Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition




Martin Luther King Jr’s claim to have “seen the Promised Land” was an ironic reference for a black pacifist given that the original Promised Land was inhabited by presumably lesser peoples that the Israelites set about enslaving or exterminating—by God’s command no less. Nearly three millennia later, we newly arrived Americans used the Biblical account to justify our own partial extermination of Native Americans and our enslavement of Africans. We called our belief that we, as white American Protestants, had replaced the Jews as God’s chosen, Manifest Destiny, and it allowed us to see others as either obstacles to our progress or tools for our use.


I once took a Sunday School class in which we studied these accounts in which God ordered the Jews to attack cities and kill every person and every animal (except for the young female virgins whom they sometimes got to keep for the victory party). It was a liberal church, and the liberal response to anything vicious, contradictory, or simply stupid about the Bible is: Oh, THAT part isn’t God’s word because it makes God look bad, but THIS part, the warm and fuzzy part about how Jesus loves us, and we’re all going to heaven (all we Christians that is), THAT’S most definitely God’s word. Not so for one old man, who sat there looking for all the world like Santa Claus in a three-piece suit, for he said, “I can only conclude that all those people and animals that God ordered to be killed must have somehow deserved it.”

The stores are already selling Christmas decorations in preparation for the one season of the year during which America talks about “Peace on Earth,” and I will admit that it’s good to have a respite from what the baby Jesus grew up to represent (“I came not to bring peace but a sword”). Jesus’ position on violence certainly reflects America’s approach to problem solving, and we take great pride in the fact that we’re the most Christian nation on earth, which I’m sure we are inasmuch as we are willing to forego necessities in order to buy Hellfire Missiles (“…he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one”). Our love for Jesus is so great that we even paid him homage when we named our favorite weapon, which we quite naturally use to kill those who don’t love him the way we do. Of course, some of them deserve it, I’m sure, but I can’t help but think that we deserve it too. After all, the biggest difference between us is that they kill for one god and we kill for another. Maybe whoever is left alive might finally have Peace on Earth. 


22 comments:

julie said...

Snow, your little video there has me in tears...makes peace on earth seem like an impossible dream...

''Not so for one old man, who sat there looking for all the world like Santa Claus in a three-piece suit, for he said, “I can only conclude that all those people and animals that God ordered to be killed must have somehow deserved it.”

The old man sounds just like the current administration and the one that might be next.

They sit on high deciding who will live or die and I'm sure they are aware that 90% of the causalities of war are women and children. No doubt in my mind that if white men were the 90% being killed we'd have way less war.

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition...it is who we are as a nation...sigh...and if you dare speak out it makes you a traitor.

Thanks for being a voice against evil...

Deb said...

It can be very confusing sometimes for many people because the bible is translated a billion and one times, misinterpreted, misunderstood, to where people are cherry picking scriptures in order to justify whatever fits accordingly into their lives. Although there are some great messages and stories in the good book -- there has to be some level of 'controlling the masses' that reside in there - because we all know that man had written the book, (inspired by God), but anyone can say that they were "inspired by God". Tough one. But yes, you're right - all these contradictory references to "I come in peace" and yet in another sentence, he comes with a sword - possibly symbolic but who would know that?

That's why for me, personally - I just have my own relationship with God and before I read the bible, I pray for discernment and understanding to which I can decipher for myself which messages mean what.

Great post!

lotta joy said...

Snow, Snow, Snow. Sometimes I feel like I'm bashing my head into a stone wall. It's not that you and I want to 'convert' christians, or even prove we might be right. Proof of either belief is seriously lacking on both sides.

We just want the equal right to say what we think without being attacked.

But life is made up of two types of people. The ones who say "YES" to one belief, and the ones who say "YES" to another.

And the more the differing beliefs center around god, the bloodier the response.

It is just my opinion that, "YES", Jesus did exist, and "YES" he was on a mission - but it wasn't the 'god is love' mission - rather a mission to overthrow those in power and authority.

(Think flower child versus Vietnam.)

No matter what crusade a person is on, someone will find a way to translate it as holy or the acts of a madman.

Either one has its own agendas and neither one is 'for the people'.

I just prefer to say it was an act of rebellion and it ended on the cross with thousands of others.

This particular cruelty was merely followed by the Spanish Inquisitions, then burning witches at the stake in the name of god.

Snowbrush said...

"No doubt in my mind that if white men were the 90% being killed we'd have way less war."

