Rushing Headlong towards Civil War?

Two clergy worry about the divided nature of our country and wonder what type of sacrifice is necessary for the division to be healed.  They worry if it can it be healed or are we as a country rushing headlong into another civil war?  Hundreds of thousands died in the last one.  What will happen if there is another one?

I thought long and hard before posting this on my blog.  The school massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas prompted the following conversation between two clergy members, one of whom is a friend of mine.  They worry about the divided nature of our country and wonder what type of sacrifice is necessary for the division to be healed.  They worry if it can it be healed or are we as a country rushing headlong into another civil war?  Hundreds of thousands died in the last one.  What will happen if there is another one?  R’s thoughts represent the exhaustion that many of us feel and the hopelessness of imagining a day when democracy will once again be a reigning principle in this country.  Indeed, he wonders if it is even worth the effort given the extremist forces that seek to overturn it, forces that seem to have become mainline in the ranks of the Republican Party.   These people assure the easy attainment of assault rifles not for self-protection or sport, but for assault on those who do not agree with their politics, religion, or social commentary.  Can democracy survive these people who now hold powerful positions in local, state, and federal government?  To die for peace, R worries, may ultimately achieve nothing. 

C, on the other hand, is not so sure.  He agrees with R’s analysis of the state of our country also holding that the divisiveness in our country is a threat to our freedoms.  But he turns not to pessimism but his faith as a pastor.  Yes, he is willing to lose his life to the efforts of freedom and prays that the darkness of tyranny that has subsumed some of his acquaintances, friends, and family members, will soon be revealed for what it is—a betrayal of the Christ whom he seeks to serve.  He worries, then, not about his own life, but the lives of his loved ones, and through his faith, believes that the light will overcome the darkness.

I have edited some of what they have written, but have remained faithful, I believe, to their meaning.  I finally decided to publish this because I think it reveals the consternation, fear and hope of those who seek an answer to our country’s problems but not with violence and he feels the way towards peace is not won by firearms.  I am interested in your thoughts about what these two clergy members think.  Is it time to give up, or does our faith help us to fight the good fight with the conviction that light will overcome darkness and truth will reign supreme?  What do you think?

Dear R,

This is what has dawned on me. The prevailingly white male gun fetishists insisting on unencumbered access to assault weapons largely overlap the subset of 2020 election deniers. They fear they are losing “God-given” power and privilege in the world. Many claim they need these weapons to “resist tyranny,” when, in fact, it is tyranny over the majority they are planning.

This puts us in a chilling predicament: If we allow them to keep and continue to stock up on such extreme firepower, we are likely looking at bloody civil war. If we outlaw their weapons and attempt to confiscate them, we are likely looking at bloody civil war.

We must be courageous, and we must be prepared to die for the cause of peace. This is the brink we’ve been brought to.

Signed C.

What is their purpose? Who do they benefit? Are large capacity magazines really necessary?

Dear C

I cannot disagree with your assessment, C, though I wish I could.  Another civil war has seemed likely for a few years now and, 160 years after the last one, it seems to me that the primary driving force is still irrational racism.  The easy access gun advocates/fetishists/militia types have most [of] the fire power.  It is hard to see who will oppose them in a civil war since many of the state, local, and even some percentage of federal police officers will side with them.  While the military has sworn an oath to defend the Constitution the militia types claim they defend the Constitution as well, so who knows how many [will] side [with the insurrectionists], and whether they would follow the orders of the President—whoever it might be—to put down the insurrection?  And we all know if it is [Trump] the insurrectionists will be supported. 

Thus, as I think about it, I [begin to wonder about] the [complexities] of who fights who.  [The fluid nature of this situation creates an unknown that vastly complicates an impending civil war, much more so than the last one.]  And who will be the peace advocates willing to die for peace?  [Or] will that even matter?  I don’t think the gun nut militia types will give [a] damn about killing peace advocates standing in opposition.  [After all,] they essentially support killing children over gun safety legislation so why care/worry about killing a few peaceniks?  And how does anyone prepare to die for peace?

So, for me, the question becomes, is democracy worth fighting to keep?  Is anything about this country worth fighting to keep?  Is it simply better to offer up ourselves to die than to kill others, or supporting those who will kill others to keep the country an authentic democracy?  Yeah, these are severely depressing thoughts, yet it seems to me this is the meaning of the brink to which we are being brought.  I don’t see anything that is limiting [our country’s move towards] that brink for, as you state, it is a ruling tyranny that the gun advocates want to achieve so that the nation is ruled in their racist, power-by-the-might-of-guns’-deadly-force concepts and actions. 

Though it makes me nearly nauseous thinking and writing this, should we share this “discussion” with others and see what thoughts others have on this?

Signed R

In a society as divided as ours,
what will bring peace?

Dear R,

I would not have this grand, imperfect experiment in self-rule die on our watch. Deliberate damage has been done to our trust in the education system, the media, faith institutions and public dialogue – which are all vital to a moral, informed electorate. It is an intelligent darkness we are facing. I don’t know how we combat both bullets and the alarming level of indoctrination and dehumanization stoked against us. A return to the Fairness Doctrine is impossible in an age when everyone has a worldwide broadcast facility in their pocket. Of course, those who would have justice, equality and peace are equally equipped in all but firepower.

I didn’t anticipate the right-wing media would go this far, or that an entire major political party could grow so cold and indifferent to democratic principles and basic humanity. Or that the conservative evangelical church would lead the way down the wide path to destruction. Or the degree of open support of white supremacist’s efforts by law enforcement (though it has been pointed out to us for CENTURIES by those so oppressed).

Still, the truth will out, and all that is done in darkness will be pulled into the light of day. I have lost my closest friend, family members and congregants to this darkness. It is likely a matter of time until the church with the rainbow flag and the pastor with the BLM sign in front of his house (stolen three times) is targeted with more than derision. But holy love casts out fear. I only fear for the safety of my family, flock, and others. I’ll deal with whatever is aimed at me.

You are loved, my brother in Christ,

Signed C

Published by Harold W. Anderson

I am a retired United Methodist Minister working in private practice as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). I also work in addiction issues and am a Certified Addiction Counselor, level III (CAC III). I also supervise graduate students working on their Master Degrees and supervise Candidates in Training who are working towards licensure. My desire to provide a window of hope to those with whom I work that they live in a world of opportunity.

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