Onward christian soliders?

by Elias Blum

This video intrigues and disturbs me.

On the one hand, I generally find it encouraging to watch people being baptised. I don’t talk about it very much, but my own baptism was a very important turning point in my life.

And why shouldn’t someone on active service, decide to repent and give themselves over to the work of the kingdom’s underground ‘rebel alliance’ instead of the empire?

On the other hand, seeing this holy and symbolic act performed in a military context, with an AFV and folks milling about in uniform carrying guns, seems deeply incongruous. It normalises war, maybe even tries to sanctify it.

And where is the line? If one can be baptised in combats, can one bless nuclear weapons? Whatever happened to the ‘peace testimony’?

This video portrays the war as a sort of crusade, and makes the Prince of Peace into an All-American conquistador whose victory consists in the slaying of Moors. What is to be made of all this?

I’m not condemning; I’m exploring the ambiguities, the contrasts and the dissonances.

(Beautiful song, of course: ‘Oceans’.)

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