Are American Evangelicals Seduced by Militarism?

This post comes from Preston Sprinkle.

Are American Evangelicals Seduced by Militarism? Is militarism consistent with Christian faith?

American militarism. The very phrase evokes a cacophony of responses from the public, not least from the American Evangelical church. It’s undeniable that America is becoming more and more militarized, as several recent books have pointed out (e.g. Andrew Bacevich, The New American Militarism; Rachel Maddow, Drift). Some Evangelicals are quick to celebrate America’s military prowess—the bigger the better—while others see it as dangerous, if not idolatrous. For reasons state in this post and the next, I believe the latter: the American Evangelical church is largely (not completely) seduced by military might.

But what is “Militarism?” According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, “Militarism” is:

[T]he belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests.

By “militarism,” therefore, I do not mean “the people participating in the military” (I myself come from a long line of Marines), but the overarching “belief or desire” of having a strong military to protect or advance national or religious interests. Not every member of the military, as several of my military friends have told me, actually buy into the overarching agenda of militarism.

Now, I would argue—and it’s hard to argue otherwise—that America is becoming more and more militarized. I would also argue (though no time in this blog to prove it) that America’s recent militarism is an aberration of its original ideals. For much of its history, America has been critical of militarism, seeing it actually as a threat of its own liberty (as thoroughly documented in Bacevich’s book). But such an argument is neither here nor there in terms of a biblical worldview. The nations will do what the nations will do. But the recent push for militarism is augmented by one significant—and quite bewildering—fact: the American Evangelical church has been leading the charge for the nation’s recent fascination and faith in military might.

Throughout the 20th century, American Christians have shown a varied reaction toward military might. But beginning in 1980 (and to some extent in the mid-late 70’s), there has been an unchecked attraction to (and faith in) American militarism as an extension of religious freedom. The Vietnam debacle stunted America’s faith in militarism, and the Carter administration (1977-1981) did nothing to reverse the tide. But with the Reagan years (1981-1989), there arose—among Evangelical Christians, in particular—a growing sense that America’s military and (Christian) religious freedom when hand in hand. During the 80’s atheistic communism posed a catastrophic threat toward America’s freedom, and Evangelicals turned to America’s military as the solution to the problem. During the 80’s there was an overwhelming support among U.S. Evangelicals of the U.S. military, precisely because the military was the answer to stave off the threat of atheistic communism. Therefore, Reagan’s unyielding promotion of militarism garnered many friends from the Evangelical church.

Tim LaHaye, for instance, located the moral degradation of America in the “crisis of military weakness” and he believed that “the Bible supports building a powerful military force. The Bible,” argues Lindsay, “is telling the U.S. to become strong again” and “to use our vast and superior technology to create the world’s strongest military power” (The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon). Lindsay’s sentiment was shared by many Evangelicals in his tradition. Jerry Fallwell called America back to biblical values, which included patriotism and a strong military to ward off the threat of atheistic communism (see his Listen America!). Military general and fellow Evangelical, William Boykin said that “Satan wants to destroy this nation… and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army.” He therefore saw America’s military as an extension of God’s fight against evil. Other Christian conservatives, such as G. Russell Evans and C. Greg Singer, argued that only liberals promoted “pacifism, disarmament [of the U.S. military], and abortion on demand.” Wayne Grudem sees America’s “superior military weaponry” as “a good thing for the world.” After all, “[g]enuine peace in the world comes through the strength of the United States” (Grudem, Politics, pp. 399-400)—C.I.A. drone strikes notwithstanding.

In short, during the 80’s and 90’s (and even today), any protest against war within the Christian church constituted apostasy toward liberalism (see Bacevich, The New Militarism, 122-146). To be Evangelical was synonymous with being pro-military, anti-abortion, pro-family, pro-defense, and pro-republican. It was the republican Reagan and not the democrat Carter who cared to stand against atheistic communism—guns a blazin. All protesting voices were declared liberal and swept under the rug of American Evangelical rhetoric—despite what the Bible says about military might.

