Friday, April 14, 2017

War As Sport

Hey did you hear the awesome news! America dropped a MOAB (Mother Of All Bombs) on some "jihadis" yesterday! Woohoo! We killed 36 of them! Awesome! How do we know they were "ISIS militants" and that 36 were killed with no civilian casualties? Well, cuz the Afghan government and our own government says so and if you can't trust the Afghan government, who can you trust! Besides who cares, we killed 36 people and used this totally awesome bomb! USA! USA! USA!

The way our media, especially Fox News which is the only mainstream news site I visit with any regularity, covers military operations like they are sporting events is kind of sickening. Instead of baseball box scores we get number of missiles launched, tonnage of bombs dropped, disposition of forces deployed and of course the best stat of all, the number of bad guys killed. If it doesn't exist already, can we be far off from guys having Fantasy Military Forces leagues? "Dude I picked up the MOAB late in our fantasy draft as a sleeper pick, I wasn't sure we would use it but thanks to Trump I won my league this week!"

I understand the geo-political and theological need for the state to wage war on occasion. I don't believe in a national policy of pacifism but I also don't believe in a personal policy that accepts at face value what any government tells me without question. None of that makes it any less troubling when Caesar uses the power of the sword to snuff out the life of someone else, supposedly for my own good, especially when the one being killed is going to spend an eternity in hell. Yes, I know that as far as I know there is no exception to the belief that someone who associates with ISIS is an enemy of the West, specifically the U.S. and would gladly kill me and my family in as gruesome a way as possible for a variety of reasons including my nationality and my faith. So they have it coming I suppose.

Today is rather arbitrarily declared to be "Good Friday" in America and while I am disinterested in a liturgical calendar dreamed up centuries ago, I am reminded this evening that if the Bible teaches us anything about that Friday it is that while these alleged "ISIS militants" probably deserved to get a 21,000 pound dropped on their heads and then spend eternity in hell, so do I. The Bible tells me that where it counts, in my heart, I am a murderer, an adulterer and a thief. My rightful eternal destiny is absolutely no different from an "ISIS militant" or Pol Pot or Adolf Hitler. It is only because of the sovereign grace of God that I am redeemed through faith in the imputed righteousness of Christ. That is something each of needs to remember because it is easy to start to think that we are somehow different. We aren't.

Living in a fallen world in nations led by fallen men means that the sword gets used and when it does, people die. We should recognize that as a theological necessity but we certainly shouldn't cheer and high five each other when anyone is killed, even when the one getting killed is allegedly a terrorist and the ones doing the killing have an American flag on their uniform. This isn't a game, it is not a sporting event calling for foam "We're #1" fingers. People die and people kill and even those who survive are often scarred. I have no sympathy for ISIS terrorists or anyone else who oppresses others. I am fully in support of having a reasonable military level for national defense. I would simply ask my brothers and sisters in Christ to not get caught up in the patriotic furor and the urge to be cheerleaders for the military adventures of our government.

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