Robert Parham: Seeking Common Ground for Patriots and Peacemakers on Memorial Day

Christians have long divided themselves between patriots and peacemakers, between militarists and humanitarians. Patriots salute uncritically the flag and accept the march to war. Peacemakers recognize the inherent idolatry of unchecked nationalism/militarism and favor efforts to resolve conflict.

The time has come for militia Christi and pax Christi wings of faith to join hands to end the war in Iraq. The nation’s self-interest is in grave risk through the folly of war. The resolution of conflict in Iraqi isn’t happening.

As of Wednesday, U.S. military fatalities in Iraq totaled 83 so far in May, a similar pace as in April, averaging more than three-and-one-half troops killed each day.

The body of one of the three American soldiers missing for a week and a half was found floating in the Euphrates River. On Tuesday, at least 100 Iraqis were killed or found dead.

At the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, President Bush continued to mislead the nation about the war in Iraq, blaming al Qaeda for the violence and ignoring the civil war between Iraqi factions.

Democrats in Congress refused to set a deadline for the withdrawal of troops.

A new poll found 60 percent of Americans believe the nation should have stayed out in Iraq, 72 percent think the nations is “seriously off on the wrong track” and 76 percent say the surge of troops into Iraq has had “no impact” or is “making things worse.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Iraq War, Religion & Culture

20 comments on “Robert Parham: Seeking Common Ground for Patriots and Peacemakers on Memorial Day

  1. Br. Michael says:

    A biased article. If we pulled out every American today the war would continue. Are they opposed to war or just American involvement?

  2. Ruth Ann says:

    I always wonder from whence comes the poll and its results??? I support the troops presence there, as well as our goals there. I am in the process of reading a book by Brigette Gabrielle, and its effect(s) on Lebanon, and wonder if the majority of Americans truly have their heads buried in the sands???? Have we forgotten 9/11/2001 so quickly?? Militant Islam is still the enemy and an enemy with which to be reckoned.

    Of course it is a biased article, as are most these days.

  3. Philip Snyder says:

    The greatest “peacemakers” I have knows are patriots and members of the US Military. My father was an US Air Force Pilot for over 20 years and for the vast majority of them, he flew for the Stategic Air Command (SAC). SAC’s motto was: “Peace is our Profession” and my father believed it and so did all the other men I met there.

    War is never pretty and never a good option. It may be the least worst option open to us. The military hates war because they and their families are the ones most impacted by it.

    This Memorial Day weekend, instead of cheapening the sacrifice by our soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen; let’s honor their sacrifice and pray that their mission in Iraq will be successful and support them and their mission.

    Phil Snyder

  4. Bob Livingston says:

    I spoke today at our parish’s first Memorial occasion. One paragraph: “We honor also those to whom the torch has been passed and who today go in harm’s way. Their sacrifice is recognized on 3,700 new gravestones and markers throughout our land.” Perhaps we could have done it better strategically and politically in Iraq. That’s not the point. Br. Michael, Ruth Ann, and Phil Snyder make the point as, I assume, will others. The threat represented by events in Iraq and Iran, by Hezbolah and by the various tenticles of Al Qaida does not lend itself to easy solution and we are learning even as we fight. We face destruction, not by nuclear bombs but by political irresponsibility. I pray the day does not come where we will fail to have the will to confront threats to our country. I fear that day is close at hand.

  5. Weiwen Ng says:

    Phil, the problem is not that our military personnel are seeking to invade whichever country they please. The problem is that our politicians, many of whom have declined to serve their country when they were called (Bush and Cheney in Vietnam) are nonetheless very eager to invade other countries, based on spotty (or fabricated) evidence, without resorting to diplomatic means first. The Just War doctrine teaches us that war is the last resort. Our leaders used it as the first option. They invaded Iraq because they wanted to. And they didn’t even plan the invasion properly – if you’re going to flagrantly violate international law as well as Christian teaching, you might as well do it right.

  6. Jim the Puritan says:

    Couldn’t the propagandists have just left it alone on Memorial Day, at least?

    Remember 9/11. And remember those who serve.

  7. Juandeveras says:

    1. To #5: Is your nom de plum a play on the phrase ” we winning “?
    2. Amused at Mr. Parham’s assumption that “militia christi” and ” pax christi ” will all go over to his side [ apparently the “Pax” side ].

  8. sandlapper says:

    [second attempt to get this posted]
    I agree that churches should now be engaging in critical analysis of the war, based on Biblical teachings about war. Christians understand that all men are sinners, and so political leaders can use patriotism as a cover for unrighteous deeds. The church is not the spiritual auxiliary of any political movement, but too often conservative Christians blindly endorse conservative politicians, just as liberal Christians endorse liberal ones.

    The root error may be our acceptance of the claim by politicians that their policies will determine history, so that we are doomed if their projects fail. We need to remember that God’s providence controls history, and his prophets have warned us against trusting in the might of man while ignoring the word of God. One of those words: Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

  9. Weiwen Ng says:

    John, I am posting under my actual name. Now that you mention it I’m not sure I’m 100% comfortable that the site asks us to use our real names … I’m going to keep doing it, though. I’ve said nothing that I wouldn’t say in public.

