President Barack Obama’s otherwise forgettable State of the Union Address 2014 ended with a carefully staged emotional conclusion, prompting an “ear-splitting, two-minute standing ovation” from “Congress and the Joint Chiefs of Staff” (Time, January 28). In presenting the recovering 30-year old Army Sergeant 1st Class Cory Remsburg, who, more than four years ago, “ended up floating in an Afghan canal after a roadside bomb detonated nearby with an ear-shattering explosion, sending shrapnel into his brain and right eye, and putting him into a three-month coma,” patriotic feelings and the admiration for America’s military overshadowed for a brief moment the dire and foreboding state of the Union—and with it the sobering realization of the inevitable downfall of our nation which President Obama’s speech could in no way negate or sugar-coat.
When I watched the theater-like circus on television, many questions and emotions ran through my head. I felt sorry for Cory Remsburg—not only for his serious injury and his long road of recovery and for him being used as a spectacle to score some points in the President’s speech—but I also felt sorry for all the Congress men and women and all the others in attendance, and for the overwhelming majority of the American people who, being swept away by falsely understood emotional nationalism, applauded conduct which God simply does not support.
Time Magazine wrote on January 28 that “Sgt. 1st Class Remsburg joined the Army on his 18th birthday, after his father, Craig—a retired Air Force Reserve firefighter—refused to sign the papers for him to join on his own at age 17. Now his father, sitting next to him Tuesday night, and stepmother, Annie, are Remsburg’s caretakers, as he continues his long march, back to being all that he can be.”
And so, we are continuously being confronted with war-related tragedies in the lives of young people—which also affect parents, grandparents, family members and friends—which need not have happened in the first place. But as long as we cheer for war and fighting in war, these terrible situations will continue.
Following the above-mentioned article by Time magazine, some published comments from readers were rather interesting. For instance this one: “The applause would seem sincere if many of those same individuals had been as enthusiastic about keeping troops out of harm’s way to begin with.”
Another reader said: “What is missing here is the story. This story has no point. Guy got injured and is now recovering and coming home. I’m left wondering what… Obama has to do with anything.”
This last comment prompted an emotional reaction from another reader: “The story is that our military are sacrificing for this nation and other nations in the free world. The price many of them pay is life long. The price others pay is permanent. That is the story.”
Herein lie the delusion and the dilemma. Where in the Bible do we read that our nation should sacrifice our young men and women to be maimed or killed in war? Human sacrifice is strongly condemned by God, and so are ALL our human wars.
The website reason.com published this insightful comment:
“The most emotionally powerful moment in Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was also its most morally dubious. The nation’s commander in chief drew attention to a wounded warrior while eliding any responsibility for placing the young man in harm’s way… The government under Republican and Democratic presidents has spent virtually the entire 21st century sending young men and women to fight in ill-defined and unsuccessful elective wars. That’s bad enough, but then to use them as props in political speeches? That’s positively obscene…. What exactly was Remsburg – or any of his fellow soldiers – fighting for in Afghanistan? The president didn’t offer any explanation in his State of the Union address and you’d search his past speeches in vain for a clear and compelling reason, too.”
Even though The Associated Press misconstrued the President’s presentation of Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg as non-political, it had to admit the following in its article of January 29:
“The president used the moment to help draw attention to the sacrifices and stories of wounded veterans who try each day to rebuild bodies and minds torn apart by war… One of those who have fallen is Wendy Holland’s son, Robert Sanchez, 24, who died in the same explosion that wounded Remsburg.”
Robert Sanchez–another young man who died uselessly and needlessly in an ill-defined war. But what we must understand—and what, sadly, our “patriotic” and war-torn nation is simply refusing to acknowledge, is that ALL our wars are wrong. The Bible is full of warnings for us not to fall into the trap of an emotionally motivated approval of human conduct which God condemns.
Jesus Christ gave us this very powerful commandment: “Put your sword in its place, for ALL who take the sword will PERISH by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). The Apostle Paul is telling us in Romans 3:15, 17 that our feet are swift to shed blood, and that we have not known the way to peace. Christ told the Jews at His time that the things that make for peace were hidden from their eyes (Luke 19:42). They are still hidden from our eyes today—from this entire nation and from ALL nations around the world.
Man’s conviction that we can bring peace through war is so misleading, so faulty and so terribly wrong. When Christ returns to this earth to set up the righteous government of God, He will instruct man in the way to peace. Man’s heart will change and be open to correction and sound teaching, and then man will destroy his weapons of war and replace them with instruments of peace (Isaiah 2:4). Man will begin to understand then what true Christians must understand, uphold and exemplify today. They are to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), seeking peace and pursuing it (1 Peter 3:11). They are to be counselors of peace—not war (Proverbs 12:20), and they are to preach the gospel of peace (Romans 10:15; Isaiah 52:7). They are to live in peace, and THEN the God of peace will be with them (2 Corinthians 13:11).
The question is: Are we doing this?