Sunday, December 16, 2007

Melville -- “the sanction of the religion of the meek”

“Bluntly put, a chaplain is the minister of the Prince of Peace serving in the host of the God of War—Mars. As such, he is as incongruous as a musket would be on the altar at Christmas. Why, then, is he there? Because he indirectly subserves the purpose attested by the cannon; because too he lends the sanction of the religion of the meek to that which practically is the abrogation of everything but brute Force.”

--Herman Melville, Billy Budd, Sailor (An inside narrative), 1891 (1924)