Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On reading between the lines

"We do know [Jesus] preaches peace...but it did not mean [Jesus] was against a nation going to war."
The above quotation came from a story that I originally read in my SojoMail (from Sojourners), but that Jim Wallis has since posted as a Beliefnet blog entry, "Will Braun: Christian Soldier Returns to Front Lines Unarmed,"
(published in its original form in Geez Magazine ...check it out!)

It's the story of Logan Laituri, a US soldier who had served on the front lines in Iraq. Logan reached a new understanding of his Christian faith, sought CO status, and requested to be sent back to Iraq unarmed. His commanders dragged their feet on putting his request through and Logan was eventually transferred to a non-combat unit. After his term of service was up, he joined a Christian Peacemaker Team ...and got his wish at last to go back to Iraq unarmed. He has his own blog, Courageous Coward.

Logan got some really way-out comments from Christians when he told them he could no longer in good conscience bear arms:
"One commander, who is also a Baptist preacher, assured Laituri that since he was a Christian, Jesus had died for all his sins, and therefore he was already forgiven for whatever he would do on the battlefield."
Say WHAT????

and this:
"His then-girlfriend's father told Laituri he was part of God's hand in bringing judgement to Muslim extremists."
Onward, Christian jihadists!

The comment about Jesus preaching peace yet not objecting to nations going to war was made by Army Chaplain Maj. Norman W. Jones. I can't think of a more agonizing vocation than that of an Armed Forces chaplain. I understand those who say that if the churches are really serious about preaching Jesus' message of peace and love of enemies, then they should stop supporting nationalistic wars and refuse to send their clergy to serve. On the other hand, as Maj. Jones says, "I'm here to support the soldier." Soldiers do not send themselves to war. How, then, to refuse to minister to them as they come face to face with death?

Nevertheless, the statement, "We do know [Jesus] preaches peace...but it did not mean [Jesus] was against a nation going to war," almost invites the question: "What nation would Jesus take up arms for?" (Trick question: he'd fight on our side, right?) It just made me stop cold.

How we Christians do manage to wiggle out of a simple gospel....

Logan got it right:
"One superior berated him, saying his actions benefitted the enemies of America– an insult Laituri took as affirmation, given Jesus' invitation to love the enemy."

2 comments:

  1. This is a great story. I'm glad that you shared this.

    "One commander, who is also a Baptist preacher, assured Laituri that since he was a Christian, Jesus had died for all his sins, and therefore he was already forgiven for whatever he would do on the battlefield."

    With this sort of reasoning all sorts of gay people could remain in those conservative churches and continue to live the gay "lifestyle" knowing that Jesus had died for their sins and has already forgiven them for whatever they did in the bedroom. {ahem}

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  2. Hey, sounds good to me! I think you should call the 700 Club right now!:-)

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