Saturday, May 24, 2008

Better Dead than Red?

On Memorial Day we honor those who lost their lives in military conflict.

Andrew Bernstein supports the troops:

Regular American soldiers have fought and died for freedom around the globe. South Korea today is free, not a part of North Korea's murderous dictatorship, because U.S. soldiers helped defeat Communist aggression in the Korean War.

In other words, it's better to die while attempting to kill commies than to "love your enemies" and live under communist rule.

Better to get our muskets and cannons out and kill the red coats than live under British mercantilism.

That's what Memorial Day is all about: honoring the choice of those who took up arms and died in the process.

Why is the choice to kill commies (or Red Coats, or jihadists) more noble and honorable than the choice to follow Jesus and submit to communist rule (or Islamic theocracy)?

The Bible presents a completely different way of looking at life from that encouraged on Memorial Day:

Romans 12-13
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitable quartering of troops.
14 Bless the "Red Coats" which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with the British.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if an enemy soldier hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are set in place by God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, throwing tea into the harbor, or firing muskets upon them from behind trees, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
3 For archist red coats are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute
wrath upon him that doeth evil.
5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
6 For for this cause pay ye taxes without representation: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
7 Render therefore to all their dues: taxes to whom taxes are due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

1 Peter 2:11-24
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to king George III, as supreme;
14 Or unto parliament, as unto them that are sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
17 Honour all the British. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the cruel.
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth:
23 Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose stripes ye were healed.

Matthew 5:38-48
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The way this works in practice is for the first generation to repudiate violence, love their enemies, remain faithful to God, and lose their "rights" under slavery. The enslaving conquerors, seeing such love and faithfulness, are converted (or judged by God, who vindicates those who have "a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence"). The next generation, having not gotten used to living in a military state, are freer than they would have been had their parents taken up arms in resistance.

If it's an honorable thing to lose your life and be honored on Memorial Day, then it shouldn't have been dishonorable if our parents lost their property or their freedom by not killing the conquerors, but didn't lose their soul (Matthew 16:26). They didn't lose their children's rights by trading them for temporary "security." The next generation grows up with more respect for life, more freedom, and more prosperity than they would have had had their parents gotten adjusted to a Garrison State and given half their wages to the Pentagon to kill the commies.

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