Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – Matthew 5:9
This Sunday, Christian congregations across the country celebrated the lives lost during the wars this country has participated in; it’s too bad they weren’t celebrating those who have dedicated their lives working for peace, so that soldiers do not have to fight and pay the ultimate price of their lives.
I heard such a poem read at a religious gathering, “It’s the Soldier.” In respect to copyright, I’m not re-printing the words here, but I invite you to read it in whole for yourself here. The poem declares that it is the soldier who has given us freedom of religion, freedom of press, freedom of speech, the right to a fair trial, and the right to vote as opposed to the minister, the reporter, the poet, or the lawyer.
I mean no disrespect to soldiers, absolutely none; especially those who have died and whose families grieve their loss. War is a horrible, awful thing and why we continue to glorify those who we put through it and honor their sacrifice as some kind of Christological/Soteriological act is beyond me. Perhaps churches should spend Memorial Weekend Sundays mourning the precious loss of millions of lives, both soldiers and civilians, and decrying that our country continues to be willing to send young, vibrant men and women off to their death.
Our nation spends roughly the same on “Defense” (i.e. weapons of death and destruction) as ALL the other nations COMBINED. And if that weren’t enough, Republican Paul Ryan has presented a budget that seeks to increase our death and destruction budget by 20%. America has also doubled its death and destruction spending since 2000.
I don’t want to see any lives lost, something I’d think my “pro-life” friends could agree on; yet members of the same churches that commemorate the lives of the millions of soldiers killed in war (and the innumerable civilians) oddly enough continue to support politicians and policies that are far too eager to send off young lives to be maimed and killed. Strange indeed.
What if instead of training women and men to be killing machines we trained them to be peacemakers? To feed the poor, heal the sick, ease the brokenhearted; you know, be like Jesus? What if instead of spending $1 Trillion on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, America instead dedicated some of that money to ending hunger globally? It’s estimated the global hunger could be eliminated for only $13 Billion.
Do I respect and appreciate the soldiers? Absolutely YES, so much so that I don’t want to see a single one put through the horrors of war to suffer and die.