“War is necessary to protect the country and the true faith”

We had reason to be in Sweden last week. A particular highlight of a memorable week was seeing wonderful friends again and being taken on a tour of Stockholm.

One of Stockholm’s main visitor attractions is the Vasa – a huge and nearly perfectly preserved 17th Century warship whose maiden voyage made the Titanic look good.

Built with all the resources available to King Gustavus II Adolphus, this magnificent ship made it about 1800 metres before it toppled over and sank in Stockholm harbour where it lay largely undisturbed for over 300 years.

It was overladen with canons and elaborate carvings celebrating the king’s power and status. No-one dared question the orders to build another row of canons. This was to be the most powerful and intimidating warship on the seas. And it is magnificent to see today. The photograph cannot capture its scale.

No-one was found to blame by the subsequent 17th Century inquiry – funny that.

Some photos showing that ‘religious nationalism’ of ‘God and nation’ is nothing new. And how war, sanctified in the name of God, acts to reinforce national identity and the power of the ruling elite.

I couldn’t help but think of America and this book – but the same dyanmic has been, and continues to be, played out across the globe.

The cross of Christ proclaims that there are few worse heresies than “peace requires war”.

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