It's Holy Week in the Christian calendar. Two days ago, the churches celebrated Palm Sunday, the day of Jesus's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The people expected great things of the messiah- that he would overthrow the Roman rule and become their king. He did, indeed, overturn the tables of the moneychangers in the temple, but then went on to be crucified. He set the example of ultimate love, sacrificing Himself for the people.
According to a Newsweek poll published 3/31/07 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17879317/site/newsweek/, 90% of Americans believe in God, and 82% identify as Christians. Although the Constitution mandates separation of church and state, the fact is that the teachings of Jesus constitute the moral and spiritual basis of the nation. Bush cultivated a Christian image and voter base in order to make a decent showing in the past two presidential elections.
Christians are supposed to follow Jesus and strive to be like Jesus. His law of love replaced the harsher law of the Old Testament, a bloody document full of wars, at times mandating genocide. Read the Book of Joshua for a horrendous insight into the mentality of those days.
The bloody Old Testament is sometimes used as justification for wars nowadays. But in fact, Jesus was totally nonviolent. He brought a new covenant, based on love. He preached that we should love our enemies, turn the other cheek, lay down our lives for our friends. When He was arrested, and Peter slashed the ear off one of the soldiers, Jesus rebuked him and healed the injured man, even as He was being led away to be crucified.
Christianity took a wrong turn when Constantine made it a state religion in 313 AD. The doctrine of "a just war" followed fairly quickly, enabling rulers to kill and conquer with a clear conscience. Jesus would have abhorred the idea that any war could be "just". He came to heal, not to kill.
The invasion of Iraq, killing of a million Iraqis, destroying the infrastructure, stealing the oil, imposing a hated occupation, is anything but just, and couldn't be further from the spirit of Christ. How can any American pray, go to church, call him/herself a Christian, and support this "war"?
Now we are being told that a "pre-emptive strike" on Iran is imminent, and may take place on the very day that Jesus was crucified- Good Friday- this coming Friday. Does this make martyrs out of the Iranians? What does it make Americans? Have we not become the Great Satan, if we allow this to happen?
Christians are supposed to exemplify Christ, to show the world what following the Prince of Peace actually means. Instead, this "Christian" nation is making a mockery of His name. May the Father forgive us!
In the name of the Prince of Peace, Carol Wolman
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