In the meantime, I thought I would direct your attention to a little book I read recently by Mark Twain called The War Prayer. I would love to hear the reaction of every evangelical Christian in America to this book. The War Prayer is a fictional tale, written during the Philippine-American War which took place in the first decade of the twentieth century, about a man who interrupts the service of a local church to inform the patriotic congregation of what their prayers to God for victory in their nation’s latest campaign really mean.
This book is for anyone who has ever felt uneasy about the rampant idolatry of American Christianity’s unchecked devotion to “God and country.” Twain (whose real name was Samuel Clemens) was aware of this terrible wickedness, and The War Prayer was his not-so-subtle way of exposing it.
From the preface:
To Dan Beard, who dropped in to see him, Clemens read the ‘War Prayer,’ stating that he had read it to his daughter Jean, and others, who had told him he must not print it, for it would be regarded as sacrilege.
‘Still, you are going to publish it, are you not?’
Clemens, pacing up and down the room in his dressing-gown and slippers, shook his head.
‘No,’ he said, ‘I have told the whole truth in that, and only dead men can tell the truth in this world.
‘It can be published after I am dead.’
Thankfully The War Prayer was published, and I highly recommend it to all my readers. It’s so short it only took me ten minutes to read, so really you have no excuse. Find a copy, read it, let its message sink into your heart, and then I would love to hear your reaction.