So what does the Bible say about militarism? The next post will show that regardless of the growing opinion of American Evangelicals in the last few decades, God does not think too highly of military might. In fact, He condemns it as idolatry.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Jim

    The short answer is, “Yes.” A large percentage of Evangelicals certainly seem to be seduced by militarism. But they’re also seduced by all things “American” – culture, media, Empire, etc. I long for the day that Evangelicals are using their resources to speak Truth to America. I think then we would really see the spiritual re-birth of the Church in this land (and America would be far better off).

  • Mike M

    God save us all. “Turn the other cheek” flies in direct opposition to preventive wars (Google that one). Once again, this post reinforces my belief that “poltics trumps religion.” No pun intended.

  • phil_style

    There are many complex issues lying behind militarism generally, and in the US in particular. Let’s not forget that this militarism goes beyond simply the strength of the nation-state. It extends into industrial production (and jobs) also. Eisenhower famously saw this connection in his MIC statements in the 1960s.

    In recent (100 years) US history, militarism has been remarkably successful.
    Despite the fact that many combat engagements have not panned out in the US favor (e.g. Vietnam), the “success” of militarism with respect to steam-rolling conflict is evident in two very important historical cases, namely the first and second world wars. America emerged form each as a more powerful, and more prosperous nation.

    I don’t buy the argument that American’s are somehow more bloodthirsty than other nationalities [I'm not suggesting that argument is being pushed in Preston's article]. I think there is a historical precedent, a cultural/political memory, that takes account of the relative success (economic, geopolitical) of American military power.

  • Richard

    While the interlocking of militarism and conservative evangelicals became most explicit in the birth of the Moral Majority in the 80s, the roots go back to the 50s with th birth of the military-industrial-congressional complex. Merton even speculated that if JFK turned toward peace efforts (which he did more and more), he would be killed. The evidence that he was killed by the CIA and powers for his efforts at Peaceful resolution to the Cold War is well documented in “Kennedy and the Unspeakable.”

  • http://www.nateweatherly.com Nate W.

    Seems the options for any nation are similar to those for each person that comprises them: (1) Be prepared to fight for your own security and rights or (2) Turn the other cheek, love your neighbor, stand in non-violence between the violent and their victims and be prepared to be crucified.

    It sounds harsh, but until America is willing to die as a nation she will never live.

  • John Bonnett

    It strikes me that this is the sort of question where the answers you receive depend on the definitions you apply and the breadth and depth of history that you consult. Consider militarism. The definition offered here is plausible enough, but I suggest it doesn’t go far enough. When I think of militarism, I think of a society that goes to enormous lengths to invest its citizenry is the country’s military, up to and including the imposition of a required period of national service on all citizens. By that measure, the US is becoming less militaristic. The last generational cohort of men where military service was a widely shared part of life is now in its 60s and 70s. Further, a regime governed by militarism invests a substantial part of its GDP to support the military. When you compare what the US spends relative to past and present imperial, or if you prefer hegemonic, powers, its figure is ridiculously low, somewhere in the single digit percentile range. By these measures, the US is becoming less militaristic, not more. I think the more sensible answer is to suggest the US is about as militaristic as it ever has been, but to reach that conclusion one needs to consider a broader swath of US history. Scot’s post, and the books upon which it relies, starts with Vietnam. But how much different is the US today from the US that inspired Mark Twain to write the War Prayer? Not much I think, and the US occupation of the Philippines inspired the same deep divisions then that the Iraq war does now. I don’t think militarism is the problem. I think the Evangelical church’s integration of America’s civic religion with Christianity is the problem, and the problem may extend beyond the Evangelical church. I live in Canada and I used to watch Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power on a regular basis. I remember seeing one of his Fourth of July broadcasts and cringing. It was an over the top celebration of America, and I wondered how Schuller could be so blind to the effect it had on viewers overseas. If you want to celebrate America fine, but do it outside the church. When you identify your national story too closely with Christ and the course of salvific history, that is idolatry. It is God that controls the course of history, not the US, nor anyone else.

  • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

    I think militarism has become a proxy for international power. The US (or a significant part of the the US that includes conservatives and many Evangelicals) that the way to be powerful in the world is to do it through military power.

