I've been reading some nodage in the last few hours about various religious factions' animosity toward other religious factions. Normally I'd write it off as just being human, but I feel I really must vent my spleen about it right now.

The story, no matter where is occurs or what parties are involved, is always the same: Party A oppressed Party B sometime int he past, and so therefore Party B decided to wage an all out jihad against Party A; Party A then retaliated against Party B, who retaliated against Party A again, ad infinitum.

And Yet somehow no one seems to take any notice of the absurdity of this.

If you're going to hate someone for some stupid reason, you might as well go ahead an get even more juvenile and start a war between those who tie their shoelaces with the 'loop-and-swoosh' rhyme and those who use the 'rabbit hole' jingle. Seems kinda silly when you put it like that, huh? This especially annoys me with christian factions who slaughter each other en masse in the name of Jesus. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Jesus Christ all about 'love thy neighbor', 'turn the other cheek' and 'let he who is perfect cast the first stone'? And yet somehow these doofuses conveniently find some way around the commandment that says 'Thou Shalt not Kill'. Killing your fellow human does not make you more of a man.

There is, of course, the matter of self defense. I'm torn here. I don't agree with open-ended, arbitrary violence, however I'm all for self defense, if the threat is imminent and obvious. If someone is slashing at you with a knife, you most certainly have the right to try to disarm them. But if you shoot someone because 'I don't like them, they might have had a knife, and they might have tried to attack me', well that doesn't work.

Now, I can guarantee someone is thinking 'well, you don't know what it's like to be hated for your faith'. I don't? I ascribe to a faith (in a slipshod, half-hearted manner, I must admit) that, at various times in history, has had had its leaders murdered, bounties placed on them (just like beaver pelts!), extermination orders against them and indeed entire armies gathered to control them. So, please, don't go and say a thing like 'you don't understand'. I understand.

In short, don't kill people. It's bad, m'kay?

And in the words of a great man "...but this is just my opinion, I could be wrong".

Quite the opposite, really. According to Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:38-39): "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

(But see also Eye for an Eye to put the above in its proper context.)

I was reading some interesting webpages about Military Veterans for a speech I was writing, and I ran across a sermon that had an interesting view on the subject of the Church and violence/war. It was written by a gent named D. M. Senseing:

Last Tuesday was Veterans Day. I asked a minister at a large Methodist church in Nashville what his church was doing to commemorate the day. "Nothing," he said. I didn't ask why because I fear I already know the answer. There is a widespread feeling among many church people that to honor our military veterans is to glorify war. The revulsion of glorifying war among most Christians is so great that they will not mention the sacrifices of the veterans of their own congregations who, through hard service, preserved the church's freedom to ignore them.

No Christian can glorify war as a Christian. Certainly no combat veteran would ever glorify war. Bill Mauldin drew a cartoon in which Willie and Joe are sitting on the sidewalk of an Italian town far behind the battle line. They are leaning against a building, utterly exhausted from combat, their clothes torn and filthy. Striding past them is a clean-shaven, well-groomed young trooper who obviously has a chip on his shoulder. His fists are clenched and his jaw is set in obvious anger. As he goes by, Willie says to Joe, "That cain't be no combat man-he's lookin' fer a fight!" It's true. No combat veteran goes looking for more fighting.

After the Civil War General William T. Sherman became so disgusted at the rhetoric of glory being used to describe the war's campaigns that he fired off a verbal barrage in opposition. In a graduation speech at the Michigan Military Academy in 1879, Sherman said, "War is at best barbarism. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell!"

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