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What kind of world does Claiborne dream of and how does he perceive the world, and America, today? In his 2008 book Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals, he described the United States as the new Roman Empire and enemy of God whom Christians must shun. Faithful believers must remove flags from their churches, avoid the military and reject capitalism. Like the biblical Whore of Babylon, today’s America is trying to “slaughter God’s love in the world.” Claiborne speculated that if the Apostle John were writing the Book of Revelation today, he would cite a “phrase such as ‘mission accomplished’” to describe the biblical Whore’s wicked work of global domination. After CBS asked him if he was a traitor while in Iraq in 2003, Claiborne composed a ditty: “If this bloody, counterfeit liberation is American … I am proud to be un-American. If depleted uranium is American … I am proud to be un-American. If the imposed “peace” of Pax Americana is American, I am proud to be un-American.”
Like most pacifists, Claiborne’s book was vague about how to respond to violent evil. He speculated that the July 20, 1944 plot to kill Hitler only amplified Nazi terror. But of course, the Holocaust was already well underway by then, which partly motivated the anti-Hitler conspirators. Pacifist absolutists like Claiborne, though they usually won’t admit it, believe genocides and lesser evils must be allowed to prevail in order to validate their own largely academic theories about non-violence. Claiborne’s book tried to be even-handed by citing abuses in North Korea and Iran, on par with America, without his expressing any real solidarity with victims of those regimes.
Claiborne, like much of the Evangelical and Religious Left, wants to reinterpret Christianity primarily into a resistance movement against the “empire,” which is chiefly America. By doubling the actual amount of U.S. defense spending as a percentage of the federal budget, and deducting 30 percent from his IRS bill, Claiborne is striking his own blow against the empire. No doubt America will survive without Claiborne paying all his taxes. But what would happen if all American Christians ignored the teachings of their own faith and didn’t pay their taxes in protest against all military defenses? What evils would then prevail? How many would die? What chaos and suffering would then ensue?
Evangelical Leftists like Claiborne seemingly don’t care about the real world implications of their fantasies. Fortunately, most Americans of faith are far more sensible and responsible.
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