As war becomes more pervasive, why do churches remain silent?
So here we are, in the midst of a 35-plus year war with Afghanistan, started in the Carter era as a way to help dismantle the then Soviet Union. We’ve got another 25-plus year war with Iraq, started in the “I ain’t no wimp” Bush 1 era. We’ve killed more than 500,000 civilians in Iraq while destroying the infrastructure that makes life possible.
Using that lesson as a training ground, we’ve shifted our war policy to a genocidal rage machine that purposely targets infrastructure in Libya, Yemen, Syria and Ukraine. We are full of international crimes through robotic war (think Pakistan and our amazing drones) or good old-fashioned covert operations in Venezuela. On the home front, our domestic repression includes surveillance of anything that moves or, as in this article, anything written. Heck, even our bowel movements are probably monitored. Our police forces are armed to the teeth and just steps away from repeating the crimes of the 1980s Central American death squads. Our media outlets are now propaganda arms of the state, itself a public-relations front for oligarchs. When told to “jump” by our militarized corporate elite, we respond with an enthusiastic, “How high?”
What have we become? How far have we fallen? Even the word of God has gone silent as pulpits cower to speak the truth, that same truth that MLK spoke of: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
Indeed, it’s the same truth Eisenhower prophesied: “This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. … In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
“We must never let the weight of this endanger our liberties or democracy. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
But here we are poking Russia, lusting for battle. Republican Party members have slobber on their chins, aroused at the possibilities of a Mideast crusade against Iran and ISIS or even a solution against Gaza. The Democrats slouch by, spineless. Churches become mute, silenced into maintaining church life, rather than igniting hope through active resistance against the hounds of war. In such a context, who will speak for God?