Monday, August 27, 2007

God on who's side?

  • I will shoulder my musket and brandish my sword,
    In defence of this land and the word of the Lord.

    Lyrics from the song “Bright Sunny South” recorded by Alison Krauss and Union Station tell of a son of the south off to the Civil War with his parents blessing. He is a child, not yet twelve.

    Combining religion with the patriotic defense of homeland has proved a powerful tool for sending boys off to war for as long as men have been motivated by greed and power . . .and throughout the history of man, on all sides, people have gone to war believing God was on their side. . . . . and their cause a just one.

    Some have called America’s Civil War a boy’s war. Minimum age for enlistment was 18, but one could enlist at a younger age if a guardian’s consent was given. Avery Brown was mustered into Company C, 31st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, at the age of 8 years, 11 months, and 13 days. Like many enthusiastic young patriots of his day, he lied about his age, claiming to be 12 on his enlistment papers. David Bailey Freeman joined the 6th Georgia Calvary CSA at age 11. Reports indicate, from approximately 2,700,000 who served, more than 2,000,000 Federal soldiers were twenty-one or under and, of those:
  • more than 1,000,000 were eighteen or under and, of those,
  • about 800,000 were seventeen or under
  • about 200,000 were sixteen or under
  • about 100,000 were fifteen or under
  • three hundred were thirteen or under - most were fifers or drummers, but regularly enrolled, and sometimes fighters
  • and, twenty-five were ten or under

John Brown was executed by the state of Virginia with the approval of the national government. It was the national government which, while weakly enforcing the law ending the slave trade, sternly enforced the laws providing for the return of fugitives to slavery. It was the national government that, in Andrew Jackson's administration, collaborated with the South to keep abolitionist literature out of the the mails in the southern states. It was the Supreme Court of the United States that declared in 1857 that the slave Dred Scott could not sue for his freedom because he was not a person, but property.

Such a national government would never accept an end to slavery by rebellion. It would end slavery only under conditions controlled by whites, and only when required by the political and economic needs of the business elite of the North. It was Abraham Lincoln who combined perfectly the needs of business, the policical ambition of the new Republican party, and the rhetoric of humanitarianism. He would keep the abolition of slavery not at the top of his list of priorities, but close enough to the top so it could be pushed there temporarily by abolitionist pressures and by practical political advantage. (Exerpt from Howard Zinn's A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 1492 - Present: Slavery Without Submission, Emancipation Without Freedom)

Why do we keep falling for it over and over? Why can't we learn the lessons of the past? Today war profiteers rake in billions as our men and women sacrifice themselves, their families, and their futures in Iraq and Afghanistan. . .their lives valued in mere pennies compared to the huge profits of the few. Need more evidence? Check out this story posted at The Great Iraq Swindle

Nothing that has happened in the United States justified our invasion of Iraq and the bombing and killing of innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq - however unintentional our government claims it to be. The invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with the defense of our homeland and it certainly doesn't represent the Christian values this country claims to hold so dear.

If God exists, it's hard to imagine he'd be on our side in this one.