November 9, 2012 / Preston Sprinkle / Jesus Creed - Are American Evangelicals Seduced by Militarism? Is militarism consistent with Christian faith?
American militarism. The very phrase evokes a cacophony of responses from the public, not least from the American Evangelical church. It’s undeniable that America is becoming more and more militarized, as several recent books have pointed out (e.g. Andrew Bacevich, The New American Militarism; Rachel Maddow, Drift). Some Evangelicals are quick to celebrate America’s military prowess—the bigger the better—while others see it as dangerous, if not idolatrous. For reasons state in this post and the next, I believe the latter: the American Evangelical church is largely (not completely) seduced by military might.
But what is “Militarism?” According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, “Militarism” is:
[T]he belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests.
By “militarism,” therefore, I do not mean “the people participating in the military” (I myself come from a long line of Marines), but the overarching “belief or desire” of having a strong military to protect or advance national or religious interests. Not every member of the military, as several of my military friends have told me, actually buy into the overarching agenda of militarism.