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David Horowitz's rag Front Page Mag has a piece "Ralph Nader cons left-wing churches into ringing their bells this Sunday as an antiwar stunt."  Mark D. Tooley argues that Nader and other lefties are "cynically using other people's religion to advance [a] left-wing political agenda."

Evidently, the translation of the Gospels that the right-wingers are using varies dramatically from the New Revised Standard Version (or all English translations up to this point) where Jesus (supposedly an important figure to all "Christians") says:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5

How did Jesus get to be pro-war (and pro-rich)?  How on earth could right-wingers say that anyone was 'conning' a church into being pro-peace?

The NCC's chief, Bob Edgar, a Methodist minister and former Democratic congressman, also chimed in, although he tried to sound more pastoral: "This is a tragedy that shouldn't have happened," he said of the Iraq war, cynically using other people's religion to advance his left-wing political agenda. "These young men and women who paid the ultimate price of their government's call to arms will be mourned by everyone. And across America, tens of thousands - mothers, fathers, spouses, siblings, children and friends - bear a burden of grief we can scarcely imagine." Exploiting Fallen Soldiers emphasis mine

Interestingly, the campus chaplain at a school where I used to teach opposed the war, arguing that a "God of Peace" would be against war.  People tried to get the chaplain fired for that and a few right-wing alumni made a big deal about not giving money to the school anymore.  (They had given very little money before so it didn't mean much)

But I have yet to find a Bible quote that it is pro-war.  The closest is (sing-along with me) Ecclesiastes 3

2     a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3     a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4     a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5     a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6     a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7     a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8     a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Not exactly a pacifist track, but hardly pro-war.
The rest of the Bible that deals with issues of war and peace seems far more pro-peace in tone.  

The Hebrew Bible has a number of Peace references:

My Favorites: Proverbs 16 7 "When the ways of people please the Lord, he causes even their enemies to be at peace with them."

Isaiah has a ton of Peace:
Isaiah 2 4 "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Isaiah 57 19 "Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord; and I will heal them."

Now that chapter does end with "21 There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked," but I think the only fair reading is that wicked people have no peace, not that we should decide who is wicked and make war with them.  In fact, not having peace may be both the cause and the punishment for the wicked.

And there's more

First Samuel 25 6 "Thus you shall salute him: 'Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.'"

Psalms 29 11 "May the Lord bless his people with peace! "

Psalms 34 14 "Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it."

Psalms 72 7 "In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more."

Note that seeking and pursing peace is equated with departing from evil.  Peace is associated with blessings and a model for how we treat each other.

Jesus was decidedly pro-peace:  In addition to "Blessed are the Peacemakers, the meek, the hungry, the poor and the merciful" there are constant references to Jesus wishing Peace on individuals, people, even houses.  He also has more specific references:

John 14 27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid."

Luke 1: 78 "By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

This continues through the rest of the Christian Bible
Second Corinthians 13 11 "Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you."

The early church writings continued exploring issues of Peace and through to today.  

In fact, at my church we have something called "The Peace" where people go around saying "The Peace of the Lord be always with you" or "God's Peace" or some even flash each other the Peace sign.

Now, I don't want to defend the Crusades, or any of the myriad of wars fought in any relgion's name ('I believe in a God of Peace and Love--he believes in a God of Love and Peace, so I had to kill him...')  There does seem to be a movement after Christ from a literal peace of "turn the other cheek" to a metaphorical peace of "the Peace of God which surpasses all understanding."  But there is no way that the Peace of God can include war.  It just can't.  No matter how enlightened you are, if we are talking about "the Lord of peace himself [who] give[s] you peace at all times in all ways" Second Thessalonian 3:16, that can't be 'all times and all ways, except the literal one.'

The fact that right-wingers think (or argue, even if they don't think it) that it is cynical to have churches involved in a statement they hope will lead to peace is beyond bizarre!  But it is also a statement about how twisted the political debate on the right is!

We need to stand up every single time any right-wingers tries to pretend Jesus is pro-war (and pro-rich).  We have the facts on our side.  Reality not only has a well-known liberal bias--it is also pro-peace!

Originally posted to AlisaR on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 02:31 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  oh, d-ho (4+ / 0-)

    the thing about horowitz is that he's an idiot.  christianity is peace.  anyone who says otherwise doesn't know jesus.  end of story.  great diary!

    "our politics are our deepest form of expression: they mirror our past experiences and reflect our dreams and aspirations for the future." - paul wellstone

    by liberalsouth on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 02:31:44 PM PDT

  •  Idiots have power! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    docangel, irate, Mahanoy, paul2port, MO Blue

    I know Horowitz is an idiot, but so is W!  I wish we didn't have to take either seriously, but Horowitz has bills being debated in about 20 states and the House has adopted his language, so we have to take him seriously (I'm afraid)

  •  Feb. 6, 2003 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jfadden, geminiartist71, paul2port

    That's the day that Russell Mokhiber asked:

    Mokhiber: One question on that.

