Today in church the pastor asked veterans to stand, then people with a veteran in the family, and then asked us to applaud them. It was pretty awkward but I sat there doing nothing; I wasn’t “making a point” but I also could not in good conscience applaud for people carrying out what I thought were horrible instructions. Then we went back to praising the Prince of Peace.
Beyond the obvious tension (some might say contradiction), there’s the added complication that the Christian churches that are the most pro-military also tend to be very distrustful of the US government’s assault on the church. They routinely lambaste the sick Western culture and value system depicted in the mainstream media. So why would we so blindly praise the efforts of the armed forces who follow the orders of these same government officials, in order to spread the blessings of our way of life to other people around the world?
I realize there is an unfortunate association historically among Christians and organized warfare. Is the present pattern in the US simply a reflection of that, or does it stem from something else?
Last question: Are the Christian churches in other countries also pro-military, or is that an American pattern?
(Note, I have in mind Protestant evangelical churches in the above remarks. I’m sure Quaker services are not so gung ho about the military.)