Everyone's Plan B

Do Soldiers Imitate Christ?

December 5, 2012

This past Veterans Day was especially troubling to those of us who don’t go to church to see and hear the military idolatry that is unfortunately all too prevalent in many churches. The reason this year was so bad is that Veterans Day actually fell on a Sunday. It is bad enough to attend church on the Sunday before Veterans Day (or Independence Day), but it is even worse when a state holiday falls on a Sunday. Thank God Memorial Day is always observed on a Monday.

So, this past Veterans Day was the perfect day for military-loving churches to give their last full measure of devotion, so to speak, when it comes to the military: veterans dressed in their military uniforms, veterans asked to stand while they are applauded, active duty military personnel recognized, the church building and grounds decorated with flags, the pledge to the flag recited, patriotic songs sung, hymns of worship to the state sung, prayers for the troops, thanks to the troops for "keeping us safe" and "defending our freedoms," the songs of the different branches of the military played on the piano before the service or during the offering, a "Support Our Troops" message on the church sign, a video tribute to the military played during the Sunday morning church service, a special message by a military chaplain from the local base, and the glorification of the military in general.

I have observed on more than one occasion that American Christians don’t seem to care how many wars their great troops are involved in, how senseless the wars, or how many lies the wars are based on. They don’t seem to care how many countries their beloved troops are in, how many foreign bases they are on, or how many billions the United States spends to maintain its empire of troops and bases around the globe. They don’t seem to care how many foreign civilians are killed by their glorious troops, how many are maimed and injured, or how many widows and orphans they create. It doesn’t seem to matter what their great troops do, where their beloved troops do it, and to whom their glorious troops do it.

This is no more apparent than in the writings of the theologically schizophrenic Michael Milton, whom I discovered and wrote about a year ago.

Milton is the Chancellor, CEO, and The James M. Baird Jr. Chair of Pastoral Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. Milton is also a Navy veteran, an Army Reserve chaplain, an instructor at the U.S. Army Chaplain Center & School in Fort Jackson, S.C., and a member of the American Legion, the Reserve Officers Association, and the U.S Army Chaplain Corps Regimental Association. And as I also pointed out last year, he holds to every armchair warrior, red-state fascist, reich-wing nationalist, imperial Christian fallacy known to man.

"Veterans Day is a holy day, at least for me," says Milton in an article for byFaith, the online magazine of the Presbyterian Church in America, "And I think that Christ is glorified, at least in my heart, when I hear the Navy hymn sung by voices that have been there, in the air, in the land, and on the sea."

In his article Milton reminiscences about being a young man and seeing a neighbor named Carl leaving for Vietnam. "I felt proud to see him go. He had his uniform on, having just returned from boot camp for a final few days of family time before being flown to Vietnam, and I was impressed," says Milton, who "loved to see young men in our country’s uniforms" because it reminded him of his late father, a naval officer, who died when he was five. Milton never saw Carl alive again, but he did see the men in uniform emerge from the "white government car" a month later and tell Carl’s young wife that he had been killed in Vietnam.

What made my blood boil was not that Carl died unnecessarily, duped, in vain, and for a lie, just like the thousands of U.S. soldiers who have done so in Iraq and Afghanistan, but – as senseless and as tragic as Carl’s death was – because of what Milton said about soldiers in recounting his Veterans Day custom:

Each Sunday nearest Veterans Day, I would always take time in the announcements to read from Romans 13 about "showing honor unto whom honor was due." I would ask our organist or pianist to play the service songs of each of the Armed Forces branches and for veterans to stand as they were played. I would ask them to stand for those who also served but did not come home. I always reminded them to play for the Merchant Marines, too. At the conclusion, as all were standing, I asked that we go to the Lord to pray for these and give thanks for all who would imitate Christ Jesus and serve and sacrifice so that we could be free.

Taking these last statements in reverse order –

U.S. troops fighting in foreign wars are doing everything but defending our freedoms. The more they defend our freedoms – by bombing, invading, and occupying other countries – the more enemies of the United States they create and the more our real freedoms are taken away in the name of "fighting terrorism" and "national security." Since I never "served," don’t take my word for it; listen (here and here) to Army veteran and now president of the Future of Freedom Foundation, Jacob Hornberger, who has been arguing this very point for years.

Something is always sacrificed for a reason and a purpose. An accidental death is not a sacrifice. An unnecessary death is not a sacrifice. A death in vain is not a sacrifice. A senseless death is not a sacrifice. A death that is not required is not a sacrifice. The thousands of U.S. soldiers who have died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan did not sacrifice themselves for freedom or anything else. Their lives were wasted. They were wasted because their deaths were both pointless and preventable.

