And let there be broccoli too.

In the hunting for a clue category, at Levellers Mr Westmoreland-White writes:

However, there is zero justification for Christians to be willing to kill other human beings (persons made in God’s image; persons for whom Christ died) “in defence of their country” or anything else. To kill is to betray the gospel.

and in a comment:

To say that, however, is not to say that Christians involved in, say, WWII were not trying to do the best they could with what seemed to them to be limited options. Most of them never heard of Christian pacifism, never mind organized nonviolent direct action.

Or in might be better said, to suppose that “Christian pacifism” or “organized nonviolent direct action” would have mollified Hitler and stopped the Nazi war machine is errant nonsense. Now in the 9th century,  Constantinople was besieged by the Rus and her army was afield resisting Islamic armies. They believed that their rescue was owed to the robe of the Theotokos (the Virgin Mary) affecting a miracle to save them. Somehow I doubt a pious miracle is the solution Mr Westmorland-White depends on to replace the armed resistance against Nazi aggression. Actually, the problem is, I very much doubt there is any reasonable pacifistic non-violent suggestions on offer for how Nazi and Hitler might have been confronted or that he will suggest one.

Speaking of other armed resistance, three major battles are seen as significant in halting the spread of Islam from Arabia. Two sieges of Constantinople failed and then Charles Martel, the Hammer, halted the Islamic tide in Spain. If the results of these battles had gone differently, and passive resistance to Islam was the rule, it is very likely that dhimmi status would be the lot of Christians in Western Europe and likely the Americas as well.

Or to put it another way, yes Christ taught us to turn the other cheek. But, one might ask if he’d ask you to hold your daughter down for a rapist. If you think the answer is “yes” then I’ll offer you’re hopelessly naive and as well likely should be regarded as an accessory to the crime. Now, of interest in this question is the example of early Christianity (which Mr Westmoreland-White apparently has no appreciation),  there is St. Sophia and he three young daughter’s Faith, Hope and Love. Those three girls were counselled by their mother to not betray their faith and to suffer torture and a martyr’s death. St. Sophia died a few days later of, likely broken heart, and the effects of her torture. The point is, are we all to follow their example and seek martyrdom. Is her action akin to what I’m proposing you shouldn’t do in the case of the rapist and your daughter?

There is, however, a possible logical way clear. St. Sophia and her children were not resisting their martyrdom for two reasons. Their death was martyrdom, that is martyr which derives from the Greek for witness. Additionally, the forces committed to torture and killing the four were legally, in their state, entitled to do so.  The context of what is being resisted might very well make a difference to the mode of resistance.

Christian pacifism has a long history. I am not rejecting that. I am however, vehemently opposed to the notion that Christian pacifism is the solution for everyone in every situation. Mr Westmoreland-White arrogantly supposes that every Christian soldier throughout the two thousand years of Christian tradition are in error and his truth trumps theirs.  That in essence, he is a “better” Christian than every one of the many millions of people who while Christian took up arms for their country. Arrogant might be too mild a term. Chesterton in Orthodoxy rightly proclaims as a virtue and indication of the Truth of Christianity is that it has room for a St. Francis and at the same time a St. George (or Simon de Montefort?). Christians celebrate Charles Martel’s victory at Tours and St. Francis meeting with the sultan Malek el-Kamel. The notion of Mr Westmoreland-White’s that there is just “one” way is, alas, to put it mildly wrong. That isn’t to say, he should change his ways and stop following his way. Just that he should stop insisting it’s to do any other is a “betrayal of the Gospel.”

Historically, I wonder how much of a coincedence it is, that those who follow the “way of peace” historically have been very often monastics … hence celibate and childless. Is the question asked above, of the difference of turning your cheek vs holding your child to be struck part contribute to that generality?

Filed under: ChristianityEthics & MoralityMark O.ReligionWar

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