Onward Christian Soldiers?

On a recent holiday, my wife and I visited a historic church. Aside from the architecture, what struck me were two monuments on the church grounds: One was a war memorial placed directly in front of the main entrance honoring those church members who had served in war. The other was a gravestone dedicated to all the unborn who had lost their lives.

The contrast was striking. Obviously, the church supports killing on one hand and loathes it on the other. Is this what it means to be “pro-life?”

When did “Christian” churches begin to formally support our war machine? Based on what Biblical teaching? When did Christ ever sanction violence, let alone killing? How did “turn the other cheek” become “bomb the bastards?” Did God issue orders to invade Iraq as He did Jericho? How about Afghanistan? Vietnam? Korea?

I know this may seem particularly blasphemous to post on Memorial Day. (For the record, I honor all of those who have passed before us – soldiers and civilians alike.) But, if you believe in the 10 commandments, where is the asterisk noting that killing is okay as long as you’re wearing a military uniform?

A lot of Christian Americans have decried the violence of Muslim extremists. How is Christian support of war different? Aren’t churches supposed to be our moral compass? Shouldn’t they all hold steadfast to the teachings of their prophets and saviors? Shouldn’t they at least try to separate their teachings from the military, which is inherently about death and destruction?

But if churches can rationalize support for war, how is it not hypocritical for them to decry a woman’s choice to end a pregnancy?┬áThis is exactly the kind of hypocrisy that led the Church to torture and murder those it considered guilty of blasphemy or witchcraft.