Sunday, April 26, 2015

Religion embedded in the machinery of war

I think  it was the late seventies. I turned on the  news one evening, and there was a report showing a priest, along with a minister of some other Christian denomination, blessing cruise missiles before they were deployed in Europe.
The wording has stayed with me, the justification for carrying out a Christian ritual on instruments of mass destruction. It struck me as almost surreal. It seemed to me to be an abuse of the religion, to use one of its rituals in this context. No doubt, there are those that'll say the prayer below is appropriate, but can anyone really believe that Jesus would have blessed cruise missiles? 
Cruise Missiles          

Jesus, the padre prayed,
direct these missiles onto the heads
of our enemies.

Except that’s not what he said. He said,
we pray that these missiles will be efficient
in their function.

Then. Up Jesus,
ride them clean down their throats.
Except, of course, he didn’t say that either;

but blessed them with holy water.
After that, the missiles were dispatched,
American missionaries to Europe.



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