Why do professing Christians continue to beat the war drum despite the glaring dichotomy between murder and God’s Word? It is all too common to witness the Christian war fever — that sickening blind worship of the state that elevates G.W. Bush or Barack Obama to Messiah and seeks to justify the immoral, unscriptural, unconstitutional wars in the Middle East by incessantly repeating the false mantras “obey the powers that be” and “God is a God of war.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834—1892) was an English Baptist minister who served as pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London from 1861 until his death. Spurgeon preached his first sermon as a teenager and, in 1854, was called to the pastorate of the historic New Park Street Church, Southwark, London. During his thirty-eight-year tenure, the church increased from 232 to over 5,000. Many times his public teachings gathered close to 10,000. He was truly one of the most influential preachers in history. Spurgeon was no ordinary minister. He was a pastor, preacher, teacher, author, editor, and the overseer of a pastor’s college, a Christian literature society, and an orphanage. When he died in 1892, 60,000 people filed past his casket in the Tabernacle. He is still widely revered today among Baptists (and many others) as one of the greatest ministers in church history.
Below are some of his thoughts on war:
If men receive Christ, there will be no more oppression: the true Christian does to others as he would that they should do to him, and there is no more contention of classes, nor grinding of the faces of the poor. Slavery must go down where Christianity rules, and mark you, if Romanism be once destroyed, and pure Christianity shall govern all nations, war itself must come to an end; for if there be anything which this book denounces and counts the hugest of all crimes, it is the crime of war. Put up thy sword into thy sheath, for hath not he said, “Thou shalt not kill,” and he meant not that it was a sin to kill one but a glory to kill a million, but he meant that bloodshed on the smallest or largest scale was sinful. Let Christ govern, and men shall break the bow and cut the spear in sunder, and burn the chariot in the fire. It is joy to all nations that Christ is born, the Prince of Peace, the King who rules in righteousness. (“Joy Born at Bethlehem,” December 24, 1871, Metropolitan Tabernacle).
Long have I held that war is an enormous crime; long have I regarded all battles as but murder on a large scale (“India’s Ills and England’s Sorrows,” September 6, 1857, Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens).
So combustible are the materials of which this great world is made, that I am ever apprehensive of war. I do not account it wonderful that one nation should strive against another, I account if far more wonderful that they are not all at arms. Whence come wars and fightings? Come they not from your lusts? Considering how much lust there is in the world, we might well conceive that there would be more war than we see. Sin is the mother of wars; and remembering how plentiful sin is, we need not marvel if it brings forth multitudes of them. We may look for them. If the coming of Christ be indeed drawing nigh, then we must expect wars and rumors of wars through all the nations of the earth (“The God of Peace,” November 4, 1855, New Park Street Chapel).
It is astonishing how distance blunts the keen edge of anything that is disagreeable. War is at all times a most fearful scourge. The thought of slain bodies and of murdered men must always harrow up the soul; but because we hear of these things in the distance, there are few Englishmen who can truly enter into their horrors. If we should hear the booming of cannon on the deep which girdles this island; if we should see at our doors the marks of carnage and bloodshed; then should we more thoroughly appreciate what war means. But distance takes away the horror, and we therefore speak of war with too much levity, and even read of it with an interest not sufficiently linked with pain (“A Present Religion,” May 30, 1858, Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens).
Better far for us to have famine than war. From all civil war and all the desperate wickedness which it involves, good Lord deliver us; and if thou smitest us as thou hast done, it is better to fall into the hand of God than into the hand of man (“Christian Sympathy,” November 9, 1862, Metropolitan Tabernacle).
Oh! that God would put an end in the world to all wars between nations, as well as all strifes between individuals (“The Fruits of Grace,” January 21, 1872, Metropolitan Tabernacle).
Perhaps Christian’s should take a good hard look at their Bible and realize that God has always forbid His people to murder. The continuous wars in the Middle East are bankrupting this country, killing hundreds of thousands or innocent people, and serving no purpose whatsoever. The government spends 1+ Trillion dollars per year more than it collects in revenue. So we charge the wars to our never-ending line of credit and leave it for future generations to bear, another practice frowned upon in Scripture. It’s time to replace the ever-perpetuating ignorance with sound reasoning based on Biblical principles.