    If you look at the way that conservatives have reviled soft power (diplomacy, international aid, etc.) the only way to be powerful if you reject soft power is to have hard power of the military and economic might. The rise of the bilateral trade agreement that is almost always strongly weighted toward the US instead of the multilateral agreements that are more balanced I think is an example of this military style argument in another field.

    The way I think this fits into the Evangelical world is that Evangelicals seem to believe that those that are not Christian cannot respond to a good with a good. Another way to say this is that people outside the US can’t be Christian because they are not Christian as the US Evangelical culture defines it, so the only way to deal with them is by exerting power (military or economic).

    The other option is that a stronger world (economically, educationally, etc) would actually benefit the US because it was independent and not reliant on the US.

    The US seems locked in a colonial mindset that is not the case for those in Europe that had formalized colonies that were freed in the 20th century.

  • Diane S.

    I think you hit the nail on the head, John B; many American Evangelicals cannot seperate the Kingdom of God from American patriotism.

  • Bob Myers (@Hawkforgrace)

    What if the question was an idolatry of more police and law enforcement, more prisons, and harsher prison terms?

    Pragmatism might look to contain and repress crime by these, but the gospel seeks the transformation by the inside out, for criminals, for the nation of Iran, and even for members of Al Queda, all the way down to Osama Bin Laden.

    I don’t have the answers, but I think evangelicals support of both Gulf Wars put us in lock step with the secular national agenda, and has definitely wounded our credibility, and hurt our ability to reach Muslims.

  • Percival

    I agree almost completely with the post and comments like John Bonnet #6, but disagree completely with comments like Nate #5.

    There is almost no comparison between the type of behavior that is required from a nation state, and behavior that marks the covenant people of Christ. Love your neighbor and do justice to others are general principles for all. These are principles that God requires from all people everywhere. But to live the live of the cross is only for those who identify with the crucified Christ. While I’ve stated this rather simplistically, and I’m sure it can be picked apart, it is nowhere as simplistic as pacifistic statements like Nate’s. Sorry brother.

    The captivity of the American Evangelical church to militarism was most shockingly made plain to me on a 4th of July Sunday a few years ago as I visited my in-laws’ church. (It was not a fundamentalist church either.) A video presentation on America’s virtues was capped off by a Calvary flyby of fighter jets. In formation they zoomed up above a hill with three crosses on it as the music swelled. I don’t remember the exact words, but the two images were unashamedly conflated. Liberty and all that. As my heart was broken and disturbed by the whole thing, I looked around to see the reaction of the other “worshipers.” Tears of patriotism all around. Later, I asked my father-in-law (a teacher at the local Evangelical college) if the video bothered him. His reaction was that he supposed it was a little over the top but he didn’t have a problem with it. And this from one of the most thoughtful men I know! It is still heartbreaking as I recount it now.

  • http://www.danwhitejr.blogspot.com dan white jr

    I’m more of an Anabaptist pacifist. But here is a major challenge I find when discussing this.

    America was acquired by the sheer force of military. We killed to apprehend our current status.

    How can you tell people not to be suspicious that our freedom could be taken away when it was birthed in military action? When you take something you are paranoid it might be taken back. This is woven into the fabric of our national origin.

  • http://jimpuntney@wordpress.com Jim Puntney

    Mans governance over mans affairs is quick sand for a follower of Jesus to navigate in. As His children, we are given many examples of love, and compassion. The Apostle Paul may be among the best examples when we look outside of Jesus’example. Paul was personally hounded by the government of his day, beatings, imprisonment, and mock trials were common
    occurrences. Yet in it all his trust was in none other than Jesus Christ.

    As disciples of Christ it seems quite clear that we are to live in this world, yet not of it. We have been called to a new Kingdom, one of peace, justice, liberty, and true love. We have been called to be a ‘city on a hill’ to example a different way of living. A way of living by the indwelling presence of our King. In this new Kingdom we cannot afford to compromise our Kings value system for the current man derived, and corrupt kingdoms of this world, or age.