I think you should doubt, at least in regard to American deaths. Here are the fatalities for the top three racial/ethnic groups involved in "Operation Iraqi Freedom. These figures are from the Congressional Research Service. Figures on Iraqi deaths are, of course, impossible to determine, but their fighters, at least, are white too, of course. (http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS22452.pdf).

Black--429
Hispanic--466
White--3290

We white guys don't ALL get up in morning and beat our chests like Tarzan because we're so powerful.

"It can be very confusing sometimes for many people because the bible is translated a billion and one times, misinterpreted, misunderstood, to where people are cherry picking scriptures in order to justify whatever fits accordingly into their lives."

True, but wouldn't you think that if God (being all wise and all powerful) HAD inspired the Bible, he would have made his message unambiguous, at least to those who made an honest effort to understand it?

"Great post!"

Thank you.

Myrna R. said...

So much of what we encounter in life simply doesn't make sense - war, the bible, racial conquests, etc.

I couldn't finish watching the video. It is absurd.

Nice to visit you again. Your posts leave me thinking. Hope you're doing well.

julie said...

I understand what you are saying...however...it is 90% when you include collateral damage,...and I wish white guys would get up every morning and beat their chests to end all war...

Snowbrush said...

"So much of what we encounter in life simply doesn't make sense - war, the bible, racial conquests, etc."

Writing this post left me wondering about America's national myths, by which I mean the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves that give us our sense of national identity. I should like to know more about that.

"I couldn't finish watching the video. It is absurd."

It's from the era of Hitler, and I've often wondered how I would have felt had I been alive back then.

"I understand what you are saying...however...it is 90% when you include collateral damage,.."

Julie, you're not giving me a source to back up your claim, and you also seem to be overlooking the fact that Afghanis and Iraqis are Caucasians too, but I'm considerably less interested in that than whether you think that white males are inherently more warlike than black males, or yellow males, or even women, or if you see their war-likeness as somehow situational. I really hope you will say more about this.

middle child said...

Snow, people will use the name of the Lord and twist things to their liking. It doesn't work that way. God is God. The Bible is the Bible. How humans use it is up to them. But please do mot judge Christians based on those (sadly too many) who twist and perverse the Word.

julie said...

There are a lot of sources...I'm send one of them..
http://forumblog.org/2012/09/international-peace-day-towards-a-better-world/

If you are asking me if I believe one army is any more brutal than the other because of color, I'm not saying that at all. And I know that women can be quite warlike too. What I see is that it is mostly white men making the decisions about war...where to have them and how much to fund them. I believe if white males were 90% of the collateral damage there would be less war.

The Elephant's Child said...

Oh Snow.
I find this to be a truly sad post. It just re-inforces my belief that peace in our time simply isn't going to happen. And no amount of assigning blame will change that.
I don't know the answers. I wish I did. My father was a German Jew and he was scarred by his experiences during World War 2. Yes he survived as many did not, but he survived damaged. And I suspect that was true of many other people too.

Snowbrush said...

"please do mot judge Christians based on those (sadly too many) who twist and perverse the Word."

A lesbian Christian reads this blog. She think that Christians who deny that homosexuals can even be Christians twist and pervert the word. Likewise, those Christians say that homosexuals can't even be Christians would say that she perverts the word. Churches that practice adult baptism by immersion often say that churches that "sprinkle babies" twist passages out of context, and the people who do the "sprinkling" say the same about them.. Protestants say that Catholics pervert the word by having a pope, and the latest pope recently reasserted the Catholic claim that his church is the only true church. There are well over 2,000 kinds of churches. Why? Because people who do their best to understand the Bible can't agree on what the heck the Bible means. If God was really behind it, I should think he/she/it could have done a better job given its importance, and so the fact that it's such a mess strongly suggests that God is not behind it. M.C. I go into your point some more in my response to Julie.

Thanks for the source, Julie. I will look it up.

"I believe if white males were 90% of the collateral damage there would be less war."

