Why I Can’t Thank Veterans

By Jon Kauffman

I can’t thank veterans for their military service.

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44,45a, NIV

How do we love our enemies?

How do we love the children, innocent women, and innocent men the US has killed with drones?

How do we love fellow Christians and other refugees whose homes have been destroyed in Iraq, Libya and Syria because of faulty US foreign policy?

30 years ago I was broke, without a job or medical insurance and supporting two children. Many suggested I join the military. I told my wife that I could not in good conscience join the military. She said God would take care of us. God has blessed us greatly.

If I am unwilling to kill to protect our country, why should I expect someone else to do it? If I am unwilling to kill innocent civilians to prevent a future attack that may or may not happen, why should I expect someone else to do it for me. If I am unwilling to kill to protect US oil interests and military weapons maker’s interests, how can I ask or expect someone else to do it? If I say “Thank-you” to a veteran, he may think that I think he was doing the right thing by joining the military.

True patriots question failed US foreign policy. The ends do not justify the means. Wouldn’t it be better to lose our lives, our wealth, our freedom, our country, our homes and our families, but follow the teachings of Jesus?

Christians from the early church often refused to serve in the imperial army of Rome. They felt service in the Roman army conflicted with the teachings of Jesus. St. Marcellus was beheaded for refusing to serve.

One of the biggest mistakes of the church was to accept “Just War” theology. Each side feels their side is right and commit atrocities against the other. Then they each feel more justified. Catholics and Protestants fought each other for hundreds of years in Ireland. The Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France fought the 100 years war. The US has been at war in the Middle East for nearly 40 years. Everyone claims their war is just. How can it be?

Book Review: “America’s War for the Greater Middle East.” by Retired Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich

Reasons why other Christians participate in violence: Reasons Christians Give to Say Violence by Christians is Legitimate

Copyright © 2017 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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Author: Jon

Jon Kauffman graduated from Goshen College, earning a BA in Religion. Jon attended a Mennonite Church while growing up and currently attends the Salvation Army Church. Jon works as a drafter at TrueNorth Steel, Fargo, ND.

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