    The call of John the Revelator, seems appropriate, “Come out of her, my people…”

  • AHH

    I would say that, as much as anything, patriotism, (not militarism per se), or civil religion, is the fundamental idolatry at work here.
    But in the US these days, militarism seems to be a huge component of patriotism to the point where they almost seem indistinguishable. I don’t know enough about this area of history to know whether the near equating of militarism with patriotism has always been the case, or if it has intensified recently.

  • Craig

    Some neat insights here. I am struck by Adam Shields’s: “The way I think this fits into the Evangelical world is that Evangelicals seem to believe that those that are not Christian cannot respond to a good with a good.” This tendency goes back at least as far as Abraham’s fear of Pharaoh (Gen. 20:11). I’m also struck by Bob Myer’s note about similar Evangelicals affinities to police power and harsh criminal laws.

    Maybe a larger pattern is this: American evangelicals are, by and large, held captive by old social norms and attitudes because they are overly confident that they have nothing to learn from those outside the evangelical church–and particularly when it comes to questions of justice and morality. This would help to explain why evangelicals, as a group, are so slow to catch on to norms regarding environmental sustainability, multiculturalism, and gender–even when there is no obvious conflict with biblical values.

  • http://prestonsprinkle.com Preston Sprinkle

    Very fruitful discussion thus far. I appreciated the many thoughts that have augmented my post, especially John B’s stuff on my simple definition of militarism. In short, I agree. Militarism is a complex factor, and there are many different ways to measure it. If we go by percentage of the GDP, then yes, it’s lower today than it was 50 years ago. If I remember correctly, in the late 50′s or early 60′s, it was close to 50% of the GDP and now it’s around 20%. (Please correct me if I’m wrong!) But even GDP percentage needs to consider the fact that the higher percentage was during the Cold War, while today, there is no “competition,” if we can put it in such crass terms. (Our offensive…I mean, defensive spending is nearly more than all the nations combined.) Also, I think we should factor in two more things: 1) we farm out much military activities to private companies, and 2) the CIA (via drones, etc.) wages war out of the public eye and outside the jurisdiction of Congress. All that to say, I don’t think that the percentage of GDP given to defensive spending is the best measure for how militaristic America has become. But in a sense, though, all of this supports John B’s point that we have removed our wars from civilian life. And when war doesn’t affect civilians the way it used to, it has little accountability.

  • Bill

    If we define militarism as the tendency to regard the military as the supreme ideal of the state at the cost of all other interests, I don’t think we as a nation are here. Also I am not sold on the premise proposed here. Militarism is NOT the same as wanting a good military. Every nation wants and needs a good defense. Why not? This isn’t heaven.

    We can make a military an idol and it’s easy to do here because we have one of the best if not the best in the world. But it does not follow that our military is our supreme ideal and it doesn’t follow that evangelicals have the military as an idol. Why not look at North Korea or China and use the same grid?

    If you are looking for idols to destroy among evangelicals, look at materialism and fear of man.

  • Patrick

    Diane,

    I tend to agree with your comment, but, I would add to it. I think you’re describing a form of idolatry motivated here in the US by dispensationalism.

    Even the left Christians have become idolators though. We all tend to look for sustenance in various ways to Caesar as opposed to Christ.

    The right in seeing the USA as “God’s agent” to rule the world in lieu of Christ when He “fails our expectations”, the left seeing our state as sustenance in lieu of Christ when He “fails our expectations”.

    The right agrees on killing for the “national interest”, the left for the “responsibility to protect” nonsense as if a state really is God’s “people” or can be trusted to necessarily speak some truth.

    I fear we have as much idolatry here as Rome did in 60 AD, just more nuanced.

    I think the answer to Scot’s question is 100% yes. I see the left&right believers in the same boat for different reasons, both flawed in regards to Caesar, IMO.

  • Percival

    Bill #16 seems to think that militarism is not an idol or not a big enough one to bother with. I’m not sure which. In response, I ‘d like to point out that ancient peoples have done some of the work of enumerating what a pantheon of false gods might look like. Mars, Ares, Wodin, etc. are members of the pantheon because war is seductive and powerful. Here’s a list of war deities. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_deities
    Their sheer numbers should be instructive.

