Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Christians and War

I took the Belief-O-Matic quiz on Beliefnet.com last week. It had been several years since I last took it, and I was curious to see if my "true religion" had changed recently. Sure enough, it still had me as 100% Orthodox Quaker (followed by moderate-to-liberal Protestant and moderate-to-conservative Protestant in the mid-90% range). The quiz's perception of my ideal tradition is mainly based, it seems, on my answers to the last two questions of the quiz, which deal with abortion and war. I rank both matters "high" in importance, and respond to both questions in the strictest pro-life manner possible, rejecting the taking of human life in any circumstance, be it before birth or in response to international conflict. It's hard to find Protestants who agree with me on both those issues, but I (like orthodox Quakers and many Catholics) feel that is the view Jesus would espouse.

In all my pre-baby reoganizing and decluttering, I found a clipping with a quote I love from Will Willimon, who is currently bishop of the North Alabama conference of the UMC. The quote is from a Palm Sunday sermon he delivered as dean of Duke University Chapel sometime between 2001 and 2005, I would guess. I could offer my own commentary, but it would probably be rambling and ineloquent. So, I'll let Will's statement speak for itself. Suffice it to say, I think he's dead on.

"During the last presidential election, there was debate about Senator Lieberman. 'He's a devout Jew,' some said. 'He keeps kosher. If we have a national crisis and need to go to war on a Saturday, could we count on Lieberman?' Nobody said, 'George Bush is a Methodist, Al Gore is a Baptist, don't these Christians have some funny ideas about violence? Can we count on them to kick butt when we need it?'
"Nobody asked because, well, when it comes to such issues, you can't tell the worshipers of Caesar from the devotees of Jesus."

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