HOW WAR CRIMES ARISE IN CHRISTENDOM

History has proved one notorious fact that when religion gets connected to politics it becomes a potent mixture that always results to devastating negative effects .It is a shame that such truth is not made known to Christians yet the history of Christianity has been stained by bloodshed arising from unscriptural principles that sanctioned war and pillaging.

Though some secular historians have realised the bloodshed found in religion, most Christian scholarship does not dwell on this topic yet it is a true ugly topic that has blasphemed the
name of Jesus Christ and the faith .

This covering of truth serves to hide the real purpose of the wars. Though they are marked with religious vocabulary and scriptural references and church dogma, the real aim is for obtaining and protection of carnal power and wealth. The religious leaders were out to protect their physical kingdoms and they used the spiritual to justify their lust for power and jealousy for control.

This discussion excludes the Old Testament wars most of which(the Jewish ones ) were sanctioned by God as he was using Israel , having established her as his physical nation and kingdom. God was involved in the Jewish politics and life because of the covenant he made with them. Thus he also used war against them when they strayed away from the covenant.

Jesus came in fulfillment of the covenant God made with Israel, however the new covenant involved changing the heart before establishing a physical kingdom. This is where
most Jews misunderstood Jesus.

During his arrest Jesus rebuked the disciple’s use of a sword against the “police” who came for him, knowing full well that if he wanted to fight he would order his angels to come to his defence. I have not seen an army of angels on earth hence that statement shows that Jesus comes from above, heaven.

Moreover he told the rulers during his trial that his kingdom was not of this world hence the failure of use of force by his disciples.

At his ascension ,after rising from the dead, the disciples were still yearning for the physical kingdom and actually thought that he had risen to establish it at that time.
Jesus did not reject the notion of restoring the physical kingdom of Israel but stressed the need for them to preach the gospel first (get more citizens for his kingdom).He gave them no orders to fight physically but to preach his word in truth and his teachings to all people.

The accounts and epistles in the New Testament writings show how the early church followed his orders. They preached Jesus Christ and his gospel, and there was no
mention of them taking arms or being political Jewish zealots.

The response to their gospel preaching was persecution and death and discrimination. Yet the church grew in numbers by the grace of God. They patiently endured suffering for their faith. For Jesus the Lord and Teacher said they had to endure those things for his sake.
They were the victims and objects of the war crimes of the Roman empire.

Constantine Reverses Roles – When Christianity Wrongly Met Politics
The church that subjected itself to Constantine’s bargaining betrayed the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is because his commands to the church was to preach the gospel
and not obtain state power or make political deals to avoid persecution which he promised will come for all who believe in him.
But out of the self imposed need of convenience and the rejection of enduring persecution for Jesus, religious leaders obtained State power as Constantine gained political legitimacy through the Christian population. Religion met Politics against the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The persecuted became the persecutor of any political dissent. The defenceless now had access to armies and guards for their physical protection. Those who had no swords now obtained legions with swords. All because of mixing religion with Politics.

Religion + Politics = War Crimes
a) Crusades
From the Constantine Deals arose the Holy Roman Empire that put the Roman Catholic church at the zenith of political power in Europe. The religious leaders
anointed the Emperors and “prayed” for them to fight wars for the sake of the empire.
The Crusades were great testing ground for the evil union of Religion and Politics. Many people died in the name of” the gospel”. All the popes did was to turn the
scriptures into war instructions and declare those who are on their side were on the Lord’s side. With many people being held captive by religious power they surrendered their wills and lives to fight useless political wars in the name of God.\

The real purpose of the wars = the expansion of empire and grand control of the Middle East
The declared purpose (covered the real purpose) = Fighting to evangelize and take the gospel to Jews and Muslims who must be Christian or die.

So we see that it is easy for an organisation to eliminate their enemies in the name of religion.

b) The Counter Reformation and Inquisition- Catholic v Protestants
In the religious world opposition arose against the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church .This however interestingly coincided with Nationalistic
tendencies and Power shifts.
The Anglican church was born out of England’s’ quest for independence from Rome .The Hapsburg Royal Family was facing opposition in Germany where a section
of the nobility was against the Hapsburg’s imposition of rulers on them. This was also a revolt against Rome.

When the religious opposition joined with political opposition a formidable force was established against the religio- political Roman Church and Hapsburg Royals.
Martin Luther was protected by an anti-Hapsburg Prince. Other Northern European generals became Protestant Political Heroes, such as Gustavus Adolphus.

The result of this opposition was bloodshed and war crimes. Catholic troops were fighting for Political Princes against revolting Princes who were shielding Protestants.
It was war for the religious and political domination of Europe. From the Magdeburg massacre to French massacres many were killed, tortured, women raped, robbery
in the name of religion and for leaving Roman Catholicism yet political wars were intertwined with such genocide.

c)The Crimean War – Catholics, Orthodox v Muslims

This useless war was not useless for the instigators. They each wanted to claim the Middle East , especially Israel(being a strategic area for control of the Middle East )
and the so called holy sites. Other reasons were pegged to this war but one fact is that the religious joined again with the political to cause untold suffering and death .
Thousands died for a holy cause- what utter rubbish. Religion was used as a cloak for imperial lusts for power and wealth.

d) Present Day Religious War Crimes- Has Christendom learnt anything from History ?

History repeats itself rather in a cyclic than circular manner. Hitler murdered millions in the presence of Christian Germany. Western Missionaries and Denominations were
present and were not blind nor deaf when Kikuyus were being massacred in Kenya; religious wars in Buganda and British massacre in Western Uganda took place under their watch, but no collective condemnation from Canterbury or Rome- their silence was too loud.

However with the Evangelical church in America, their unscriptural loud political fervor has ended up supporting wars in the Middle East that have led to the death of mothers and children and the old- a lot of bloodshed in the name of empire. With the man made Islamic terrorism rising its head in the world scenes, religion and politics is joining up again with a counter reformation composed of Rich Elite and Western Christianity .

Why I say this is because as Western powers fight in Middle East, Western Religious leaders are justifying the wars in the name of containing Islam and protecting Western Christianity as if guns and tanks will convert Muslims to Christianity.

Since time has shown that war and tanks have never aided in heart conversion ( because Christianity since the early church grows without tanks, armies or Christian constitutions
or Christian Presidents ), but have aided in colonization and acquisition of territories, Christian leaders who justify war and partisan politics do it for worldly reasons.

By using scriptures to justify physical wars of this world one stands against the kingdom of Jesus Christ because his kingdom is not of this world.
How can these leaders use the name of Jesus to justify the acts of a kingdom that does not belong to him ?

With the current global rise of religious influence on political affairs of this world , severe consequences of death and destruction are a sure fruit from such an unholy mix.
True Christians should follow the sayings of Jesus Christ that tell us to wait for his kingdom and endure tribulation and persecution in faith and love and truth.
He did not call us to persecute and physically fight others, set up armies or rally behind warring imperial states in his name- that is definitely another false gospel .

Arthur Owiti

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