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Thou shalt kill

27 November 2010

The US Congressional Medal of Honor, awarded to soldiers for bravery under fire, has been “feminised” according to someone who complains that “We now award it only for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them.”

Bryan Fischer: The feminization of the Medal of Honor – RIGHTLYCONCERNED.COM:

I have noticed a disturbing trend in the awarding of these medals, which few others seem to have recognized.

We have feminized the Medal of Honor.

According to Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal, every Medal of Honor awarded during these two conflicts has been awarded for saving life. Not one has been awarded for inflicting casualties on the enemy. Not one.

Gen. George Patton once famously said, ‘The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his.’

I suspect that Fischer is taking Patton’s words out of context, but since he has taken them out of context and made them his own, he clearly believes that killing is a virtue in itself. Even the most belligerent warmongers usually acknowledge that war is evil and that killing is a bad thing, but say that we should be willing to put up with these evils so that a greater good may come. Not so Fischer — for him the object of war is killing for its own sake.

A few weeks ago I said in a blog post (Left and right in America | Khanya) that the view that the difference between the left and right in America was that the left objected to their tax dollars being used to kill people and that the right objected to tax dollars being used to save lives was simplistic. In the light of Fischer’s comments, it seems that that view is way too nuanced. You can’t take the mickey any more. The moment you produce a caricature to satirise a tendency by exagerating it and showing an extreme version, someone comes along who goes way beyond the caricature.

The American right may be religious, but it is utterly godless. People like Bryan Fischer must believe that Jesus was a wimp.

Hat-tip to The Poor Mouth: Bryan Fischer is an arsehole.

39 Comments leave one →
  1. DogTags permalink
    27 November 2010 9:47 am

    Patton’s point is that dying honorably is not a way to win the war. Making the other guy die “honorably” is. The more of them you kill, the fewer of you will be killed. That leads to victory.

    As a member of the vilified “religious right” and a member of the U.S. military I have no problem taking up arms against our nation’s enemies. I believe that God has given the civil authorities the sword to punish evil doers in the world. Romans 13:4. Bearing the sword includes killing enemies on the battlefield. “Thou shall not kill” is an admonishment against unlawful killing. God has given civil government the authority to kill enemies. Killing enemies on the battlefield does not violate the 6th commandment.

    Reducing national honors to “saving lives” does irrationally feminize the awards. The good thing is that no one reacts to battlefield situations based on the type of medal they are likely to be put in for. I hope for the sake of the republic that this feminization of our nation’s honors will not reshape battlefield behavior.

  2. Darrell permalink
    27 November 2010 1:02 pm

    Sad to say that most of the current civilization has gone Godless: violence has seemly gone out of control and governments seem powerless to stop this insidious sin from taking control of how one responds to negative events or to events in general.

    One sees the death toll from drug wars increasing year over year. Marginalized groups have adopted violence as a solution to resolving their problems; and our governments use violence to as a solution to resolve social problems.

    Daily we read about people murdering other people with the murderer deciding either in a fit of rage or through calculation.

    And on my wall I have the Prayer of St. Francis:

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
    Where there is hatred, let me sow you love;
    Where there is injury, pardon;
    Where these is doubt, faith;
    Where there is despair, hope;
    Where there is darkness, light;
    Where these is sadness, joy;

    Oh Divine Master,
    Grant that I may not so much seek to
    Be consoled as to console;
    To be understood as to understand;
    To be loved as to love.

    For it is in giving that we receive,
    It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

  3. 27 November 2010 1:23 pm

    Okay. So, if saving lives is “feminine”, that makes taking lives “masculine.” (As an aside, that would seem to make God “feminine” but I won’t go down the heretical road of ascribing gender to God). Is this the sort of masculinity that is ostensibly attracting converts to Orthodoxy in the USA that you posted on a while ago? God help us all if that is so!

