Proud to Be a Christian

Recently, I received a video—Proud to Be an American. I was appalled at the final slides in the video. Only the American soldier and Jesus have offered to die so that you might be free. Jesus died for your soul and the American soldier died for your freedom. Most of the slides were pictures of soldiers in action and soldiers in flag draped coffins. Yes, I pray for the troops. I also pray for the conversion of those who place them in harm’s way.

Yes, I am glad to be free but to equate the death of a soldier who has been placed in harm’s way by a government that is waging a war for oil, water and hegemony in Iraq and Afghanistan with the death of the nonviolent Jesus is an affront to everything Jesus stood for. Unfortunately, we offer bonuses and other financial inducements to men and women who have no other way out so that they will fight our wars of greed for us. They are the true victims of the system.

Our only freedom comes from the Risen Jesus who lives in us—not from governments and the agents of death. Pope John Paul II and his successor Benedict condemned the Iraq war as unjust and immoral. That should make every Christian pause and ask what we are doing when we resort to violence to solve our problems. Jesus told us to love one another, to forgive one another, to return good for evil and yet we insist on solving problems with death and destruction. Violence begets violence.

Our defense budget equals 50% of the combined defense budgets of every other nation in the world! Yet, we have 47 million people without health care. Thirty seven million people live in abject poverty and millions of American children cry themselves to sleep every night because they go to bed hungry. Millions of Americans are losing their homes. The trillion dollar defense budget has a lot to do with our current economic crisis not to mention the greed of bakers and Wall Street investors.

As disciples of Jesus, we are first to be proud of being Christians. We are called to stand up with the Risen Jesus.

God does not love one nation or one people any more than any other. God created everyone and we need to find out how to live as Jesus taught us or else we will all perish. As baptized Christians, we live in the person, presence and power of the nonviolent Jesus. Jesus and Jesus alone sets us free—free from sin, hate, violence, and greed. He refused to retaliate. He refused to return evil for evil. He told Peter to put away his sword. He was telling us to put away our swords.

Maybe someone will write a new song for the new creation of the Risen Jesus—Proud to Be a Christian!

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