Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Pacifism of Some Liberals

I'm not going to take the time to go into the full subject of war and pacifism. Let's just leave it as that I think it's a complicated subject, and I see validity to both sides. Later I might go into it full-boar, but at the present time I just want to concentrate on one particular form of pacifism that I find particularly distasteful -- the pacifism of most of the outspoken modern liberals, especially liberal Christians.

There's two reasons why I find their brand of pacifism distasteful. The first one is the most obvious -- they are selective pacifists. They aren't like Quakers who are totally against war, but instead they pretend to be pacifists when it suits them. It's like they are using pacifism as a cover to make their own position seem more righteous than it really is. For every conflict they agree with, they want troops to be sent in, or at least a cruise missile launched. For every conflict they disagree with, it's a long speech about whether or not war is Christian and if Jesus would wage war. It's simply two-faced, and using "pacifism" not as a real position, but rather as a propoganda tool to be used or discarded as the situation merits. This simply prevents an actual discussion about the merits of the conflict, since you can simply paint yourself as being "for peace" and someone else "for war".

But that isn't really what I wanted to talk about. What really gets my goat, but almost no one mentions, is that the liberals who are wanting peace are the exact same people who think that any hint of Christianity within government is a violation of Church and state. This is a blatant contradiction to begin with -- they claim Christianity as the source of their anti-war position, but then do not tolerate anyone else to use Christianity as a basis for other policies. Even within pacifism, if you choose to be peaceful on behalf of Christ, then the government needs to be able to follow through with the rest what Christ calls us to do, and accomplish peace from even our enemies through Christ. This is fully untenable if our lawmaker's hands are tied in actively practicing the Christian faith.

I believe fully that pacifism can be what Christ calls a country to do. But, we aren't doing that if we stop there and do not use that instance to proclaim Christ to the nations. If pacifism is used without acknowledging Christ all the way through, it would be in vain and without effect. What gain for anyone would that lead? It would simply lead to being conquered by our enemies. If we push forward in Christ, we would be victorious even if we were conquered, and we could even be victorious in the flesh as well without conflict, if we relied on Christ to save us. But simply not going to war without proclaiming Christ through it is not the same thing.

10 Comments:

At 10/29/2006 1:04 PM, Blogger John said...

I've gathered a similar impression of the modern American Christian pacifist movement. It's not so much a holiness movement than a holier-than-thou-ness movement.

 
At 11/11/2006 12:12 PM, Blogger PamBG said...

Maybe I don't have a right to be an "American" any more, but speaking as Methodist who believes that any and all war is wrong, period, whatever the cause...

I do not object to Christians or Christianity being part of the government. I object to a President who thinks that he been personally appointed by God to wage war.

I object to the sort of "Christianity" (scare quotes because I don't consider it real Christianity) that doesn't recognise American patriotism as the sin of idolatry. I object to the kind of "Christianity" that says to question the American right to wage war is to be anti-Christian.

I object to the idea that conservative Christianity can never possibly be wrong or idolatrous.

P.S. I consider myself a theological liberal and I scored about the same as you on "Wesleyan" and "Neo orthodox". Ain't THAT scary?

 
At 11/11/2006 1:55 PM, Anonymous cseminarian said...

Pam --

I can totally understand your brand of pacifism -- that _any_ war is wrong. The issue I see is those people who want to be glorify war in settings such as the American revolutionary war or WWII, but then call themselves pacifist as a ploy every time they disagree with a military conflict. That's plain duplicitous.

One thing to keep in mind as far as the american right is concerned -- when people feel threatened, they tend to stick in groups. Then, everyone "outside" is defaulted as less-than-trustworthy and everyone "inside" is trustworthy at least by default. This isn't necessarily right or Christian, but I do think that it is a fairly human response, and is the reason for a lot of the wierd stuff you see from the right.

Also, I'm curious, what do you mean by "theological liberal"? I know some people who claim that, but that I wouldn't put in that category. So what is it for you?

 
At 11/11/2006 4:27 PM, Blogger PamBG said...

This isn't necessarily right or Christian, but I do think that it is a fairly human response, and is the reason for a lot of the wierd stuff you see from the right.

Yes, it's a "fairly human response". I'd locate it somewhere around original sin. It's possible to be a Christian and commit that sin, but when a person and a group starts saying that God blesses this way of being, then they are walking pretty far down the road to not being Christian, in my book.

Also, I'm curious, what do you mean by "theological liberal"? I know some people who claim that, but that I wouldn't put in that category. So what is it for you?

I'm not sure what you mean by the question "What's in it for me".

Why I consider myself a theological liberal. I don't believe the bible to be verbally inspired, inerrant or infallible. I cannot disaggregate scripture from tradition very easily as much as I might want to rank scripture first; I think it must necessarily be tied up in the values of the cultures of the time of "revelation" (define your value of "revelation"). I don't think it's possible for us moderns to read scripture without also putting on own own overlay, so I don't think a "plain and straightforward" reading of scripture is possible. I support gay marriage.

 
At 11/12/2006 6:57 AM, Blogger John said...

I do not object to Christians or Christianity being part of the government. I object to a President who thinks that he been personally appointed by God to wage war.

Pam, do you have a quote to back up this allegation?

 
At 11/12/2006 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John:

I'll change my language.

I object to George Bush talking about his presidency in terms of a religious mission, vocation and destiny with respect to Iraq. Because my understanding of Jesus' teaching leaves no room for the concept of God picking a society to wage war on another society.

I don't want to argue about this with you, John. I was talking to cseminarian. I know your views on the war; you're entitled to think as you do.

 
At 11/14/2006 6:35 AM, Blogger Neil said...

What really bothers me about pacifists is that most of them (including 100% of the ones I know) are pro-abortion! What an incredible oxymoron: Pro-abortion pacifists. If abortion isn't violent, what is?

Read what John the Baptist said to soldiers in Luke 3 and what Jesus said to the Roman Centurion. More specifically, note what they didn't say: They didn't tell the soldiers to get new jobs. I don't like to argue from silence, but it sure seems like those would have been ideal times to make anti-war statements if they wanted to.

 
At 11/16/2006 11:04 AM, Blogger PamBG said...

The only consistent Christian position is to be pacifist and anti-abortion. Which pretty much will get one hated in both liberal and conservative circles. But being a Christian isn't a popularity contest.

 
At 11/30/2006 10:22 PM, Blogger St.Phransus said...

"I believe fully that pacifism can be what Christ calls a country to do."

I don't necessarily think that Christ calls a country to do anything, rather he calls on "his" community, the church to live out his way.

I do believe however that Christians, ought to live nonviolently and act nonviolently, period. And yes I also believe that we have a very confused idea of what that means in America- pro life ought to be an across the board "pro life":
against war
against abortion
against euchenasia
against the death penalty

hmmm, that won't be too popular with anyone in politics, exept maybe Jesus.

 
At 3/28/2011 3:35 PM, Anonymous mastercard casino said...

Bravo, magnificent idea

 

Post a Comment

<< Home