In the aftermath of “Vietnam,” war-weary Americans imbibed a playlist of anti-war movies. All seemed lost for despairing warriors. But, then, STAR WARS burst onto the scene and took the world by storm.
The mud and blood, and the smell of gunpowder and napalm gave way to this cool, clean, antiseptic environment, and lightsabres.
In another time warp, Cap’n Kidd has again weighed anchor. With the huge success of Hacksaw Ridge, amidst the carnage, Desmond Doss emerges as a real-life hero of the faith. As a pacifist Christian who refuses to ‘bear the sword’ with his fellow soldiers, he suffers alongside them, binding up their wounds and rescuing many from death.
But now we sight the Jolly Roger sailing toward us from beyond the horizon. Under the flag of The Gospel Coalition, Cap’n Kidd’s cannons capture our gaze—enter Sergeant York.
Like the sky-writing of an airplane with its contrail, the smoke of these fantastic cannons spells out, “Alvin York, Christian Soldier.”
And, yes, Alvin York, like Desmond Doss, was a devout Christian. And both were awarded the Medal of Honor.
“I always rejoice to find a soldier a Christian, but I always mourn to find a Christian a soldier,” wrote Charles Spurgeon [of Jaws fame (link); this is Jaws 2].
Like Desmond Doss, Alvin York came from a pacifist church. In 1914, Alvin York became a new Christian at a Church of Christ. The Great War would soon deliver him (and thousands of other men) to boot camp where “an officer convinced him that the Bible endorsed a Christian’s participation in a just war.”
[How many times, recently, have we ‘learned’ the lesson of a person, in authority over others, taking advantage and convincing someone under them to do what they did not want to do?]
On The Western Front in 1918, a month before the truce, the sharpshooter Corporal York earned the Medal of Honor, killing German soldiers the “way we shoot turkeys at home” and capturing over 130 of them.
“But York still struggled with the killings, not entirely sure that God approved of his actions.”–Thomas S. Kidd.
Sgt. Alvin York struggled after the war with the question of giving permission to Hollywood to make a movie about him. He eventually relented in order to support a Bible School. And Gary Cooper won the Academy Award for Best Actor. It was 1941, just in time for WWII.
A big part of the support for WWI came from Christian pastors. (If you would like to get the feel of that, read Mark Twain’s The War Prayer.) Wm. Buckley wrote that World War One was an unnecessary war. It was not a just war. Another described it as “satanic carnage.”
The salt lost its savour. The War to End All Wars and Versailles prepared the seedbed for the rise of a Hitler and World War, Part Two.
Charles Spurgeon [quotes link] concluded his above remark about soldiers with this: “The followers of Christ in these days seem to me to have forgotten a great part of Christianity.”
GOTT MIT UNS