2. Soldiers for Christ

Disclaimer: This is a journal for my class on Religious Violence. It is generally written as if it is addressing my teacher, Chuck, and is written in relation to the book Terror in the Mind of God by Mark Juergensmeyer.

Juergensmeyer opens the case studies with the chapter “Soldiers for Christ.” I found this to be a particularly interesting choice–he started with something we can more directly relate to and understand. I’m pretty sure he did it on purpose.

Just to get this out of the way, let me first say that I am pro-choice, but in my formative years I was very proudly pro-life. However, having lived the life I do and having matured and changed my mind on a great deal of things, I switched that viewpoint. I think I am able to see where pro-life people are coming from and abortion, despite my affiliation, still…disturbs me, for lack of a better word.

The reason I started with that is because the chapter starts with Michael Bray and the abortion clinic bombings. Juergensmeyer actually went and interviewed “Mike” (as the chapter says he likes to be called) and found him to be a charming, pleasant, good-looking man in his forties. I think this will be a common theme in many of the case studies–the inability to see opponents–enemies–as being intelligent, kind people.

Bray compared American society to that of Nazi society, citing that all American citizens live in a state of hidden warfare and that creature comforts have made us unaware. He seems convinced that if a major event occurred, people would react dramatically to it, would snap out of the lull they’re in, and a new moral code would be established. Whenever I hear religious leaders, or political leaders, talking about establishing a new order of some sort (and I suppose “hear of” would be more appropriate), I imagine that they think they’ll be looked upon as being heroes when it happens. If the U.S. hadn’t won the American Revolution, all soldiers would have accused of treason and other various crimes. It is the OUTCOME that determines history’s viewpoints.

The chapter also covers Catholics and Protestants in Belfast, though that wasn’t a subject I reacted strongly to. I did, however, note that we seem to forget that violence happens in other countries besides the world’s superpowers–just a thought.

Also, as I close, I just want to jot down that I think the rest of Juergensmeyer’s book is going to be very practical–it puts into use all of the warning signs Kimball just spoke of.

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~ by spim on October 23, 2008.

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