Impressions from the 2015 Rose Parade

On January 1, 2015, I turned on the TV set and watched the 126th Rose Parade from the warm comfort of my home, while near record-breaking cold temperatures were felt in Pasadena, California, where the parade commenced at 8:00am. Pretty soon, I felt bored and even somewhat offended. While the announcers and local papers commented on the truly “inspirational” floats and the messages behind them, I found myself in disagreement. There was not much inspiration for me. The parade was overshadowed by honoring veterans and soldiers, with an U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit stealth bomber performing a flyover above the parade route, and by portraying many (unscriptural) different cultural and religious facets of American society, including floats representing far-Eastern religious ideas or portraying “biblical” figures in a most ridiculous and juvenile way.

When meditating about God’s point of view, it became abundantly clear that even something so (at times) beautiful-looking as the flower-decorated floats of the Rose Parade present an entirely wrong picture—apart from the fact that the annoying “New Year’s” sign, which was visibly portrayed throughout the TV program, gave the entire broadcast the resemblance of a New Year’s celebration. This brought into focus the dangerous traps which unsuspecting Church members might fall into, when approving, applauding or even engaging in worldly activities which are contrary to biblical injunctions.

“Honoring” veterans and soldiers and supporting their conduct has no place in the Christian mind set. God is against war in every shape or form. We do appreciate the zeal with which many are fighting for their country, but we must never forget that their zeal is misguided, futile and in opposition to God’s commandments. In war, human beings are killed—including innocent civilians and children, who are labeled as “inevitable casualties.” In addition, our wars will never bring lasting peace. Church members are conscientious objectors for a reason—their conscience objects to and prohibits them from fighting in war, because they are convinced that war does not reflect God’s way of life. Since this is so, they are not to give the impression to others that they approve somehow of war activities. They are not to stand up to applaud veterans; they are not to post pictures on Facebook which celebrate veterans—in short, they are not to engage in hypocritical conduct.

But this godly injunction of giving a clear and consistent picture of ourselves runs much deeper. True Christians who are opposed to war are not to vote in governmental elections to give their support to a presidential candidate of their preference who will become the Commander in Chief. Again, to do so would manifest hypocritical and inconsistent conduct and question the sincerity of a person who votes for a candidate to become President, while refusing to serve under that elected President.

Not voting in political elections and refusing to serve in the military are to be seen in conjunction with refusing to serve on the jury. These three activities are intertwined elements of the same package, as they all manifest our understanding that we are not to be part of this world, but rather, that we are Christ’s ambassadors for a better world to come—when the Kingdom of God will be established on earth to rule all nations. Then, people will not learn war anymore; then, there will be no more political campaigns and elections; and then, there will be no more jury trials.

Many seem to have doubts today about the long-held doctrine of the Church of God in this regard; and quite a few who once knew better have now begun to participate in jury trials and to vote in governmental elections. They may be sincere, but they are sincerely wrong. Our free booklet, “Should You Fight in War?” explains in detail the biblical teaching on the inseparable connection between military service, voting and jury duty.

Whether there will be something like “rose parades” in the world tomorrow, we do not know; but if that was the case, we suspect that they would not be held on January 1, and we know that they would not focus on foreign and unbiblical religions and philosophies or on soldiers and veterans. No U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit stealth bomber would fly over any parade route, and no one would rise to honor those who, in their misguided zeal, felt that they had to fight and kill in war in order to bring peace.

What a different world it will be!

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