The “fruit” of the Iraq war! Islam is incapable of peace and/or “Democracy”. There can be no real freedom in an Islamic State. Hence, the idea that we can wage war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, or any Islamic country and walk away with a thriving Constitutional Representative Republic in place is a complete farce. These places will always be hotbeds of persecution (especially of Christians and women), violence, pedophilia, and polygamy. Unfortunately, anyone who questions these “wars” is deemed 1) unpatriotic, 2) calloused (willing to watch people die and do nothing… i.e., refuse to spend Billions to send military troops trained to kill in the hopes of establishing peace), 3) a hater of our troops (that’s right, I want them brought out of harm’s way because I hate them… our government wants them to spill their blood for countries that are incapable of civility because they… love them?), or 4) pacifists. I assure you I am none of these things. And I STILL want our boys home… NOW! – Dr. Voddie Baucham
Many, including fellow presidential candidate Rick Santorum, have labeled Ron Paul as part of the ‘blame America first’ crowd in this election cycle. They are angered by his willingness to point out flaws in our country’s foreign policy and smear him as an isolationist who wants America to hide from the rest of the world. Contrary to establishment Republican rhetoric, Paul’s policy is not “blame America first,” but “put America first.”
From the start of the Cold War, America adopted a more interventionist foreign policy. We have been more concerned about the affairs of other nations than ever before, and the result has been more military spending. The United States spends roughly $1 trillion per year on defense, which is more than at any other time in our nation’s history. This spending has become unsustainable, as shown by the debt crisis that loomed this summer.
Opposition to these policies is the only sensible way to keep the deficit under control and to keep the country safe from those who want to do us harm. If we were to bring our troops home from around the world they would be in less danger, we wouldn’t be interfering with sovereignty of other nations and making enemies, and we would save hundreds of billions of dollars every year. These are the same policies that were supported by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Quincy Adams, none of whom were considered isolationists.
If we consider the enormous benefits to this country of discontinuing our role as world’s policeman, we’ll see that they would go a long way towards putting the United States back on the road to fiscal solvency. The United States would do well to stop worrying about the disputes and internal affairs of other nations when we are on the verge of a financial meltdown at home.
There is nothing isolationist about putting the interests of America first rather than funding wars with countries that pose us no threat, propping up dictators who are hated by their people, and sending aid to other nations to buy their friendship. Policies like these create more problems than they solve. Instead of defeating the terrorists, we are giving them more motivation to continue fighting. When we spread ourselves too thin, we make ourselves more vulnerable. And sending foreign aid to other countries generally means taking money from the poor in this country and giving it to the rich dictators of poor countries.
Pointing out these unfortunate truths is a necessary step to fixing our problems, and Ron Paul is the only candidate brave enough to do it. It is mind boggling that while Republicans claim to fight for smaller limited government, they feel that it does not apply to foreign policy. They would do well to listen to their own rhetoric when they talk about the problems and inefficiencies of government, and apply it to our meddling overseas. Maybe then the Republican Party might be able to demonstrate some consistency to the American people instead of talking out of both sides of their mouths.
When Rick Santorum shamelessly exclaims that Ron Paul is blaming America for 9/11, not only is he wrong but he is also being intellectually dishonest. Santorum, like the rest of the Republicans, opposes our current healthcare predicament. If Obama-care destroys our healthcare system in the next ten years, no one would claim that Senator Santorum had “blamed America” for our healthcare problem. Like any other conservative, he is simply blaming a flawed policy.
This is no different than Dr. Paul’s position on 9/11. He does not blame the country for the despicable acts that occurred on that day, but he correctly places some of the blame on our government’s foreign policy. Unfortunately, trying to explain this difference to Rick Santorum is as fruitless as attempting to convince him that his support for Medicare Part D in 2003 was as bad as supporting Obama-care.
It’s ironic that while most establishment Republicans accuse Ron Paul of not supporting the troops, he has gotten more money from active duty troops than all other Republican candidates combined. Maybe the rest of the Republican field should follow the example of our men and women oversees and put America first.
