Gallop Poll: Church-goers most supportive of Iraq "war"

There are a number of interesting things suggested this article about a recent Gallop Poll suggessting that frequent Church-goers are most supportive of the Iraq War. I will not address the issue of whether or not it is currently appropriate to call the situation in Iraq a "war" as the media generally does (along with Bush-policy critics). I think it fair to say that the invasion of Iraq and subsequent weeks of fighting would qualify as a war (however undeclared).

Church going Christians, Protestants in particular, are most supportive of the war while non-religious people are less so. This may mean no more than Church-goers are more likely to be Republicans and therefore to accept Republican policies (whereas 79% of weekly church-attending Democrats thought the war was a mistake).

Evangelical Christians need to be VERY careful about thinking of ourselves as "Republicans" (or "Democrats"). We are Christians. We are people who live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ in his kingdom. Period. Of course we should participate in our participatory government as a witness to that Kingdom and to its King, but lets not get too attached to America or American politics (or anything else in this age).

Christianity, at least Christianity based on the New Testament, is inherently pacifistic. The whole reason that the Church had to articulate a doctrine of "Just War" was to explain that Christians actually can fight in some wars - as opposed to the complete pacifism that was the default of the Early Church.

One of the areas where American Protestantism really needs to "step up to the plate" is by giving a comprehensive theological account of war that can be applied to different situations (of course this is unlikely considering the fragmentation and individualism of Protestantism). The Catholics, who according to this poll are less likely to support the "Iraq War," have already done this.

Now, it is very hard for me to accept complete pacifism because of the fact of World War II. This surely was a just war for the Allies. On the other hand, the Early Christians didn't conquer the Roman Empire by taking up arms, but by getting on their knees and praying, even as the wild beasts tore them to pieces in the arena. The weapons of their warfare were not of this world, but were indeed mighty through God; and they did indeed conquer the Roman World.

So, maybe the willingness of modern American Christians to fight demonstrates that we, unlike the Early Church, really do trust in chariots and war horses, rather than the Lord to bring peace and justice to our world. Maybe we have sold out to a secular model of "how the world really works" because we don't really put much stock in the promises of our Lord.

Or maybe St. Augustine, an early proponent of "Just War Theory," was right. Maybe Christians should pray as if all depends upon God and act as if all depends upon us. If we want peace, we must go out and fight (and kill) for it (in some circumstances).

It is a difficult issue for me. It is surely good that the Nazi's didn't win World War II and I am firmly convinced that World War II was a just and necessary war considering the circumstances (whereas World War I was the most costly and atrocious blunder that has ever damaged the course of Human history that has endangered the survival of Western Civilization). But all I really intended to say when I started writing was that just because some wars are just, not all are. We American Protestants need to be certain that we are letting our Lord (and not our political dispositions or party allegiances) dictate when we do and do not support war.

With so many lives at stake, we should spend time in prayer and fasting and searching the scriptures and studying the Church's historic teachings on war as well as the best information about any proposed invasions and then discussing the issues involved in the Church community before we lend our support to any war.



Post a Comment

<< Home