Supporting our Troops as a Pacifist
Disclaimer: “Pacifist” is not the most accurate of terms to describe myself, but it grabbed your attention, right?
Over on my personal blog, www.lambtheology.com, I have been slowly publishing my thoughts on Christian Non-violence chapter by chapter, with the ultimate goal of publishing an ebook someday soon.
As a result of both my writings, and my conversations with others, allegations have come that I don’t support, or don’t like “the troops”. This isn’t so much of a surprise as it is a disappointment; I don’t want anyone to ever feel as if I don’t care about them. That goes against everything that I am called to do as a Christian.
But if I am honest with myself — Yes, I am against the Christian involvement in violence, and Yes, I know war is sometimes necessary for a nation, but for a while…I didn’t do anything to back up my protests against the allegations that I don’t care about our troops, or our veterans.
I realized that this is what needed work. I realized that I needed to do a better job at supporting troops and veterans. Why? Because they are people.
My struggle was: How do I “support the troops” when I may not support what they are commanded to do? Because, even as someone who believes that the government sometimes has to go to war — in recent times, it seems like the war in the middle east is like trying to fight the mythological creature “Hydra”. When you cut one head off, another one grows in its place.
So how do I support our troops?
I support our troops by not supporting endless wars.
There isn’t enough justification as to why our soldiers need to risk their lives overseas in other sovereign countries, and thereby angering the enemy further, and causing more innocent civilian lives to be lost — either because of our side, or the other. When it is not a war based on self-defense, and it seems to never end, I think something needs to change. I think we, the people, need to stop supporting the war, while still supporting the military members and their families who are involved. The Hippies got it wrong. By trying to promote peace, a lot of them also protested and disrespected individual soldiers. Soldiers who would lay down their own lives for them.
As a Christian Pacifist, I support the troops by advocating for the value of their lives through opposing endless wars that would take them. As a Christian advocate for nonviolence, I also am concerned about the foreign lives that are taken in war; enemy and civilian.
However, I can’t put the “Support Our Troops” ribbon on my car because it would look the same as those who don’t advocate against war; I support the people, but not our nation’s foreign policy. It would be easier for me to convince people that I support the troops with that ribbon without uttering a word, than it would be if I was able to explain my views to them in a calm environment. It’s a hard line to walk.
I support our troops and veterans through giving
I keep one of those poppy flowers in my car hanging from the rear-view mirror. It is from a time when I gave money to a group of veterans that were raising money outside of a Wal-Mart; I try to give to them every time I see them. Why do I do this, as a “pacifist”? Because whether I agree with their orders, or the logic, or not, these men and women were willing to risk their lives in service to their country, and as a result they live with the repercussions of war; like PTSD, injuries, and financial hardship when they get back. I firmly believe that if our government is going to send these men and women to war, that we should always show them love and compassion when they come home. As for protesting the war, I actually think that the church could effectively protest war because we would still have the call to love the soldiers in the war.
I keep that little fake flower in view because I need to be reminded to not do as the hippies did in my disgust of violence; I am called to love and care for all people by showing the Love of God to them through my words and actions.
As a Christian Pacifist, I support the troops by advocating for the value of their lives through opposing endless wars that would take them.