Jay Shaft: Bush’s Use Of God to Justify War
With God On Our Side?
Bush’s Use of
Almighty God to Justify War in Iraq
By: Jay Shaft
Coalition For Free Thought In Media
By making statements about God Blessing America in the war on Iraq, did U.S. President George Bush inadvertently make it a Holy War?
In his State of the Union Address President Bush stated that, “With the might of God on our side we will triumph over Iraq. God will watch over our troops and grant us a victory over the threat of Saddam’s army. God will bless us and keep us safe in the coming battle.”
With those words he adopted an American National God as protector. He united a nation under the banner of a single, vengeful, protecting God. And what seemed at the time like just flag waving and glorifying the U.S. had a much darker background.
In effect Bush's words made this a holy war, whether or not it was his actual intention. By saying God was on our side and would carry us to victory in Iraq, Bush invoked religious precedent, seeking god's domination, protection, and sanction. Iraq meanwhile is predominantly of the Muslim or Islamic faith, and it's people havevery strong beliefs in Allah - God in Arabic.
Bush doesn’t seem to realize - or else doesn’t care - that his statements made this a war between the Presidentially invoked God sanctioned troops of America, against the deeply religious followers of Allah.
And even if it was not intentional when those statements were made, our battle cry, “God Bless America”, has now become the capstone of the entire war.
Think, if you can, about how the US acts when a Muslim believer commits acts in a declared holy war against the US. We call it terrorism and an assault against the values, ideals, beliefs, and entire way of life that comprises America.
But we just enacted a holy war in the same manner even though it was never publicly declared or adopted as official policy.
Many Religions in America, Not Just One National God
There are many religions in America and a whole multitude of gods people choose to believe in. Many people choose not to worship any god at all, or accept anyone else’s concept of a god or religion. This country was founded on religious freedom of choice, not religious encompassing.
Bush had no right to declare a war blessed by one God or to say “our God” would protect our troops and lead them to victory. This is a great affront to some of the most peaceful religions and their followers.
In our armed forces alone there are over 30 recognized religions listed on our soldier’s dog tags. Christians, Muslims, Buddhist, Catholic, Jewish, Hindus, Native Americans, and even atheist and agnostics comprise our military forces. The concept of “our God” watching over and blessing them in an unjustified war denies many religious and ethical beliefs of the faiths they hold to and follow.
Many Religions Outraged by Invoking God for Purpose of War
Many major religions, both Christian and non-Christian, were opposed to the war in Iraq. The Catholic Church and the Pope came out against the war. The National Council of Christian Churches USA also endorsed a policy of peace and joined the Win Without War coalition. I saw Bob Edgar the president of the NCCUSA when he spoke in my hometown against the war. His main message was a loving God would not support a war without a cause.
The Episcopal Church took a big stand against the war and several priests and bishops I spoke to at the time were outraged that the name of God was invoked for war. One, Bishop John Lipscomb, was at several major anti-war demonstrations and protests and gave me the following statement on the issue.
Asked how he felt about Bush invoking God Reverend Lipscomb said, “Not my god! My God says Thou Shalt Not Kill! Bush cannot say that the God my Church body and I believe in will help us kill more innocent people. Bush must believe in a God no one else has ever heard of. My God says, 'Love One Another. Blessed Be The Peace Makers For They Shall Inherit The Earth'.”
A retired bishop of the Methodist church spoke out in our city in favor of the Cities for Peace resolution. He said almost the same thing the other pastors and religious leaders were saying about God loving everyone and condemning killing. So Bush’s own religious leaders were telling him they were opposed to his drive to war. It did not seem to matter one bit to Bush that he opposed his own religious leaders and ignored their feelings and beliefs.
Nationally and worldwide, diverse groups such as the Unitarian Universalists, Religious Society of Friends, Society of Taoists, Order of Muslim Clerics, Society of Islam, Partnership of Non-Christian Faiths Inter Faith Council on Peace, Atheists Against War, Protestants For Peace, Buddhist Council on Peace, Hindu Peace Network, Hare Krishnas, Wicca’s, and even some organized satanic groups for peace all joined together to say no to war.
They all made the same general statements no matter what god or religion they chose to follow, or in the case of the Atheists, not follow. God does not bless killing and going to war in his name. Their beliefs all support peace and are diametrically opposed to war and bloodshed. This was repeated over and over again by millions of people.
