On the Christian anti-patriot movement & the Fluidity of Religious Belief

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posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 10:15 AM
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Mourn on the Fourth of July: Inside the Christian anti-patriot movement
By David R. Wheeler, special to CNN

(CNN) - Like many congregations, The Mennonite Worker Community of Minneapolis held a worship service and picnic this Fourth of July - but instead of extolling the virtues of America, they called attention to its faults.

The annual service is “a sort of anti-patriotic holiday,” says Mark Van Steenwyk, whose community focuses on simplicity, prayer and peacemaking. Singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” is out. Reflecting on the contradictions between the gospel and the American Dream are in.

“We thank you, O God, for the good things we enjoy in our lives," reads a prayer the Mennonite community recites each year, "but lament that our abundance has brought destitution to sisters and brothers throughout the Earth.”


On the Fourth of July this past weekend, my neighborhood had probably 20 times as many fireworks displays as it has in the entire 14 years I have lived here. This is a modest, middle/working-class neighborhood, integrated with people of all races (except Native Americans) about 10 miles from the Urban Core. We don't have buckets of money here - it is a friendly community, quiet, peaceful, and lately recovering from a local "inertia". It has enjoyed some recent developments that have improved tourism, a new shopping district including a Nascar track, a brand-new soccer Stadium for the city's new world-class soccer team "LiveStrong", and several world headquarters of major firms like Cerner (not "Cern") so employment and prosperity is up.

Five years ago, there was ONE neighbor who had collected some "show worthy" fireworks - much of the neighborhood watched and cheered. Three years ago, nothing at all. This past Thursday I would estimate the "value" of the amount of fireworks WELL into the thousands of dollars. It was very impressive. My husband had bought a few bottle rockets which emitted a few colored lights when they popped. They were not noisy (for the sake of me and our dogs).....
but the neighbors!!?? Holy COW!! HUGE aerials with as much oomph and pizazz as a small-town public display would offer!!!

As I sat watching and listening, it really did seem like I was in a war-zone (or, according to my veteran husband, about 10 miles away from an actual war-zone based on decibel level). I was reminded of the "Star Spangled Banner", and this, naturally, made me think about what is going on in Syria and the troubled Middle-East right now.

I don't think "war" or "military coups" are anything to be celebrated, really. Violence is BAD, and destruction of people and places and whole countries is equally BAD. As a woman, I am a pacifist at heart. As a parent, daughter, sister, wife, friend - I want my loved ones to be safe, fed, secure, and healthy. I want that for ALL COMMON PEOPLE in the world as well. It is NOT impossible - it's just being ignored.


Nowadays there are Zionist Christian Evangelicals screeching for WAR - HOPING for the Apocalypse and destruction of OTHER PEOPLE and their countries. This is APPALLING.

So, the above article was moving to me. Mennonites, Amish, and Anabaptist groups are having "memorial services" that instead of celebrating the American Independence Revolution, are reminding people that we should be working for WORLD PEACE, not hoarding the world's resources or using military might all over the globe.

I agree with that.

Yes, America declared its independence from the Crown in 1776. 200 years later, I graduated from High School - the bicentennial year. We are a baby nation - only a handful of nations are "younger", and we are certainly the youngster of the "world powers". Do we really know what we're doing? Do we know what our LEADERS are doing?? We're starting to.

I can't fathom how this does not make EVERY AMERICAN uncomfortable. Honestly.
Peace can be attained diplomatically and with NON-violence and communication. Cooperation, mutual respect, and living with people of other cultures, races, religions, etc. CAN BE DONE. But, it isn't.

The blog linked above states this quite well:

Anti-patriots like Van Steenwyk say their movement, which has grown more vocal in recent years, is simply an honest way to read – and live out – Jesus' teachings on nonviolence. But it's hard to look at groups like The Mennonite Community and not see an implicit criticism of God-and-country cheerleading by mainstream Christians and ripples of centuries-old church-state tensions.