  4. septembre permalink
    27 November 2010 6:16 pm

    I can’t help but quoting an American pastor on the American Jesus here…

    “In Revelation, Jesus is a pride fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.”

    For him Jesus equals = dangerous pride fighter, a commitment to make someone bleed.. a Christ who this guy can not beat up.
    Of course he’s forgetting the whole point of the cross….

    Source of the quote:

  5. DogTags permalink
    27 November 2010 9:58 pm

    It’s not that “saving lives” is feminine. It’s that believing all violence is evil is feminine. It is a feminine trait to want to avoid conflict at all cost. It is masculine to stand up to bullies. It is masculine to defend your liberty. It is masculine to pledge to each other your lives, your fortunes and your sacred honor.

    I want to dispel the notion that “all violence is sin.” Unlawful violence is sin. Lawful violence is ordained by God. Lawful killing is ordained by God. Lawful killing must be done under proper authority or else it becomes unlawful killing.

    It takes a real man these days to do his duty when the whole world including the “Church” is telling him to avoid conflict.

    • 29 November 2010 9:40 am

      When Jesus stood up to ‘bully boy’ Satan he didn’t call legions of Angels (as He said he could have done), but rather laid down His life to defeat the bully.

      There is a difference between power and authority: A driver of a road roller has power. A policeman has authority. A policeman standing in front of a road roller with his hand up stops the road roller through authority not power.

      Jesus has authority over Satan, thus He defeated Satan by taking the path of peace not the path of war. We are called to follow Him.

      This is not a bloodless battle. When I was in Iraq, the day before I arrived, four of my colleagues were shot dead. I helped sort their belongings to help their families grieve. They didn’t carry weapons – we are aid workers – this is the Way of Christ.

  6. Dana Ames permalink
    28 November 2010 1:30 am

    I am concerned that “feminine” and “feminization” have become words used to insult people. I think that says a lot about how women are actually regarded.


    • 29 November 2010 9:07 am

      When we lived in the USA it was the first time we (my wife and I) went to single sex groups at the church we attended. In the UK we always went to mixed groups, and we found being mixed was helpful. God created man and woman to be peers. Some of the issues in each group were strange. When we came out of the first session Sue said to me ‘you should have been in my group’ and I said the same to her.

      Why? No, we’re not wierd she macho, me feminine type people. But this ascribing traits can be really unhelpful and damaging. I absolutely hate it when masculine is some how affirmative and feminine somehow negative. Through the Christian scriptures we see God illustrating what some people perceive as masculine and what some people perceive as feminine attributes. We should celebrate this and though He did create us different not demean one or other and not require this gross stupidity of boys being ‘real men’ and girls being ‘stay at home mums’ as some like to.

  7. DogTags permalink
    28 November 2010 6:49 am

    When it comes to war, I prefer masculine traits to feminine ones. That says nothing about how women are actually regarded. It says a lot about how wars should be conducted. Wars should be conducted with killing as many of the enemy soldiers as it takes for them to unconditionally surrender. I don’t see strength as a feminine trait. Strength is what is needed in war, not tenderness. Feminine traits are more appropriate for other times. When a child skins his knee, a mother’s tenderness is needed to comfort him. A father saying “suck it up and be a man” doesn’t help a child develop properly. Similarly, saying, “Good for you, Soldier, for showing restraint in battle” doesn’t help us win wars.

    That would leave the question open: do you think we should actually win wars? If, to you, war is never the answer, thankfully you are in the minority.

  8. 28 November 2010 7:50 am

    I’m having a hard time trying to work out whether DogTags is being satrical or not.

  9. DogTags permalink
    28 November 2010 7:54 am

    I’m sure I will disappoint you to say that I completely believe everything I’ve written.

