Thursday, February 07, 2013

Living By The Sword, Dying By The Sword

Former House Representative Ron Paul has never been one to shy away from saying un-PC things. It is one of the things I admire about him and his blunt honesty is why I voted for him in the primary election last year even though he had no chance of winning. His recent tweet about the murder of "war hero" Chris Kyle has gotten many people all wound up. Here is what he said...
His follow-up comment on Facebook was a little more nuanced, exposing the problems with using 144 characters on Twitter to express coherent thoughts.

As a veteran, I certainly recognize that this weekend's violence and killing of Chris Kyle were a tragic and sad event. My condolences and prayers go out to Mr. Kyle’s family. Unconstitutional and unnecessary wars have endless unintended consequences. A policy of non-violence, as Christ preached, would have prevented this and similar tragedies. -REP

The internet went bonkers about the tweet, most notably among conservatives and even many conservatives who would call themselves Christians. Setting aside the lack of nuance and perceived bluntness, is what Ron Paul said somehow incorrect? Jesus didn't say "For all who take the sword will perish by the sword unless they are a decorated U.S. military veteran". War is destructive, destroying property, destroying those slain and often destroying those who survive. War and violence beget war and violence. It has always been and shall always be.

It is odd that quoting Jesus is so controversial in a culture that is allegedly basd on "Judeo-Christian values". Perhaps these "Judeo-Christian values" we love to trumpet are little more than moralistic religious virtues that are aimed at creating a loyal, pliable populace that is easy to manipulate and rule. When being a peacemaker is controversial and when being a professional killer is exalted, a culture is many things but it is not reflective of the values of the Kingdom.

Mr. Kyle spent his adult life engaged in the killing of others. Many look at his 160 kills and the various awards and accolades given to him for his exceptional lethality and call him a war hero. I see him as someone used by the state to accomplish its goals by killing. Did those he killed deserve to die, were they bad guys? Probably. Was Mr. Kyle a heroic figure because he had a knack for killing? Not really.

A man who made a living from killing was killed by a mentally disturbed man who ended up that way by his involvement in an unnecessary war. That this sort of thing happened is not surprising. War and violence beget war and violence and our nation is full of people who carry scars, both external and internal, thanks to the insatiable bloodlust of man and his never ending quest for power. What Ron Paul said may have been worded in an inelegant manner and it was certainly counter-cultural but I hope that the very real issue he raised is not lost in the chatter of professional entertainers and talking heads on the TV, radio and internet.


Aussie John said...


Am reading Tolstoy's "The Kingdom of God is Within You". In the Preface he states,"In affirming my belief in Christ's teaching, I could not help explaining why I do not believe, and consider as mistaken, the Church's doctrine, which is usually called Christianity.

Among the many points in which this doctrine falls short of the doctrine of Christ I pointed out as the principal one the absence of any commandment of non-resistance to evil by force. The perversion of Christ's teaching by the teaching of the Church is more clearly apparent in this than in any other point of difference".

The first chapter, sees him supporting his own claims, with quotes from a letter he received from some Quakers,"A Christian, according to the teaching of God himself, can act only peaceably toward all men, and therefore there can be noauthority able to force the Christian to act in opposition to the teaching of God and to the principal virtue of the Christian in his relation with his neighbors."

This book was written in response to criticisms of an earlier book (What I believe", or,"A Confession") which revealed the depth of his thinking, and low opinion of the church in which he was raised.

" In my book I made it an
accusation against the teachers of the Church that their teaching
is opposed to Christ's commands clearly and definitely expressed
in the Sermon on the Mount, and opposed in especial to his command
in regard to resistance to evil, and that in this way they deprive
Christ's teaching of all value."

His writing is available free on line.

Tim said...

I wonder if Christian pacifists who call themselves peacemakers would actually go to Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan and risk their lives in the cause of peace.

Mr. Kyle was heroic not because he killed, but because he went. Few who have not been there understand that these men do not go to kill, but to defend. They kill because they believe they must.

That he went is what makes him a hero. Those who go in the cause of peace are also heroic, in my opinion.

All of us who live here in the United States live by the sword. Even if we do not pull the triggers, our lifestyle is sustained by those who are willing to go and do so - or support those who do.

Arthur Sido said...

John, I downloaded that book for my Kindle but havent gotten around to reading it yet

Arthur Sido said...

Tim, I don't ask anyone to go to Iraq or Afghanistan to kill for me and I reject the idea that those who do go, regardless of their motivation, are doing so to sustain our lifestyle, Those wars, esp. Iraq, are both unnecessary and unconstitutional. I am required to submit to the state but that doesn't mean that I am required to support the state by killing or cheering on those who kill on behalf of that state, whether those men are Roman centurions or U.S. snipers.