[quote=“NormanStewart, post:1, topic:4996, full:true”]
GOD AND WAR
By Mrs. Walter Ferguson
I do wish we could leave God out of our wars. If not to mollify Him, at least to preserve our sense of sanity.
In principle, I agree. That said, those of faith who leave home and family to fight must not be allowed to feel as though God has forsaken them just because they are engaged in war. This is the mission of the chaplain’s corps, and is done to help preserve the individual combatant’s sanity in the midst of war’s insanity.
The report of an eyewitness to the mid-ocean meeting of Churchill and Roosevelt said:
On Sunday morning, the President and his staff escorted by 200 of the Augusta’s sailors journeyed to the Prince of Wales for church services. The services on the forward deck of the huge battleship composed an impressive scene, with the war vessel’s 14-inch guns lowering over the deck as the masses of officers and men sang “Onward Christian Soldiers,” and “Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past.”
In the moving pictures of this historic event, the huge guns dwarf into insect significance the men gathered there to observe the religious amenities. Do you believe their prayers can rise higher than those guns?
Why yes, yes I do. What do we know of the faith of any individual combatant? If we have faith as of a grain of mustard seed, so the scriptures tell us, we may command mountains to remove themselves and be cast into the sea. By that rede, yes, the prayers of the faithful can ascend past those gun barrels to enter the presence of God.
I think the war we are preparing to fight may be necessary – at least it now seems inescapable, but I am still reluctant to join the movement to dress it up in sacred garments. If we must set forth to slaughter our fellow mortals, let us do so as sinful but honest men, not as hypocrites crying out for aid to the source of all goodness.
Again, we agree in main, however, the military sees it as inhumane and cruel not to at least try to see to the spiritual and religious needs of soldiers in war. It’s not so much about dressing it up for the masses as it is about propaganda, and that’s the job of public affairs types who seek every propaganda advantage in war. The military chaplains of my own experience do not justify war, nor do they seek to ally the cause of war with the will of the Almighty. They seek first to serve the needs of the soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen given under their charge - to help those men and women (and their dependent children) remain connected to their various faiths when it seems that God has turned away from them.
The individual soldier must be strengthened and uplifted by prayer – I believe sincerely that God walks by his size and that the everlasting arms cradle him wherever he fights. But armed nations commit a sacrilege when they pronounce God their ally, and ask His help for material ambitions.
And here I could not agree more, my friend! So very well said by Ms. Ferguson, and well quoted.
We may expect to lose many precious possessions in World War II – let us hold fast to God if we can. We could afford to sacrifice everything provided we kept our faith in human dignity, integrity and goodness.
Not knowing the date of this editorial, I would have to say the lady wrote this without knowledge of the horrors to come. I wonder how she might change this had she know of the Vernichtung, of Krystallnacht, of the Soviet Army Purges, the Hollomodor, and other atrocities to come?
We persons of faith like to believe that with God’s help we can withstand any test, but the crucible is hot, unremitting, and unsympathetic to the metal it purifies. In the face of such tempering fire we find just how small or great our faith is, and that our relationship with God goes both ways - that, sometimes, our very lives are required to accomplish God’s purpose for our lives. Not many of us are up to that.
Ms. Ferguson has some inking of this: she says, “if we can”. That is the true crux of the matter.
Somehow, I can’t help but feel that we will win better victories if we face honestly the truth about war – it is an evil, man-made enterprise with which our churches should have nothing to do, since those churches are the caretakers of our spiritual treasure, for the sake of which we believe the world might well be lost.
Hmm… there’s a lot to chew on here. The victories would be sweeter in my view if they were granted by God’s grace to us against an ungodly foe, but such distinctions in reality are seldom so clearly defined. Neither, I would think, are the purposes of having a chaplain’s corps in many military organizations so well-defined in Ms. Ferguson’s mind.
Still, she has solid grasp of this one truth of war: we are most frequently led into wars against ungodly leaders by ungodly leaders of our own for purposes most ungodly.