by Timothy Lane 11/17/15
The Bible is a very large book, and anyone who wants can find anything they want in it — whether to use it to support their position, or to mock those who try to follow the Bible. So I realize that one of my favorite passages is hardly typical. Reading Joel 3:9-10 in the Revised Standard Version (which is the one handy to my laptop):
Proclaim this among the naitons: Prepare war, stir up the mighty men. Let all the men of war draw near, let them come up.
Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, “I am strong.”
There have been times when this was done quite literally; when we visited the Museum of the Confederacy, we found sabers manufactured by the Nashville Plow Company. It’s a great passage for an army brat, not so much for any sort of pacifist (and thus any liberal).
But, regardless of who likes it or who doesn’t, just as there are times when this admonition is unnecessary and thus undesirable, so there are also times when Joel provides an excellent recommendation. There are probably few people this side of George Patton (or maybe John McCain) who would like to follow Joel 3:9-10 all the time. Unfortunately, there are many people who prefer to ignore this admonition all the time, and those people are in charge of protecting our country.
I once read a recommendation that before naming a Secretary of the Interior, one should take him to see Bambi and see if he cries at the end. Equally, before endorsing anyone for President, or Secretary of State, or any position in the Department of Defense, we should present this passage from Joel and see how they react.
Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.
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