My Take: The 5 key American statements on war
Members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment place American flags at Arlington National Cemetery.
May 28th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

My Take: The 5 key American statements on war

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Today is a day to remember those who have given their lives in the service of their country. It is also a day to reflect on war.

In my new book, "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," I explore 27 texts that have served as “scripture” of sorts in American public life. Each of these texts addresses the meaning of “America” and “Americans,” and each has provoked much commentary and controversy.

Here are the five best, in my view, on the meaning and ends of war.

1. George Washington’s Farewell Address (1796)

This justly famous farewell address is celebrated today among social conservatives for commending religion as a “pillar” of good government. Those seeking an antidote to our current epidemic of petty partisanship quote its condemnation of "the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party."

But Washington was a military man, so he also warns us against the evils of loving or hating any nation. To do either, he writes, “is in some degree to become a slave ... to its animosity or to its affection.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

How many of our troubles today arise from "passionate attachment" toward some nations or "inveterate antipathies" against others?

How many wars in U.S. history might have been avoided if we had heeded the wisdom of Washington's "foreign policy of independence"?

2. Henry David Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience” (1849)

In July 1846, while living in his Walden Pond cabin, Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau was arrested and jailed for refusing to pay a poll tax. This classic essay explains and justifies his refusal, arguing that each citizen has a duty to resist a government whose actions — in this case, supporting slavery, mistreating Indians and prosecuting the Mexican-American War — offend the higher law of conscience.

“Civil Disobedience” has been criticized as naïve, but this "bible of protesting minorities" profoundly influenced both Mohandas Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and, through them, both Indian independence and the U.S. civil rights movement.

3. Chief Joseph’s Surrender Speech (1877)

What do you say after you and your people (the Nez Perce) have been fleeing American soldiers for three months and 1,500 miles, when your people are hungry and freezing and mass death seems the only alternative to surrender? In a word, this.

As legend has it, Chief Joseph handed over his gun. He took an inventory of the dead. He said he was tired of fighting. Then he said, “From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”

Or did he? Most scholars now believe that this speech was actually written after the fact by an aide to an American general. Nonetheless, it has been quoted in song lyrics, memorialized in a Ken Burns documentary and immortalized in a book-length poem by Robert Penn Warren.

Chief Joseph's words were celebrated in his time because they called attention to the human costs of westward expansion and Manifest Destiny. They live today because they symbolize the tragedies of Native American history.

4. President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address (1961)

Echoing Washington, who spoke against “overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty,” President Eisenhower issued a similar warning in his farewell address: in this case against the “unwarranted influence” of the “military-industrial complex.”

Although lost in the moment, which belonged to the inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Camelot myth, these words rang like prophecy in the late 1960s, when allegations that “merchants of death” were holding the country hostage became a staple at Vietnam War protests.

Today, hope for anything like the “balance” Eisenhower sought between the demands of the military and the demands of liberty seems hopelessly nostalgic. The United States now spends more on its military than next 10 biggest spenders combined.

5. Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial (1982)

This reflective black granite memorial cut into the Earth on the National Mall in Washington is not a text in any conventional sense, so I blanched when a friend suggested that I include it in “The American Bible.” But architect Maya Lin herself saw it as “analogous to a book,” and so it is: more than 58,000 names carved into reflective black granite, waiting for visitors to read them and weep.

Long before it was opened, critics derided this memorial as a “black gash of shame” and “a tribute to Jane Fonda.” Where was the reassurance that the Vietnam War was a noble cause? Where were the heroic images of our fallen fighters? When it opened, however, its undeniable emotional power silenced most naysayers.

Lin wanted her creation to serve as a place where Americans could go to think about the war without being told what to think and to speak to the dead without being told what to say. It did just that. Today, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is an American Lourdes: a pilgrimage site where the living come to commune with the dead and to reckon with war and their own mortality in the medium of the mirror that is the Wall.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Books • Holidays • Military • Opinion • United States

soundoff (561 Responses)
  1. the Christian Messenger

    I'll be brief...
    Serious judgment comes in war time... here are the reasons why. in Matthew 26:52 Jesus says for all that take the sword shall perish with the Sword...
    In Revelation 6:14-17 we have the scene of where men are able to see Heavens perspective in War, which is that the judgmetn is revealed agaiint men of war as you observe closely that men of war and the kings or leaders are subject to the wrath fo the Lamb (Jesus) .. this wrath si agsinsst them that do battle on the earth Revelation 13:9-10 also is a certain revealing position on War... and it has been that way since Jesus rose from the dead...
    It was Constantiine who made war and bloodshed acceptable to Christians and the history from then on has certainly separated the sheep from the goats....

