"The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning.... And, even since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about...." ~ John Adams
Prayers and Protection
During the latest War of Yankee Aggression--this time against the sovereign country of Iraq--a prayer was circulated throughout the virtual mailboxes of the internet titled, 'A Special Prayer.' It reads as follows:
That our men and women in uniform Will receive God's special care.
I'll start my prayer by asking God To help them to endure, And protect them from the dangers As they face the challenges of war. They're a special group of people with a difficult job to do.
So I'll ask God to give them courage And the strength to see them through. May they each feel God's presence and have the peace of mind to carry out their duties during this most difficult time. I'll end my prayer by asking God To bless each and every one. And to bring them all home safely when this war is finally won.
Dedicated to the men and women serving in the United States Armed Forces! May God Bless You!
In time of war, or any other difficult, stressful, or trying situation in life, it is certainly a normal and healthy response for one to call on the act of prayer. This is done, of course, to receive divine guidance and strength to help one successfully find their way through the hardship. Prayer is also used in a sort of proxy method by praying for the benefit of others. Such is the example of the above prayer.
Too often, when praying for others, individuals and groups fail to fully visualize exactly who they are praying for and what action the beneficiaries of that prayer are actually doing. Instead, they merely speak empty platitudes filled with vacuous requests that accomplish nothing but ease the discomfort of the prayer giver. But they request no specific action. The only tangible result is that the prayer giver may 'feel better.' Rush Limbaugh (he of anal cyst fame) would describe this, in one of his rare lucid moments, as 'symbolism over substance.'
To those who value liberty (and understand how it is protected and how it is lost) there is no greater threat than the State's most habitual, obscene creation--war. No matter the reasons for it, war is the ultimate human tragedy--a tragedy to all sides involved. War may very well produce a short term gain, but inevitably, that success results in long term problems and reduced freedoms while planting the seeds for future tragedies. Prayer directed toward war should appeal for the wisdom, decency, and resolve to mediate a break in hostilities or even toward immediate termination of the conflict.
I'll say a special prayer -That our men and women in uniform- Will receive God's special care.
This plea assumes, arrogantly so, that The Troops are doing 'God's work,' therefore deserving of special treatment from the Almighty. There is an assumption here that the action of The Troops is necessary and proper without any trace of doubt. 'Our earthly leaders, with guidance from above, have deemed this war vital for our well-being. Why would they lie to us?' The objective to be achieved by Man is automatically given Divine endorsement. Combatants throughout history have always claimed God on their side, enhancing war's unnecessary legacy of death, ruin, heartache, and misery. 'With God on our side how can we be wrong? How can we possibly have second thoughts?'
I'll start my prayer by asking God-To help them to endure,-And protect them from the dangers-As they face the challenges of war.
No mention is made here of the innocents involved in this conflict. Apparently, they are not worthy of mention in a cry for protection. Victory is worth the slaughter of innocents. They are to be disregarded as hapless road kill on the path to victory!
They're a special group of people-With a difficult job to do.-So I'll ask God to give them courage-And the strength to see them through.
There is certainly nothing "special" about enslaved, homicidal automatons serving their master. There's nothing difficult about following orders from a master who has indoctrinated and brainwashed you. It IS difficult, however, to make use of the A-1 brain God blessed you with at birth. Your 'job' is to use that gray matter as it was intended--to make use of the powers of thought and reason that come installed to identify unjust orders. The 'courage' and 'strength' needed by The Troops is the kind necessary to deny their masters. These words help create a class of people (The Troops) that are above criticism or accountability to the laws of decency. 'Ignore that their actions may wrong, Oh Lord, just 'see them through.''
May they each feel God's presence-and have the peace of mind-to carry out their duties-during this most difficult time.
Here the prayer is requesting calm and emotional stability to ease The Troops' minds and conscience while they blindly carry out orders to kill and destroy (their 'duties'). Let's not beat around the bush here. This is exactly their assignment. If this request is successful, it won't be God's presence they'll be conscious of but rather encouragement from a wicked darkness. Does anyone honestly feel that God would offer a calming presence to embolden one to carry out an act of open aggression?
I'll end my prayer by asking God-To bless each and every one.-And to bring them all home safely-When this war is finally won.
Here we're asking Divine approval for the actions of a group ignoring the fact individuals under the canopy of this group may be responsible for heinous acts and atrocious behavior. The criminals in this group receive a 'blessing' through a blanket plea. Victory seems not only assured but necessary and righteously assumed. Wouldn't a prayer for wisdom be more appropriate--that those involved would take time for reflection and analysis of the questionable actions they take part in?
I find it sickening that someone expects me to ask God to 'bless' those who commit murder; both for the depraved, arrogant fools who order the act from afar as well as the individuals who carry it out with neither discernment nor conscience.
I find it equally sickening to request 'blessing' toward those who kill in MY name and with MY dollar, never asking or receiving permission for either use.
I despise the arrogant assumption they, The Troops and their supporters, have that their actions and perverted beliefs represent me.
I resent the hatred and intolerance automatically directed toward those who genuinely and respectfully believe otherwise; countering with nothing but empty, deceitful, clich'-ridden rhetoric coupled with blind nationalistic fervor.
Face it, The Troops are merely Soldiers of state socialism. Their work is to benefit the growth of the ever-growing State and its supporting collective, not to protect the liberty of the individual. Ludwig Von Mises was even more blunt. He described the military state as, 'a state of bandits. It prefers to live on booty and tribute."
Part of the human tragedy of war is not only the death of innocents but the demise of those who directly serve The State. They have allowed their minds and souls to surrender to the State's agenda of power and conquest. The unfortunate result is bloody corpses rotting on a battlefield, homeward bound cripples with missing body parts, and psyches and spirits forever impaired. 'Victory' is nothing but a temporary, nebulous intangible and defeat is a crushing, dehumanizing blow; absolute and permanent.
The pithy Bob Wallace recently wrote, 'Every primitive tribe in history has called itself "the People" or "the Human Beings." Every one of them has believed God has smiled on them, only them, and no one else. When these tribes get big enough to be called nations, they still believe that God smiles on them, only them, and no one else. No matter how much they break His laws by murdering and stealing (even if it's justified as war), they still think He smiles on them and protects their soldiers. All it needs is just a little prayer.'
Should I offer prayers for pity? Yes.
Should I offer prayers for insight, thoughtfulness and moral clarity? Absolutely.
Should I offer prayers for blessing and endorsement? Never.
The Troops, their superiors, and supporters safely away from the battlefield may be better off not reciting prayer requests full of God's bestowed approval and Divine ratification. They might better serve themselves, their families, and their souls by first spending time on bended knee in prayers of repentance.