    You just said the President is a deeply religious man. Jesus Christ was an absolute pacifist. How does the President square his militarism with Jesus' pacifism?

    [At this point, other reporters in the room challenge Russell's assertion that Jesus Christ was an absolute pacifist. One says "no he wasn't." Another says "How about the -- at the temple with a whip, where he beat the hell out of those money-changers? Does that sound like he's an absolute pacifist, Ari?"]

    Ari Fleischer: I think there may be a debate in the press corps about your question, Russell.

    [Press conference ends, with reporters shouting. Ari walks out without answering the question.]

    You can listen to this exchange with RealPlayer here.

  •  The Bible Is Big And Diverse And Nonlinear Enough (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irate, corvo

    That you can read into it all sorts of things.
    I don't think denying it has gristly aspects is any more correct than asserting it has only those, like the "Muscular Christ" proponents do.

    9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

    by NewDirection on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 02:36:28 PM PDT

  •  This is almost too funny. (13+ / 0-)

    "cynically using religion to advance" a political agenda...hmmm...who would do such a thing???

  •  C'mon Now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, Mahanoy

    Haven't you ever heard the term Holy War ?

    Just Because Isiah 9:6 calls Jesus  "the Prince of Peace", and Jesus himself say "whatever you do to the least among you, you do also to me"
    doesn't mean you need to take this stuff literally  I mean what are you some sort of crazed fundamentalist?

    Everybody knows the only parts of the Bible that are to be taken as the unalterable inerrant word of God is Leviticus,  except the parts about the turtledoves and the blended fabrics, and anywhere else where someone talks smack about gay people.

    Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

    by Magorn on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 02:39:47 PM PDT

  •  I was banned from (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Carnacki, lgmcp, Compound F, Mahanoy

    in about 10 seconds over at Redstate for bringing up this same point.

    Apparently neo-con freepers have a very different interpretation of the Bible then most Christians I know.

    For ex: Matthew 5 - ...blessed are the peacemakers... 'peacemakers' in freeperville is translated incorrectly and it should say ...'blessed are the bringers of my word'...

    Just like they have warped the traditional sentiment of the 6th Commandment from - 'Thou shalt not kill' - to 'Thou shalt not murder'.

    As always in the delusional, paranoid, psychotic personality freeperville - 'You Fuckin libruls just don't get it.'

    Quotes from others express a mental laziness in themselves.

    by rudgrl on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 02:40:11 PM PDT

  •  Meh.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, lgmcp

    ....Horowitz is one of my people, so I can understand.  Our old testament God is one pro-war motherfucker indeed.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 02:43:28 PM PDT

  •  When Did Jesus Become a Republican (3+ / 0-)

    Upper right corner, click on song to listen!

    •  Now that's... (0+ / 0-)


      jiz the way ah lahk it !

      Yeeeeeeeeeehaw !

      visit my blog and blister: Music & More

      by rossini on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 03:05:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Various bumperstickers still germane (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChiGirl88, AlisaR

      Starting with
      Jesus Is a Liberal
      (and variations: STILL a liberal, Was a Liberal)

      And of course
      Who would Jesus bomb?

      And my personal favorite:
      I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
      --Mohandas Gandhi

      The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function -- Edward Teller.

      by lgmcp on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 03:50:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm wondering... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tjb22, Mahanoy

    ...what the hell an atheist like Horowitz is doing promoting a right-wing Christian adgenda. Those neocons get more and more ridiculous every year.

  •  Not quite fair. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Jesus said:

    Matthew 10:34:  Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

    I mean, we can debate the meaning behind this, but I don't think it's true that there's no way to be "pro-war" in the Bible.  Of course there is.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 02:44:39 PM PDT

    •  Hmm, was Jesus a schizophrenic? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChiGirl88, paul2port

      based this account

      Then the men began to arrest Jesus, but Peter used a sword to cut off a man's ear. Jesus scolded Peter for doing that: "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword." (Matthew 26:52). Jesus healed the injured man's ear and then allowed Himself to be arrested and led away.

      seems like as a good as time as any to use the sword, if Jesus really meant to . . .

    •  The sword in this case (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, Mahanoy, paul2port

      Is clearly metaphorical of the unrest that will result from Jesus' teachings.

      There's not one instance in which he incites his followers to violence.  Quite the opposite.

      Theobromine -- does that come in chocolate?

      by Mark Sumner on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 03:11:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not even the incident (0+ / 0-)

        in the temple?