  10. DogTags permalink
    28 November 2010 8:05 am

    I am not “pro-war” but I am a realist. I live in a world that is filled with evil people who do evil things. God has established nations and organized civil governments to secure an orderly society. When nations become wicked and threaten the lives and security of others, God has ordained nations to violently check the evil in the world. War is necessary sometimes to stop evil. In order for good to triumph, evil must be vanquished. In order to vanquish evil nations it must be defeated on the battlefield. In order to defeat them on the battlefield you must make the other guy give his life for his country. Killing is a part of how God checks evil in the world. That is the truth and not satire.

  11. 28 November 2010 5:07 pm

    One of the fundamental assumptions of Fischer, and at least some of the commenters, seems to be that masculine is good and feminine is bad, and that violence is masculine and therefore good.

    Whether that view is “realistic” is a moot point, but one thing I an certain of — it isn’t Christian. And, with all due respect to my pagan friends, I think it is pagan or heathen. It is the worship of Mars, or a similar deity, and not the worship of Jesus Christ.

  12. DogTags permalink
    29 November 2010 1:29 am

    Violence is good if it is used for good. Killing a rapist that is about to rape and murder my daughter is good. Killing a Muslim terrorist that is about to blow up a school bus is good. Sometimes violence is good. Steve has a narrow view of Christianity. It is very lazy to look at violence emotionally rather than intellectually. It is also intellectually lazy to conclude from my posts that I think masculine is good and feminine is bad. I distinctly said that masculine traits are more appropriate at times and feminine traits are appropriate at other times. But to say violence is not Christian, and then label me a pagan is really intellectually bankrupt.

    • 29 November 2010 7:06 am

      More important than the intellectual and emotional dimensions is the spiritual. In the Prayer of the Last Elders of Optina we pray, “Direct my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to be patient, to forgive and to love.”

      Not all Christians are pacifists, but even those who are not pacifists acknowledge that killing people, even in battle, is a sin that needs to be confessed. For a solder it may be something that “has to be done”, but it is done in sorrow and in the consciousness that it is a failure.

      The problem with Fischer’s argument is that he is saying something opposite to this — that far from being a sin to be confessed, killing people is rather something to be glorified. That is doing for the sixth commandment what “gay pride” parades do for the seventh.

    • 29 November 2010 9:21 am

      Following your logic is killing a soldier working for an anti-terror campaign army good if he is about to drop a bomb on a bus that contains one or two terrorists and a load of civilians? What about killing a soldier dropping cluster bombs that will kill terrorists and kill and maim many civilians? Or killing a soldier who will kill many civilians with the rocket he launches?

      Let’s take it back to 1776. Americans killing Brits and Brits killing Americans… lets look at the 6th July 1776. An incident occurred when two British frigates sailed up the Hudson river killing men, women and children. Back then it took longer for the ‘surrender’ of the British to filter down the command and control systems. Was that right? Should those soldiers be given battle honours?

      Oh, and by the way, in the run up to the Gulf War the US military had a war game to practice and the Red Team won notionally killing thousands and thousands of Blue Team. The outcome to the Gulf War could have been very different.

      Since there was no legal right for the invasion of Iraq, should Bush and Blair be treated as war criminals?

      I’m sorry, even by your logic this is way too complex for a simplistic ‘kill as many as you can’ approach.

      As followers of the Messiah we are called to follow Him and lay down our lives, not go round killing others. To bring about reconcilliation between man and God, our Father had to send his only Son to die, not to kill. Satan aim is to kill, steal and destroy, God’s aim is very different. We, followers of Jesus, know our Father is God not Satan.

  13. DogTags permalink
    29 November 2010 9:06 am

    Your church traditions (the Prayer of the Last Elders of Optina) do not hold the weight of Scripture. I reject the notion that lawful killing is sin. I have problem with people gleefully celebrating the execution of a criminal, but to say the executioner has sinned runs against scripture. Romans 13:4 states that the civil government bears the sword to punish evil doers. The sword is an instrument for killing. God, through Paul, called this good. To say it is sin mocks the word of God.

