Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Inhuman behavior

Thank you, Sir, for speaking for the Christianity I know.

Inhuman behavior:

"04/24/06 'Christian Century ' -- -- The historian Arnold Toynbee called war 'an act of religious worship.'

Appropriately, when most people enter the cathedral of violence, their voices become hushed. This silence, this reluctance to speak, is based in part on not wishing to trivialize or jeopardize the lives of those who have been put in harm's way. We want to support the men and women in our armed forces, whether we are crusaders, just warriors or pacifists.

Furthermore, those who interrupt this service of worship become a source of public embarrassment, if not shame. The undercurrent seems to be that dissent or critique in the midst of war is inherently unpatriotic because it violates a sacred wartime precept: support our troops.

From the standpoint of Christian faith, how do we respond? I would say that if war causes us to suppress our deepest religious, ethical and moral convictions, then we have indeed caved in to a 'higher religion' called war.

Since this obeisance to war is packaged in the guise of patriotism, it is well to admit to the beauty of patriotism, the beauty of unselfishness and love of country, land, community, family, friends and, yes, our system of government. But this fabulous beauty makes us appreciate all the more what Reinhold Niebuhr called the 'ethical paradox in patriotism.' The paradox is that patriotism can transmute individual unselfishness into national egoism. When this happens, when the critical attitude of the individual is squelched, this permits the nation, as Niebuhr observed, to use 'power without moral constraint.'

I believe this has been the case, particularly since 9/11, in the treatment of prisoners under U.S. custody." (read On ^)

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