Friday, October 19, 2012
Devout Christians slaughtering devout Christians, good people slaughtering good people, and, yes, bad people slaughtering good people and bad people...on and on and on...
This moral obscenity has gone on for 1,700 years, from the Jesus Wars of the early centuries beginning at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 C.E. when Constantine fought under the standard of Christ's name.
Eusebius describes another version, where, while marching at midday, "he saw with his own eyes in the heavens a trophy of the cross arising from the light of the sun, carrying the message,
In Hoc Signo Vinces or
"with this sign, you will conquer."
Christians went on to slaughter Jews, Pagans, and other Christians in the 300's to 600's CE.
Then jump hundreds of years, past the millions slaughtered in the Christian Crusades, wars of the Reformation, the French Religious Wars, the 30 Years War, and so forth.
And 'God's warriors' attacked, again, Christians-fighting-Christians in the American War Between the States (often incorrectly called a 'civil' war).
Over half a million soldiers died in 4 years, and as many were wounded; hundreds of thousands of civilians suffered and died.
A whole generation was destroyed, the land ravaged...
Some places in the American South didn’t recover until the 20th century!
And even before Americans did start to recover--within 5 to 10 years after the war, 1870-75--all of the Southern states were taken over by racist leaders who instituted severe Negro codes/segregation. Often, Negroes were worse off after the war, than when they had been enslaved.
These racist methods were called “Redemption" by the Southern Christians.
What a perversion of Jesus' life and teaching.
Treatment of Negroes amounted to de facto slavery, though, of course, at least the institution of slavery was no longer technically legal. But Negroes were restricted, often confined to plantations. Churches were segregated.
Negroes who protested, tried to vote, or sought to become involved in the government were intimidated, abused, and often murdered by former Confederate soldiers and other Southern leaders.
Even stranger, however, is that in in the Northern States, many Americans, also, instituted Negro codes. They had attacked the Confederacy, and many had opposed slavery, but they didn't want Negros to live among them in the North.
Think of this: When Union soldiers earlier invaded South Carolina, some of the Northern soldiers actually stole shoes and clothes from Negro slaves!!
Many Union soldiers despised Negroes.
After the war, racism reigned thourgh out the U.S., as if no war had been fought.
Side Note: We've just returned from an in-depth tour of Virginian, Maryland, and Pennsylvanian Civil War battlefields on this the Sesquicentennial memorial of that horrific slaughter. We missed the 150th anniversary of the Sharpsburg/Antietam killing field by one week, not that it matters at all.
There are so many horrific facts about the occasion of these American Christian battles, that when reading and viewing each memorial site, one wants to weep. Maybe not shed outward tears, but drown in sorrow within.
It’s a strange fact of human nature and academic life, how endless books have been written on these tragic war battles, yet each generation participates in more wars.
Right now, Christians are supporting 4 American wars--Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.
And Christians are fighting, shooting and bombing back.
Why didn't Christians learn their moral lesson, that war is wrong, is inherently evil, in the American 'Civil' War?
Even though I’ve read many thousands of pages on the War Between the States, and taught literature of that war for years, each time I read another historical tome (and now visit the actual battle sites and museums), and read in detail of the endless slaughter, it all seems so incredibly insane.
Where is there any evidence in the life and teachings of Jesus for any of this?!
Yet many commanders, generals, and political leaders on both sides were devout Christians. Soldiers prayed and got "saved" on both sides, but then immediately, still shot, bayoneted, and killed each other in the name of God and Christ, their Savior.
And then there's the brazen thefts—many soldiers stealing things off the dead--real living individuals only moments before. They stripped their bodies for clothes, took their letters, mementos, and pictures.
Doing this to their enemies even though most of them had the same religion and similar values--those of honor, duty, and God and country.
In some places, such as at Cold Harbor battlefield, the bodies of the slain soldiers weren’t buried for several years.
All the civilians had run away and all the soldiers of both sides had rushed onto other killing fields; so the only companions of the abandoned dead were wild hogs who ate at the corpses.
Remember, too, military dogtags hadn't been invented yet, so about half of the 600,000 dead soldiers were never identified. And don’t forget that at least 400,000 civilians, probably many more, also died because of the war.
And, as mentioned above, there was so much thievery--the brazen stealing of things from the dead, from homes and farmhouses. A Union soldier even stole a Bible from a Southern church and took it home to New England!
