Monday, October 25, 2004

A Like Minded Individual

This writer crystalizes my feelings about politics and faith. I've posted the entire article below.

read the article

Published on Monday, October 25, 2004 by
No Longer a Christian
by Karen Horst Cobb

These words rise past my lips with a retching pain and agony unlike any horror I have ever known. The word Christian I was told in Sunday school means to be Christ-like but the message I hear daily on the airwaves from the “christian ” media are words of war, violence, and aggression. Throughout this article I will spell christian with a small c rather than a capital since the term (as I usually hear it thrown about) does not refer to the teachings of the one I know as the Christ. I hear the church goers call in to radio programs and explain that it was a mistake not to kill every living thing in Fallouja. They quote chapter and verse from the old testament about smiting the enemies of Israel. The fear of fighting the terrorists on our soil rather than across the globe causes the vibrato in their voices to increase as they justify the latest prison scandal or other accounts of the horrors of war . The words they speak are words of destruction, aggression, dominance, revenge, and fear and arogance. The host and the callers echo the belief in the righteousness of our nation’s killing. There are reminders to pray for our “christian” president who is doing the work of the Lord: Right to life……2nd amendment…….sanctity of marriage…….welfare reform, war, kill, evil liberals so much to fight …… much to destroy.
Let me tell you about the Christ I know. He was born poor to an unmarried women. He was not born into a family of privilege. He was a radical. He said “it was said an eye for and eye and a tooth of a tooth (old testament) but now I say (a whole new plan) love your enemies bless those who curse you.” …He said “blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted…blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth…Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” (matt 5: 3-9) He said “all those who are called by my name “(aka the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) will enter the kingdom of heaven. He said people will know true believers if they have the fruit of the spirit which is: “love, joy , peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control. “ He said “I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink, sick and in prison and you visited me.” He knew he would be lead like a sheep to the slaughter. He responded with “Father forgive them…….. “ A sad and angry friend cut off the ear of a guard and Christ picked it up and healed it. He explained that in Christ there is neither Jew nor gentile, slave or free male nor female. He explained that even to be angry is akin to murder. He said the temple of God is not a building but in the hearts of those are called by his name - the Prince of Peace. He was a radical! His final days were spent in prayer that he could endure what was set before him. Not how he could overpower the evil government of that day. When they came for him he was lead away and didn’t resist even the cross.

This is a stark contrast to the call of the religious christian right who vote for war and weapons, suggest towns and villages be leveled ironically to bring freedom and peace to the people. Proudly boast this country’s superiority suggesting it is because God has blessed our nation. Today as I listened to a popular christian news network I was reminded that in the last days even God’s elect will be deceived. (II Tim 3:13) When the religious media moguls who preach prosperity spout their rhetoric I am reminded of the difficulty that Jesus described so vividly of a rich man’s ability to enter the kingdom of God. (Matt. 19: 24) Some who believe they are fighting evil will say Lord Lord and he will say “I never knew you“ (Matt. 22). They will have a form or godliness but will deny the power (II Tim. 3:5) the power to move mountains through prayer. (Matt. 17:20) . Jesus explained that he has not give us a spirit of fear but power and love and a sound mind. (II Tim. 1:17) I wonder if the innocent moms and dads and brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and grandmas and grandpas who were the victims of US military weapons (the never reported collateral damages we are protected from in the “liberal” nightly news) felt the love of Jesus with the shock and awe. I wonder if the surviving family members now understand His radical love and realize that because the US has destroyed many of their towns and villages and they have lost family members to war and their historical sites have been unprotected, looted and destroyed they no longer have any need for weapons.

I can’t begin to understand the statements and lifestyle of Jesus. What would he say to evil dictators? I suspect he would say what he has said to us all. But, the dictators do not kill in the name of the God who is revealed in the New Testament. This God would not justify 15,000 or more deaths. Even the wrathful jealous God of the old testament spared whole cities for a few righteous souls. For christians to support the killing of many as a way to prevent the fear of future deaths is not at all like Christ. He would not say when I am talking about war I am really talking about peace like the self professed christian President proudly states. Who but God has the right to determine what price a people should pay for their freedom. The religious leaders on the airwaves today respond to the voices of the few brave pacemakers who dare to speak out. They say that pacifism is insane, it doesn’t make sense, not biblical and illogical…….What is forgotten is that if logic was all that was necessary then there wouldn’t need to be faith. The horrors of September eleven, the rising terror alerts, the scary chatter on the internet are all reminders of one very clear statement that Jesus made. “Perfect Love casts out fear.” (I John 4:18)

The solutions to the social issues which the “religious right” use to manipulate good decent people to vote for the party of perpetual war as means for perpetual peace have no resemblance to how Jesus responded to the social concerns of his time. He never once mentioned the “right to life” even though the year he was born king Herod ordered all the babies be killed. (Matt 2:16) Anthropologists and sociologists report that abortions have been practiced throughout history. He knew that passing laws does not change the heart. As a follower of his teaching I believe in the right to life for everyone including children in Iraq who stumble into land mines, cross the street at the wrong time, or who are still snuggly tucked within the warm bellies of their wounded or grieving mothers as the US fighter jets fly over head. These are living breathing children whose neural networks are fully formed, Have taken that first deep breath that was breathed in tAdam. They feel all the pain and horror just like you or I. The killing of these little ones are never even reported and the ones who tax dollars paid for the bomb never even acknowledge the tragic loss.. Jesus said if you harm even a hair on there head you shall face judgement. I believe in the right to life for those in the United States who are unwanted and who have the sicknesses of poverty. I believe in the right to life of the naive kid who was promised by the recruiter they could choose a desk job and still get their education paid., or could see the world or could accelerate their life or could play a very realistic video game from a cockpit.