    May 30, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  2. Reality

    Beyond Speeches:


    Our War on Terror and Horror: A Memorial Date Update–

    -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles as of 09/15/2011/, 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

    – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed mostly due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

    – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

    – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

    – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

    – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

    – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

    – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

    – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

    – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

    – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.

    – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

    The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

    – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

    – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

    – Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011

    May 29, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • John

      The atheist who trolls the religion blog looking for God....like the thief looking for a policeman

      May 29, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  3. Nii

    ME II
    The Golden Rule is
    "Do unto others as u wud have them do unto you"!
    The 2nd Greatest Commandment is "Love your neighbor as yourself". It is in the Law of Moses.
    It is the definition for Agape or charitable love.
    The commandment is very specific and unique. There is nothing Greek about it!

    May 29, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Nii

      ME II
      De Golden Rule isnt a law but a philosophical statement.
      De 2nd Greatest commandment however obligate us express love in a certain measure towards our neighbor.
      This type of love helps us 2 fulfil de rest of the Law n is de essence of Judaeo-Xtianity n de Bible. It is higher than de GR.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Reality

      "Statements that mirror the Golden Rule appear in Ancient Egypt in the story of The Eloquent Peasant.[8] [2181-2055 BC )clarification needed] Rushworth Kidder discusses the early contributions of Confucius (551–479 B.C.) (See a version in Confucianism below). Kidder notes that this concept's framework appears prominently in many religions, including "Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and the rest of the world's major religions".[9] According to Greg M. Epstein, " 'do unto others' ... is a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely."[10] Simon Blackburn also states that the Golden Rule can be "found in some form in almost every ethical tradition".[11]

      And for the new members of this blog:

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."


      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

      May 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  4. Nii

    ME II
    I am sorry but I missed a "such" as I was in a bus going to work n got distracted. I meant other sectors such as aid and diplomacy help with defence.
    Also I don't need rticles to tell me u r poaching doctors n other scientists from poor countries. I know u do. Cuba exports doctors, can't u?

    May 29, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • ME II

      As I said, the US, unlike Cuba, is a free market economy. The government does not dictate who works where. If there are doctor's leaving countries to work in the US, tell them not to go. In the end it is their decision whether to go to the US or not.

      That being said Health Care in the US is an odd beast. We have the best medical schools in the world and likely the best care money can buy, and yet there are many who go without insurance and therefore comprehensive care, although no one is denied access to critical care.

      That being said yet again, I would point out that, if I'm reading this correctly, the US, in 2010-2011 fiscal period, was the single largest member-state contributor to the World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/about/resources_planning/A65_29-en.pdf). The next closest contributor was the UK at around half of the US contribution. I didn't see Cuba mentioned. In addition, it can and is being arguing that the US consumer is basically subsidizing the pharmaceuticals for the rest of the world.
      "... [US officials] accuse foreign governments of keeping those prices artificially and unduly low within their own health systems, thereby beggaring U.S. patients, who now fund the bulk of U.S. pharmaceutical R&D." ('U.S. Health Care Spending In An International Context',Uwe E. Reinhardt, Peter S. Hussey and Gerard F. Anderson, http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/23/3/10.full)

      May 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  5. devendra

    Thank You

    The given information is very effective
    i will keep updated with the same

    seo training in noida

    May 29, 2012 at 6:31 am |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    May 29, 2012 at 4:42 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      May 29, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • just sayin

      Prayer is evidence of mental illness. FACT

      May 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  7. Jimmy G.

    @Mr. Prothero – An excellent article that bodes well for the readability of your book, if this article is anything to go by.

    May 29, 2012 at 3:00 am |
  8. goingmeta

    "who knows but it may be given to us after this life to meet again in the old quarters, to play chess and draughts, to get up soon to answer the morning role call, to fall in at the tap of the drum for drill and dress parade, and again to hastily don our war gear while the monotonous patter of the long roll summons to battle."

    "Who knows but again the old flags, ragged and torn, snapping in the wind, may face each other and flutter, pursuing and pursued, while the cries of victory fill a summer day? And after the battle, then the slain and wounded will arise, and all will meet together under the two flags, all sound and well, and there will be talking and laughter and cheers, and all will say, Did it not seem real? Was it not as in the old days?”

    – Private Barry Benson, Army of Northern Virginia, 1880

    May 29, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • Jimmy G.

