- The Washington Times - Monday, April 21, 2003

The war in Iraq is coming to a victorious close, and members of the American-led coalition are now focusing on the next step in the liberation of the Iraqi people. But, on the homefront, the war goes on.
This domestic war has been simmering for decades, but fighting has intensified since September 11 and, more recently, the Iraqi war. It is the struggle for the soul of America, which is being carried out by two diametrically opposed armies. One is made up of traditional Americans with Judeo-Christian beliefs, who contend, as President Bush does, that America is a force for good in the world, which is ruled by God.
The other army is made up of the secular left, who don't like words like "cowboy," "evil" or "war." They worship at the altar of the United Nations. Ironically, one of the strongest regiments in this godless army is comprised of America's mainstream Protestant leaders. But, they are mainstream Christians in name only, for they gird themselves for battle with the breastplate of left-wing ideology.
Leading the charge for the Protestant fringe-left are the leaders of the United Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Evangelical Lutherans but especially the Methodists. They have cut themselves loose from their moorings of Biblical scriptures and traditions and have set a course both in this world and of it. Ever since September 11, they have beaten the war drums for world peace at any cost with frenetic intensity, even as they shout the mantra of pacifism. "Nothing I understand about Jesus Christ leads me to believe that support for war and violence are tolerable actions for Christian people," said Jim Winkler, general secretary of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, the largest church lobby in Washington.
Mr. Winkler and his minions have redefined Christ to suit their agenda that war is essentially always wrong. In fact, Christ, who certainly did not advocate war, was not a pacifist. He once commended a Roman centurion who asked him to heal a sickly servant. He did not admonish this military leader to put down his arms, nor did he even suggest that soldiering was inconsistent with his teachings.
Jesus himself once drove the money-changers out of the temple, with a whip. He even urged his apostles to bear arms as they traveled to new, and sometimes unfriendly, parts of the world: "The one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one."
United Methodist Bishop Clifton Ives completely dismissed the Christian tradition of a just war. "Jesus didn't know a thing about just war theology. He just knew about peace," said Mr. Ives, who didn't feel compelled to explain why he thought the time-honored writings of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas were suddenly irrelevant.
In fact, the real spirit driving the peace-mongering Protestant leaders is not pacifism at all. It is the hatred of Mr. Bush and America itself. Methodist Bishop William Dew delivered a Christmas message last December which described Mr. Bush as the moral equivalent of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. The presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Frank Griswold, recently whined, "I'd like to go somewhere in the world and not have to apologize for being from the United States."
Early this year, the National Council of Churches, a leftist umbrella organization which represents numerous mainstream Protestant denominations, went to Baghdad and gave aid and comfort to the enemy. They met and even prayed with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.
Unlike their leaders, most Protestants sitting in the pews are, indeed, mainstream. They understand that military force is sometimes necessary and are rejoicing in the liberation of the Iraqi people.
Wars often have a way of precipitating other events. Many Protestant congregants have in the past, been unaware of church politics, as the leadership has deliberately tried to hide its leftist tendencies. But now, parishioners are plugged in to what their leadership is doing through various Web sites, and they are becoming increasingly concerned. Parishioners usually don't like to make trouble, so they are not confronting their leaders. But while they may not be talking the talk, they are walking the walk right out of their churches' open doors.
In fact, 3 million Methodists and 1 million Episcopalians have walked out in the past 30 years, which coincides with the rise of the leftist leadership in those denominations. The downward spiral in membership is a trend in all the mainline Protestant churches. In the past decade, the Presbyterian Church has dropped almost 12 percent membership, the American Baptist Church almost 6 percent and the United Church of Christ almost 15 percent. During that same time, the U.S. population has grown almost 14 percent.
As a long time Methodist, I've watched the war on the homefront unfold in my own denomination and others, and I believe the end is within sight. The once awesome power of the late, great Protestant churches will fade away perhaps within a decade. Not because of a struggle, but because the troops will abandon the commanders whose own ambition blinded them from seeing the necessity of a regime change their own.

Dave Berg is a Hollywood producer.

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