedback. I agree that many are not significantly or permanently affected, especially if one is saved. It would depend on the unit's or soldier's exposure levels as well, based upon my conversations with a couple of former troops. Historically speaking, about 1 in 10 soldiers are actually on the front line, though that ratio could be skewed, due to the nature of this war. Pardon my over-generalization to make a point, however we cannot completely ignore some of the events that have taken place here and abroad.
Part of my position rests upon my assumption that the economy is going to tank very soon. When it does, private sector jobs will be scarce, as they were during the First Depression, which will draw many to some type of government service, more than likely law enforcement or related positions.
One of the more obvious problems we face is the general disregard for human life in our society. A truly Christian and moral Nation and It's leaders would not tolerate abortion for example. We have been subjected to a de-humanizing onslaught against everything that is noble and moral, let alone Christian, through the media for many years,led by the fascist marriage of industry and government. Nazi Germany, among others were created in this way.
Another of my reasons for posting is that I've read accounts from American, and British S.O.F., and these "contractors" operate above the law, since they don't wear a uniform and are employees of companies like Haliburton.
I'm not suggesting that just because someone is former Spec Ops that they are lunatics. What I mean is that since they work for a private company, there are no moral safeguards in place, just orders, and that sometimes leads to immoral decisions regarding the taking of human life. That mind-set can be very contagious, depending upon the moral foundation of those involved.
Granted, these guys are in a vast minority, but the trend is very disturbing. The concept of the "citizen soldier" has been virtually supplanted by the "professional soldier".
One thing is certain, that the police and sheriffs in this country are highly militarized and geared toward protecting government interests and property, rather than protecting and serving the people. Couple that with a society that is morally bankcrupt and which has been destabilized on all fronts and you have a recipe for disaster.
I pray that God will have mercy on us, spare us His judgement, and cause a revival in our land.

Unknown said...

Well, I am a believer that faith without works is dead. So what the hell are we going to DO about it? Are we all so timid and cowed that we cannot rally sufficient support for our position? Are we truly still just a small, and not so vocal minority? You all have the right idea- Governments start wars, people, i.e. individuals, would prefer peace, in nearly every instance. I would say the government's failures to represent the wishes of the Governed has gone on FAR too long. We must write to our representatives, exercise ALL of our Constitutionally stated (not granted) rights each and every day. What if we ALL referred somebody to this blog? What if THEY all did. The propagation of opinions seems agonizingly slow in the beginning, but it is a battle we must take up every day. We must be PRO PEACE not ANTI-WAR- it seems the same but the difference, though subtle, is very important. I am a believer in peaceful but forceful and unyielding dissent when it is called for. Keep up the good work, and may God have mercy on the misguided people the universe currently knows as the Human Race of the Planet Earth.