Wednesday, November 11, 2020

A Pacifist's Dilemma on Veterans' Day

I believe in honoring our veterans who have put their lives on the line to serve a greater cause. I also believe that war is not an appropriate answer to our global conflicts and I often grieve over political leaders' cavalier use of our military troops. I found the following blog post by Mennonite pastor Joanna Harader to be a helpful way to frame the honoring of our military veterans. ~ CK

A Pacifist’s Dilemma on Veterans’ Day

Spacious Faith

I wrote this post in 2010, and it seemed appropriate to re-post this weekend.

* * *

I hate war. But I do not hate soldiers.

I believe engaging in armed combat goes against the teachings of Jesus. But I respect the fact that war veterans have made incredible sacrifices for causes they believed to be noble.

I am generally in favor of cutting military spending. But I think we should increase spending on medical and psychological care for veterans. The high rates of mental illness, divorce, and suicide among military veterans causes me deep sorrow.

My first-grader came home from school earlier this week with a little newspaper that featured an Iraq war veteran who had lost his leg. She told me he was a hero because he killed the bad guys. “How do you know,” I asked, “who the bad guys are? Remember what Jesus said.”

"Love your enemies?
Is there a way, on this day, for me to honor the spirit of sacrifice but not the acts of destruction; to give thanks for the selfless nature of our veterans without condoning the violence they committed; to advocate for better treatment of soldiers without supporting the work of the military-industrial complex?
I believe the best way to honor all veterans is to make sure there are as few new veterans as possible.
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