Do U.S. soldiers perform any service that is honorable, necessary, and worthy of thanks? Do they defend the United States by securing its borders, guarding its shores, patrolling its coasts, or watching its skies? Fighting foreign wars is not serving. Bombing and destroying Iraq and Afghanistan is not serving. Killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans is not serving. Occupying countries is not serving. Playing golf on a U.S. military golf course while stationed in Japan is not serving. These are just ways of earning a paycheck for being part of the president’s personal attack force.

Of course, the worst thing that Milton did was to say that soldiers imitate Christ. He went on to say this once more in his article: "Christ is the captain of our salvation, and we will serve our nation, our people, in some way, as a pale but earnest imitation of His life and death on Calvary’s cross." U.S. soldiers don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with the Lord Jesus Christ – the Prince of Peace. Just because Christ died and soldiers die doesn’t mean that the two deaths are somehow related. Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. The American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan didn’t die for us, unless you mean the U.S. imperial presidency, U.S. hegemony, the U.S. empire, the U.S. military, the U.S. military-industrial complex, U.S. foreign policy, and the U.S. national security state. Do soldiers imitate Christ when they bomb and shoot, when they invade and occupy, when they plunder and pillage, or when they maim and kill?

Rather than Veterans Day being, as Milton concludes, "a holy day when mortal men and women remind us of the service and sacrifice of Jesus Christ," I think it is rather an unholy day when mortal men and women are wrongly exalted over the service and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

December 3, 2012

Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State, The Revolution that Wasn't, Rethinking the Good War, and The Quatercentenary of the King James Bible. His latest book is The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom. Visit his website.

Copyright © 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

1 year 10 months ago

There is no authority in our Constitution for global policing or undeclared wars. Our troops take an oath to defend our Constitution. The conflict there is apparent.

1 year 10 months ago

Here are some very big numbers for a moral-less people that think killing babies is OK! Now Sue and your buddies I have asked since I feel your comments are sick and abusive and I am tired of you following me around (stalking) saying bad things I must report you again for abuse and asking again you go away!

 … More
1 year 10 months ago

Joseph, exactly how does an advocacy for our Constitution correspond to moral-less?
Without an answer to that question your intent is obviously to incite. The answer is?

1 year 10 months ago

The mission statement of this group used to contain a mandate for evidence. Has it been changed? I should expect to see an admonishment for Joseph from both Thomas and Jeff Scully.

1 year 10 months ago

The Constitution is the basis of the discussion here Joseph, you are aware of that right? No one here suggested that our troops are anything less than honorable and worthy of the respect we accord to those who answer the call of our country.
You do understand that the objections expressed here are solely based on the principles and enumerated powers of our Constitution right?

 … More
1 year 10 months ago

Isn't it more appropriate that righteous indignation be expressed against Americans who don't respect our Constitution?
Isn't righteous indignation expressed against those defending our Constitution very unAmerican?
Where am I getting this wrong?

1 year 10 months ago

Far too many don't know the constitution. Even more don't understand the Founders and Framers of our constitution never envisioned what we have become. What little I know of these things include the desire for mercenary forces vice a standing army. The Founders knew they were embarking on a grand experiment and wanted nothing more than to be left alone to get on with that great endeavor while establishing trade with other nations not military treaties.

 … More
1 year 10 months ago

"Now Sue and your buddies I have asked since I feel your comments are sick and abusive and I am tired of you following me around (stalking) saying bad things I must report you again for abuse and asking again you go away!"

Following YOU around? Here we are again with Joseph inciting a confrontation. Sue made the first comment on this discussion, so how on earth is SHE following YOU around?.
FAIL again...thanks for the laugh.

1 year 10 months ago

I noticed that too Rino.

1 year 10 months ago

You made some good points Gregory. We too are victims of the government propaganda. They know they have us in a tough position in our discussions. We dare not say anything contrary about illegal actions lest it be construed as a criticism of our troops. Well, there are some of us who do dare to speak up. I know in my heart just how compassionate I am for our military members and their families. I OWE it to them to have the courage to speak up! It is my responsibility to watch their backs.

1 year 10 months ago

DOES SUPPORTING WAR = SUPPORTING OUR TROOPS?

 … More
1 year 10 months ago

She said unconstitutional wars. He heard abortion? LOL

Thankfully, this makes sense!