September 30, 2011 was the day America was assassinated.
Some of us have watched this day approach and have warned of its coming, only to be greeted with boos and hisses from “patriots” who have come to regard the US Constitution as a device that coddles criminals and terrorists and gets in the way of the President who needs to act to keep us safe.
In our book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, Lawrence Stratton and I showed that long before 9/11 US law had ceased to be a shield of the people and had been turned into a weapon in the hands of the government. The event known as 9/11 was used to raise the executive branch above the law. As long as the President sanctions an illegal act, executive branch employees are no longer accountable to the law that prohibits the illegal act. On the president’s authority, the executive branch can violate US laws against spying on Americans without warrants, indefinite detention, and torture and suffer no consequences.
Many expected President Obama to re-establish the accountability of government to law. Instead, he went further than Bush/Cheney and asserted the unconstitutional power not only to hold American citizens indefinitely in prison without bringing charges, but also to take their lives without convicting them in a court of law. Obama asserts that the US Constitution notwithstanding, he has the authority to assassinate US citizens, who he deems to be a “threat,” without due process of law.
In other words, any American citizen who is moved into the threat category has no rights and can be executed without trial or evidence.
On September 30 Obama used this asserted new power of the president and had two American citizens, Anwar Awlaki and Samir Khan murdered. Khan was a wacky character associated with Inspire Magazine and does not readily come to mind as a serious threat.
Awlaki was a moderate American Muslim cleric who served as an advisor to the US government after 9/11 on ways to counter Muslim extremism. Awlaki was gradually radicalized by Washington’s use of lies to justify military attacks on Muslim countries. He became a critic of the US government and told Muslims that they did not have to passively accept American aggression and had the right to resist and to fight back. As a result Awlaki was demonized and became a threat.
All we know that Awlaki did was to give sermons critical of Washington’s indiscriminate assaults on Muslim peoples. Washington’s argument is that his sermons might have had an influence on some who are accused of attempting terrorist acts, thus making Awlaki responsible for the attempts.
Obama’s assertion that Awlaki was some kind of high-level Al Qaeda operative is merely an assertion. Jason Ditz on antiwar.com concluded that the reason Awlaki was murdered rather than brought to trial is that the US government had no real evidence that Awlaki was an Al Qaeda operative.
Having murdered its critic, the Obama Regime is working hard to posthumously promote Awlaki to a leadership position in Al Qaeda. The presstitutes and the worshippers of America’s First Black President have fallen in line and regurgitated the assertions that Awlaki was a high-level dangerous Al Qaeda terrorist. If Al Qaeda sees value in Awlaki as a martyr, the organization will give credence to these claims. However, so far no one has provided any evidence. Keep in mind that all we know about Awlaki is what Washington claims and that the US has been at war for a decade based on false claims.
But what Awlaki did or might have done is beside the point. The US Constitution requires that even the worst murderer cannot be punished until he is convicted in a court of law. When the American Civil Liberties Union challenged in federal court Obama’s assertion that he had the power to order assassinations of American citizens, the Obama Justice (sic) Department argued that Obama’s decision to have Americans murdered was an executive power beyond the reach of the judiciary.
In a decision that sealed America’s fate, federal district court judge John Bates ignored the Constitution’s requirement that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law and dismissed the case, saying that it was up to Congress to decide. Obama acted before an appeal could be heard, thus using Judge Bates’ acquiescence to establish the power and advance the transformation of the president into a Caesar that began under George W. Bush.
Attorneys Glenn Greenwald and Jonathan Turley point out that Awlaki’s assassination terminated the Constitution’s restraint on the power of government. Now the US government not only can seize a US citizen and confine him in prison for the rest of his life without ever presenting evidence and obtaining a conviction, but also can have him shot down in the street or blown up by a drone.
Before some readers write to declare that Awlaki’s murder is no big deal because the US government has always had people murdered, keep in mind that CIA assassinations were of foreign opponents and were not publicly proclaimed events, much less a claim by the president to be above the law. Indeed, such assassinations were denied, not claimed as legitimate actions of the President of the United States.
