62 years ago today, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, another was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.
Without question, fascism needs to be opposed, and the Church has powerful and nonviolent ways to do so. But Americans tend to canonize World War Two, as if it really were a good example of "just war". We forget that this war violated "just war" principles...first by demanding "unconditional surrender", then, of course, by dropping atomic bombs on Japan. Many Americans remark that had the bombs not been dropped, forcing Japanese surrender, an invasion might have cost a million or more American lives, as if those lives were somehow of greater value than the tens of thousands...hundreds of thousands of Japanese lives which were ended.
One of the great problems of "just war" thinking is that once we allow that little compromise from Jesus' directives, the next steps are easy...to unconditional surrender, to the internment of Asian-Americans, to cluster bombs in Kosovo, to Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, to Auschwitz and Birkenau, to the dropping of nuclear weapons. For the Church, there can be no compromise when it comes to Jesus' commands, because when we compromise (or simply ignore) our Lord, millions may die.
May God forgive all those responsible for the atomic attacks on Japan, as well as all those who helped to create those conditions; may God forgive Jesus' Church, which failed to be a voice for peace during the 1940s, and continues that failure into the 21st century; may God have mercy on victims of war throughout the world.
May God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, help his people to be more peaceful and his Church to be more obedient to Jesus Christ, Lord of the Church and Lord of All.
"Just War: a secular version of “holy war”,
our religion: Righteous Indignation.
Just wait till March when we march,
gas masks our featureless faces.
Just wait till April when we shower
like rain on the just and unjust.
Propaganda? The biggest lie
is “civilians won’t die.”
Jesus didn’t say, “Do unto others,
before they do unto you.”
Why do we both have God on our side?
Could it be that God just loves a good fight?
And here we insert the societal shrug,
It’s only human nature;
it’s just war." - Bruce Niedt