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Mon Dec 15, 2014, 09:25 AM

 

Christians And The Pledge of Allegiance: It Should Be A Closed Case Now #TortureReport





Earlier this year I wrote a piece on why Christians might want to abstain from reciting the pledge of allegiance which generated some good conversation, but also received a bit of push-back as well. My arguments against saying the pledge of allegiance are essentially two-fold: Jesus taught his disciples to not take any oaths but instead said to “let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no.” In addition, Jesus invites us to follow him and reminds us that “no person can serve two masters,” which means that it’s functionally impossible to give our allegiance both to Christ and to America– we must pick one or the other, but one cannot be equally loyal to both since they are different entities.

Still, even with the biblical arguments that I feel are straight forward (“I pledge allegiance to the flag” vs “…but I tell you, do not take a pledge”), some Christians are hesitant to let go of this tradition that as children we were indoctrinated to engage in– and I understand that. When you’ve had nationalism and tradition drilled into your head for years on end it can be hard to step back and realize that maybe we’ve been wrong– that’s how indoctrination works and why it’s so hard to break free from it. We grow up being taught that America is the greatest nation that has ever existed, that we are exceptional compared to others, that we are a “Christian” nation, and that whatever we do is good, right, and justified. And so, pledging to give our allegiance to such an entity is an easy sell, as the narrative we are given doesn’t seem on the surface to conflict with some basic understandings of following Jesus.

However, the release of the now infamous CIA Torture Report should be the final blow that closes the case on Christians reciting the pledge of allegiance. From reading the report, it should now be crystal clear to anyone who has read the teachings of Jesus as found in scripture that one cannot swear their allegiance to America while simultaneously giving our allegiance to the alternate way of Jesus. Absolutely, positively, impossible.

The contents of the report reveal what the US has done, and what has been done is anti-Christ– pure, absolute evil.

How a Jesus person could continue to swear allegiance to an entity that engages in behaviors that are so unarguably anti-Christ, sins against God, and crimes against humanity, is beyond me.

Should we be good citizens? Well, of course– though the Bible actually invites us not to live as citizens but to live as immigrants and exiles who are in a foreign land.

snip--------------------

My prayer for Christians in America is that we would be people who are radical, subversive culture changers– not people who throw our undying loyalty and complicity to culture. You see, this was always the invitation of Jesus– it was an invitation to live differently than the rest of the world. To be in it, but not of it. To be salt and light, a city on a hill, and people who point the rest of culture to his alternative way of living.

The way of Jesus is different than anything culture teaches– regardless of the culture or nation one finds themselves in. It is the way of a radical, inexplicable love that is found no where else– and we should be the people who give the whole of our allegiance to this different way of living and interacting with the rest of the world.

Personally, I can think of no more of a compelling reason to close the case on Christians reciting the pledge of allegiance: we can pledge our allegiance to Jesus and his way of enemy love (which he said was a requirement to become God’s children), or we can pledge our allegiance to the empire who tortures and kills its enemies (the opposite of what Christ tells us to do, thus being an “anti-Christ” nation). But, I don’t see how one could do both, as they are complete opposites. As much as I hate lines, I don’t see how this isn’t one: we can follow Jesus, or follow America, but we cannot follow both Jesus and America at the same time as they are busy doing opposite things.

The calling of a Christ-follower is so all-encompassing, so overwhelming (in a good way) that there’s just no room or time left for competing allegiances. Certainly, there’s no room for us to give our allegiance to an entity who engages in horrific torture– because that stands in opposition to everything Jesus taught.

If you’re a Christian who still covers their heart and pledges their allegiance “to the nation for which it stands,” please read the torture report for yourself. As you read it, I pray that you’ll ask yourself where you are placing your allegiance: is it in the radically different way of Jesus, or is it in the American way?

Unfortunately, they’re not the same– so you’ve gotta pick one of the two.


http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/christians-and-the-pledge-of-allegiance-it-should-be-a-closed-case-now-torturereport/

