by Elizabeth T. Andrews
American Reporter Correspondent
December 6, 2006
THERE IS NO GOD OF WAR
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- Every flag-draped coffin that comes home to America from Iraq feels to me as though it contains the broken body of my son or daughter, for I am an American and I cannot separate myself from them.
Every death-by-violence reduces me, for the people of
the Earth are my family, and I am not separate from
Every misguided, murdering Muslim terrorist is my misguided kinsman, for I am a daughter of the world and cannot be separated from it.
I have plundered the great religious, man-written books and their pages are wet with my tears for many call us to violence ... and, I suspect, our Universal Creator also weeps and will not be comforted.
God's hand is not on the shoulder-to-air missle, and a heavenly finger does not rest on a red button.
There is no god of war. There are only men who love war. War begets power, and power is the essential aphrodisiac of the godless. War-mongers give to God those characteristics that serve their self-interests, and herald their self-proclaimed divinity.
Before the beginning, God looked out upon the world and declared "I will make a world family out of myself save for one bit of knowledge - my children must find their own way back to me. I shall infuse them with a longing for truth, a desire for beauty, the power of invention, and a great ability to love one another ... and I shall grant them free will to do with these things as they choose."
And the men of the universe went forth and slowly forgot that Light from which they came. They feared the darkness and their fear was eased only by power over others; by taking what was not theirs and by holding many in bondage to serve their every need. They required much firewood to hold back the darkness, and food to ease the emptiness in their bellies, so they made servants of their women and of their weaker kinsmen, beggars of bread.
These fearful men of the Earth practiced: Associate only with those you can trust. Trust only those like yourself. Gather around you only those who agree with your god-books, those whose god-face reflects your own, and whose god-mouth spews forth the words you want to hear.
In the name of their god they charged forth and declared war on the disbelievers of their personal gods, and they planted flags deep in the soil of the heathens. They claimed the riches of their neighbor's lands; ruled by force; preached death as the great avenger; and they prayed to the almighty bomb.
In the course of human events it has never been necessary to take up arms against family members.
Failing to see our face in all faces, we fear those not like ourselves and what we fear we must destroy. Yet, nowhere does a cosmic parent call us to violence save in the books written by men who feed upon violence and pray for power to a self-invented, violent god. How grossly idiotic, how childish in vanity - two groups of men in different-colored clothing, charging across a field toward each other, each group praying to their personalized god to help them blow their brother's head off.
Nowhere in a universe of plenty does a diety of love demand the slaughter of world family members that a few might have much while many die daily for want of a crust of bread.
Is not every man my brother; every woman my sister; and every child, my concern? Tell me, where shall I draw the line? Shall I take my Muslim brother to lunch and, while he is sipping his American soup, shall I say quietly "I am so sorry but I have to shoot you today.
"You see, that Koran you are so fond of says you get to recline on green cushions and rich carpets and dwell with bashful virgins (Koran, the Merciful, Ch. 55) if you die a martyr's death. Well, I am a disbeliever. I think your Mohammad was one part inspired and two parts nutty as a Christmas fruitcake. We simply do not agree on 'god' matters."
Or perhaps I should say to my Jewish brothers "Long have I treasured you and defended you, but they tell me now that you have great nuclear power, enough to destroy millions of our Muslim family, so I have no choice but to destroy you with my bigger, better bomb."
Shall I say, also, to the daughters of my own flesh "Take up your rifle proudly. Damn all the brothers who have mistreated you and your sisters for centuries. Look deep across time. Men are incapable of granting you equality, especially in god matters. They pray to a male god. They are dangerous. Aim for the heart. Kill them."
I cannot. I have trained no little one to fear and hate, and I cannot call that daughter - or son - a hero whose medals are speckled with the blood of a world-family member.
And a God of Love will, no doubt, continue to weep and watch as we destroy each other.
Darkness and violence will spread across the Earth, the stench of bombs and rotting corpses will foul the air, and the ricochet of gunfire shall become the children's song.
Finally, in the grey-white ash of that not too distant morning, when no tree lives and no birds sing, my pen also falls silent, and I cannot cry out one last time for all the people of the world. They were my family and I could not separate myself from them.
Elizabeth T. Andrews is a newspaper columnist now living in Cartersville, Ga., where she writes poetry. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 816, Cartersville, GA 30120.