      That sounds like he viewed life like it was part of a Matrix, with all insanity magically disappearing in the afterlife to boot.

      May 29, 2012 at 3:02 am |
  9. Nii

    MARY & CO
    U misquoted one of de 10 Commandments to mean "Thou shalt not kill" when de proper word for "kill" here is "murder". who wud've enforced de death pe.nalty 4 de capital crimes in de Law which includes s.ex crimes such as adultery n gay s.ex? Don't lie or be misled! I luv u guys as myself!

    May 29, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • the Christian Messenger

      Don't be misled Nii read matthew 26:12 Revelation 6:14-17 and Revelation 13:9-10 ...
      It was Constantine who led Christian's down the path of bloodshed..

      Jesus abolished the law of sin and death saying bless those who curse you pray for those who dispitefully misuse you..and Rejoice when you are persecuted for righteousness sake for so persecuted the prophets which were before you..
      MANY OF THOSE PROPHETS were killed...who did not defend themselves nor fight back .. 🙂 🙂

      May 30, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  10. edwin

    I have read the comments stated abvoe. I feel debates never solve problems. It is the action that proves our convictions right or wrong. Please no body take offence!.

    May 29, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • Jimmy G.

      Then perhaps debating is not your cup of tea.
      Perhaps you would prefer to negotiate, discussing whatever is put on the table.
      Or maybe you would like to just discuss things as part of a conversation, letting the topics ebb and flow.

      Regardless of how you prefer to "resolve" things in your relationships with other people, relying on "actions" after the fact is asking for trouble: for example, someone using your stated methods would let someone go postal to show that going postal "proves their convictions" rather than trying to prevent someone going postal in the first place even though we all know going postal is extremely damaging to the victims, their families, and the fabric of society itself.

      These are issues that could arise in any conversation.
      This blog does not have a goal beyond random comments to its many articles.
      There is no agenda here, no restrictions on content or topic despite some people's ideas to the contrary.
      If you don't want to debate, that's great.
      We can't force you to debate.
      You came here to comment – we did not force you to come here and have no way of holding a gun to your head to force you to debate or say anything in particular.

      See? I am just pointing out where I think your statement is not very well thought-out.
      I do not require a response.
      This is only a comment section, after all.
      You cannot have much of a debate in a comment section like this one, so I do not understand why you think this is a problem.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:36 am |
  11. ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq


    May 28, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      $4000 per person. Scandalous. People would be more secure from real threats if allowed to keep a lot more of the money now squandered on a bloated military.

      May 29, 2012 at 6:43 am |
  12. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just go to http://santorum.com to find out more.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you fat, pale, weak, and sedentary.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    May 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Michael in Michigan

      I will be sure to pray for you.

      May 28, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      @Michael – Since you cannot pray even one person out of a dictator's dungeon anywhere in the world, or convert even a single person with your internal infernal dialogue with your imaginary father-figure, simply stating that you are going to "pray" for someone is as useless a statement as one can make in a forum such as this.
      You force the rest of us to "think" for you, since you are evidently unable to do so yourself.
      People like you force the rest of us to carry your load. You sponge off of us with your unwillingness to do the hard work it takes to actually help people in the real world.
      But then, since it appears you are one of the mentally ill, all we can do is shrug at your disability and try to work around you.
      You are disabled and we need to allow for that in our deliberations on how to help you and others who need it more.
      So go ahead and pray if you can't think of anything else you can do to help someone.
      Your useless mumblings will be ignored as the rest of us do the hard work of trying to help everyone.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:51 am |
    • That is one angry atheist.


      May 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • the Christian Messenger

      @ Jimmy G , if Michel does pray for the other person something actually does happen..

      we understand that throught faith the worlds were framed by the word of God ... and each word we speak in the earth actually effects events in the earth...some things require a lot fo prayers and some things just a litte..if two on earth agree as touching any thing that they shall ask , Jesus says it shall be done of them of my Father which is in heaven...

      if more people agree on the same thing in prayer more things can be done... the bible guides us to know what is given to us in faith and we can transform the world with prayer : )

      May 30, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  13. Larry L

    If I was King... When we go to war I'd require 10% (selected randomly regardless of age or gender) of the U.S. Congress to go to the front lines – or the modern equivalent. I'd make them stay there until the last troops return home – with no special housing, no extra protection, no special food, and no authority. They'd ride in convoys, dig field latrines, serve guard duty, and whatever tasks that wouldn't put real Soldiers at risk. Some of the "chicken-hawks' need to have a dog in the fight.