    • 29 November 2010 9:31 am

      All Scripture requires interpretation. Everyone does it. I find the worst at doing it are those who claim to ‘just read the words’. What is important is to look at Christian Scripture in the light of the nature of God. The nature of God is discerned by knowing Him.

      If someone writes a book about my wife, I filter the book through my relationship with her, not filter her through the book!

      In the Christian Scriptures slavery is accepted, yet Evangelical Christians led the way to abolish slavery. Were they being anti-scriptural? Or were they interpreting Christian Scripture in the light of their relationship with their Father?

      The difference between ‘doing what seems right in your own eyes’ and ‘following Christian Scripture as I see it through my Father’s eyes’ may on the surface look no different. But if you know my Father then you can easily discern the difference.

      • DogTags permalink
        1 December 2010 4:48 am

        I find the worst at interpreting scripture are those who don’t read the words or who impute meaning to words they cannot bear.

        Without delving into an esoteric discussion on slavery, the slavery in England and America circa 1800s was an unscriptural, ethnicity-based slavery that denied the natural rights of Africans simply because they were black. The slavery contemplated in scripture was based an economic exchange. So, Christian opposition to slavery in America followed the scriptural principle that all are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.

        If you know my Father, you would know that He gave government the SWORD to kill evil doers in the world. This keeping the peace is GOOD.

    • 29 November 2010 10:45 pm

      Well, if you don’t like the Elders of Optina, there’s always the Sermon on the Mount.

  14. 29 November 2010 6:10 pm

    I suspect that Fischer is taking Patton’s words out of context.

    Nope. He did change the language a little bit. Patton actually said, “No bastard won a war by dying for his country. He won the war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”

    You should watch the eponymious film of his life, or at least this video, which is the first six minutes and fairly indicative of the general’s mindset, which still permeates the military culture in the US to this day.

    • 29 November 2010 6:33 pm

      Of course, Patton wasn’t counting Jesus who DID win a war by dying for His Kingdom!

      Listening to that video (which was a film presentation not the real man) it’s quite stomach turning.

      I truly hope Americans are not like that. Many of those I have met, I am thankful to say, are not like that.

      However, those who I really struggle with (Brits and Americans) are those who claim to follow the man who won the eternal war by dying and yet claim we should not follow His example in this but by ‘making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country’.

      One of the problems with this whole argument is the role of countries and the concept of patriotism being a desirable attribute to see in someone. We are members of a higher Kingdom and our allegiance is not to the kingdoms of this world.

      • 29 November 2010 7:37 pm

        It is an actor portraying the general, but it is based off of one of General Patton’s actual speeches.

        • 29 November 2010 8:17 pm

          I still think the context is important. If it was part of a speech to army recruits to urge them to be careful, it can mean one thing. If, however, i8t was at a meeting of top military and political leaders discussing war aims, it is something esle entirely. Fischer seems to treat it as the latter, but if it were actually the former, then Fischer is being unfair to Patton.

          I once had an interesting computer game, called Eastern Front. In the game you play against the computer, and you are the supreme German Commander in charge of the German forces invading the USSR in 1941. The booklet explains that you can’t win. What’s the point of playing a game that you can’t win? If you’ve learnt that, the booklet says, you’ve learnt one of the main lessons of the Eastern Front. And another is that “dead Russians don’t help Germany”.

          You don’t have to be a pacifist to see that Fischer has not learnt the main lessons of the Eastern Front.

          • DogTags permalink
            1 December 2010 4:54 am

            The problem with your “computer game” analogy is that we did WIN WWII. We fought, we killed people, we broke things, we stopped the tide of evil. WE WON! Victory is possible in war. A lasting peace does not come through “peace” through appeasement. Neville Chamberlain, England, the Sudetenland, and Austria learned that folly. Real peace comes only after you have vanquished your enemies.

            That people died and we killed them does not make the war to stop Hitler and the Germans, Italians, Japanese, et al. evil and sinful. Using force to stop evil results in deaths of a lot of people. That is evil’s fault; not those who fought to stop evil.