Some anti-patriots come from pacifist Anabaptist traditions, such as the Mennonite Church. Others come from evangelical backgrounds but have rejected their counterparts' often unreserved patriotism and embraced liberal-leaning communities like Red Letter Christians and JesusRadicals.com.

They may differ on theological details, but they hold at least one belief in common: You cannot serve both God and country.


I'd like to hear ATS's thoughts about this movement. Dirty hippies? Pacifist traitors? Conscientious objecters who should be thrown out of the country? I don't think so. I think we need more people like that, ESPECIALLY in government. War should ALWAYS be the ABSOLUTE LAST RESORT - and only if Space Aliens actually show up to kill us all.

“Everyone knows that other folks think like them, but it isn’t like there are a lot of congregations that self-identify as being nonpatriotic.”

That’s especially true for evangelicals, who lead the country in patriotic fervor.


Which leads me to link the second blog from CNN here:
Not all religious convictions are written in stone

(CNN) – There’s a misconception among many faithful folks that religious convictions, by their very nature, are set in stone.

People who change their minds are called flip-floppers or backsliders, accused of capitulating to culture and “conforming to the world.”

...A person of conviction is not one who is unyielding to change, but one whose beliefs evolve based on new information, new movements of the Spirit, new biblical insights and, yes, new friends.

...I’ve changed my mind about a lot of things—the age of the Earth, the reality of climate change, the value of women in church leadership, the equal failings of both the Republican and Democratic platforms to embody the teachings of Jesus.

Like a lot of evangelicals, I grew up in a religious environment that vilified LGBT people.

I remember attending a Christian conference in which liberals were derisively referred to as FOGS (friends-of-gays). I laughed along with the speaker, albeit nervously, dismissing the voice in my head reminding me that Jesus was ridiculed for his choice of friends, too.


I think it behooves EVERY AMERICAN to review their beliefs, their "religious practices" and their behavior. And get with the times. Are you REALLY doing God's will if you are hoping for war? If you are not part of the solution to world poverty and slavery and oppression, then you are part of.......

the problem. Think hard. Think about how you want your life, your kids' lives, your parents in their elder years to be treated. Then start working toward EVERYONE being treated that way.

It's simple. It's The Golden Rule.


edit on 8-7-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)
edit on 8-7-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 10:33 AM
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ALSO KNOWN AS: Progress

How 'bout it? Shall we try some progress? I think so.



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 11:17 AM
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dear wildtimes,

I hope I'm not drifting too far from your topic, but I'd like to offer a thought on war and violence.

I believe that well over 99.9999% of the world thinks war is bad. The question seems to be whether it is ever necessary. Surgery is bad, but it is sometimes necessary to suffer the pain to avoid a worse situation. I understand that delivering a child is really painful, and pain is bad, but it is necessary to achieve a good end, the new life.

Is war and violence ever justified? I won't bore you with the arguments you've heard before, but from what I've seen of your comments in some religious threads, you'd fight like a maniac if anyone tried to invade the US and impose Sharia.

The question seems to be not whether war is justified, but when. Are we together so far?

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 11:24 AM
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reply to post by charles1952
 



Is war and violence ever justified? I won't bore you with the arguments you've heard before, but from what I've seen of your comments in some religious threads, you'd fight like a maniac if anyone tried to invade the US and impose Sharia.

Interesting question, charles (as ever!).
If someone came to my HOUSE and tried to invade it and impose Sharia, YES, I would fight like a maniac.

but the 'invader' would have been the problem......the 'oppressor' trying to push their beliefs on my life.....

Is war necessary? I don't really think so. Self-defense is different, though - and I hope you also know that I am against INVASION - there is enough of everything to go around. We just need to cooperate and share and trade and stop 'hating on' each other for our different cultures and beliefs.

Is war justified? Again, I don't really think so. It always takes someone "starting it." If no one "starts it", it would not...happen? Right?

I think you also know that I am against US invasion of ANYWHERE.
edit on 8-7-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 11:28 AM
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reply to post by charles1952
 


I understand that delivering a child is really painful, and pain is bad, but it is necessary to achieve a good end, the new life.

