Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mark Twain's Anti-War Poem

Published after his death, Mark Twain, that witty Southern gent, had hoped to publish an anti-war poem while he was still alive but was strongly encouraged not to do so. When you read this poem, you may understand why.

Mixing politics with religion is always a gamble; sometimes what you say can have a powerful influence. However, at its worst, it can polarize and demonize you as both anti-American and un-Christian. Today anti-war voices are being heard more and more by God's faithful--as it should be. But there is still the threat that if you correlate God and war and American idealism as a bad thing, then you might be labeled and dismissed as either a crackpot, a heretic, or Satanic.

Kudos for voices like Twain, even if after death, we can read the hypocrisy hidden between the lines as a call to repentance.

O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

Thanks to Daily Kos for publishing this post on his blog.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The President, Senators and Representatives, and we the people should pray this prayer daily while even one U.S. soldier is fighting a foreign war. The prayer should be read every Sabbath by the clergy and faithful.
Then possibly this anti-God and anti-human action may forever be omitted from human endeavors.