"Do we honor firemen by starting fires?
Our Government habitually dishonors these men by sending them off across the world to undeclared, unconstitutional wars aimed at furthering a malevolent global agenda."

1 year 10 months ago

We're not here to sit down and shut up doug. We're here to share ideas and learn from each other. You have answers? Let's hear them.

1 year 10 months ago

"If you are not wise enough to know where All of the countries involved are at on the chess board, and what they are up to, you really should sit down "

Yeah I don't know about any of that. Feel free to enlighten me. I am willing to listen.

1 year 10 months ago (Edited)

Uh oh potty talk. I'm sure Joseph will report Douglas. Someone with good moral character doesn't just report the potty talk from people they disagree with. They report it from anyone. Have you got it taken care of Joseph?

1 year 10 months ago

The times we are in? There is a "times we are in" waiver somewhere in the Constitution?
We are in the times we are in because the Constitution has been all but abandoned.
Douglas, I'm wondering who it is you are thinking that are deserving of respect that Rino disrespected.

1 year 10 months ago

"Do U.S. soldiers perform any service that is honorable".......

"No one here suggested that our troops are anything less than honorable"

See quote from above

"No. We raise our kids, THEN send them out to kill by order of the UN/NATO. We are better how? NO now people raise them to kill just before the fetus see's light! What is the difference between a moral-less people or the Government ."

Sue, I don't see where Joseph was referring to you personally.

1 year 10 months ago

Kevin, I don't see where he wasn't either. Joseph was distracting and diverting from the topic with an assumptive accusation that we are unqualified to speak about our government's corruption because we are all just baby killers anyway.

1 year 10 months ago

Thanks Kevin, Sue spends a large amount of time twisting and fabricating in order to further her agenda. The facts show that you people come on here and bash our troops, church's, and gov about "wars" and then advocate the death of millions by abortion because of the rights of a mother. No one want's war but without moral values we will never stop it. I find Doug had a bad choice of words but nothing different than your pal Rino!

 … More
1 year 10 months ago

"No. We raise our kids, THEN send them out to kill by order of the UN/NATO. We are better how? NO now people raise them to kill just before the fetus see's light! What is the difference between a moral-less people or the Government ."

Well that just makes no sense!
War -> abortion ???
acorns -> turkey neck :) Go ahead, compare them all day. It still won't make any sense lol

 … More
1 year 10 months ago

"If you are not wise enough to know where All of the countries involved are at on the chess board, and what they are up to, you really should sit down and shut ` UP"

Pfft, that's easy! Just ask the U.N. It's their agenda.
Or Bilderberg. What countries do they need to control for resources and global dominance? Therein lies your answer :)

1 year 10 months ago

"The facts show that you people come on here and bash our troops, church's, and gov about "wars" and then advocate the death of millions by abortion because of the rights of a mother."

 … More
1 year 10 months ago (Edited)

You need to provide one piece of evidence that anyone bashed our troops Joseph. Where is the evidence?
Without that evidence you are also in violation of the mission statement of this group.
(I'm sure you reported Douglas just as you would report someone else...right?)

1 year 10 months ago

How many people alive today that worked in the military have actually defended the country and the constitution? Very very very very few. They would have to be over 85 years old. Every other armed conflict was a instrument of aggression not defense.

I bet most people do not know the history of giving medals out to the military and why it was implemented.

1 year 10 months ago

I don't know that history JSNtoPF. Can you suggest a source so that I can learn about it?

1 year 10 months ago

""But I hear you say that unconstitutional wars/undeclared wars/murders in all
countries including our own are OK. It's OK to murder, as long as it's a

 … More
1 year 10 months ago

Who is the unAmerican who wrote the article Joseph and what is your criteria for determining unAmerican?

1 year 10 months ago

I think that I could prove that our American churches are members of very global organizations and the expectation that the New World Order is preaching from our pulpits would not be such a stretch at all.
Of course the churches are going to embrace global policing and illegal wars. They are necessary to the agenda of global governance.

 … More
1 year 10 months ago

No Joseph, I don't see that logic at all. Excusing unconstitutional wars because abortion is legal must be the worst argument I've heard yet actually.

And again no, to say military personnel may have good intentions but those calling the shots in gvt don't is not "Un-American" at all. In fact, it's very American. It is our duty as a patriot to question our gvt in a free republic.

1 year 10 months ago

"Recognizing someones efforts to serve and protect is far from "military idolatry" "

 … More
1 year 10 months ago
Log in or Register to start a discussion.