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Arrow 26 replies Author Time Post
Reply Christians And The Pledge of Allegiance: It Should Be A Closed Case Now #TortureReport (Original post)
stone space Dec 2014 OP
edhopper Dec 2014 #1
stone space Dec 2014 #2
edhopper Dec 2014 #4
trotsky Dec 2014 #6
edhopper Dec 2014 #8
trotsky Dec 2014 #3
edhopper Dec 2014 #5
Sweeney Dec 2014 #7
Warren Stupidity Dec 2014 #9
stone space Dec 2014 #10
trotsky Dec 2014 #11
stone space Dec 2014 #12
trotsky Dec 2014 #13
Curmudgeoness Dec 2014 #14
stone space Dec 2014 #15
Curmudgeoness Dec 2014 #21
Warren Stupidity Dec 2014 #19
Post removed Dec 2014 #20
hrmjustin Dec 2014 #16
Warren Stupidity Dec 2014 #17
AtheistCrusader Dec 2014 #18
Lordquinton Dec 2014 #22
mmonk Dec 2014 #23
muriel_volestrangler Dec 2014 #24
Warren Stupidity Dec 2014 #25
Major Nikon Dec 2014 #26

Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 09:39 AM

1. Since many of the smug Republican torture apologist

also wear their Christianity on their sleeve. Making them explain how they can endorse torture and claim to be Christian isn't a bad thing.

Though I don't think you need any belief in Jesus or any deity to find torture abominable.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 09:42 AM

2. I agree on both counts.

 

Making them explain how they can endorse torture and claim to be Christian isn't a bad thing.

Though I don't think you need any belief in Jesus or any deity to find torture abominable.


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Response to stone space (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 09:49 AM

4. A lot of people

GWBush included, talked about Jesus the philosopher. Following him not just as a God, but because of his message of love. Then they turn around and start a criminal war and torture people. I would like to see them asked how they can do both.

The RW Christian Fundies who always vote for these people never seem to look at this. As long as the politician is aganst abortion and Gays, they are for him.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 09:56 AM

6. People like GWB and other anti-choice conservatives...

also wonder how liberals can call themselves Christian yet support the "murder" of unborn babies.

It's all a matter of perspective, I guess.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 10:11 AM

8. True

and they should be asked that. In fact people like John Kerry were taken to task on religious grounds. It seems it doesn't happen the other way.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 09:45 AM

3. Unfortunately, it's not difficult to reconcile the two.

The endorsement of one's own position by claiming that's what Jesus wants is pretty universal.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 09:50 AM

5. True

but it seems they can claim the righteousness of their faith, but then it is not polite to question them on it.

This was the G W Bush script over and over.

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 09:57 AM

7. I would not mind

Any one reciting the pledge of allegiance if they would simply listen to it. ONE Nation with Liberty and Justice for all. When we were still in school we used to shout: Money, where God is supposed to be, and those are the facts.

The belief in God is not the problem. The problem is the privileges of the churches which do not grasp, or refuse to grasp that this is a privilege given out of our rights through the very government they so often attack for doing the job they refuse to do. When most non Christians are more Christian than Christians, there is clearly a problem with their cause, or their expected effect. Religious privilege has certainly made churches a political force, but has it resulted in any sense in a more kind and loving society. No!

The Muslims have the sense to realize what hypocrites we are. We build up every little material thing as a fetish before our God, a God that can only be grasped spiritually. Too many protestant accept a notion I can only called tangible justification common among Jewish people that the love of God is shown to the faithful in material blessing. That notion of God shed his grace on thee. What if we were as poor as Iraq or Afghanistan? Do people there not thank God for the little they have?

You can certainly judge the churches on how well they pursue injustice. They support injustice, and cause injustice. They thrive on injustice. Jesus was no labor leader. He was no insurrectionist. He did not fight for justice, and neither did he deny justice. He saw the rich as having their reward in his land. He spoke of the poverty of a people denying their own parents support to fulfill a pledge at the temple. He saw people being sued for their tunics and advised such people to offer their pants as well. He offered a spiritual, and psychological relationship with God when the whole wealth of Jerusalem- which was extensive- was built on the forms and formality of the Jewish faith.

Christian privilege in America is not the result of any sort of problem in America. It was to fix a problem that was never here to any extent. Out of the English Revolution, first the Puritans and then the Church of England made asses of themselves as they abused others who did not share their beliefs. It was to protect churches from other denominations that they have their privileges, to give them protection if one or the other should gain control over the government.

It is theirs people now, who need protection from them. They do not acknowledge that their privileges come from our rights, and they constantly attack our rights. Universal rights, and democratic freedom is all the protection such people need in their faith. Their privilege gives them access to government and control of a single party's base. They deny the right of the people to make law. They claim their privilege is God given. If so; let God defend those privileges.

Thanks...Sweeney

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 11:04 AM

9. Christianity has a long history of supporting torture in the name of Christ.

 

I see no reason to think that torture and Christianity are irreconcilable.

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 12:43 PM

10. I think that this is something that Christians and atheists of good will can...

 

...come together on.

