Meditation: Pro-test-ants and Con-test-ants
Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9
An old Anabaptist once counseled me that “Mennonites do not protest.” I could not help mentioning that even the word “protestant ”came from the radicals of the reformation and some of those were followers of Menno Simons. They became defined by their “protests” over infant baptism rather than baptism with mature understanding. But, they were killed for “protesting” the act of taking up arms against others of God’s creation. They protested the demands of the Roman Catholic Church and the conquests of Empire.
“Pro” means “for” and test means “voice.“ The early Pro-test-ants were a positive voice for Jesus and his teachings. In our time the word “Christianity “ has come to represent patriotic, military, oppressive religion which conquers lands and people. The word “protest” has come to mean crazed fringe fanatics. Good, decent, Christian people have remained silent while the false teachings of empire take hold. Jesus’ name is taken in vain and his reputation is destroyed. This is what happened in Germany while Hitler was rising to power. This is what is happening now.
We do not have a “Hitler” but we do have one who identifies himself as “ the decider“, a “war President“, and one who has shown that killing is easily explained away. His father envisioned a “ New World Order” and the current president surrounds himself with others who have the same vision. During the debate he said that Jesus Christ is his favorite philosopher and he professes to the world that he is “born again.” He is the most prominent face of Christianity to the world.
Mega church pastors such as Rod Parsley, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell and about four hundred other evangelical leaders have joined Christians United for Israel (CUFI). They represent 30 million people from every state and every congressional district. These are many of the same people who belong to the secretive group known as the Council on National Policy (CNP) in past decades. John Hagee founded CUFI and wants to have a “rapid response” to lobby congress to go to war against those who are deemed to be “enemies of Israel.”
The prosperity gospel, moral elitism and glorification of military strength appeal to the masses. They are taught that they will rule the world following the final, earthly, nuclear battle of Armageddon. Leaders entice their audiences with the same incentives Satan used when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness; You deserve comfort, you can have it all, prove your special by demonstrating your powers, you will one day rule the world.
In the past no nation has had the power to “create” Armageddon and set up a New World Order. However, the nuclear arsenal of the United States could create it many times over. The "New World Order" will have the power of unregulated global markets and international corporations which can dole out the earth’s natural resources. All that is needed is a “war president” with an apocalyptic eschatology. That is exactly what we have.
The “fundamentalists” take literally all obscure scriptures with destructive violent imagery but disregard the fundamental teachings of Jesus kindness, generosity, grace, forgiveness, and love of enemies as well as friends. His words and example are dismissed. I think of these mega-church leaders not as Pro-test-ants but as Con-test-ants because they seek to win money and power. They know how to work a crowd and then use them to manipulate elected officials.
When I look back on this time in history I want to know that I took a stand for Jesus and his teachings of love and compassion. I want to know that I did not go along with the mega-crowd. I want to know that I had the courage of my convictions and took risk. If we remain silent while the mega-church lobbyists are in place to massively lobby congress, “the Decider” will be emboldened to again unleash “shock and awe.” More little children and their families will be blown to bits and burned bythe decisions of people who say they are “Christians.“In our hearts each of us will know the answer to the question. Did I pro-test?
Prayer: Thank you for the witness of your life as you stood for truth during the rise of an empire and before oppressive religious leaders. Help us to go and do likewise. Amen
Action: Make your plans now to join us in Washington on March 16 for the Christian Peace Witness. Invite as many as you can to join us. Lend your positive voice as we pro-test and reclaim the meaning of Jesus.