          • John permalink
            1 December 2010 4:00 pm

            we stopped the tide of evil.

            That sounds like wishful thinking to me!

          • DogTags permalink
            2 December 2010 4:48 am

            Is the Blitz still on? Maybe I missed something, but I do believe we “stopped” the Nazi juggernaut.

          • 2 December 2010 11:38 am

            Actually, as a European, I can see that real peace really started with the creation of the EU, when together the ‘nation states’ in Europe decided to work together for mutual benefit, forming a union similar to the intention of the US founding fathers, but somewhat different to the current USA.

            The ‘we won’ stopped the fighting but didn’t bring peace. Peace is not absence of war, but something positive.

            The basic starting point for me is that I don’t believe Christian Scripture shows that nation states are something intended of God, but created by man. Even for the tribal grouping of the people of Israel God never intended a king, but tolerated one when the tribes demanded one.

            Hence the meta-structure of national power politics is not anywhere God intended, but a creation of mankind, much like the tower of Babel. And if you listen to the politicians I would wish to suggest they often sound like the tower of Babel.

  15. DogTags permalink
    30 November 2010 5:53 pm

    I’m not trying to insult your church. I am simply stating that church traditions do not have the authority of scripture.

    • 1 December 2010 8:57 pm

      That is an interesting thought since in Scripture we read that Jesus gave authority to the church rather than Scripture. I assume you are actually meaning Christian Scripture rather than all scripture as you actually stated.

      Oh, and I don’t come from a church tradition which does give authority to church traditions, but like the Bereans I do search the Christian Scriptures to check up whether what people claim to be from God is contained in the record of His dealing with mankind.

      • DogTags permalink
        2 December 2010 4:46 am

        Yes, of course. Just like Paul when he said “All scripture is God breathed” I assume he meant “Christian Scripture” too.

        So whenI say “authority of scripture” I am, of course, appealing to the authority of God.

        • 2 December 2010 6:06 am

          And Christ our God said “Love your enemies”. I don’t see how the kind of thing advocated by Fischer fits in with that.

          • DogTags permalink
            2 December 2010 7:18 am

            Another misunderstanding of Jesus’ words. Jesus was not talking about national enemies when he said “Love your enemies.” He was talking about personal ones. Turning the other cheek is about personal insults not national slights.

          • 2 December 2010 11:31 am

            I don’t think that to interpret ‘Love your enemies’ as applying only to personal enemies and not to national ones is a valid interpretation in any way since Christian Scripture shows Jesus did express love to the Samaritans and the Romans, who were the state related enemies. He had a zealot as part of his inner circle and never once went down the path of accepting the zealots attitude towards the state related enemies.

            I’m sorry but I think your interpretation is intragesis rather than exegesis.

          • DogTags permalink
            8 December 2010 4:55 am

            Even though Samaritans and Jews and Samaritans and Romans were “state-related enemies” this passage is not about “loving your enemies so that you can’t kill them on the battlefield.” That is what I meant. Jesus was not suggesting “love not war.”

          • DogTags permalink
            8 December 2010 4:57 am

            I think it isogetical to interpret this passage to prohibit Government from killing evil doers in the light of this passage and the entirety of “Christian, God-breathed” scripture which includes the entire canon.

          • DogTags permalink
            8 December 2010 4:58 am

            That’s eisegetical! Forgot to correct it before I posted.

        • 2 December 2010 11:27 am

          ‘Just like Paul when he said “All scripture is God breathed” I assume he meant “Christian Scripture” too.’

          The NIV puts 2 Timothy 3:16 as ‘ All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness’. This is a translation from the Greek and the translators interpret to some extent. It is a possible reading for the Greek to be ‘All God breathed scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness’. I find that reading more logical in that it then defines the type of scripture that is useful for teaching etc.


  1. Pacifism, militarism and Christianity « Khanya

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