The old cliche is true; history really does repeat itself. And so, the wars roll on. With each generation humanity travels much of the same old road. The mistakes and atrocities of each generation seem to disappear in the annals of time with subsequent generations failing to learn or choosing to ignore, for whatever reason, the mistakes of their fathers. This Saturday, August 9, is the anniversary for the lesser discussed, and often forgotten, bombing on the city of Nagasaki, Japan. Nagasaki was the second city in two equally barbaric and aggressive atomic bombings on defenseless civilian populations that took the war torn Japanese people to the brink of extinction and further crippled their fascist government.
The original target was the city of Kokura, not Nagasaki. Kokura, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki had been mostly spared from the US bombing raids that burned nearly sixty other Japanese cities to the ground. The reason for mostly excluding these cities from conventional bombings was to see the affects on undamaged buildings with living inhabitants when an atomic bomb, the world’s first WMD, was exploded. In effect, the atomic bombings in Japan were nothing short of a nuclear science experiment.
On the morning of August 9, 1945 a bomber called Bockscar, with an all Christian crew, took off from Tinian Island and had been blessed by the prayers of several Christian chaplains. The crew was instructed to drop the bomb through visually siting the city but upon arrival to Kokura the cloud cover was so dense that the crew headed for its secondary target, Nagasaki. Most historians estimate the death toll in Nagasaki at 50,000. Children playing in the streets and innocent men and women were instantly vaporized while others that survived the initial blast lived to develop excruciating diseases and cancers. Tens of thousands suffered from radiation poisoning and chromosomal defects. One eyewitness account from a lady who survived the attack recalled a horrifying experience as two figures, what she thought were lizards, crawled on the hillside where she found shelter. It turns out they were two survivors who had their skin flash burned from their bodies. The hell dropped from the sky that morning is unimaginable, even in nightmares.
Nagasaki had the largest concentration of Christians along with the largest cathedral in the entire Orient. The Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier had established a mission church there in 1549 and the Christian community flourished for several generations. Unfortunately, around sixty years after Xavier founded the mission the Japanese government began persecution of the burgeoning community. They were tortured, murdered, and even crucified. The faith was all but extinguished. But was it?
In the 1850s, unbeknownst to the government, it was realized there were thousands of Christians in Nagasaki covertly practicing their faith. This rekindled another round of persecution, but due to international pressure the abuse stopped and the church emerged triumphant, even building a massive church building named St. Mary’s Cathedral. The Christians onboard Bockscar, when making visual conformation on the city, recognized their target by identifying the cathedral.
At 11:02 in the morning, the entire Nagasaki Christian community was annihilated by a Christian crew on behest of a Christian nation. The Japanese tried for 200 years to stamp out Christianity in their pagan nation; and what they could not do, American Christians did in less than a minute.
So I ask you, would Jesus Christ drop an atomic bomb?