Divine Mushroom Cloud: a Call to Worship
By Karen Horst Cobb
On June 2nd the god of America will be paraded before the people of the earth causing them to tremble in fear. Americans will again marvel as they worship the god of their own creation. Just like the restless Israelites in the desert who grew inpatient with god and fashioned a golden calf to protect them we have grown inpatient with god and fashioned a shiny idol of power. Southern Methodist University are working with the new clergy of death who have named it Divine Strake.
The 700 tons of explosives designed to simulate the effects of a nuclear weapon will create a glorious mushroom cloud. The goal of the ammonium nitrate and fuel to be detonated on Shoshone land will cover Las Vegas with a mushroom cloud and will measure 3.5 on the Richter scale. Some believe it is in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty which banned all testing for nuclear weapons. This simulated explosion will show the “enemy” and the war planners how the real thing will impact the ground and the air in which a nuclear bomb is detonated. Specifically, it is designed to simulate using a tactical nuclear weapon on underground facilities like the ones we are told exist in Iran. If this were the real thing the death toll would be huge, people would be incinerated in a flash with no chance to “duck and cover”, much of Nevada would be contaminated with radiation. For any who might survive in the surrounding area they would experience a curse of cancers and deformities which may effect their children and their children’s children. The evidence of America’s idolatry is clear. We have named it Divine, worship it in our churches and trust in its power.
The names for our God used to be the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace but the names of America’s idol are Divine Hates, Divine Helcat, Divine War Hawk and we practice nuclear stockpile stewardship. Many people who identify themselves as being born again , who profess to be dead to self and alive in Christ, now put their trust in and honor the development and use of nuclear weapons. It seems that a massive shell game of mass destruction has occurred. The wizards of treachery have taken away the love of Jesus while his worshipers were distracted by politics. They have been manipulated by fear but Jesus said, “ perfect love casts out fear.”
Perhaps it is because many are unhappy in their daily lives due to relationship problems, economic difficulties or feelings of being disconnected. Perhaps they fear some impending doom and want to quickly alleviate their discomfort with the belief that there is a mighty force which can prevent more harm from reaching our shores. Perhaps they want to just “bring it on” so there are no scary surprises in the future. Perhaps they have an emotional need to believe they and their families are more valuable to God than those of other lands and cultures.
The Israelites who experienced the same human anxieties responded in the same way. They fashioned a golden calf which represented their need to find security against hunger, poverty and attack. They gave of their wealth to create it and celebrated their ingenuity and their ability to make a god. We read that God was angry with the people for corrupting themselves and for forgetting his promises to them. They trusted in the golden calf as they made peace offerings to it and believed it would protect them from the evil doers. After they had given their resources to the effort and confessed their faith in its ability to protect them they continued to party. Much as today’s Christians supported invading the middle east after September 11 and then went shopping.
Clearly when the nuclear genie was first summoned from the bottle the nation gathered round and worshiped the power of their ingenuity. The Israelites began to follow the pillar of cloud after they repented from idolatry . We however, are following the mushroom cloud of our false god of divine hate and testing its power in the Nevada desert. Each year at tax time we contribute our wealth just like the gold smelters in the desert did when they took off their gold earrings to fashion the shiny calf. We sign our continuing pledge on our tax returns and offer our resources to our devouring nuclear god. As a nation we look for aggressive leaders who are able to bully the rest of the world. We bring out our god and parade it before our enemies and boast of its power.
Just like the Israelites in the desert we beg for a god to go before us so no harm comes our way. The actions of the fearful and proud calf worshipers of ancient times resulted in the Ten Commandments. The first and greatest is “you shall have no other Gods before me” (Exodus 34:12) and the other nine Jesus summed up as loving your neighbor as your self. Clearly many Christians in America have broken the first and greatest commandment which results in the breaking of all the rest. We can not embrace our neighbors with mushroom clouds. The nuclear god is a jealous god who will consume us all. We clearly have named our idol divine and support its worship in many of our churches.
Some leaders of America’s churchesremain silent on the topic of war while others proclaim its glory. Most embrace the writings and teachings of St Augustine. When Rome was sacked by the Visigoths, the non-resistant Christians were blamed. Just war theory provided a way out of adherence to the peaceful teachings of Christ. It was a way to merge Christianity and nationalism. The church in America conveniently applied and mis-applied the principles of Just war to rally the political Christians to support the war in Iraq. This embracing of violence works well for most church leaders since many of their parishioners work for companies who have military contracts, or have family members in the military as our state religion advances.
