I believe that this is worthy of reposting.
The very core of making war is the military being active in destroying someone else and their property.
The motivation does not start at the grass roots level, it comes from the leadership. The order to “Fire”or “Kill the motherfuckers” or whatever the language, it all means somebody dies or is maimed. Others mourn and wonder why is it so?
This works both ways, for the attackers and the defenders. Easier to fight in defence of your country and freedoms if you are on your own land. Easy to justify your actions, for the leaders and the killers.
Not so easy, surely for the marauders in someone-else’s country. But made easier if you believe the lies that motivate your participation. Made easier if your religious leaders pray for you and for victory, that makes it alright for some. Others come home, dead, alive but crippled either physically or mentally, or both, and many seem to at last come to realize the enormity of their actions. Permanently scarred and often resorting to suicide to achieve their own peace.
This church’s prayer is hard to reconcile with a belief system based on a Christian God, or any God other than a God of War. I am not aware of any of the latter in our modern civilization.
So we come to Mark Twain’s prayer where reality hits home.
The reality of praying for victory really equating to praying for successful destruction of lives and property, for the screams and the pain, just like your own lives and property and feelings but not really your own, therefore somehow different and that difference makes the destruction acceptable to God, therefore to you.
But ‘reality’ swiftly got escorted out of the Church, no reality welcome there!
Mark Twain was no fool. His thinking and understanding and morals are far above the normal. I am with him in spirit and intent, even if not in intellect.
The War Prayer takes place in present day, during Sunday services at a church in Any Town, USA. On the eve of war, our Reverend leads the congregation in a prayer for the protection of our soldiers. In closing, he makes one last, seemingly innocuous request “…and grant us the victory, O Lord.”
“Amen”, and the service proceeds as usual until the arrival of a mysterious stranger, “a messenger from on high”, who silently ascends to the pulpit and proceeds to explain “the full import” of the congregation’s request, the “unspoken” part of their prayer.
What follows is Twain’s masterful, yet horrifying depiction of warfare, an unrivaled indictment of the carnage that man has committed against his fellow man since time immemorial.
With The War Prayer, Twain grabs our conscience by the lapels, and challenges us to re-examine our most cherished beliefs about patriotism, and what it truly means to…
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