    May 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Larry, I like this idea for a lot of different reasons. One of which would be that it would attract the right kind of people to serve in congress. Good stuff Larry!

      May 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  14. Ivanhoe

    From my own experiences in the Middle East I wrote a novel - king of Bat'ha - and sequel - Tales from the East - due out July 2012. In both I point out that regions of conflict have to resolve their problems and stop relying on a superpower to do so. USA has enough problems internally than solving everyone else's.

    May 28, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  15. The single key that binds them all

    I might be wrong but I've read and it seemed fairly credible what I read - that virtually (perhaps all) American Wars have one common motif: false flags. Go read about it and I bet you turn up some interesting information.

    May 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • The single key that binds them all

      The authentic exception to this key is the first war of our independence.. one could argue there was no pretense or mistake in this war of inception rather than post deceptive wars we are forced to celebrate to this day by our leaders regardless of their merits as being 'victimized' or aggressive acts of War (just). We like to collectively remember each and every war as marginally if not fully just - not the opposite as false flag theory purports or uncovers.

      May 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  16. Defense is not the problem!

    President Eisenhower warned of the "military-industrial complex" during the 50s when defense spending was 11 percent of GDP and 60 percent of the federal budget. Today, defense spending is 5 percent of GDP and 20 percent of the budget. How low should we go?

    May 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • nmmell08

      Um we outspend the next 10 nations combined in military, yeah we don't need to spend that much.

      May 28, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Defense is job one

      The next 10 nations argument is moot....a lot of those countries rely on the USA for thir defense, and our adversaries don't pay their military as well as us. China has a much bigger Army.

      May 28, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Nii

      I agree with u that defence is the primary job of a government. However we have since realised that other sectors of the economy help as well as aid n diplomacy. Why don't u invest more in education so that u export skilled labour like doctors rather than poach them from poor countries.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Jimmy G.

      I think it is long past time when our government should have taken over some of those industries and removed the profit-seeking part of our defense industries.
      Greed hobbles our ability to defend ourselves as a country and it is also the motive behind many of our military operations.
      With greed as a motive, things like actual defense are ignored.
      Crimes of humanity are committed with greed as a prime motivation in a great many situations.
      Unless we do something about greed, this will continue for the foreseeable future.

      May 29, 2012 at 3:49 am |
    • ME II

      "However we have since realised that other sectors of the economy help as well as aid n diplomacy."
      I'm not clear on this. Are you saying that the US should spend more on foreign aid rather than defense?

      As for poaching doctors(?), I was skeptical of your position, but I'm as.suming that you are speaking of articles like this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/apr/04/america-steals-doctors-from-developing-countries. And, although, I'm not convinced of yours, or the article's, position, I would point out that the US is a free market and unlike national defense the government does not dictate which doctors are hired or from where.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • J.W

      China has a bigger army, but they are not actively engaged anywhere. Even though their army is bigger the US still spends way more. Why does the US need to be the policemen of the world?

      May 29, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • just sayin


      China has a bigger army, but they are not actively engaged anywhere. Even though their army is bigger the US still spends way more. Why does the US need to be the policemen of the world?

      My Flacid Friend,

      This I agree with you. A nation cannot continue to be a war nation if it wishes to survive.

      May 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • ME II

      "Why does the US need to be the policemen of the world?"
      don't think the US wants it either.

      This is a larger discussion than feasible here, but, in addition to US policy decisions throughout the second half of the 20th century, I would guess that there is yet some effect from the end of WWII and the need/desire for the US to get the rest of the world back on it's feet. e.g. Marshal Plan and Occupation of Ja.pan.

      May 29, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Yeah the author picked a stat that suits his worldview. But it's true that the U.S. spends less now on the military than it did when Eisenhower made his statement. So kind of a weak point.

      May 29, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  17. Mary & Paul

    As Jesus would say you are a hyp ocrite that in one speech has violated half the commandments.

    Thou shall not ki11
    Thou shall not bear false witness
    Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. (Christ's Golden rule).
    You have used the lords name in vein.

    SIN NER!

    Christ NEVER said anything about hom ose xuality and you shall never get into hea ven so long as you have ha te in your heart!

    RE PENT!

    Mary & Paul, A loving Straight Christian couple and FORMER republicans.

    OBAMA 2012!

