By Mark Tooley @markdtooley https://mobile.twitter.com/markdtooley
There’s a post at Tony Campolo’s “RedLetter Christians” blog from Matt Young, a “U.S. Soldier turned pacifist” and “Anabaptist, non-violent, lover of God and people.” He offers apologies for being American: http://www.redletterchristians.org/for-the-american-part-of-me-i-am-sorry-my-confession/.
Young starts with the beginning, by renouncing the American Revolution. “Instead of following in the way of Jesus (paying taxes, honoring the king, obeying the ruling authorities), our nation’s founding fathers decided to forcefully and violently free themselves from ties with England,” Young regrets. “For this, I am sorry.”
There’s also an apology to the Indians: “Our young nation (very often touting OT violent nation of Israel conquering passages) stole from, deported, and murdered MILLIONS of our lands from original inhabitants.”
And Young naturally apologizes for the War on Terror: “Instead of responding in the way Jesus calls us to, (by loving our enemies, doing good to those that harm us..etc) America launched what has now become the second longest war in our history.”
Young concludes: “For the American part of me…… I AM SORRY.”
It’s a heavy burden that Young and other neo-Anabaptists, along with much of the Religious Left, carry, the shame of being American. Their chief guru, Stanley Hauerwas, once said that July 4, 1776 was the worst day in history. So the world would be a better place without the United States.
Regarding the critique of the American Revolution, how refreshing that Young seems to advocate a traditional Anabaptist view of acquiescence to established order, including King George III, who presided unapologetically over a global empire sustained by force. Of course, neither Young nor other neo-Anabaptists are acquiescent to U.S. power, against which they are in a perpetual pose of shrill whining while offering no political alternative.
Regarding the Indians, a more honest critique would condemn early America and the original tribes that were themselves empires of sorts perpetually at war against each other and who performed their own atrocities against even pacifist settlers like the Mennonites and Quakers.
Regarding the War on Terror, Young says followers of “Jesus should have been living out his call to NOT RESIST evil, to turn the other cheek, to love and serve rather than seek vengeance and domination.” He should elaborate on his assertion that The Lord desires no forceful defense of the innocent from murder, rape and robbery. Should Christians shun police protection? Should believers shun all government services? If not, what levels of force and coercion are acceptable?
Traditional Anabaptists affirmed God’s purpose for the state as avenger of evil but declined to directly participate in the state to the extent possible. The modern elitist wannabes more typically demand all sorts of state services while incoherently complaining about the state not foregoing the central premise of its existence: force.
In his new book on war and terror, SHAKING HANDS WITH THE DEVIL, United Methodist theologian Billy Abraham calls this untenable stance political “lalaland.” Indeed.