The Parable of the Sower VI, 2019

28 april 2020In Arts, News

The Parable of the Sower VI, series #14, The War Prayer, 2019. H 180 cm x w 136 cm (h 70.9 in x w 53.5 inch). Collage of adhesive film on drawing polyester mounted on a lightbox.

The War Prayer

During a recent research, I discovered Mark Twain’s (1805-1910) book “The War Prayer”. The book was initially forbidden. The story had similarities with the church attack in Charleston. Mark Twain wrote “The War Prayer” in response to the Spanish-American War and the subsequent Philippine-American War. The book remained unpublished until 1923, thirteen years after his death.

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle. His eyes fixed upon the minister. His long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet. is head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness

(Mark Twain, The War Prayer, 1905). The pastor read from “Laws for War, When you go to war”. Chapter 20 of Deuteronomy that just like “Book of the Wars of the Lord” are parts of the Old Testament.

In “The War Prayer”, the stranger confronts the pastor and the church community with group egoism, praying for a successful result of one’s own group, of an avoidable war and propagandize it. The message from the strange visitor amounted to: “stop patriotic incitement to a useless war and religious incitement of innocent civilians to go to war.” He was considered a lunatic “because there was no sense in what he said” (The War Prayer, 1905).