EXQUISITELY painful. OMG painful! Get it out of me painful!! I didn't have an epidural during my two - just some demerol. Wow.
Yes. (and for the record, I don't believe this was a 'curse' from God for the 'fallen nature' of Eve).



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 11:58 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 

As usual, a provocative and hard hitting thread. No one can ever accuse you of shying away from the hard questions.
S&F

For my two cents. When was the last time You, myself, or Charles declared war on another nation? Let me answer that for you. Never.

War is declared by those who sit in the seats of power. Not by the average citizen.
My point being, support for war is garnered by our own government using propaganda and deception. How many times have we, the American people found out later, we were deceived into supporting a war, or an action, that was unjust, and uncalled for? Making those among us who supported that war or action, complicit.

I have said this before, and I'll say it again. The American people MUST withdraw their support for this government. Every time we vote, pay taxes, allow another piece of legislation to pass unchallenged, or sit back as a people, and allow our servants in Washed up DC to do as they damn well please, without regard for the American public, we give them our support. They are unchallenged, and therefore have explicit permission and support from us, as a people, to continue in the path they have taken this country.

War is profitable and expedient for those in the ruling class. Never for the common man/woman.

edit on 7/8/2013 by Klassified because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 12:03 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 

Dear wildtimes,

I have kind of a vague feeling of what I want to say, and an even vaguer feeling of what words to use. Let me dance around and hope you can get some meaning from it.

First, let me agree with you that anyone who likes war is either insane or evil. (Satan is also known as the Great Destroyer, loving death.) But as we have seen in the world, even here on ATS, there are people who see war as a tool for accomplishing a political or religious goal. Can we use war to stop them?

Just as you (and I) are willing to defend our homes against invaders and oppressors, should we also be willing to defend our towns? Our states? What about our country? And other countries that we've sworn to defend through treaties of alliance? May we defend countries being invaded which we are not legally sworn to defend? And, just because a thread on war has to have a NAZI reference, should we have gone to war for no other reason than to shut down the camps and release the prisoners?

How in the world do we draw the line?

And what basis can we use to make our decisions? The government will always have far more information than we will. Remember the WMDs? First the press was reporting to us that they were there. Then they started reporting that it was all a lie, they never were there. Now it's coming out, in little dribbles, that they actually did exist and were there, but were removed before we got to them. It's all a big mess.

I don't know how we can come up with a hard and fast rule for going to war. I also don't know what our alternative is. Trust the Commander in Chief? (I have to bite my tongue.) What we have now, if it's not circumvented (see Libya), is the President's decision checked by Congress. It's ugly, but dear wildtimes, what else can we do?

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 12:06 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


War is declared by those who sit in the seats of power. Not by the average citizen.
Yep! And those who 'declare it' should be the ones on the FRONT LINES, not our youths!!


My point being, support for war is garnered by our own government using propaganda and deception. How many times have we, the American people found out later, we were deceived into supporting a war, or an action, that was unjust, and uncalled for?

I can't count that high.



Making those among us who supported that war or action, complicit.

But what is the correct (read: effective) way to denounce it, except for just using our "free speech"?


I have said this before, and I'll say it again. The American people MUST withdraw their support for this government. Every time we vote, pay taxes, allow another piece of legislation to pass unchallenged, or sit back as a people, and allow our servants in Washed up DC to do as they damn well please, without regard for the American public, we give them our support.

I know! RIGHT?!!! So - what do we do? I can sit here and bitch and moan and make provocative threads all day long, but it doesn't seem to be changing much from what I can tell.........
or, maybe it's just like growing a plant from seed. You have to wait. Like with asparagus. THREE YEARS before you get 'produce' out of it.

Glad you joined in, Klass, I've missed you!



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 12:10 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 



How in the world do we draw the line?

And what basis can we use to make our decisions? The government will always have far more information than we will.