    Mr Parham’s assumption may or may not be realistic, but there is a long history of the Pax in the Christi. Christians would be well advised to move over to his side, I think.

  10. Tom Roberts says:

    I found the usual presumption that Iraq was not a Just War humorous on a philosophical basis. Much ink has been spilled on that subject and the article adds nothing of substance to that subject while politically showing that the US Left’s cannibal propensity for eating their better political candidates.

  11. libraryjim says:

    Weiwen Ng wrote:

    The problem is that our politicians, many of whom have declined to serve their country when they were called (Bush and Cheney in Vietnam) are nonetheless very eager to invade other countries, based on spotty (or fabricated) evidence

    The evidence may have been in error, but it was NOT fabricated. One must remember that numerous Democrats (including John Kerry, Lieberman, Edwards, etc) begged President Clinton to invade Iraq during his term in office. And on voting for this current action, Clinton’s own wife stated that she had intensely studied the intel reports “without political bias” and cast her vote to invade on ‘overwheling evidence’ that we should do so.

    As to your remark about politicians who declined to serve yet eager to send others into harms way, President Clinton should be included in that list as well: Bosnia, Slovenia, etc.

    May God bless and protect our fighting forces around the world!
    Jim Elliott

  12. Jim the Puritan says:

    You can view a 1999 ABC documentary on the connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam here:

    Needless to say, this was under the previous administration. Now that it’s “Get Bush” time, the media is rewriting history to pretend things never happened and “Bush Lied.”

  13. Tom Roberts says:

    more on the pre March 2003 relationships are detailed, for just one terror group, Here

  14. Dcn. Michael D. Harmon says:

    I get a little tired of people who say that GWB “avoided service” or “didn’t serve” his nation. He spent the equivalent of two years on active duty learning to fly a dangerous jet for a unit whose purpose was to defend the nation against Russian bombers. Yes, he didn’t go to Vietnam. Was a member of the U.S. Navy who spent the war doing duty in missile submarines, who also “didn’t go to Vietnam,” therefore also “avoiding service”? This is nothing but cheap shots, and it’s getting despicable. GWB’s life is in danger every time he walks out of the White House (and, given the events of 9/11, even while he’s there). And he is serving his nation now, at great personal risk. Who else would al-Qaida like to kill more? Yes, he could have done things differently. But who can you say for certain would have done them better?

    BTW, I’m a Vietnam vet (Americal Division, Chu Lai, I Corps, 1968-1969). I wonder if any or all of Bush’s critics ever heard a shot fired in anger?

  15. Jeffersonian says:

    I wonder if #9 will be voting for McCain. After all, he’s the only one who’s seen combat that I know of, and thus morally able to command troops.

  16. Juandeveras says:

    The most famous “peacemaker” I’m aware of came from the Colt Firearms factory in the 19th C. . As to whether Christians have historically had division as between patriots and peacemakers, I think Christians have been more prone to divide over the God-fearing among us vs. the Double-minded among us. I think the former division is more common among Episcopalians – especially among its clergy.

  17. Ruth Ann says:

    As for #9 voting for McCain, both my husband and my brother are Vietnam vets; hubby was in Army Intellligence, and there for a year; brother was there at least one tour, maybe 2 (can’t remember), as a fighter pilot. Both have said they thought McCain is a “loose cannon”………………..Both, and I, are supporters of our troops and our being in Iraq, which is not to say that mistakes haven’t been made. However, a bigger mistake is to tuck tail and run before we have finished what we started.
    For those of you interested in the plight of Christians in Lebanon and around, as well as WHY we we should take a stand agains MILITANT ISLAM, I am currently reading “Because They Hate” by Brigette Gabriel………….

  18. BillS says:

    For those who claim that “peacemakers” bring peace, please cite one instance in which a tyrannical government has been changed by the “peacemakers”.

  19. Juandeveras says:

    BillS: The US has a missile called a “Peacemaker”, which probably has been cause for a second thought on at least one tyrannical government. I think it might have been named after Sam Colt’s six shooter, which was the favorite of Billy the Kid, Lawrence of Arabia, many law enforcement officers and is still in production.

  20. Tom Roberts says:

    #18 South Africa and India. The South African experience in two modes. First the Boers succeeded through peaceful, and not insurrectionary means, to independence from the UK. Second, the apartheid regime was deposed through non violent means.

    All this is historically debateable due to the concurrent extreme violence that accompanied the radical social changes in South Africa in the 1980-90’s and India in the 1940’s. In fact, the Boer accession to power after WWII was the only total ‘non violent’ take over from an imperial regime which had been preceded by belligerent insurrection that I can think of, and that strategy of the Boers was due in no small part to their absolute defeat in the Boer War 50 years prior. How much the British, wished to get out of South Africa without a fight, post WWII, given their imperial withdrawl and general economic hardship, is hard to tell from the fact that the Boers worked the non violent takeover under Jan Smuts in a politically adroit manner.