Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Christians pray-test, Hindus firebomb!

Recently there was a kerfluffle over some obnoxious Christians shouting their national repentance over the attempted prayer of a Hindu chaplain. A certain *ahem* enlightened fellow expressed his desire that this peaceful (if rude) act of protest would be met with violence.

What he fails to realize is that macing the Christians is even more merciful than what happens to Christians when they simply try to meet for private prayer in India, or have a press conference addressing Hindu violence against Christians, or just try to live their lives in peace. If only we could be happy pluralists like the Hindus.

I just wish we could live like the peace-seeking Indians in the largest democracy on the planet rather than in this Christofascist Republican Theothugocracy.

[NB: I've had lots of Hindu friends and none of them acted this way. But I can't stand it when people point to Christians protesting - a constitutionally-protected right - and overlook the violent abuses heaped on followers of Christ by all the other religions. A test of sincere moral indignation is if it's applied evenly, and in this case, TN420 is sounding a *ahem* token alarm.]


Presbyman said...

Heck, TN420 has excused anti-Christian violence in other lands because the non-Christians don't like the message.

teedz said...

Come now, is not the current quagmire in Iraq anything more than a thinly-veiled 21st century Christian crusade disguised as a proactive event undertaken to protect national security interests?

Bush is well-known for abusing - I mean, interspersing - religious phraseology into his speech to "summon his flock".

As such, it's no surprise to me that in his post 9/11 speech, Bush channeled Romans 8 and/or Luke 9:50 -- albeit it turned on its head.

Christianity, historical or modern, as a paragon of non-violence, vis a vis, anyone else? I don't think such could be claimed.

Sometimes I wish Merton were still around, I can only imagine what he'd say.

Chris said...


You know I love ya...but I fail to see what your rant on Bush has to do with the post. I'll say this: Bush is no evangelical - and anyone who thinks he is needs to have their head screwed back on.

Regardless, I would offer to you instead of Thomas Merton a reflection on Christian Realism a la Niebuhr. I think it has more to do with the current situation. There's an excellent paper out there by a USAF officer that addresses the correlations between Political Realism and Christian Realism.

teedz said...


Let me clarify.

I have no doubts that Bush is not really an "evangelical", and that, beyond the notion that both many of the evangelicals and Bush have a screwed-up belief as to what real Christian action is, the similarity ends there.

Nonetheless, regardless of whatever the real nefarious reasons were for inciting such an atrocity in the middle east, the fact is that Bush nonetheless uses passages widely recognised by evangelicals as a "call to arms" of sort.

Now this, in and of itself, is not particularly new - the awkward dance between the GOP and the evangelicals has been taking place ever since Weyrich and company began courting them in the late seventies and early eighties. That they've now got a figurehead who can feign sincerity is icing on the cake.

Nonetheless, it still stands that this administration has been invoking Biblical references from the beginning to keep the ruse alive. In doing such, a side effect is that this has become a modern crusade for many evangelicals, with a secular cover -- or a secular war with faith-based themes, depending on your point of view.

Regarding the link in question, I'm hesitant to even consider it relevant since, in the preface it invokes "Terrorism" as a battleground -- such is a straw man argument for justifying the Iraq invasion. Thus, I'd say this exhibit should be thrown out on its face.

Regardless, while there are some reasonable points in the document -- I find it refreshing that it denotes evil is a byproduct of sin, versus the Manichean tripe put forth by this administration -- it still very much boils down to a concept of martyrdom. Great, for a military chaplain helping soldiers on the battlefield rationalise their duty - but not as realistic a consideration for those of not on the front lines.

Regarding Niebuhr's stance on violence and non-violence, it wasn't so much that he was opposed to non-violent means so much that he didn't think it, in and of itself, could solve society's issues at the time (primarily totalitarianism), in a fallen world. But for one to take his ultimate rejection of the pacifist movement as an implicit support for military action is presumptuous at best, and perhaps, at worst, disingenuous.

Furthermore, the paper makes a presupposition that modern international terrorism is as large a threat as "Nazism or communism", which is something one would have to agree with in the first place before continuing. At this point, I currently do not.

Chris said...


Your post shows very clearly why you are a political scientist and I am merely a theologian. You have a good grasp of history and method...thanks for sharing it.

I would have to disagree with one part of your assessment. I do believe that Jihadist Islam is as big a threat as the totalitarian regimes of Niebuhr's day. There is not currently a nation state that is officially controlled by a militaristic branch of Wahabism. But there are tons of funds being poured into the jihadist coffers from screwed up folks around the world. It's a serious threat.

I don't know if the President's strategy will ultimately be effective in neutralizing the threat. But I am convinced that the vocalized desires of the Democrats to get out and retract to the safety of our (open) borders is naive at best. It puts us in danger and leaves a moral vacuum into which the jihadists will pour their hatred of the West, disrupting the lives of millions of peaceful Muslims. Look at France, the Netherlands, Germany, and the UK.

If the West wants to commit cultural suicide and blame itself for the miserable state of countries that resist modernization, fine. Let'em. But I do not find anything praiseworthy from a Christian stance of letting that apathy give room to Islamofascism.

As dangerous as Bush's use of Holy Scripture is, it pales in comparison to the venom that imams the world over are pouring into the heads of their infantilized followers.

teedz said...

Sorry if I keep spamming you, I am not sure this one went through -- the blogger.com comment "Preview" function seems to be wonky.

I might also suggest that the non-defense "defense" of the disruptors ("I can't stand it when people point to Christians protesting - a constitutionally-protected right - and overlook the violent abuses heaped on followers of Christ by all the other religions.") is slightly disingenuous as well.

"Well, they may have been rude, but at least they weren't violent." It's dressing up the initial action in the flag and is a misdirection. Nevermind whether it is constitutionally-protected or not. Is it particularly ethical, from a Christian perspective? I would posit it is not.