I'd say we use our moral compasses....
and not to 'trust' the "far more information" that the government claims to have. I don't trust them anymore. What I've learned over the last few years has destroyed my faith that the US Government has anyone's interest at heart except for the corporate elite, the bankers, and spendy special interest groups.

As for drawing the line.....I don't know.

I draw the line at the boundaries of my property, or an assault on my loved ones.
Other than that, I feel pretty powerless.



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 12:25 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 

The unfortunate part, my friend, is that it will take an epiphany, and a movement of the American people en masse to accomplish an end to the excesses of those wielding the power in this country.



I know! RIGHT?!!! So - what do we do? I can sit here and bitch and moan and make provocative threads all day long, but it doesn't seem to be changing much from what I can tell......... or, maybe it's just like growing a plant from seed. You have to wait. Like with asparagus. THREE YEARS before you get 'produce' out of it.

But you are making a difference. And it is like asparagus. You have counseled people, just as I have. Do we not tell them, "Be patient, your problems didn't get this bad overnight, therefore, they aren't going to go away overnight. It will take persistence, even when things appear to be getting worse, instead of better"?

The time will come. No power structure in history has ever been able to remain standing once evil and corruption becomes its heartbeat, and soul. The sword of Damocles, even now, hangs above their bedstead.



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 12:40 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


The time will come.


And I hope I can be standing shoulder to shoulder with you and our other 'allies' when it does.


Thanks again for your positive contribution. You are a blessing to mankind, believer or not, Klass.
I have to log off now.....time for 'study hall'.



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 12:44 PM
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May I address both of you?

It seems we now have enough material here for three threads. If we keep this reasonable it may well become one of ATS's "Greatest Hits."

Forgive my bluntness, but I don't have time to write a lot just now. Please know that I'm not being subtle or persuasive, just tossing out ideas.


My point being, support for war is garnered by our own government using propaganda and deception.
They don't need the support of the people prior to declaring war. As everyone is pointing out, the government doesn't represent the people. (I disagree to some small extent, but that's another issue.)

The OP's point was about the propriety of war, not the propriety of support for war. After the war has started, all governments throughout time have used propaganda to keep morale up.

I also wonder about unjust and uncalled for wars. How anyone decides that is unclear in my mind. I suspect that for some, any war is unjust and uncalled for, but that's not helpful. And which wars were unjust and uncalled for? Viet Nam, where we began by taking over from the French in their fight against Communism? Korea? Same, real, enemy. Iraq? See my earlier post. I can't think of any wars which were just totally insane and unreasonable from the point of view of the government.


I have said this before, and I'll say it again. The American people MUST withdraw their support for this government. Every time we vote, pay taxes, allow another piece of legislation to pass unchallenged, or sit back as a people, and allow our servants in Washed up DC to do as they damn well please, without regard for the American public, we give them our support.
While this is a noble sentiment with more than a whiff of "to the Barricades" from the French Revolution, and the Worker's Revolution of the Communist Party, as wildtimes points out it is not a practical blueprint for a course of action. What, overthrow the government? Using force to prevent the use of force? Norh Korea is already a "People's Republic," I'm not looking to set one up here.


As for drawing the line.....I don't know.

I draw the line at the boundaries of my property, or an assault on my loved ones.
Other than that, I feel pretty powerless.
Ah, but what if you weren't powerless? What if you could repel an attack on your neighbor's home, or your town, or your country, or any attack in the world on a friend or innocent party? You would rightly use force to defend your loved ones, would you also to defend your neighbor's loved ones?

That is the situation the US military is in, it has the force to saved many peoples' loved ones. Do we use it? and if so, when? That's what I thought your OP was going to explore. (And it may very well, I suppose I'm just pushing it in a direction I find interesting. Take it any direction you want, it will be interesting no matter what.)

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 01:48 PM
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So what can we do, in our personal lives, to not just address some of the issues but actively pursue solutions? I speak strictly for the United States, since it has to start somewhere, and that is where I reside.

How do we "be the change we wish to see in the world?"

I think it is a multi faceted problem, but at its core, one of the main themes seems to be "greed over need." This part of our cultural story is at the core of so many issues.

