One of my favorite television shows has become PBS’s Frontline. It’s basically the PBS version of Dateline or 20/20. They report on human interest stories, global features, but, since the beginning of the Iraq War, they have spent much of their time reporting on stories from Iraq, Afghanistan, and the War on Terror. I have caught several, and am excited about their recent work reviewing their five years’ worth of data compiled in the new documentary feature, “Bush’s War.” It is a lengthy two-part feature that began here in Columbus last night for two and a half hours. I was only able to catch the last half, but thankfully you can catch all their past episodes online.
One of the most disturbing trends in the recent years of our country has been the alignment of churches to the partisan divide in the political landscape of this country. There are blue and red states, and now, unfortunately, there seem to be blue and red churches. This is a horrible trend that must turn back.
PBS’s documentary on the war is eye-opening and disturbing at the same time. Conservatives will wage the old “liberal media” accusations, but this documentary is probably the most extensively done and inclusive project done on the war. The website has hundreds of interviews, statistics, and information that lays out the facts of the war. Leading up to the war, in the first part’s coverage last night, it is not evident how much the American people were misled, how deceptive Bush’s administration was, and how much of a mess we have gotten ourselves into as a result.
As a self-proclaimed pacifist, the war is especially troubling. To argue against the war immediately makes one a Democrat. To question the President or his cabinet makes one unpatriotic (I am that), and “Liberal” I’m not sure that I am that. The death toll of American soldiers is at 4,000. The death toll of civilian Iraqis is many times that. There is no upside to war. “But Saddam’s dead!” comes the response. Is any man’s death worth thousands of innocent lives? Cain committed the first murder and he was a marked man – marked with grace, that anyone who met him would NOT kill him.
I believe the preemptive military strategy that the United States has taken since 9/11 is one of the most biblically-contrary ideologies to enter the national political scene in decades. It has allowed for military strikes to be ordered to “prevent” future attacks. It is America flexing its muscles as the only remaining Super Power and is rooted in her imperialistic nature. It cannot be consistent with the character of God.
One of my fears is that our children will grow up with war as the norm. There will always be wars, but it is unfortunate that the lone Super Power is responsible for so many of them. Christians are called to be people of peace, but this is the furthest from their vocabulary when it comes to many of their international diplomacy support. Christians are often the loudest defenders of these unChristian American policies.
The Frontline documentary spends much time discussing the interrogation tactics that D. Rumsfield had such a hand in rewriting. This marks another aspect of the Bush administration that must be acknowledged as ungodly.
Shane Claiborne, in his new book, claims that the Church has fallen in love with the state and, as a result, has lost her political imagination. What a glorious proclamation to the current state of matters. Christians have lost their concept of love and grace and suffering servitude and exchanged that for one dominated by power and hungry for control. This opportunity was ever-before Christ, and on every occasion he turned the other way, why must we choose a different way to fight Christ’s battle?