    War and militarism are seductive and powerful. We watch it and part of us loves it (with an unrequited love). At our television and cinema altars we watch in dread and fascination. “Every nation wants a good defense,” Bill says – as if we are talking about a nation’s electrical grid or her banking system. But we glamorize war.

    These realities of history and culture should at least make us wary. The idols of the ancients are still idols today, and we should not be ignorant of Satan’s schemes or our own tendencies to excuse our own idolatry. Is this seeing idols behind every bush? Yes, and in every high place.

  • Bill

    #18,

    Yes “war is seductive and powerful.” But it doesn’t mean it needs to become an idol or is an idol or will be an idol. So are you takling about war as an idol or militarism? They aren’t the same. See “The Hurt Locker” for a great depiction of war being an idol and a drug.

    The questions were, are American Evangelicals Seduced by Militarism and is militarism consistent with Christian faith?

    My answer to the first is no. They are too seduced by themselves (materialism, fear of man, etc.).

    My answer is yes to the second using the defintion I proposed for militarism only if it can be proved that the military is the supreme ideal of the state. Just because we have a military and a good one at that, doesn’t follow it is the chief goal of the state at the cost of all other goals. Take it at face value. We have a great military. Nuff said.

  • http://www.kingdomseeking.com K. Rex Butts

    I believe that the issue of nationalism (and the human-political/militaristic powers that come with it) is probably the most important issue facing Christianity in America. The more the Christian ethos becomes nationalistic, the more we will trust in and justify whatever human-political and militaristic power is needed to maintain the nationalistic hope. And the more nationalism seems to increase, the more the witness of Jesus and the kingdom of God diminishes.

    Grace and Peace,

    Rex

  • Dana Ames

    My future son-in-law is a Marine EOD. He and his buddies thought “Hurt Locker” was entirely unrealistic, and were dismayed that people would be led by the film to believe it was an accurate representation of what EOD is like. (He is presently deployed to Afghanistan – prayers greatly appreciated, for him as well as all of our troops there.)

    My Army daughter and her fellow soldiers were scared $&!#less (her word) by the prospect of Romney gaining the presidency and “cowboying” (her word) the troops into another senseless war, putting them in harm’s way unnecessarily.

    Too many Christians cover themselves in a blanket of “patriotism” without even discussing these issues with people in the military.

    Dana

  • SamB

    My answer to this question is an emphatic yes. This is a tragedy for Christian witness in our country and around the world today. This is a crucial qoute for me: “But the recent push for militarism is augmented by one significant—and quite bewildering—fact: the American Evangelical church has been leading the charge for the nation’s recent fascination and faith in military might.” Nations will do as nations will do. But followers of Jesus should be in opposition to milaterialism, not a driving force behind it. General Omar Bradley, the general who commanded U.S. forces at the invasion of Normandy and led one of the largest forces in our military history said a few years after world war 2 ended we have learned the ways of war but not the ways of the Sermon on the Mount. I pray everyday that God would open our eyes to what we have done and that we would return to the ways of Jesus.

  • Dan

    Dana, you better hope she does not find herself in a position of calling for help defending an ambassador somewhere. Seriously, where did you hear Romney was going to go in “gun blazing”? I heard the speeched and watched the debates but don’t remember that.

    I may be wrong about the bellicose Romney but I think there might be something else at work here. For example, Military Times has poll numbers out with high support of our efforts in Afghanistan and a high disapproval of the POTUS as Commander in Chief (http://militarytimes.com/projects/polls/2012/results/politics/). Further, a CBS poll found that some 66% supported Romney (http://militarytimes.com/projects/polls/2012/results/politics/).

  • SamB

    It is my understanding that it wasn’t until 1980, even after all evidence of what had been for many unimaginable horrors that had been perpetuated by the German government, that Germans began to change their attitudes concerning those who had been killed resisting Hitler’s government, men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bascially a whole new German generation had to come first. It is that hard for nations who have been so thoroughly indoctrinated to believe their country could commit evil acts. The fact that evangelicals have supported our military to the degree that it has, with the majority never questioning whether a war was just or caring to investigate what horrible actions were being committed with the taxpayers money around the world, especially in Central and South America, indicates we have been indoctrinated as a nation as well. Christians should have exposed this by being the voices of the victims around the world.

