77 years ago (August 9, 1945) an all-Christian bomber crew dropped an experimental plutonium bomb on Nagasaki City, Japan, instantly incinerating, asphyxiating and/or vaporizing tens of thousands of innocent civilians, mostly women and children. Very few Japanese soldiers were killed by the bombs.
Japan’s major religions are Shitoism and Buddhism, but a disproportionate number of the dead at Nagasaki were Christian. The bomb also wounded uncounted tens of thousands of other victims who suffered the blast trauma, the intense heat and/or the radiation sickness that killed and maimed so many of the survivors.
Image: Another Irradiated and Charred Victim of the Nagasaki Bomb
In 1945, the US regarded itself as the most Christian nation in the world and the bomber crew reflected that reality. The small United States Army Air Force (USAAF) unit that was charged with dropping the atomic bombs (the 509th Composite Group) even had two Christian military chaplains assigned to it. They all were products of the type of Christianity that failed to teach what Jesus taught concerning homicidal violence (ie, that it was forbidden to his followers).
Of course, ignoring the powerful pacifist teachings of Jesus has been the norm for the vast majority of Christian theologians, clergy and lay-leaders for the past 1700 years. Indeed, it is often said that the only group that doesn’t know that Jesus was a pacifist is that group known as Christian. And the church’s leadership is most responsible for that erroneous stance.
Nagasaki was the most Christian city in Japan, and the city’s massive Urakami Cathedral was the largest Christian church in the orient – both in membership and physical structure. The cathedral was so large that it was visible at 31,000 feet, making it an easy aiming point for the Nagasaki bombardier.