Welcome to RelPol, a student peer reviewed online magazine. This magazine is part of the assessment for the module "In God We Trust" @ the University of Hull.
Individuals group together because they share a commonality, whether a neighborhood shares there common location or a Protestant Church shares a common faith in a benevolent God. They attempt get help from each other to achieve their goals because a unity of people is stronger than one single person. But does becoming a group of people unify their ambitions to help them achieve greatness or do the many goals get blurred and lost in the mass of people. Every person in the Republican Party might share in the belief that the American military force should be a well-funded organisation with a hard line stance on resolving the conflict between the Sunni and Shia Muslims, but perhaps collectively their intervention in the middle-east leads to less virtuous actions than first intended. Their separate goals of liberating the suppressed become less about promoting freedom and democracy and more about political and military intervention and national power.
Perhaps there is a better balance to be developed between individuals creating a national goal and the nation restricting the individual’s goals? In Barack Obama’s post re-election speech, he said what was important to the American nation is “what can be done by us together through.. [the] necessary work of self-government” but is this nationalism a false belief supported by many other false beliefs that surround and shroud it?
World War II was seen as courageous and principled; a belief turned false by the meddling revisionists who brought the truth of the Vietnam War into frame. This changed the public perception of war because it showed the unnecessary and barbaric underside of war, opposing the fabricated Hollywood depiction of American triumphalism in WWII and highlighting the refusal to acknowledge the impact that allies had in the downfall of fascism. It was no one person’s wish to kill a person that they had never even met before, but the individual aims of stopping the acts of anti-Semitism and discrimination became a concerted national and world-wide military effort to down the political dictatorship of the Nazis. A stark contrast between the aim of wanting to stop evil and the resulting acts of starting a war.
Correspondingly, in the present day the flag of Al Qaeda still flies over Fallujah, contradicting Obama’s delusion that “the war on terror is over”. A war on a terrorist force that is “against all that the United States of America stands for” despite the fact that ISIS were trained by U.S. military in Jordan. It was never the aim of American citizens to train or put guns in the hands of potential extremist religious or nationalist groups, but it became the collective aim to give the citizens of a country a shield in the form of offensive weapons and training- to lift their forces onto a level playing field of their enemies, whom they could probably sit with one to one in a café and discuss the weather or football. Another example of the good intentions and practices shared by many individuals being twisted into violence as it becomes a faceless national aim and how the hatred felt by a collective might be defused if it were made more personal and individual.
Religion and Politics are heavily entwined in America; highlighted through the enduring phrase ‘In God We Trust’ introduced to coinage in 1864 by the U.S treasury which is backed by the Government, also heard in oaths for the courts or to gain citizenship. In collective American Religion however, we see the same good intent from individuals that make it up but without the harmful intervention of the whole. Instead, we see figures like Pope Francis who shared his frustration in saying that “it is difficult, one could say impossible [to open a dialogue with Islamic State insurgents but] you can never shut a door”. This comes around 10 weeks after ISIS show its intent to killing the Pope!
In Government, intentions of ‘resolving conflict’ turn into fighting a war, in Religion actions of kindness ensue as U.S. Catholic agencies send funds to help minorities in Iraq and Syria. The mirage of false beliefs in the good intentions of American Politician keeps society content, far away from the conflict in their sub-urban paradise of little boxes on the hillside, re-affirming their faith in an overarching ruling mist which balances faceless power with warming promises – for example, that America would pull out from Iraq in 2011 and yet on the 15th June “President Barack Obama ordered U.S. forces to the region in response to offensive action by ISIL in Iraq”. The mutated intentions of these powers must surely be self-gratifying power for the US. If it was only for the good of the citizens both foreign and abroad then constant bloodshed should not ensue.
It is no argument to suggest that the American government should take a leaf out of God’s book or align itself with the actions of the popular nation’s religions. The Protestant, Roman Catholic, Evangelical churches of America have far different rolls to play and actions to execute but when a government sets out to resolve a conflict must it be so commonplace to intervene with military action? When aggression is met with aggression peace is a far away concept and yet this is supposed to be the ultimate goal.