Our Righteous Wars



Maybe you’ve seen the video going viral of the Marines singing the worship song Days of Elijah?

It’s been going around my Facebook page with the headline Holy Spirit takes over Oorah-style.  The script that follows speaks to America’s “innate reliance upon God.”

For the record, for those who don’t know, I’m a Gold-Star daughter. I serve on national advisory boards for veterans organizations. I’ve long been an outspoken advocate for our military and their families.

I am also a woman of faith. Baptized-by-immersion, redeemed-by-the-blood-of-the-Lamb Believer.

I tell you all of that to tell you this: This video does not give me the warm fuzzies. It gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I have nothing against a movement of the Holy Spirit. In fact, I often pray for that very thing, in my life and in the lives of others.

When my good friend deployed for the umpteenth time a few weeks ago, the very last thing I did with him was pray for him. I prayed protection and guidance and success in his mission.

Even so, this video gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I am not at all comfortable with language that reduces war – any war – to an “us” and “them” mentality with God always being on the “us” side of things.

I am not at all convinced that America has an “innate reliance” on God.

While I do often think that we are in a battle of good versus evil in the world, I’m not always sure of who is good and who is evil. I rather think there is good and evil in all of us.

I was in a church not long ago where the congregation rose and pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States and the Christian flag. I did that all the time growing up and never thought anything of it. But these days, I am entirely uncomfortable with the notion of having people say the pledge of allegiance to the US Flag at a church service.

I understand why leaders would like the idea of us pledging allegiance to God and country. If you intertwine the two, you form a stronger bond. You can’t dismiss the one without dismissing the other.

But I fear that all too often this allegiance-swearing as a very manipulating thing to do: Get the unsuspecting to swear allegiance to God & country and then you can pretty much rest assured that they are going to do whatever you ask of them because at our very core we are a trusting bunch.  We believe in the goodness of mankind.  We believe that America is a country blessed by God. If we were to be completely honest, we’d confess that we might very well be one of God’s favorites, right behind Israel, of course, which is why so many believe we have to support Israel no matter what, because it secures our position as God’s next-favorite people, or so the rationale goes.

All that sort of talk makes me squeamish.

Like this video.

These are not the days of Elijah.

I’d rather we didn’t assume that we are fighting God’s war whenever we head off into battle.

I’d just soon we keep our allegiance to God separate from our allegiance to our country.

I’d just as soon we not assume that every war we wage is a righteous one.

History would say otherwise.

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.


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