And the landscape was trashed, over 2 million trees destroyed, fences torn up, bridges, factories, railways destroyed. Northerners destroyed art, sculpture, and used fire to heat train rails and twist them around trees--calling them "Sherman's neckties."
Notice how whenever there is a war, invariably, all of the Ten Commandments, and every other moral code are violated daily by soldiers and, indirectly, by supporting civilians!
And don’t forget all the lying and spying, incessant cursing and obscenities, and, for many, the whoring, the drunkenness, etc..
Why aren't we more shocked and devastated that any humans, certainly any Christians, could avidly participate in such hellish actions?
Because, even yet, most Christians strongly support the slaughter of their enemies.
How utterly senseless and evil it all was.
But Americans on both sides committed the evils for righteousness...in the name of the same God.
Both sides even declared that the War was God’s war, his plan, not theirs!
Yet so many of the leaders, but for minor situations or reasons could have ended up on the other side, killing for the opposing government. Christians killing Christians, brothers fighting brothers, friends against friends…
As no doubt most of you readers know, Christian Robert E. Lee was offered command of all Federal forces but turned the offer down, because President Lincoln was beginning to marshal 75,000 Northern troops to invade Virginia.
Lee said he would never attack his own state and home.
Instead, Lee joined the Confederacy to defend his family and home. Little good it did him, because the Federals stole his home, and he never got it back. By the end of the war Lee was directly responsible for over one hundred thousand killings.
Not that Lee did the slaughter alone; there were many thousands of other devoted Christians on both sides who actively and avidly participated in the slaughter and thanked God for their victories.
Others, the less religious leaders in the U.S. sometimes didn't even care about the theological and political conflagration. Yet they, too, got involved. General Edward Porter Alexander, according to his own memoir, was too busy enjoying fishing and hunting in Seattle, where he was posted by the U.S. Army, to really pay any attention to all the political wrangling and ideological conflict. He didn't seem to care about all that.
But when he heard of the Abraham Lincoln's invasion plans, though he, Porter, had been assigned by his commander to build Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay, Porter resigned his commission and went home to fight for his home state of Georgia. Who wouldn't?
Not that it did any good. Later General Sherman of the Union would devastate a 40-mile wide swath of Georgia in his infamous terroristic March to the Sea, seeking to destroy all of the civilian backing for the Confederacy.
Devout Christian Stonewall Jackson, who ordered the slaughter of many thousands of others, carried a special table just for his prayer time.
One can see the small varnished stand at his command post in Winchester, Virginia, a town which allegedly changed opposing armies 70 times!
“He [Stonewall] would never mail a letter that would be in transit on Sunday. He was a strict observer of the Sabbath.
And yet so many of his battles were fought on Sundays that the soldiers began to believe that he would fight on Sunday because the Lord would be even more with him..."
While he supported slavery, he at the same time taught the Bible to Negro children. A strange contradiction, like so many other Christian leaders.
"Jackson is an eerie character; an Old Testament warrior who believed in smiting them hip and thigh.”
[“And Samson said to them, ‘If this is what you do, I swear I will be avenged on you, and after that I will quit.' And he struck them hip and thigh with a great blow, and he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam... 'As they did to me, so have I done to them.’ Judges 15: 7-8, 11b]
“After the bloody fighting at Sharpsburg..Jackson was sitting on his horse eating a peach...and he looked out over this field where were dead of both sides littered all over the place."
"And as he was eating the peach he [Stonewall] said, ‘God has been very kind to us this day.’”
---Shelby Foote, an American historian
So very tragic, so contrary to the way of the son of man.
Other strange facts in American history repeatedly show the insanity of the war—many Northerners were as racist, or sometimes more racist, than Southerners.
Not that any of this was new...
12 American presidents in their lives had been slave owners! When the British invaded the colonies in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, they actually freed slaves, while Americans, including the American president kept Negroes enslaved!
So very hypocritical, so contrary to the Light.
But the actions of God followers never seem to change—not then, not even now.
Consider this, think on it: American snipers have been using rifles in the war in Afghanistan
made by a Christian company which puts Bible verses on the rifle sights!!
When Muslims fight Americans, they do so in the name of God (Allah in Arabic). It never ends...
Hopefully, followers of Jesus, in the future will change and resist the evil of war.
In the Light,