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Response to stone space (Reply #10)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 01:12 PM

11. What, that torture is bad?

I bet we could all come together on a statement that oxygen is good, too.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #11)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 01:19 PM

12. Not interested in conversation with you.

 

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1218&pid=168719

You have too much of a tendency to make unfounded accusations of me attacking you and using violence towards you.

I feel like I'm being baited here.



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Response to stone space (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 01:37 PM

13. Then why did you reply to me?

I told you not to, due to your past history.

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Response to stone space (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 03:15 PM

14. It takes two to tango.

Unless I missed something, you started it.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #14)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 03:35 PM

15. So, what do you think about the Pledge of Allegence? (nt)

 

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Response to stone space (Reply #15)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 04:13 PM

21. I have not recited the Pledge since the 70's

so that is what I think about it---with or without the "Under God" addition from the McCarthy era.

Since I am an atheist, I really don't have to worry about the religious consequences of an oath...but I do agree with the OP that it is against the teachings of Jesus. I just don't think that reciting a mindless oath that I was forced to say for 12 years of my life makes sense. I do not, nor have I ever, pledged my allegiance to everything about this country. It has always had too many warts.

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Response to stone space (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 03:47 PM

19. If there is somebody you don't want to have discussions with here on DU

 

you can use the ignore function, and then you will never see posts from that person. Perhaps you might want to look into using this feature.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #19)


Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 03:39 PM

16. I am not in a situation ever to recite the pledge so it doesn't matter to me.

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #16)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 03:45 PM

17. So you are only concerned about things that affect you personally?

 

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #16)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 03:46 PM

18. Generally, I go after things that are problems on principle, not simply whether it's a petty

problem for me, specifically.

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 05:25 PM

22. He also said "Render unto Ceaser"

which could be interpreted as giving civic duty, and thus a pass on supporting your country. It could also be that the addition of the anti-atheist line "Under god" gives them a pass on the splitting loyalties bit, as the flag is a part of god's domain, thus it's not splitting loyalties since it's turtles all the way.

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 05:38 PM

23. Nice article. Seems late though.

I quit going to Church during the re-election of GWB. The bishops were talking about denying Kerry communion (and other Democrats and calling them the party of death). I was glad my father was no longer alive at that (he was a loyal Catholic like Kerry but who had also fought the country that coined the phrase "enhanced interrogation technique", Nazi Germany).

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Dec 15, 2014, 05:52 PM

24. Fischer (American Family Association): Jesus Would Support The Use Of Torture

Graduate degree in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary; served at the Cole Community Church in Boise, Idaho and founded the Cole Center for Biblical Studies and was the church's director for thirteen years. Fischer then founded Community Church of the Valley and was senior pastor for twelve years.

The American Family Association's Bryan Fischer is continuing his defense of the CIA's use of torture, writing today that liberals "would drag the Bible’s heroes before the courts at Nuremberg and charge them with crimes against humanity" and suggesting on his radio program that Jesus would support the use of torture in a time of war.

Fischer " target="_blank">argued on his radio program today that the Bible makes certain things permissible during times of war that would not be permissible during times of peace, adding that Jesus is a "warrior" who would probably approve of torture.

"Christianity is not a pacifist religion," " target="_blank">Fischer said. "The God that we serve is described in Exodus 15 as a 'man of war.' Now we often think of gentle Jesus, meek and mild, but let's not forget, according to Romans 19:13, when he comes back ... he will be riding a white horse and wearing his own robe, dipped in blood. That is a robe that is worn by a warrior who is inflicting casualties on the foe. So this is gentle Jesus, meek and mild; when we comes back, his robe is going to be dipped in blood because he too is a warrior":

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/fischer-jesus-would-support-use-torture


Bonus from the Wikipedia link for him: he was a commissioner for Boise's Park and Recreation Department from 2000 to 2005. Think what fun Amy Poehler could have with a character like him ...

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #24)

Tue Dec 16, 2014, 09:33 PM

25. Christianity has been a warrior religion since the battle of the Milvian Bridge.

 

28 October 312. The "turn the other cheek jesus" is just one face of this multifaceted deity.

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Tue Dec 16, 2014, 10:08 PM

26. Shit, everyone ought to abstain from reciting the pledge

...for reasons that have nothing to do with Christianity or torture.

What kind of a so-called "free" nation compels its citizens to take a daily loyalty oath, complete with assurances of "liberty and justice for all"? That's not liberty. Compelling blind faithfulness to your government is fascism.

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