        Look, I'm no advocate for violence, but I don't think it's a huge leap to get from the text to a justification of war.  It requires reading some parts and not reading others, but so do many readings of the Bible.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 06:35:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Context (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      True North, ChiGirl88, AlisaR

      34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn
        " 'a man against his father,
           a daughter against her mother,
        a daughter-in-law against her motherinlaw—
            36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'[e]

         37"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

      Sure, you can always interpret something as pro-war, if you insist. But to do this with this verse, you have to ignore the verses which follow.

      The only way to interpret this as pro-war would be to assume that Jesus was talking about literally getting into a sword battle with your father, son, daughter, mother, daughter-in-law or mother-in-law.

      Now, if we are agreed that Jesus was not talking about killing your own family, then it is clear that he is saying that following him is going to lead to strife among families.

      Of course, the right does use this to justify war, but they aren't above ignoring the context.

      It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.

      by A Citizen on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 04:13:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But notice that (0+ / 0-)

        to get this reading you have to go beyond the words and look for a larger meaning.  I'm not saying Jesus was pro-war.  I'm saying the text invites that defense if you read it a certain way.  

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 06:37:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

          It's not so much going beyond the words, you just have to read them all. It's not beyond the words. The problem is when people sprew them out of context, Hoping people won't take a look for themselves.

          It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.

          by A Citizen on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 07:53:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It IS going beyond the words. (0+ / 0-)

            For whatever reason, Jesus decided to use the word 'sword' and say that he came specifically not to bring peace.  Parse it any way you want, but it's there.

            Again, I'm not judging one reading or another - but I think the diarist is completely wrong to say there's nowhere in the Bible that could justify it.

            Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

            by pico on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 08:18:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Jesus spoke English? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Jesus definitely didn't use the word 'sword.'  

              My understanding, and I'm not a theologian so I could be wrong, but I think we are using oral histories that were written down 200 years after he died.  They were written in Greek and Aramiac (although I would guess that some also had to be written in Latin, no?)

              Things happened along the way.  For example, around the 4th century (just about when the Roman Catholic Church decided women couldn't be priests), Junia had a sex-change operation and became Junius.  This is someone that Paul (I think) referred to as an apostle, so changing her to a him was important with that requirement.

              I do agree with you that the general tenor of that line does have agressiveness.  And I have a hard time with the fig tree.  But, I do think he was being metaphorical, because if you look at the entirety of the oeuvre, it doesn't make sense elsewise.

              And it certainly doesn't make sense within the Christian tradition to be embracing war.  How many churches in this country have a "peace" where they wish God's Peace or something to that effect?  How many churches have a "war" or "fight" where they wish you God's war?  Yes, we 'fight' for what we believe in, but if the ends do not justify the means, then that almost always has to be done with love, humility and peace.

              (But, I don't always believe in turn the other cheek--and I haven't quite reconciled that--but my gut feeling (ack--truthiness!) is that Christianity does have more fight in it than Bhuddism, for example.  I can see turning the other cheek for myself, but not for others--I don't think a Christian response to Darfur can be 'turn the other cheek.'  I think there is a place for fighting.  But that's just my intuition and I don't have scriptural backup for that.)

            •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

              Yes, the word 'sword' is used. But you don't have to go beyond the words to understand what was meant. You have to use the words of the next few verses to understand what was meant. It's using thwe words, not going beyond them.

              You can certainly find anything in the Bible to take any positions you want. And this verse can be taken to support war - but only if they ignore the verses that immediately follow it, or if they suppose that Jesus was talking about literally putting your family to the sword.

              It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.

              by A Citizen on Sat Jun 24, 2006 at 01:07:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Sword of Truth (0+ / 0-)

      it's the sword which IS truth... from what I remember.
      Symbolized by a sword because truth is the most powerful weapon... the one way to "Slay the beast".

      "And only the weak would revenge themselves. The strong of soul forgive, and it is honor in the injured to forgive." Jesus Christ's Sermon on The Mount

      by geminiartist71 on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 04:22:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the only Jesus I know (8+ / 0-)

    is my cousin and he pronounces it funny.

  •  great diary for me t use (0+ / 0-)

    since i live in Bible-thumper land...

    love it...great "ammo!"

  •  I was grocery shopping the other day... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChiGirl88, lgmcp

    ...and at the checkout line they have books for sale on the NYT best seller list and one of the books was Ann Coulter's "godless".

    Now no one ever confronts me or talks to me about things, but in my own mind I imagined how I would act if someone in line started gushing about that book.

    And the only thing I could think of is that I have never met a truely godly person that says some of the hate filled garbage that ann coulter does.  She'd best not be throwing stones.

    But there are plenty of people who spew garbage in the guise of being spiritual or moral.

    •  It shows how sick the right is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That Ann Coulter can get away with passing herself off as a "godly woman". I've heard a little grumbling from the religious right, who were balking at her presuming to speak for religion, but not a lot. For the most part, the religious right confers the status of being a righteous Christian in good standing to anyone who is on the far right.

