Only Congress can declare war says the US Constitution: or, so it seems to say. Where law and lawyers (and politicians) are involved, no one knows what anything means: until it’s been explained by the winning lawyers, then reexplained, by other lawyers, more recent winners.
But in the White House the executive, the President, can drop bombs anywhere he wants: just tell the military. Uh, not quite anywhere he wants: bombing Watts or Harlem or the bodega might cause trouble.
The Church, the big church, the RC church, waged war. Popes donned armor, mounted horses, mustered armies, chopped people up.
But: it just occurred to me this morning to wonder: Have any non-RC churches waged war? Did the Greek Orthodox have a tradition of warfare? The Cyrillics?
How about Protestants? Have any Presbyterian or Methodist churchs dreamed of going to war? The Mormon Church might. (The Mormon Church might dream of little else!) How about the Church of England?
I emphasize: don’t for a second confuse the Church of England with Protestantism. Henry wanted to remain Catholic, but be free of Rome. Henry killed Catholics, but Henry burned Protestants: as heretics!
I emphasize further: don’t for a second think that Henry was illiberal: not compared to other fifteenth-century monarchs. And remember: Henry killed a few queens, a couple of chancellors … whereas every other European state waged religious wars that killed tens and hundreds of thousands. Henry kept bloody business in the castles: where this anarchist agrees it belongs.
The FBI threw me in jail when I joked that I intended to take justice into my own hands, the state having flubbed it. I said I was going to wage war on my culture. They threw me in jail, made it clear that no facts could fit sideways into any trial of mine. They’d find a jury that would want to see me skinned. Compared to the public my judges would seem to be saints of mercy and compassion. No, no, no: the state wants the monopoly on violence: on education, on facts … on warfare, on torture. (Just don’t call it torture.)
But surely a church would have history on its side! Tradition! Even a Quaker Church.
(Don’t forget: Nixon was a Quaker!)
That’s what I want to see: the Quaker Church invade Pakistan: and kill any foreigner trying to assassinate hiding activists, anyone seeking asylum.
Or the Jainists! How about a Jainist Church invading Afghanistan?!
Buddhists don’t exactly have churches, but anything can be smoothed over if the right Jesuit is talking.