Sunday, March 8, 2015

Christian Preacher Punished for condemning American Sniper

by Sean O'Torrain

The movie, American Sniper was made by that right wing freak and promoter of violence, Clint Eastwood. You know him, the one who popularized the taunt "Make My Day," playing the role of a cop he pointed a huge gun at a young man and asked him to make his day by doing something that would give him the excuse to kill him. It is people like this who help create the cop violence that pervades this country. Now he is at it again producing Sniper. Every time you hear of a mass killing at a school, of a shooting of an unarmed person by cops keep Eastwood in mind. He and his kind have created the atmosphere for this.

This firing of this Christian Chaplain brings another thing to mind. Compassion, Kindness and  Respect. I saw a study some time ago where women in 37 different countries were asked what they wanted most in a sexual partner. The answer that came first by a wide margin was kindness. Kindness! Now this is not something you see pushed much in the capitalist media and advertising propaganda industry. Why not? It is because kindness is dangerous for capitalism. With it comes caring for others, empathy for others, and not far behind that comes solidarity and the development of a mass workers' movement. None are welcome to capitalism. It wants every man and woman for themselves, fighting amongst themselves, and the devil take the hindmost.

But back to Eastwood and the sniper. Remember the freak Eastwood is not too bright. Remember him making a show of himself at the Republican Party conference where he spoke to an empty chair pretending it was Obama. Even his Republican Party hosts were embarrassed. Think about what is involved in this sniper business. That sniper was in a land which had been invaded by US imperialism. He had no right to be there in that capacity. He was a trained killer for US imperialism. He sat on roof tops and randomly murdered men, women and children. None of them got a trial, never mind a fair trial. They were just murdered by this sniper in cold blood. Noe of them had the right to defend themselves. They were just murdered by one of the trained killers of US imperialism. That sniper was some hero alright.

This is what is portrayed and glorified in the movie Sniper. Can you imagine how enraged this makes the people of the Middle East? Imagine the US being invaded by another country and one of the invading troops gets specialized training so he or she can randomly murder US citizens, including civilians. The people who run this country, the politicians and military tops are war criminals.

And we have not heard the full story of why this sniper person was killed by one of his own fellow soldiers.

I am not a Christian whatever that means. I am not a pacifist. But I support this chaplain speaking out against the violent culture of US society. It is the violent culture which is propagated by US imperialism to further their ends abroad. And it is the violent culture which is used to further its  ends at home. All we have to do is look at Ferguson and the many many other Fergusons, with the cops with the full body armor and the cop departments with the huge military vehicles. Who are they being used against, who will they increasingly be used against? US working people have to oppose the propaganda in movies such as sniper. If they do not they will be keeping quiet at their own peril.

I am not a pacifist. I am for the mass mobilization of the working class against the 1%. And when the 1% takes violent action against the working class, that is the majority of us, then I am for defending ourselves. What the movie Sniper is about is trying to get the 99% to think the US military and US imperialism and its foreign policy represents our interests.   And in this way get the 99% to support US imperialism's wars abroad and disarm the US 99% so their living standards and rights can be further eroded  at home. 

The piece below is republished From
Christian Chaplain Fired for Preaching Compassion and Love Over Violence of American Sniper
March 6, 2015 

On February 10th, MidAmerica Nazarene University's  (MNU) chaplain Randy Beckum gave his morning sermon, which wasn't unusual – it was his job. But what was different that day was the response to the sermon – as one student paper put it, the sermon sparked an “outcry [3]” and a torrent of criticism particularly on social media. The criticism ranged from complaints that Beckum had politicized his sermons to the idea that he had insulted Christians who served in the military.

What was this controversial sermon that Beckum gave? Here's the full text [4] and below you'll find an embedded video of the sermon:

Beckum's sermon that day was about America's addiction to violence, citing the film “American Sniper” as a symptom of that, and how this was problematic for Christianity, a religion founded on the ideals of nonviolence. Here's an excerpt:

"As you know two movies came out recently. Selma, the story of one of the 20th century most influential Christian leaders, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who led a non-violent movement that changed the course of American History forever. And American Sniper, the story of the most deadly Navy SEAL sniper in American history. Selma has made 29-30 million so far. American Sniper made over 103 million in the first 4 days. Gives you an idea about who our heroes are. I don’t think it is an under-statement to say that our culture is addicted to violence, guns, war, revenge and retaliation. Unfortunately, so are a lot of Christians."

He went on to say that we have to “be very careful about equating patriotism with Christianity,” and implored his flock to be “controlled by love, compelled by love for everyone.”

Shortly after Beckum's sermon, it was announced that he would no longer [5] be the vice president of the university's Community Foundation. Although the university president claimed [6] Beckum had previously expressed interest in stepping down from that position, his daughter disputes this assertion.

Many in the MNU community are wondering if Beckum was “punished [7]” for his pro-peace sermon, and the timing of his dismissal as VP of the community foundation seems to validate those concerns. “Even the people that were frustrated with what (Beckum) had to say in chapel, or wanted to challenge it, were confused and almost offended by the demotion,” said Kristi Rose Jackson, who was elected to be student body president.

Sadly, it appears that MNU may have given into the furor and decided that a Christian clergyman preaching the peace the founder of the faith stood for is simply too controversial for their campus.

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