The tenets of imperial Christianity include things like blind nationalism, belief in American exceptionalism, willful ignorance of U.S. foreign policy, childish devotion to the military, cheerleading for the Republican Party, acceptance of the U.S. empire, and support for a perpetual war on terror – all, of course, with a Christian twist for effect. In other words, the views of Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry.
He then goes on to ask a series of 31 questions with the intention of doing two things: 1) Call Christians to repent if they are, in fact, Christian Imperialists; 2) Call Christians to change their allegiances if they aren’t, in fact, Christian Imperialists.
As I said, the article is provocative. I must admit that prior to about two months ago, I would have been categorized as a Christian Imperialist. I supported the War on Terror and the concept of preemptive war — better to fight them there than fight them here. Yet, I have had an epiphany of late that has caused me to rethink my position on the War on Terror, an aggressive foreign policy, military interventionism and imperialism.
“Wait,” you may say, “America is not imperial!” Um, yes we are! We have a military presence in over 100 countries and we project our foreign policy around the world either through economic sanction or military force. Ever since the end of World War II, we have been involved in the affairs of foreign countries in the chess match that was the Cold War. We’ve overthrown governments and set up puppet regimes who were more favorable to us.We may not have an “empire” in the official sense of the word, but for all intents and purposes we do.
The two biggest turning points in my thinking regarding American foreign policy have to be 9/11 and the “collateral damage” due to the War on Terror. For years I’ve bought the line that we were attacked on 9/11 by Al Queda because they resented our freedoms and liberties. They hated our way of life, so they initiated a terrorist attack on our soil. However, after looking into the issue a little more (thanks to the presidential campaign of Texas congressman, Ron Paul), I’ve come to the conclusion that 9/11 was a direct result of our aggressive foreign policy. This is not a justification of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 — what the terrorists did was an act of unequivocal evil — however, if we don’t understand the motives of those who have attacked us, we will never be able to move forward for peace.
Secondly, in the execution of the War on Terror, we have killed numerous innocent Afghanis and Iraqis through bombing raids and military action. In military parlance, this is called “collateral damage.” We don’t mean to kill innocent non-combatants, but you have to break some eggs to make an omelet. This is unacceptable for me. The attacks on 9/11 were committed by a group of terrorists, yet we’ve gone to war against two nations (one of which wasn’t even linked to the 9/11 attacks). The more I consider things, the more I’ve come to the conclusion that the War on Terror is just an excuse for certain militaristic elements within our government to go to war over militarily strategic and resource rich nations. Add to that the interminable nature of these wars and the drain they’re putting on our economy. I think it’s time to end these senseless wars. Both Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein have been killed; what reason do we have to remain in those regions?
I can, in good conscience, no longer support political candidates who wish to continue the War on Terror or who support any other preemptive wars (e.g., Libya, Iran, Pakistan, etc.). As the saying goes, “War is the health of the State.” In other words, war only serves to strengthen the position of those in power — both the politicians and the corporate interests who stand to gain from defense contracts and exploitation of scarce resources in the war regions. As Christians, I believe we need to advocate for the ending of the War on Terror and call for our government to bring our troops home. This war makes no ethical sense and it makes no economic sense.