The Ohio National Guardsmen who shot Kent State students as they protested the US invasion of Cambodia in 1970 made no claim to be carrying out an executive branch decision. Eight of the guardsmen were indicted by a grand jury. The guardsmen entered a self-defense plea. Most Americans were angry at war protestors and blamed the students. The judiciary got the message, and the criminal case was eventually dismissed. The civil case (wrongful death and injury) was settled for $675,000 and a statement of regret by the defendants.
The point isn’t that the government killed people. The point is that never prior to President Obama has a President asserted the power to murder citizens.
Over the last 20 years, the United States has had its own Mein Kampftransformation. Terry Eastland’s book, Energy in the Executive: The Case for the Strong Presidency, presented ideas associated with the Federalist Society, an organization of Republican lawyers that works to reduce legislative and judicial restraints on executive power. Under the cover of wartime emergencies (the war on terror), the Bush/Cheney regime employed these arguments to free the president from accountability to law and to liberate Americans from their civil liberties. War and national security provided the opening for the asserted new powers, and a mixture of fear and desire for revenge for 9/11 led Congress, the judiciary, and the people to go along with the dangerous precedents.
As civilian and military leaders have been telling us for years, the war on terror is a 30-year project. After such time has passed, the presidency will have completed its transformation into Caesarism, and there will be no going back.
Indeed, as the neoconservative “Project For A New American Century” makes clear, the war on terror is only an opening for the neoconservative imperial ambition to establish US hegemony over the world.
As wars of aggression or imperial ambition are war crimes under international law, such wars require doctrines that elevate the leader above the law and the Geneva Conventions, as Bush was elevated by his Justice (sic) Department with minimal judicial and legislative interference.
Illegal and unconstitutional actions also require a silencing of critics and punishment of those who reveal government crimes. Thus Bradley Manning has been held for a year, mainly in solitary confinement under abusive conditions, without any charges being presented against him. A federal grand jury is at work concocting spy charges against Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange. Another federal grand jury is at work concocting terrorists charges against antiwar activists.
“Terrorist” and “giving aid to terrorists” are increasingly elastic concepts. Homeland Security has declared that the vast federal police bureaucracy has shifted its focus from terrorists to “domestic extremists.”
It is possible that Awlaki was assassinated because he was an effective critic of the US government. Police states do not originate fully fledged. Initially, they justify their illegal acts by demonizing their targets and in this way create the precedents for unaccountable power. Once the government equates critics with giving “aid and comfort” to terrorists, as they are doing with antiwar activists and Assange, or with terrorism itself, as Obama did with Awlaki, it will only be a short step to bringing accusations against Glenn Greenwald and the ACLU.
The Obama Regime, like the Bush/Cheney Regime, is a regime that does not want to be constrained by law. And neither will its successor. Those fighting to uphold the rule of law, humanity’s greatest achievement, will find themselves lumped together with the regime’s opponents and be treated as such.
This great danger that hovers over America is unrecognized by the majority of the people. When Obama announced before a military gathering his success in assassinating an American citizen, cheers erupted. The Obama regime and the media played the event as a repeat of the (claimed) killing of Osama bin Laden. Two “enemies of the people” have been triumphantly dispatched. That the President of the United States was proudly proclaiming to a cheering audience sworn to defend the Constitution that he was a murderer and that he had also assassinated the US Constitution is extraordinary evidence that Americans are incapable of recognizing the threat to their liberty.
Emotionally, the people have accepted the new powers of the president. If the president can have American citizens assassinated, there is no big deal about torturing them. Amnesty International has sent out an alert that the US Senate is poised to pass legislation that would keep Guantanamo Prison open indefinitely and that Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) might introduce a provision that would legalize “enhanced interrogation techniques,” an euphemism for torture.
Instead of seeing the danger, most Americans will merely conclude that the government is getting tough on terrorists, and it will meet with their approval. Smiling with satisfaction over the demise of their enemies, Americans are being led down the garden path to rule by government unrestrained by law and armed with the weapons of the medieval dungeon.
Americans have overwhelming evidence from news reports and YouTube videos of US police brutally abusing women, children, and the elderly, of brutal treatment and murder of prisoners not only in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and secret CIA prisons abroad, but also in state and federal prisons in the US. Power over the defenseless attracts people of a brutal and evil disposition.
