Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Edition: Sacrificing the Sacrifices of War

Most people who know me know precisely what I think about patriotism in the Church - it's bad, m'kay? I struggle to consider myself a Christian brother to and a fellow traveler with those Christians and churches that want to "save America" by bringing it back to the 1950s or the 1790s or any other arbitrary social golden age this nation was said to enjoy.

I have a will to love and care for the people in the time and place called America, but believing in America the way it wants to be believed in is another matter all together.

It's easier to talk about this around the 4th of July, when jingoistic churches start placing American flags over their crosses and having patriotic rallies. It's probably happening today in many churches - America's All Saints Day, as Roger calls it - but I'm going to ignore it. It's tricker on Memorial Day, when the nation commemorates those who died in its wars, some of which are pretty easy for folks to get behind and "believe in."

... so I'll let Hauerwas do it. His lecture, "Sacrificing the Sacrifices of War," was his attempt to show respect to America's soldiers. He does by talking about the ways in which they suffer that the media doesn't profile and people don't usually think about. He also explains why, in terms of a Christian vocabulary, the word "sacrifice" is a completely inappropriate way of discussing death in war.

Go here for the mp3 download.

You must also read Iafrate's splendid essay at Catholic Anarchy, "Memorial Day and the religous syncretism of the state."

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