    Quoted in Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 4.

  • SamB

    the quote in 23 didn’t make it in the post. Here it is.

    “Once the objection against Christianity (and this was right at the time when it was most evident what Christianity is) was that it was unpatriotic, a danger to the state, revolutionary…”

    Soren Kierkegaard Quoted in Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 4.

  • Bill

    #21 Dana,

    I didn’t say “The Hurt Locker” was “an accurate representation of what EOD is like”. I thought it was a good treatment of the addiction of war. Still do.

    “Not every member of the military, as several of my military friends have told me, actually buy into the overarching agenda of militarism.” I agree with this. Our military is given the ability by our Constitution to defend us against all enemies foreign and domestic. Fundamentally, I would expect any military to do that for its own nation. I also agree with Gen. Bradley but again, this isn’t heaven. But just because you have a military doesn’t mean you are engaged in militarism. It can end up being this way and may have been at times in our nation’s history but it has not always been the case.

    Anyways, is militarism an idol to the American Evangelical? Perhaps; only if you can demonstrate that our military is the supreme ideal of our nation and that American Evangelicals embrace that ideal. I don’t think you have.

  • http://prestonsprinkle.com Preston Sprinkle

    Bill (#26),

    You’ve given some helpful thoughts, especially your challenge to the claim that militarism is an idol. Just to be clear, I stated at the end of my post that “the Bible condemns militarism as idolatry”–a claim which I’ll support in my next post. In any case, I’m not sure I’m convinced by your criterion that “only if you can demonstrate that our military is the supreme ideal of our nation and that American Evangelicals embrace that ideal” is militarism therefore idolatry. Does it have to be a supreme ideal to be an idol? Perhaps, but I don’t think we have to define idolatry by such narrow terms. Google it and you’ll see that “idol/idolatry” has many different shades of meaning, including an “immoderate attachment or devotion to something” (Merriam-Webster). In this case–even though my post in itself didn’t prove it–I’d say that militarism has been idolatrous in large pockets of Evangelicalism (yes, along with materialism, etc.).

  • Dana Ames

    Bill, I understand.

    Dan,
    The Marines guard the embassies.
    All I know is what my daughter told me. Never said her and her friends’ views were the views of the whole Army.
    Romney had some pretty hawkish advisors and funders. I wonder if he has any family in the military; I understand none of his sons served. I think it makes a difference.

    Frankly, your sarcastic remark is offensive, as if I didn’t care what happened to my daughter and her fellow soldiers. If my daughter were under fire, she would do her job and protect those she needed to protect, just like the best of them – which is most of them – do.

    Unless one of your children is in the military, you do not know what for. If you do and I have misjudged you, please forgive me. If not, as I said, talk to some military folks.

    Dana

  • http://www.twitter.com/aaronlage aaron

    Where is the Tim Lahaye quote from in the 3rd to last paragraph? Can’t quite tell if you’re quoting Tim or Hal…

  • http://prestonsprinkle.com Preston Sprinkle

    Aaron (#29),

    Shoot, it’s a typo! I meant to say “Hal Lindsay” and not Tim Lahaye in the opening line. Can’t imagine how I got the two mixed up…

  • Dan

    Dana, I don’t know what I said that is seen as so sarcastic. I am sorry I hurt your feelings. It was not my intent. I didn’t say anything about whether or not you cared about your daughter’s safety and I do not know how you could infer that from what I wrote. It never crossed my mind that she would not do best to protect those she could in the line of duty. I can’t even begin to figure out why you thought I might think otherwise. It certainly does not come from my comments. If your objection was about my statement hoping that she not find herself in “a position of calling for help,” it has reference to the decisions (or lack of) by our current Administration in Libya. You are the one who said your daughter was “scared $&!#less” about Romney.

    I am offended that you think throwing this kind of ancedotal evidence into this discussion helps at all. Instead of being scared of what Romney might do I would think concern would rest on what we have been able to observe the present Administration has been doing. The question posed by the blog post has to do with evangelicals becoming idolatrous in the “militarism” of America. My objection was not with your daughter or her colleagues but with how these opinions squared with reality and why they were included into the discussion. If we cannot portray our political opponents in a fair way then how on earth are we ever going to stop talking past each other?