I see a few things that we can address;

Education reform
Encourage open source culture
Medical care reform
Infrastructure reform

None of these really change expenditures, though they would all give a better ROI especially in the long term. I have long thought that our military could be used so effectively at home that we should explore it as an option. It would strengthen our nation, and at the same time, improve the worlds perception. It would, of course, change the paradigm of creating wars for profit. But, I also feel the improvement to our own quality of life would improve even for those that are profiting the most from the current system..

I think that many people see that there are some serious issues in a lot of different areas, but what are actual alternatives? What are the areas that we can focus on changing that will involve the least amount of effort with the greatest return?



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 02:14 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 
If I may, I would like to give a big shout out to the Mennonites (even though they're certainly not reading this) and send them much respect and praise. They are completely awesome folks! After two devastating hurricanes that nearly destroyed huge portions of my little neck of the woods the Mennonites were the first to arrive and the last to leave offering any and every kind of help they could- all out of the goodness of their hearts and their desire to help their fellow man. They talk the talk AND walk the walk in every facet you can imagine that to encompass. They are also some of the most non-judgemental people I have ever met, never looking down their noses at anyone, only showing love and compassion to all.

Maybe that was off topic, but I felt the need to express how I feel about these folks! Sorry WT! I had to do it!



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 02:49 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


Hmmm... I was always taught that true patriotism, in the American sense, was questioning power and ditching that power when it grew abusive... and then starting over with new people... repeat when necessary.

This was the message taught in social studies, civics and government classes, sanctioned by the state, when I grew up in the 70's...

I liked that message and spirit. Made me rather like our nation ...until I learned that we had already usurped the will of the people and that many people weren't aware of this idea of government of and for the people.

Great experiment indeed... too bad how greed and nearly unlimited money can usurp people's common sense and decency.



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 04:23 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 

Charles, I always look forward to reading your posts. You are indeed a thinking man.



While this is a noble sentiment with more than a whiff of "to the Barricades" from the French Revolution, and the Worker's Revolution of the Communist Party, as wildtimes points out it is not a practical blueprint for a course of action. What, overthrow the government? Using force to prevent the use of force? Norh Korea is already a "People's Republic," I'm not looking to set one up here.

You misunderstand what I mean by withdrawing support. It doesn't mean war, or revolution. It means the American people withdraw their consent to be party, any longer to the excesses of this power structure. En masse. No violence necessary. The people of this country have the power to speak with their action, or inaction. Whichever the case may be at any given moment.

You may consider it idealistic, but it's not an impossibility. Little by little, bit by bit, as those with understanding share what they know, speak out against improprieties, and most importantly, encourage others to think for themselves, and question everything, the fact that the emperer has no clothes on will become apparent to all.
edit on 7/8/2013 by Klassified because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 05:37 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 

Dear Klassified,

You're a consummate flatter, you silver tongued devil you. Recheck my mini-profile. It says "just a guy" for a reason. But thanks, anyway.


Ok, you're right, I sort of misunderstood you, but only partially. If wildtimes doesn't mind, I'd like to give you a couple of my thoughts. Maybe we can find a way to work this "withdrawl of support."

I would think refusing to pay federal income taxes and refusing to vote would be ways of withdrawing our support, but how far do we have to go? Already, the infamous "47%" don't pay taxes, and even in Presidential years, about 46% don't bother to vote.

Since there's no penalty for not voting, that might be a good place to start, but it only takes one vote to win power. Let's say we talk 90% of the population into not voting, there will still be legally binding results. What happens then? Do we go on as if nothing happened? Do we storm the White House shouting that they're illegitimatly elected? Does the winner say "Oh my, not many people voted. We should have another election?"

I've no particular objection to withdrawing our votes, but what happens next?

What about not paying our taxes? They can build jails faster than they need them. They could even adopt Sheriff Arpaio's plan of making a tent city into a jail. The necessary guards could come from returning soldiers. Then the prisoners would have the distasteful choice between which of two imprisoning societies they desire to live in.