    May 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Mary & Paul please explain. Does scripture say that gay s e x is sinful? Does it say that forms of hetero s e x are sinful? How about master-bation? What if it is someone's opinion that the bible actually does tell us these things, that there is uch a thing as moral and immoral behavior when it comes to s e x? Does this mean that such a person is hateful?

      How about the more pragmatic factor that the law with regard to marriage is for the sole purpose of addressing the special circu-mstances of the family unit which includes raising of children. Is it not legitimate to question whether the purpose of legalized gay marriage is to become a part of the insti-tution of marriage or to change it? If marriage is viewed as a right, rather than a particular choice of lifestyle, is it not just an arbitrary arrangement that yields benefits to people only because they decide to get married? Why not give similar benefits to a union of 4 people, or to anyone who wishes to have such benefits even if they don't love each other, or live together or know each other? Is someone hateful for recognizing the real risk that a redefinition of marriage has on the integrity of the family unit in society?

      May 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Nii

      MARY & PAUL
      You lied or at least showed ur ignorance by calling "love thy neighbor as thyself" Christ's Golden Rule. It is the 2nd Greatest Commandment in the Law of God given through Moses. This type of love is ethical and moral in nature(check 1Cor13) and produces fruit (Gal5) of the spirit.

      May 29, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • ME II

      I thought the golden rule, or variations of it, was actually goes back as far as Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt 500BCE and earlier.

      May 29, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Mike from CT

      ME II,
      Yes and no, this is what Henry Davis is referring to when he says "higher law of conscience" or Romans 1 states
      "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse..."

      Now while people have hinted at this rule, Christ is dealing with peoples hearts, as in having to re-explain what adultery really is. So the rule is not to hide in your basement and do no harm, for that is ignoring the essence of the rule. Christ, as with all the commandments, tells us to go and actively do good regardless of the reception you receive

      May 29, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • just sayin

      Mary & Paul

      As Jesus would say .......

      He says a lot. He told me the other day I needed my lawn cut.

      May 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    May 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Religion is a theory

      Tarring a group of people who have not been given proof of the existence of a God or Gods (depending on your chosen "Faith") or of the ability of prayer to alter anything is not terribly helpful. The amount of ill that has been wrought in the name of religion does not help further your case or your tag

      May 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • just sayin

      Get to know God personally through prayer. God bless

      May 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Shut Up

      Will it make you stop posting, spambot?

      May 28, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • just sayin

      Truth is never spam. God bless

      May 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just go to http://santorum.com to find out more.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer makes you fat, pale, weak, and sedentary.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
      Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
      Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
      Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
      Prayer dulls your senses.
      Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer wastes time.

      May 28, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "truth is never spam," says the moron. Let us know when you post some, you chucklehead.

      May 28, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Marek Posival

      I have prayed for you to stop posting but it hasn't helped. Apparently, prayer changes nothing.

      May 28, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • just sayin

      The only prayer that God will hear from you is the sinners prayer. Until you have salvation there is nothing that God will honor from your requests. God will not ask or honor sin of a person. God bless

      May 29, 2012 at 4:41 am |
    • Wraith

      @just sayin',

      Your god sounds like a spiteful, hate-filled jerk that I want nothing to do with.

      May 30, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  19. ciaopaparazzi

    A great summary of the sickness and hypocrisy of "Anti-War" Liberalism. Just another pathetic coward trying to justify doing nothing. He doesn't deserve anything that we have here in America – that other Americans fought and died for.

    May 28, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • leesan1945

      You should be very grateful that even an empty-headed moron such as you is allowed to live in this land. As a veteran of 15 yrs, 7 mos in the military and having fought in two wars, I think you owe an apology to the author for the idiotic and totally uncalled for comment you left here. This country has room for everyone, including you, and that includes people of all convictions. And besides all that, the author is correct. If the author is an "anti-war liberal" what are you? A "pro-war moron." Have a good Memorial Day.

      May 28, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • The Federalist

      You sir are a coward and a buffoon, a strong kick in the pants would serve you well. Oh before you ask five year veteran who would be happy to be he one kicking.

      May 28, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Religion is a theory

      You can have what you "have" in America, a hugely wasteful unsustainable consumer society that lives in constant fear of everything, neighbours, government, growing old, failing to keep up with the Joneses etc etc

      May 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  20. John

    The author forgot the "War is a Racket" speech by Smedley Butler. But then who was Butler? A Marine, who was a two time recipient of the Medal of Honor. Someone, I think that we should all be listening to. His life was most fascinating. Everyone should be looking it up and try to understand why he did what he did to save the United States.

    May 28, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.