Everyone I spoke to in preparing this article was shocked and awed that Bush would take their concept of God and use it to bless and sanctify a war. Now that the results of the war are coming to light there is even more anger and shame that the name of whatever benevolent god they believe in is still being used to give a blessing and holy air to a civilian slaughter.
Did Your God Bless This War?
Now that I have covered the opposition to the use of God, I will say a few things to those who believe God blessed this war. I am not trying to offend you or take your beliefs lightly. If you believe God blessed this war and Bush was right in invoking his name consider this following questions.
Would your God forgive killing thousands of innocent civilians? Would your God be able to overlook countless thousands of children dying in his name? Would your God let Bush fight an unjust war and let your own troops get killed to occupy a country for oil?
If you can answer yes to those questions and overlook all the devastation and horrors this war has caused, then I can only ask what God you believe in? Is your God a loving, compassionate, caring God? Or is your God a warlike being who would permit his name to be used to bless the slaughter of innocents?
Take a long hard look at all the atrocities that have happened and still continue, and how the grand scheme, “God Bless America!” is stamped all over it. It is time to examine how any God could possibly sanction this current war in his name. If this is the belief of the nationally stated religion with the national God at the head blessing it, then we need a new religion as a nation.
“God Bless America” has now been forever tarnished by Bush’s adopting this blessing. There are many religious leaders in the world who say Americans are a heathen and infidel nation. Maybe it is time to look at our leader's religious beliefs and morals to see why this is.
George Bush made the following remarks when he declared the fighting to be over in Iraq.
“God has granted us a great victory in Iraq. We can thank God the war came to a quick conclusion without greater loss of life to our troops. God has helped us to defeat the evil might of Saddam and liberate Iraq. With the help of God Iraq is now free.”
This is a further theft of many Americans religious beliefs to glorify and bless the Iraq war. We know the fighting is not over and the dying continues at a greater rate every day. The U.S. and Iraqi casualties are growing at an alarming rate with no end in sight. So maybe the God Bush says he believes in has not blessed this war.
A threatened Islamic Jihad is looming on the horizon that threatens to make an even greater holy bloodbath and slaughter out of a deepening quagmire. No doubt when any Iraqis attack Americans and declare Jihad the US leaders will be outraged and declare officially what is already a holy war to be so.
George Bush Talking to God Directly?
According to a front page story in the July 1, 2003 issue of "Haaretz," one of Israel's leading newspapers, U. S. President George W. Bush told an Arab meeting on June 24th that “GOD TOLD HIM TO BOMB IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN”. The President was there to bring pressure on Arab Palestinian leaders to accept his "Roadmap To Peace" program.
The Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who supports the Bush plan, quoted Bush as saying he was fully committed to a solution based on his "Vision" speech on June 24, 2002, and was ready to move forward "...if there is help on your (Arab leaders') part". Abbas said Bush made the following statement, among many about God, telling him to go to war.
“God told me to strike at Al Qa’ida and I struck them."
"And then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did."
"And now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."
Either God is talking to George or he’s hearing some really bad voices. Bush condemned Osama Bin Laden for declaring a Holy Jihad on America and the West, but he does the very same thing in defending his reasons for attacking Afghanistan and Iraq!
It is time to just pray for our troops safety and bring them home so no more will die. Instead of relying on an unseen God to protect them as Bush insists he is, we should protect them by ending this war and bringing peace.
It is time to stop clouding the clear issues in this war with matter's of religion and with God’s blessings. The Iraqis also have a religion and a God. Isn’t their God supposed to protect them also? And remember that there really is no nationally accepted God in America. We need to remember that next time someone slaps, “God Bless America", across an act of war.
Any God would bless us far more for bringing about peace than bringing about more death and destruction. Any God would bless us far more for being a peace-loving nation and helping our fellow man with ways of peace rather than ways of war.
It is time to really tell your leaders this if you believe in a loving God, or in the principles of peace and healing all mankind’s wounds, sickness, and hunger.
If your God is a God of peace, love, compassion, then tell your nation's leaders you will no longer stand for them to use your God to justify and sanctify war and killing. And if you believe in a God that believes in war and forgives killing innocents than there are many who will be praying for you.
Jay Shaft, Editor, Coalition For Free Thought In Media. Contact Jay Shaft at email@example.com. See also… http://groups.yahoo.com/group/coalitionforfreethoughtinmedia