Clemens ' The War Prayer

852 Words Apr 22nd, 2016 4 Pages
Clemens’ piece is written as a condemnation of the strong religious and nationalistic bellicosity he saw evident in his nation and other alike in his lifetime. This fervor for war was routinely justified by war theology established in the Old Testament. Clemens, having seen the horror rendered by the total war wrought upon the south by Sherman’s march and the Civil War as a whole, it is easy to imagine how strongly opposed he would be to the war theology evident in “The Book of Joshua”. “The War Prayer”, is perhaps Clemens’ attempt to rid the nation of the war theology that in some degree had helped justice the ferocity of the Civil War. The piece begins describing a nation which is at the onset of war. Clemens describes man and woman alike, filled with a fiery desire for war, fueled by their belief in nation and God, not unlike the Israelites in, “The Book of Joshua”. The parallels drawn between the people of the two texts makes Clemens’ writing all the more effective as a criticism of, “The Book of Joshua”. Clemens make very clear that nation’s lust for war is perpetuated by an aggressive war theology. Clemens’ describes the scene, “in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener” (Twain, par. 1). In the following paragraph, Clemens further highlights the relationship between religion and the fervor for war in his description…
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