“John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him. … Whoever is not against us is for us.’” (Mark 9:38-40)
People of Jesus work against demons — against the forces of evil that eat away at the goodness of God, the wonder of creation, the life of God in the world. Demonic forces roam the world, corrupting minds and bodies, cultures and governments, trying to bring ruin upon all that is good and beautiful. They dehumanize, devastate, and destroy life.
Weaponized drones are demons: evil spirits of the air, specters in the heavens, shadowy presences. They are forces of evil in heavenly places, triggering mental anxiety and bodily harm, instigating psychological damage and death, raining down terror and trauma.
Last week the law schools at New York University and Stanford University released a report on the terrorizing effect of the use of drone strikes in Pakistan. The constant threat of violence from the sky torments the people on the ground:
"Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning. Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves. Those fears have affected behavior."
As the study makes clear, drones are doing the work of demons as they terrorize minds and bodies. In this context, Christians find ways to continue the ministry of Jesus, our redeemer, who battled against the demons that sought to eat away at God’s movement of life.
To work against a society, a culture, an economy that produces demonic drones requires all the allies we can find. As Jesus says to his disciples as they battled demons, “Whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:40). Jesus calls his disciples to resist forces of destruction alongside whoever else is doing similar work, regardless of whom she or he claims to follow.
The kingdom of God is for the whole world. The society God wants is not the possession of Christians. With so many demons in the skies, all of us will need to do our part to reclaim spaces on earth for human life to grow, to flourish, to bloom with God’s beauty.
This is adapted from a sermon pastor Isaac Villegas preached at his church, Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship, on September 30, 2012.
For more coverage on drones, see our DRONE WATCH series.