      Politics doesn't just influence theology, politics becomes theology. And what that is called is selling indulgences. It's no different than what Martin Luther objected to, the practice of selling forgiveness in exchange for donations of cash. I doubt that many of the people who bought indulgences in Luther's day actually thought they were buying salvation. What they were really doing is paying to make sure that they Church would keep them in it's good graces, regardless of what they did.

      The same thing holds true today. The payment is not so much cash these days, but in political favors. Do what the religious right wants politically, and they will call you righteous, no matter what you do.

      It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.

      by A Citizen on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 04:21:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Coming to a Theatre near You - - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChiGirl88, lgmcp


    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

  •  Earlier today there was a guest on NPR (0+ / 0-)

    an Evangelical man who is a professor of religion. He made the case that Churches should be more Pro-life. In an all-encompassing way.

    They should oppose war. Oppose torture. Oppose ... well you obviously have Biblical references above.

    I've been guilty of wondering where the Muslim religious leaders have been when violence is threatened. What about my own religious organization? Where have they been on the issue of torture and war? I'd like to take on the position of my own tradition, the Roman Catholic Church.

    I'm Celtuguese, longing for a whisky and a fight...


    Hold be back or cheer me on?

    •  Catholic position on torture (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      What about my own religious organization? Where have they been on the issue of torture and war? I'd like to take on the position of my own tradition, the Roman Catholic Church.

      I'm not Catholic, so I haven't followed the news from the Vatican very closely.

      However, as I recall, there were very strong statements from Pope John Paul, and other Catholic leaders, against the use of torture.

      •  US Bishops: Gutless and Ineffective (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Here are some of the prohibitions that derive from the fifth commandment.

        US Conference of Catholic Bishops Catechism

        You shall not kill.54

        You have heard that it was said to the men of old, "You shall not kill: and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment." But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment.55...

        Legitimate defense

        The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not."65

        Respect for bodily integrity

        Kidnapping and hostage taking bring on a reign of terror; by means of threats they subject their victims to intolerable pressures. They are morally wrong. Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity. Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law.91

        In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture. Regrettable as these facts are, the Church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.

        All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.

        However, "as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed."106

        US Bishops' Letter to President Bush on Iraq signed by Bishop Wilton Gregory. The Bishops also urged Catholics to write their representatives to avoid war.

        Much has happened since that letter was written in November 2002. The war in  Iraq is not a just war. It is time for the Bishops to speak out and condemn all politicians and advocates of this war. They should instruct their congregations to protest the premise of the war, the conduct of the war, the torture and other policies that violate the rights of innocents and other individuals.

        Bishops put down the scotch and cigars. Get up from your comfy leather chairs. Get out on the street. In your own words about killing, cruelty and torture: "It is necessary to work for their abolition."  Put some effort into it!

        Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI completely rejected the Bush notion of "prevention" as justification for a moral war in Iraq. The Pope should discipline the US Bishops if they don't act.

        Furthermore the Pope should put Michael Novak, George Weigel, and Richard John Neuhaus in the penalty box for their neo-conservative promotion of this war. Silence them. Deny them the sacraments. Threaten ex-communication! Come on ex-Grand Inquisitor, show us what it is all about.

        I urge the Pope and Bishops to take serious public anti-war action, now.

  •  Horowitz is a Jew. (0+ / 0-)

    He doesn't even believe in Jesus much less a "peaceful" one.

  •  The War against Christianity (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tjb22, AlisaR

    ... is real. But it isn't the war that the right would have you think. The Real war against Christianity is being waged by the religious right. One common tactic is to put out the message that liberal and mainstream Christians are stupid and being tricked by outside agitators.

    But it shows the the right is afraid. The right attacks when they can gain politically or if they are afraid. They are afraid ofthose Christians who aren't of the religious right getting together and acting in a coordinated way. They are afraid of people realizing that the religious right does not speak for Christianity.

    I do think that mainstream and liberal churches could do a better job of getting their own message out, not just to the outside world, but to their own churches. I was raised Lutheran, and people in church often seemed more versed in the theology of the religious right than of actual Lutheran theology. We had "stealth fundies" teaching Sunday School and running youth groups. Getting more liberal and mainstream Christian voices in the media would be a big help.

    It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.

    by A Citizen on Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 04:30:38 PM PDT

  •  Hypocrisy (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, Christ was anti-war.The old testament preaches an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. The new testament preaches love your enemies and turn the other cheek. It also warns against the evils of money and the love of material possessions. I marvel at the Christians who pick and choose what they want to believe. They raise hypocrisy to new levels.

    Me, I support our troops and believe in defending our country but this was an unjust war.

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