August 11, 2017

Trinity and North Korea

On Sunday, we marked the anniversary of the atomic bomb "Little Boy" dropped on Hiroshima, which immediately killed more than 70,000 people (with tens of thousands of more people dying in the following months). Most of those killed were civilians.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump threatened North Korea with a nuclear attack, saying he would send "fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before." North Korea responded by saying it might hit the U.S. territory of Guam with a nuclear strike. Most of those who would be killed in North Korea or Guam would be civilians.

On Wednesday, we marked the anniversary of the atomic bomb "Fat Man" dropped on Nagasaki, which immediately killed more than 35,000 people (with tens of thousands of more people dying in the following months). Most of those killed were civilians.

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A few days before the two anniversaries and the escalation of war rhetoric, I visited Los Alamos, New Mexico. It was there that scientists built the bombs "Little Boy" and "Fat Man," as well as an earlier test bomb used in the desert of New Mexico. The name of the first bomb marks the main drive in the town today.

Trinity.

The first of three atomic bombs detonated in 1945 carried the name of the Divine Three. A bomb to undue creation. Starting with the nucleus of the atoms and then exploding outward to destroy anything in its path, this "Trinity" creates death. Now there is a street and businesses carrying the name "Trinity" to glorify that deadly beast.

Standing in the city of Los Alamos, I discovered they have since knocked down the buildings of the original lab where those bombs were made. A small two-room exhibit marks the corner of the main facility. The spot where "Trinity" was built is now a parking lot. I've heard they paved paradise, but I guess they put up a parking lot on the other place as well.

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A fiery preacher in Dallas - one of the court preachers for Trump - quickly offered his blessing to Trump's threat to rain nuclear death on the people of North Korea. Robert Jeffress claimed that "God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-un." Jeffress added, "Thank God for a President who is serious about protecting our country."

I wonder who that god is that Jeffress talks about. I don't see that god in the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. Perhaps the god Jeffress praises is not the Trinity of Heaven, but the "Trinity" of Los Alamos. 

When the "sons of thunder" saw opposition from their ethnic rival, they asked Jesus if they should call down fire (and fury) from heaven. Jesus rebuked them.

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As my family recently walked around in a museum in Los Alamos, my five-year-old son became fascinated with a video looping through many atomic test blasts in the years following World War II. Since we had visited a couple of sites in New Mexico with unique volcanic rocks, he apparently thought that's what he was seeing.

"Look at the volcanoes!" he exclaimed as he watched blast after blast.

I explained those weren't volcanoes. Walking him over to life-size replicas of "Little Boy" and "Fat Man," I noted those blasts were from bombs people dropped. He quietly walked back over to the video loop.

"Why would they do that?"

"I don't know," was all I could mutter.

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