A brutal disposition now infects the US military. The leaked video of US soldiers delighting, as their words and actions reveal, in their murder from the air of civilians and news service camera men walking innocently along a city street shows soldiers and officers devoid of humanity and military discipline. Excited by the thrill of murder, our troops repeated their crime when a father with two small children stopped to give aid to the wounded and were machine-gunned.
So many instances: the rape of a young girl and murder of her entire family; innocent civilians murdered and AK-47s placed by their side as “evidence” of insurgency; the enjoyment experienced not only by high school dropouts from torturing they-knew-not- who in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, but also by educated CIA operatives and Ph.D. psychologists. And no one held accountable for these crimes except two lowly soldiers prominently featured in some of the torture photographs.
What do Americans think will be their fate now that the “war on terror” has destroyed the protection once afforded them by the US Constitution? If Awlaki really needed to be assassinated, why did not President Obama protect American citizens from the precedent that their deaths can be ordered without due process of law by first stripping Awlaki of his US citizenship? If the government can strip Awlaki of his life, it certainly can strip him of citizenship. The implication is hard to avoid that the executive branch desires the power to terminate citizens without due process of law.
Governments escape the accountability of law in stages. Washington understands that its justifications for its wars are contrived and indefensible. President Obama even went so far as to declare that the military assault that he authorized on Libya without consulting Congress was not a war, and, therefore, he could ignore the War Powers Resolution of 1973, a federal law intended to check the power of the President to commit the US to an armed conflict without the consent of Congress.
Americans are beginning to unwrap themselves from the flag. Some are beginning to grasp that initially they were led into Afghanistan for revenge for 9/11. From there they were led into Iraq for reasons that turned out to be false. They see more and more US military interventions: Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and now calls for invasion of Pakistan and continued saber rattling for attacks on Syria, Lebanon, and Iran. The financial cost of a decade of the “war against terror” is starting to come home. Exploding annual federal budget deficits and national debt threaten Medicare and Social Security. Debt ceiling limits threaten government shut-downs.
War critics are beginning to have an audience. The government cannot begin its silencing of critics by bringing charges against US Representatives Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich. It begins with antiwar protestors, who are elevated into “antiwar activists,” perhaps a step below “domestic extremists.” Washington begins with citizens who are demonized Muslim clerics radicalized by Washington’s wars on Muslims. In this way, Washington establishes the precedent that war protestors give encouragement and, thus, aid, to terrorists. It establishes the precedent that those Americans deemed a threat are not protected by law. This is the slippery slope on which we now find ourselves.
Last year the Obama Regime tested the prospects of its strategy when Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, announced that the government had a list of American citizens that it was going to assassinate abroad. This announcement, had it been made in earlier times by, for example, Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan, would have produced a national uproar and calls for impeachment. However, Blair’s announcement caused hardly a ripple. All that remained for the regime to do was to establish the policy by exercising it.
Readers ask me what they can do. Americans not only feel powerless, they are powerless. They cannot do anything. The highly concentrated, corporate-owned, government-subservient print and TV media are useless and no longer capable of performing the historic role of protecting our rights and holding government accountable. Even many antiwar Internet sites shield the government from 9/11 skepticism, and most defend the government’s “righteous intent” in its war on terror. Acceptable criticism has to be couched in words such as “it doesn’t serve our interests.”
Voting has no effect. President “Change” is worse than Bush/Cheney. As Jonathan Turley suggests, Obama is “the most disastrous president in our history.” Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate who stands up for the Constitution, but the majority of Americans are too unconcerned with the Constitution to appreciate him.
To expect salvation from an election is delusional. All you can do, if you are young enough, is to leave the country. The only future for Americans is a nightmare.
by Paul Craig Roberts: Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury, Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, and professor of economics in six universities. His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, was published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at:PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com
The Patriot Act, passed by George W. Bush and extended by Barack Obama, is a decimation of the United States Constitution. It has been ruled Unconstitutional by several federal judges and should be repealed or amended immediately.
“Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.” – James Madison, 1798
Please watch this footage of our military and note the attitude of those involved. None were held responsible for their actions.