I suspect that many would accept parole and return to air conditioning and Honey Boo-boo.

But if inaction doesn't work, what about action? Petitions, marches? Grass roots dissatisfaction with the government brought us the Tea Party, maybe that's the route to go. But if I remember, they were attacked by the Press, the Democrat Party, and the IRS. I suspect it was because they had some success in 2010.

I may be missing something, but maybe that's the route to go.

Anxiously awaiting your brilliantly insightful comments.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 06:31 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


Hmmmm well then the Mennonites will now be labeled terrorists by the DHS



posted on Jul, 8 2013 @ 08:16 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 

Withdrawing support, or consent, is as easy as millions of people sticking a sign in their front yard, briefly stating their lack of support for "insert here". Or it could be as easy as several million people sticking a piece of paper in with their tax forms stating they do not approve of how tax dollars are spent, or that they pay their income taxes under duress.

If 90% of voters don't turn out for a presidential election, all that says is we're not interested. However, if 90% don't turn out, and send a formal grievance to our governing bodies, that says, we're interested in changing the direction this country is going. And we will no longer vote for the political whores paraded in front of us.

You can also bet, if several million people wore a t-shirt on the same day, with the same slogan, it's going to be noticed.

Here's my point. Those in seats of power do not like to see their citizens banding together in a common cause. In fact, they exhaust phenomenal resources to keep such a thing from happening, unless of course, they are able to guide that cause from behind the scenes, and bring it to naught.

There are many things that can be done to withdraw consent from our current government. All peaceful, non-violent, and legal. All it takes is some thought.

Unfortunately, we may not see it in our lifetime, but never think the seeds that are being sown now, here on this very site, won't spring up later, some where else.



You're a consummate flatter, you silver tongued devil you. Recheck my mini-profile. It says "just a guy" for a reason. But thanks, anyway.





Charles, I always look forward to reading your posts. You are indeed a thinking man.

You may be "just a guy", but I happen to appreciate that guys thoughts. I don't always have to agree with someone to appreciate and value their perspective.
edit on 7/8/2013 by Klassified because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 02:11 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes


I'd like to hear ATS's thoughts about this movement. Dirty hippies? Pacifist traitors? Conscientious objecters who should be thrown out of the country?

It's about time that the non-patriot movement gets some CNN coverage!

I've been in it since before the invasion and occupation of Iraq. I read the literature from an anti-war veteran's group at a peace rally in 2002. The basic premise was that "patriotism" is an ideological ring in the nose by which politicians and others can jerk you around. It goes like this:

"What? You don't think the country should ....? You aren't patriotic!"

"Yes I am. I'm way patriotic."

"All right then, that means you support ..."

"Oh, I guess so."
------------------
The conversation should go like:

"What? You don't think the country should ....? You aren't patriotic!"

"So what if I'm not patriotic? The political construct isn't my father you know. And no, the country shouldn't ..."

"Oh, .... ah .... Hey! You over there, you think..." as the war monger walks away.


As I sat watching and listening, it really did seem like I was in a war-zone (or, according to my veteran husband, about 10 miles away from an actual war-zone based on decibel level). I was reminded of the "Star Spangled Banner", and this, naturally, made me think about what is going on in Syria and the troubled Middle-East right now.

I don't think "war" or "military coups" are anything to be celebrated, really. Violence is BAD, and destruction of people and places and whole countries is equally BAD.

The Star Spangled Banner is a war song about the indestructible flag in the midst of a war that the U.S. started by trying to expand into Canada. The National Anthem is therefore a support for naked aggression.

In Matthew 24 Jesus is said to have used the phrase "wars and rumors of war". Rumors means the sounds of. Fireworks are the sounds of war. It's what you do when you just haven't seen enough war so you make pretend war to celebrate war.

Oh no! I'm not patriotic! I don't consider the political apparatus that claims jurisdiction to be my father, or my mother.
edit on 9-7-2013 by pthena because: (no reason given)





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