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who  would  jesus  bomb  ?

Luke 9.54-56  wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as Elias did ?   But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.  For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.  So Jesus vetoed the air strike which two of his followers wanted to bring down upon a Samaritan village.  The excuse for James and John is that they had not yet received the Holy Spirit.  [ John 20.22 ]   Like today's nominal Christians, who also know nothing of the Spirit, they were quite enthused about bringing fire from heaven down upon evil doers, until Jesus rebuked them and showed them the new spirit of the New Covenant, as He does in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:38-44.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans regularly carry out air strikes aimed at terrorists.  Predictably, the bodies of women and children are found in the resulting rubble.  The claim for the guided missiles is that they strike within 40 feet of the target.  On April 8th 2003 the missiles aimed at Saddam Hussein and his son hit within 50 feet of the house in which they were hiding, missing them but destroying four neighboring houses and killing 17 people.  News Item February 1st 2004:   The Afghan president Saturday said a U.S. air strike last month  [on January 17th]  killed 10 civilians, including women and children, contradicting American military reports that claimed the casualties were Taliban militants.  News Item October 15th 2001:  Washington has expressed regret for any civilian victims in its air-strikes, saying it does not target non-combatants.  It has acknowledged that a stray bomb hit homes outside Kabul last week but said it cannot be sure whether an attack hit Karam.   In the hospital in Jalabad, 25 miles to the east, doctors treated what they said were 23 victims of bombing at Karam, one a child barely two months old, swathed in bloody bandages.  Another child, Samina, played with two apples on her hospital bed.  Neighbors brought the 5-year-old to the hospital after the Thursday  [ October 11th 2001 ]  bombing raid, which they said, killed her entire family.  When she recovers from her injuries Dr. Hashok Ullah said, hospital workers will send the girl to an orphanage.   Unsmiling and silent, Samina stared out at strangers on Sunday from under a cap of head bandages.  "She just doesn't speak," Dr. Ullah said.  "She hasn't spoken since she came in."   A father, Ahmanzai lay in one bed hugging his wailing 1-year old son, Azizullah.  Both wore bandages for burns and wounds from what villagers said was a second bombing run in the area of Karam on Saturday.  Female victims lay behind the locked door of the women's ward.  Inside, doctors folded back one woman's enveloping shawl to show her wound--a head injury, sustained in the same attack that they said killed her two children on Thursday.   At least 18 fresh graves were scattered about the village, marked with jagged pieces of gray slate.  Two were tiny, freshly dug for what residents said were children.  Villagers said more bodies were buried in the mountains, taken there by residents as they fled the now mostly deserted community.      June 7th 2006:   A 6 year old girl and her mother were killed along with Zarqawi.  And people don't even notice it !    They had the house surrounded, why did they have to bomb it ? 

It is typical of modern war.  When the Israelis target the car of a certified terrorist with a rocket fired from a plane or helicopter, they regularly zap a kid or two along with the terrorist.  Is this unintentional ?  What else do they expect to happen when they fire a rocket at a car in a street full of cars and people ?  The AP counted 514 Palestinian kids killed by Israeli reprisal raids from 2000 to 2005.  To be sure, the terrorists do the same.  [ AP count: 97 Israeli kids ]  The terrorists indiscriminately kill men, women and children, old and young.  They do the same as the Americans, the same as the Israelis.  Which means that the Americans and the Israelis  do  the  same  as the terrorists.  And that's the truth.  When you blow up buildings and houses and cars and kill the people inside and outside, you are a terrorist, whether you do it with a rocket from a government plane or a home made bomb.  When you go along with a government which does these things, you incur blood guilt.  You have joined the terrorists--from a safe distance.  You are a terroristand a coward. 

It is curious how this childish and homicidal faith in the power of bombs to get rid of evil doers persists.  It is a demon-inspired  illusion  of  power.   Americans learned nothing from Vietnam or soon forgot it.  By March 1968, America had dropped more bombs on Vietnam than on the whole of Europe during the whole of World War II.  American war planes dropped 825 tons every day, and an equal tonnage of high explosives was fired every day by the artillery, including the navy guns from the big ships off shore,  which could fire shells as far as Vietnam is wide in most places.  The resulting toll among the civilians of South Vietnam--which America, as usual, was supposedly there to protect--went from 100,000 a year in 1965 to an estimated 300,000 a year in 1968.  While this slaughter of the innocents went on, the evil doers hid in the jungle, even though the war planes targeted the jungle also.  Thousands of American soldiers still suffer from the effects of the  Agent Orange they used to defoliate the jungle.  They hunted elephants from their war planes in case they were domestic pack animals which might be used by the Viet Cong.  In 1969, President Nixon secretly authorized the bombing of Cambodia.   By the time Congress found enough gumption to finally halt the bombing, as of August 15th 1973, American planes had dropped 539,129 tons of bombs, destroying crops and livestock and villages and killing thousands of Cambodians.  Then, after half destroying it, America abandoned Cambodia to Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.

Of the 60 million people killed in World War II, two thirds were civilians.  The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima incinerated a Catholic primary school full of kids.  Conventional bombs had already killed or crippled a million Japanese.  It was the same story in Europe where allied bombing of German cities targeted the civilian population indiscriminately.  Fire from Heaven incinerated Berlin and Hamburg.  The bombing of Dresden created a fire storm which killed nearly everyone in the city, whether children or adults, whether old or young. 

It is an old American story.  When the American army surrounded Boston in 1776 they began shelling the town to drive the British out.  The Journal of one of Washington's staff officers, Colonel Samuel Webb, describes the effect on the civilians trapped in the town:   page 132   entry for  Saturday March 2nd 1776   from my window have a most pleasing and yet dismal View of the firey Ministers of Death flying thro the Air, poor inhabitants our friends we pity most sincerely, but particularly the Women & Children.   page 134   entry for Tuesday, March 5th 1776  Last night at 7 oClock we began a heavy Cannonade on the Town of Boston, from our Forts on Cobble-Hill, Lechmore's Point, & Lamb's Dam on Roxbury side . . .   Our Shell rak'd the houses terribly and the Crys of poor Women and Children frequently reach'd our Ears,--we would that they were out of the Devoted Capital, but tis not in our power.  Of course they couldn't call off the shelling just because kids were getting hit.  The cause was too noble.  They pitied themmost sincerely but not sincerely enough to stop firing shells into the houses.  In fact the British had already decided to quit Boston because they thought it unsuitable as a base for the war.  But the civilians killed and crippled in the shelling, if they were patriots, could take comfort in the fact that their involuntary sacrifice had helped push the British to do it a few weeks sooner than they otherwise would have, thus allowing Washington's army to claim a victory. 

Like those apostate Christians who accepted the Roman Emperor Constantine as the head of the new Imperial Church, today's  patriot  christians  worship the empire of this world and applaud the Fire From Heaven it rains on evil doers and their families.  They have the great illusion that they will save themselves from the fire by dropping fire on others.  They thereby make their reservations for that place of everlasting fire described in Matthew 25.41, which is reserved for those who go along with the destruction of the least of these and who refuse to do anything to rescue them. 

Terry Sullivan   

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Who Would Jesus Bomb ?
Luke 9.54-56
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