I know first hand the reality of unwanted children as a worker in a shelter home for the unwanted in a large Southern city (a shelter that was supported financially by several churches with members together totaling more than a thousand) I know the reality of this right wing rhetoric when week after week I begged and pleaded with people to give up only one night every three months to sit with these unwanted living children for a few hours while the overworked house parents had a night off. Of the few I found many changed their minds when they discovered that they would need to wear rubber gloves to change the babies diapers. These “believers” stand on the street corners holding right to life signs and then vote against medical assistance for the mothers and their unwanted children creating an impossible existence for them. The few of these abortion activists who might adopt some of these unwanted children generally want the white and the healthy and then only one. The ones with hydrocephalous, tracheotomies, emotional/ mental problems and communicable diseases along with their life long medical expenses are someone else’s problems.

So I cringe as many “christians“ vote for policies that deny help to the poor in our own county, support the war, military strength assuring the latest weapons are developed and that the heavens will be dominated by the military of the United States. The nation many say is founded on Christian principles While we export nuclear weapons into the heavens and develop electromagnetic weapons to shatter skulls , split the earth ( and silently destroy a body as a thief in the night. Studies are even now searching for the frequencies to override the freewill. These unbelievable technologies are a reality and DNA specific weapons can or soon will target a specific nationality. Some will be taken and the others left and the tax dollars funding the business of war and drug companies whose lobbyists have hood- winked the Christians by the shell game of politics.

I weep as the waters Jesus walked on become contaminated with uranium and fear. I grieve as the missiles fly through the atmosphere on the continent where Jesus rose into the sky defying death and the grave and where the Holy Sprit first descended. . I cry out at the horrors of war and the indignity of the war time prisons so close to where He took captivity captive . So I am no longer a christian if Christianity has become what is presented to us by most of those on talk radio, broadcasts of the mega churches, TV Christian clubs and the example of our christian president. I cannot support the right of the United States and Israel to develop and use the most heinous weapons ever imagined because of a few verses in Biblical law which Jesus declared were fulfilled at his death long ago. (Romans 8:13-15) I want no part of a temple built on the blood of the innocent. Just as many did not recognize the Messiah because he came as a baby many may not recognize the New Jerusalem as it approaches. The sheep have been lead astray by the teachings of prosperity and misinterpretation of the final battle between good and evil. Many no longer can recognize the voice of the good Shepard.

While all this is going on the many churches across United States are filled with christians who work for companies who have contracts with the military.

Some “good christians” even work at weapons facilities. It is not a stretch to say that a women who tightens a last rivet on a shiny new missile just off the assembly line on Friday afternoon might be the same women who licks the gold star on the Sunday school attendance chart on Sunday morning. The missile could be launched by the kid in the youth group who often reads the invocation and it will find it’s destiny at a “target of interest” which might or might not have been a result of good intelligence. So the collection plate circulates and the spring ground breaking of the new Sunday school wing continues on schedule . There they can keep teaching the children to love their enemies and bless those who curse them, about Peace, and love, and kindness, and the radical message of Jesus.

I believe in the example of Jesus and his admonition to love your enemies bless those who curse you . Do I understand how this works on the global scale? Do I know what Jesus would say to all the world’s leaders? No. I don’t understand how the example of Christ’s life and his well communicated message of love, compassion and peace works in the world today- that’s why I need faith! Am I always correct in my assessments and actions? No - that’s why I need grace. Am I brave and unafraid? No - that’s why I need the perfect love that casts out fear. Some trust in Chariots and some in horses but I will remember the name of the lord our God (aka the Prince of Peace) Perhaps politics has no place for imitators of Christ.

Who will show the face of Christ to the world? Who will speak His radical message. I hear from these so called imitators of Christ that the pacifist’s are a collection of kids, hippies, socialists and communists who haven’t got a clue. Some of us however have come to our beliefs as a result of careful and prayerful study of the scriptures and admonishment from our elders. Many are Mennonite, Amish, Quaker and other Anabaptists whose ancestors did not resist their torturers and were drowned, burnt at the stake and flogged for their pacifist stand. They truly followed the example of Christ and their resistance against what they knew were the catastrophic effects of the merging of church and state cost them a great price. But churches today have signed on to the government plan and have agreed to look the other way in exchange for tax free privileges. The true message of Christ still exists to some degree in the quiet of the land…..the peacemakers but sadly even these good people have been deceived by the loud angry words from a righteous sounding religious media majority broadcasting in cars and trucks and tractors all over our land ironically preaching the “good news of war for peace“ and convincing 24 hours a day 7 days a week that the press is “liberal“ . I suspect there are many who share my sorrow at the loss of the meaning of what it means to be like Christ but our voice is seldom heard and the blaring rhetoric drowns out the still small voice of the mighty God. . Peace used be the opposite of war, Conservative used to mean the tendency to conserve resources. Liberal used to mean kind and generous, and Christian used to mean like Christ.

So I am no longer a christian but just a person who continues trying to follow the example of Christ. I’ll let him call me what he wants when I see him face to face. Until then I will pray that some day people like me will be able to reclaim the meaning of Christ’s identity and the world will see the effects of the radical message of Christ‘s love- the perfect love that casts out fear.

Karen Cobb is a freelance writer and artist in Santa Fe, NM and can be contacted at


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