The trust in military might by many religious leaders is obvious. There are many blatant examples among political Christians. Jerry Falwell stated on CNN, Blow them all away in the name of the lord.” He and others like him are Zion’s Christian Soldiers. The Council for national policy (CNP) is the group of America’s political preachers and leaders who worship the divine weapons and meet in secret. These efforts are fueled as the parishioners of mainline denominations are influenced by the para-church organization Promise Keepers. These well attended meetings are held in stadiums and attended by thousands as they support and honor the common perception of men as military aggressors. There are smaller para-church organizations which are drawing believers of all demographics into idolatry of military might. We named it Divine, we worship it and we give it power to protect us from evil.
As you have been told over and over,” All options are on the table when it comes to Iran. Our president has told us he is the “decider” of who the evil doers are and who deserves to be killed. We are trusting in a man to use our man made god to destroy a perception of “evil”. If the president’s war planners carry out their plans many agree it would be the active beginning of WWIII. The nations of the world are already choosing sides and will contribute their own divine weapons to the efforts. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO) gives us an idea of how the two sides of a nuclear war will shake out.
Will we use a nuclear weapon against a threat which does not yet exist and call upon the god of this world the god of power, dominance and military might. Robert Oppenheimer called the atomic bomb the destroyer of worlds. It has become our source of wealth, power, and the focus of our technology. We have made a deal with the devil and worship at the feet of destructive power. Many Christians won’t publicly say they put their trust in our nuclear arsenal but secretly they breathe a sigh of relief that we have a national god of our very own and possess Divine weapons. Our trust in this powerful entity makes it easier to pursue the American dream and just keep shopping and owning more stuff to fill the love shaped hole in our hearts.
There are some Christians who have renounced the god of war, but more of our church leaders just remain silent. Is there any act of violence that our government could do which would cause church leaders who profess their love for the teaching of Jesus to make bold statements of love?. There is tortureand they remain silent, there is imprisonment without chargesand they remain silent, There are anal probesand sexual humiliation and they remain silent, there are children and women taken hostages, and they remain silent. There is the use of depleted uraniumweapons which cause heinous birth defects and they remain silent, there are bomblets which children think are toys but which blow off limbs and kill them and the Christian leaders remain silent, There is the hell fire use of white phosphorousand they remain silent. There are proud boastful leaders who use Jesus’ name while committing acts of extortion, thievery, and domination and falsely hold themselves up as martyrs for the false Christian god. Yet, most church leaders remain silent.
If the nuclear god is called upon to save us will they continue to remain silent? Will they continue to worship the power of the mushroom cloud in our churches? Is there any thing of Christ’s words and example for which church leaders will take a stand? Is there any egregious act from which they can not look away? Those who live by the bomb will die by the bomb! This statement is not some sort of esoteric spiritual magic but is a result of natural consequences and the wisdom of the Living God. Sin is sin because the natural consequences are sure destruction. Death and destruction has been pronounced divine, churches preach it from the pulpit and look away from it’s hellish fire destruction and human suffering.
Some want to ignore the issue and wash their hands of responsibly by repeating statements concerning the inevitable destruction of the “last days“. Some repeat sentiments of old time hymns, “this world is not my home.” Some voice the belief that we are to honor our leaders whom Christ placed in power. Or overwhelmed by the immensity of the situation, some acknowledge it’s bad but just sigh, " what can you do?" There still is time to return to the peaceful message of Jesus. There is a Christ -like remnant, a church in exile and strong peace churches. Begin today to speak out.
Perhaps these are the “last days” but do you want to be on the side of love and compassion or on the side of death suffering and destruction? Will you be found worshiping the power of the living God or the power of the idol of death? Like it or not, for now this world is our home. Maybe you do not value your earthly existence but your earthy family members will suffer and die without you speaking a word of protest. In fact you will have contributed to the mass destruction. In a representative government the citizens are the leaders and responsible for influencing the laws. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but it is our responsibility to try. Yes it is bad but you can and you must do everything in your power to speak out to prevent the use of nuclear weapons.
The test on June 2nd , the trial run of the use of a nuclear weapon is still six weeks away. Perhaps we can make a difference and change the course of history. Everyone has three people representing them in Washington where the powers are unleashed. We each have two US senators and one US representative. If you don’t know how to contact yours find out.. Start by speaking out and shaping the actions of our representative government. Then ,work to make every church a peace church and live out of love and compassion. Chose ye this day whom you will serve.
Karen Horst Cobb wrote No Longer a Christian and No Longer a Christian - Part II published by CommonDreams.org in the fall of 2004. She is a mother and a grandmother, and with God’s grace, tries to follow the example of Christ as she speaks Christ’s message to the world that there is no Government Issue Jesus (GI-Joe Jesus.) firstname.lastname@example.org