Okay, I understand you. What you're saying just doesn't sound right to me for a couple of reasons. One is that there have surely been hundreds if not thousands of European wars in which practically everybody who died was a white male. You're thinking that there's this rational self-interest that motivates white males to cooly look out for their own kind, and I'm thinking that war happens at a evolutionary level that ignores rational considerations. We like to think that our species is at the top of the evolutionary ladder, but inasmuch as that ladder is geared toward success, I rather think that we're rapidly turning into a horribly failed experiment. What other species has ever put so much energy into destroying its own members? We are anything but rational, and war is probably the best illustration of how irrational we are. In lieu of rationality, we often use religion to justify war (and other kinds of violence and oppression) and this is my major problem with religion. Middle Child might say that those who use religion to justify such things are twisting and perverting religion (or at least the Bible), whereas I would say that Bible is their ally in justifying war, not because the Bible is all bad, but because so much of it is bad. It is truly a cruel and gory book in much of its content, but those parts are simply ignored by nearly all Christians. In fact, I don't think they even know they're there.

Strayer said...

Super good post, Snow. Love it. I argued once with some guy quoting the Bible at me, actually beating me with Bible verses, and told him if Jesus came to town, he would be hanging out with me and the stray cats along the river, rather than say driving a huge expensive SUV and slung with guns (as he was). Wish I'd known that song really existed. I'd have broken out singing it and walked off, leaving him, to beat up somebody else with his righteousness.

Marion said...

If women ran the world, there would be peace on earth, I truly believe. The Bible says, "There will always be wars and rumors of wars..." It's because men crave power endlessly. Great write, Snow. xo

Charles Gramlich said...

Humans always find a way to justify their killing and greed. It has nothing to do with religion other than that is a convenient rationalization. Later people did it in the name of capitalism, or communism, or this or that. Humans are not a nice species.

Charles Gramlich said...

War is a human activity. This is so clear as to be undeniable. It has nothing to do with white males, black males, what have you. If anything it's one of the defining characteristics of our species. Unfortunate as that is.

lotta joy said...

I've said it til I'm blue in the face, and you said it again:

If man was so evil that god kicked them out of Eden, then why would that same god leave 'his word' in the hands of those evil, evil people, trusting them to pass his word down thousands of years without rewording it.

A true god would have written it permanently - and succinctly - in the sky for ALL to see, forever and ever.

As for why there is war, and blaming anyone, or race in particular, is trying to make sense out of something else (besides the bible)that is merely in the hands of humans.

If humans don't have a "reason" to go to war, they'll invent one.

ellen abbott said...

All I can say is that this country has been at war for nearly every year of its existence. Many times, several wars at once. And in most of them, we have been the aggressor. The most Christian nation on earth is also the most warlike.

Snowbrush said...

"told him if Jesus came to town, he would be hanging out with me and the stray cats along the river, rather than say driving a huge expensive SUV"

Haven't you heard? Jesus died to bring us the prosperity gospel, and he blesses the righteous with riches.

"If women ran the world, there would be peace on earth"

In which case, the reigns off queens, women prime ministers, and such should be marked by peace, but they are not.

Hi, Charles. We agree.

"If humans don't have a "reason" to go to war, they'll invent one."

Americans and Middle Easterners more than most, it seems, at least in the present. You might say that we were made for each other. Why is it, do you think, that the secular democracies of Scandinavia are noteworthy for their peacefulness?

"And in most of them, we have been the aggressor."

Sad but true.

The Tusk said...

The message here is to praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition. Could we simply have the Lord to ask for his forgiveness and ease our conscience which stress wise might be good for our soul and stress levels. Maybe the Bible was simply a stress reliever, because "making you feel Guilty and Oppressed was a way of life that needed to be Broken".

Many studies have been done on many subjects, but one that I wonder about is the origin of the pea Shooter or poison dart gun. If you develop a cough the way I have these past few months you quicky realize you can shoot a dart from way down below your Gut with a rasping heaving cough like action. Its the sound of a Cat (Leopard or Jaguar) Hissing in defense or pre- strike. Did we learn the method of shooting from the animal or did the animal learn the hiss from a pres strike human using a poisin dart.

Preparing for confrontation is a survivalist make up.
I think asking for forgiveness is psychological freedom.



CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

"Maybe whoever is left alive might finally have Peace on Earth. "

So sad but so true...

The Blog Fodder said...

Some wag rewrote it as pass the Lord and praise the ammunition. Women in power, women with the vote didn't change things anymore than when they gave all men the vote. When the American Empire and America finally gets pounded into the dirt and replaced by another empire, maybe china for arguments sake, who will notice? Only white folks. for the rest of the world's poor not much will change.

Joe Todd said...

Dr. Strange Love "Group Captain, the planes are not gonna be recalled. My attack orders have been issued, and the orders stand."