Friday, May 23, 2008

Politicians and Soldiers

With Teddy Kennedy's brain tumor providing full-employment for doctors speculating on cable TV, Sheldon Richman asks,

When was the last time a great inventor, scientist, intellectual, or entrepreneur got wall-to-wall coverage on cable television at word of his or her death or diagnosis of a terminal illness? Why does this happen only with politicians? It's just the media's subtle way of conveying their worldview that nothing is more important in life than the state and its "statesmen." Disgusting.

A similar question might be asked about Memorial Day. The United States has three holidays which honor those who chose war over peace: Veterans' Day (those who fought and lived); Memorial Day (those who fought and died) and Independence Day (those who took up arms to abolish their government). Shouldn't a Christian nation like America have a day to honor those who withstood the temptation to violence and vengeance and followed the Prince of Peace instead?

How about a day to honor missionaries like Jim Elliot, who were martyred in their work to civilize the heathen, not to "bomb them back to the stone age?"

What might have been the result if the federal government spent a trillion dollars on missionaries to Iraq, rather than soldiers and sanctions?

How about a day to honor coal miners who lost their lives in dirty coal mines getting our electricity?

The answer to all these questions is simple: America is a nation of idolaters, members of a cult that believes the State and the sword is the source of blessing and salvation.

So should we spit in the faces of veterans? No. (Nor in the faces of those who protest the war.) Mourning is appropriate.

The shortest verse in the New Testament is John 11:35: "Jesus wept."

The context is the death of Lazarus.

It is appropriate that we mourn the ones we love who lost their lives in senseless wars. Romans 12:15 reminds us to "Weep with those who weep."

But Jesus also said,

“Follow Me.” But the man said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”

When John the Baptist was confronted by soldiers,

the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages" (Luke 3:14)

Healthy mourning on Memorial Day will result in positive action the following week to give more honor to peacemakers and entrepreneurs than to warmongers and politicians (pardon the repetition).

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