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Monday, May 15, 2006

Our Presidential Prophet of God and Great Decider

Many disastrous conflicts in human history were led by men who spoke as if they were directed by God to lead the slaughter. President Bush asserts that “I trust God speaks through me and without that, I couldn’t do my job.” His sincere belief that the human carnage and destruction resulting from his war of choice against Iraq is somehow the will of God should not be a surprise to Americans of the Christian and Jewish traditions.
 
As a seven year old child in a Christian church in Alabama, I was appalled by the Old Testament’s story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho in our Sunday School class. Joshua, a great prophet of God and successor to Moses as the leader of the Israelites was commanded by God to commit genocide in the 6th chapter of Joshua. When invading Jericho, as instructed by God, the Jews "annihilated with the sword everything that breathed in the city, including men and women, young and old, as well cattle, sheep, and donkeys." Then God commanded the Jews take the “silver and gold, bronze and iron” for “God’s treasury”. When I asked the teacher why God would want his people to kill little children when Jesus loved the little children and was the Prince of Peace, our Sunday School teacher said the lesson was to obey God..
 
The Christian tradition of God as the warrior began in A.D. 312 with the Roman Emperor Constantine. Constantine said he had prayed for divine help before the engagement and then had a vision of a cross in the sky above his soldiers as they marched into the fray. This mystical event led to his Christian conversion after a major victory in battle against legions of his brother-in-law...
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