  • Dana Ames

    Ok, Dan. Apparently I misjudged you, so, as I said, forgive me.

    I don’t see how anecdotal evidence is inadmissible. But ok. I don’t agree with everything Obama has done, but what the present administration has been doing is extricating us from a totally unnecessary war (Iraq) and drawing down a war that was not handled well in the beginning (also not on Obama’s watch), making things much more difficult for our soldiers (Afghanistan). Those are facts. Our daughter brought it to our attention that there have been far fewer KIAs lately. That’s a fact, too. She and her friends find that to be a good thing.

    I’m not trying to portray those I disagree with unfairly. I have people close to me who are “boots on the ground.” I think their opinions matter when discussing militarism, whether among Evangelicals or anyone else. The Military Times survey indicates that a significant number do support the President.

    As to the question of the OP, I think some Evangelicals are indeed seduced by militarism. Sorry I can’t provide you with a number.

    I’ll quit this thread.

    Dana

  • Dan

    Dana, we’re good. I have family over there too. The news from abroad is unsettling. I read we’re having drones shot down by Iran and we’re involved in Yemen. http://www.globalresearch.ca/obama-bombs-yemen-hours-after-winning-reelection/5311059

    For those who either know ones in harm’s way or have been there themselves, the issue is always going to hit close to home. There’s no easy answers when we are an influential country and too often the US has to act. Whether or not we agree with each other or with the original post we should discuss it. Hopefully our allegiance will always be to Christ first. Like Jesus said, “Render to God the things that are God’s.”

  • http://mikesnow.org Michael Snow

    So many Christians confuse the issue with some variation of America as a Christian nation, something like Israel in the OT. As citizens who have a voice in our government, we do need to voice our concerns about priorities. But let us never forget that as Christians, we are called to be the light of the world, not the sword of the LORD.
    http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/romans-13-in-context/

  • Don

    We’re seduced by a lot of things. Militarism; the pursuit of the American Dream to name a couple of things.

  • Chris

    This is something I have expressed strong rebuttal to many of my associates and family members who do not see the problem. First, I have advocated a requirement of the draft for all persons, except the very infirm, to fulfill required service for their country. Those healthy enough for “soldierly service” would be required to be eligible for such as needed; those not meeting physical capability would provide supportive services. Secondly, every exercise of military engagement MUST include an accompanying increase in taxation, with those who might profit the most paying the most. Those 2 mandates should highly curtail the irresponsible buildup and exerise of military means to address national concerns.

    The defense hawks (including many conservative Christians) rail that government doesn’t create jobs but I live near a major military installation that provides appoximately 27,000 jobs. But wisdom is justified of her children, now isn’t it? I’m baffled by the hypocrisy that those who claim to follow the Prince of Peace are so easily deceived as to so fund and arm a military until it would be nonsense NOT to use it! The sad consequence is that we end up with thousands of fatherless families and maimed soldiers for whom we will be paying the rest of their lives. The better investment is education, infrastructure and clean efficient energy and transportation systems.

  • http://mikesnow.org Michael Snow
  • Joshua Wooden

    I read the book that Sprinkle co-wrote with Francis Chan just a year or two ago. Didn’t know that he came from a long line of Marines. Something in common – so do I.

  • http://voiceofwind.jugem.jp/ Miha_Kobe

    TO:Those who may have rights and concerns

    I am a Japanese Christian, who have great interest in these blog posts. including these posts.

    Are American Evangelicals Seduced by Militarism?
    Old Testament, Militarism, and Idolatry
    Evangelicals, Militarism, and Romans 13 (Preston Sprinkle)

    These posts have great importance not only American Christians but also Japanese Christian. However, as you may know, many Japanese Christians have difficulty to read English articles. I would like to translate these posts into Japanese and add my thoughts on these articles. If you allow me to hang my translated version and this copy and past documents, I would like to let many Japanese evangelical Christians know deep thoughts from Bible passages of Prof. Preston Sprinkle.

    With prayer.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X