The anti-Vietnam War activists of the 1960’s understood the art of politics and marketing. They knew the fastest way to change America was not via the ballot box, but rather through the media, especially the TV news programs.
And almost all anti-Vietnam War marches and sit-ins were orchestrated with an eye toward the 6 PM national news programs. Catchy slogans, much like advertising jingos, were shouted by the participants. Some of their favorites: “Hell no! We won’t go!” and “Make love, not war!” and “Draft beer, not boys!”
The TV news programs were more than eager to oblige the anti-Vietnam war activists. After all, TV news programs depend on advertising money, which depends on ratings, which depends on viewership, which usually depends on conflicts – and not happy news.
Thus, the national TV programs coupled bloody news footage from the Vietnam War with anti-Vietnam War activist events.
But the anti-Vietnam War activists also knew America was basically a Christian nation. So, they challenged Christians with an in-your-face marketing strategy. They used cut and paste Bible techniques, choosing certain verses which justified their stances, but overlooking others which did not.
“Jesus stated, ‘Love your enemies, and do good to those who hate you,'” the anti-Vietnam War activists said. “Well, how can you do that if you are killing them in a war?”
The activists also said, “Jesus stated that we should not resist evil, but rather, turn the other cheek to our enemies. How can we obey Jesus if we are shooting them with guns? Shouldn’t we be turning our cheeks to them instead?”
Now, since the latter part of the Reformation, there have been pacifist streams in Christianity: Quakers, Brethren and Anabaptists. These groups have offshoots into today’s Amish, Mennonite and Hutterite communities and assemblies.
But the activists took their antiwar beliefs many steps past the pacifist beliefs of the aforementioned groups. The activists insinuated that God hated all wars. Jesus was against all wars. Thus, war was a sin. Period!
How did Christianity react to the messages spoken by the anti-Vietnam War activists?
A significant percentage of Christians marched into the left ditch along the balanced Biblical path while a significant percentage of other Christians marched into the right ditch. Both ditches are extreme Biblical views of Christianity without even taking into account the need for seeking the Lord’s opinion.
So, what was wrong with the left ditch?
(Continued in Part 5)