I’m not ready to unconditionally adopt the pacifism advocated by Lee Camp in his book Mere Discipleship (see my Dec. 19, 2005 post).  But reading his book certainly made me more sensitive to the contradictions which Christians easily enter into in advocating war-making.  I thought this paragraph from last night’s State of the Union address was a good example.

Lacking the military strength to challenge us directly, the terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear. When they murder children at a school in Beslan – or blow up commuters in London – or behead a bound captive – the terrorists hope these horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the Earth. But they have miscalculated: We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it.

Obviously, President Bush was referring to the Beatitude, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).  Not the violent, but the meek.  How then do we move to the position, “we will fight to keep our freedom”?  It’s amazing how easy it is to weave in allusions to Jesus to defend a position that Jesus would never have taken.

We just celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and now we mourn the passing of his widow, Coretta Scott King.  Surely the path of non-violence that they advocated presents a more Christ-like alternative.

I am thankful for the freedom I enjoy as an American, and I realize that this freedom was bought with blood, often shed in violence.  I have trouble rejecting the use of force in all circumstances.  But I do think we need to be careful not to twist Jesus’ words to justify our own agendas.

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