Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Heresy of Liberal Pacifism

John Deer is a Roman Catholic priest who advocates a fanatical brand of pacifism that refuses to recognize any difference between the Church and the State or between the future Kingdom of God that will come with the Return of Christ and the fallen world between the first and second comings of Christ.

He responds to the killing of Osama bin Laden by positing a disgusting moral equivalence between the US and Al Qaeda and between terrorists and the use of the sword by the civil authority to mete out justice. For him State punishment of evildoers is the same thing as personal revenge.

He writes as follows: [My comments are in square brackets and in red]

"It had been a stimulating weekend. We spent three days reading the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 5-7, line by line. There we discovered that Jesus is clear, consistent and insistent about creative nonviolence: “Blessed are the peacemakers. Offer no violent resistance to one who does evil. When someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn and offer the other cheek. Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors. Do not judge. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Seek first God’s reign and God’s justice.”

We could not find one instance where Jesus waffles on nonviolence. [He never considers other parts of the Bible and fails to acknowledge that the interpretation of Jesus' words he offers makes the Gospel texts contradict Joshua, Kings, Romans and Revelation. This is to fall back into the ancient heresy of Marcionism.] He never says, “However, if your enemies are particularly vile, kill them all.” He does not offer a set of conditions to justify warfare. He commands universal, nonviolent love. He goes even further in his politics of peace to argue for this unusual practice because, he says, it is the very nature of God. Then you will be sons and daughters of God “who makes the sun rise on the bad and the good and causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust,” he announces.

Many in our group expressed bewilderment at such teachings. It felt to some like a crash course in Mandarin. Too challenging, too hard, too impractical, too scary! they said over and over. [Their gut feeling was right on in this case.]

These are the basic guidelines for Christian conduct in the world, I replied. Following these teachings, Christians reject violence, vengeance, retaliation, war, and killing, and instead practice universal love, boundless compassion, generous forgiveness and persistent peacemaking. Even if other Christians reject Jesus’ nonviolence and parade around like wolves in sheep’s clothing, I suggested, we are still summoned to walk this narrow path.

Gandhi took these words to heart, I pointed out. He is one of those rare figures who read from the Sermon on the Mount every day for many decades to strengthen his nonviolence and satyagraha. [In light of Pakistan's prominent place in world news this week, we might recall that the existence of Pakistan, a perpetually violent and close to failed state, is part of Ghandi's legacy.]

“Those who live by the sword will die by the sword,” Jesus told his disciples the night before he was assassinated. Violence in response to violence only leads to further violence, he taught. Retaliatory violence will not break the downward spiral of violence. It will only fan the flames of hatred and war. Active nonviolence breaks the cycle of violence. Nonviolently resist those who do evil; don’t become like them. Create justice for everyone and you will reap a great harvest of peace. [This is a Utopian perspective that owes more to Pelagius and J. J. Rousseau than to St. Paul, St. Augustine and mainstream Christianity.]

I think Jesus’ teachings on the futility of retaliatory violence and the possibilities of active nonviolence have long ago been proven true. Our wars, our weapons, our state terrorism have not brought peace. [Of course not! Who says anyone can bring peace other than our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring peace when he returns. What hubris to think that there must be some magic solution we can discover to make a fallen world unfallen.] The U.S. assassination of bin Laden, like the death of Saddam Hussein, will not end terrorism or bring peace. It will only inspire further violence, and bring new terrorist attacks against us. [Maybe it will and maybe it will deter terrorist attacks. In any case, the alternative is surrender to radical Islam and to advocate that is treasonous and evil.]

Bombing and killing civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan only fuels the spiral of violence and inspires a new generation to retaliate against us. Jesus was right. Stop killing people, treat people nonviolently, and you will have a better chance of being treated nonviolently too. [A better chance? I don't think so. This is naive.]

But who follows these teachings anymore? Very few. We have twisted Christianity so that God will bless our wars. If Osama bin Laden did not represent true Islam and the All-Merciful One, neither do George W. Bush or Barack Obama represent true Christianity and the nonviolent Jesus.

In fact, Al Qaeda and the Pentagon are two sides of the same coin. [Here it comes: moral equivalence between liberal democracy and militant Islamofascism. This is morally obtuse. Look at Muslim countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia; only a morally deficient person could doubt that they are worse than Western, liberal democracies. The treatment of women alone is decisive.] In the end, both spend their resources trying to kill, and end up killing innocent civilians. [The difference is stark: one does it accidentally and reluctantly in defense of the innocent while the other does it as a matter of deliberate policy with no conscience.] If Osama bin Laden was guilty of killing innocent civilians, so are George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton guilty of killing innocent civilians. But the truth is that the U.S. military has killed many more people -- millions more -- than Al Qaeda. Both need to be stopped and dismantled. [This is not cute or a matter of "high ideals." This is utter depravity. If we followed this advice millions of innocents would die unnecessarily. This is dangerous advice.]

The U.S. should immediately end its evil wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Libya, bring all its troops home, dismantle its nuclear weapons, close its military bases, feed the world’s poor, and institutionalize nonviolent, non-military methods of resolving global conflict. Its method of global domination and imperial policing has utterly failed. The cheering crowds outside the White House after Obama’s announcement symbolize our failure to make peace. Instead, we too are caught up in the contagion of bloodlust, violence and revenge. [This sounds like the Stalin-controlled Western Communist Party propaganda during the Cold War.]

I urge Christians everywhere to repent of the sin of war, quit the U.S. military and return to the Way and Wisdom of the Sermon on the Mount. Just as many Muslims are reclaiming their call to practice nonviolence, so too we Christians need to reclaim the mission of creative nonviolence and peacemaking which Jesus demands."

This man is not teaching Christianity. He is a smooth talking heretic who would lead sincere and naive people astray. His theology is based on left-wing, humanistic, Utopian thinking that refuses to take the Biblical view of sin seriously.

This kind of teaching has nothing to do with the pacifism of monks and nuns or the nonresistance of the Amish. It is liberal pacifism and it come right out of the heart of theological liberalism and its rejection of orthodox, biblical theology. Those who swallow this stuff are swallowing poison.


Anonymous said...

I thought you might mind this interesting as you seem to blog quite a bit about both Catholicism and the "cult" of global warming!

You can download the PDF in the article.


Craig Carter said...

Nobody is right about everything!