Response to Accusation of Cowardism

Posted as a comment on Jim Wallis’ blog, a reprint of the SojoMail Special Report:

“Logan is a coward. Jesus is not against war. Jesus is aginst sitting on your butt while innocent people die. Poeple in the west are ablt to take this idea of CO because there are people willing to fight. By the way if you join the infantry and then decide not to fight you are a COWARD. If this wimp had any real skills he would have joined a noncombatant unit not a front lne unit. Fight or get out. this ant-war rhetoric is disgusting. Should we have fought Hitler? Not according to most of the “logic” presented here, we should have just prayed and asked god to storm the beach at Normandy. It makes me sick that people like you live under the blanket of brave people like me. I hope we do pull out of Iraq and embolden the islamic jerks. Then they can come here and convert you to the true faith. you pray while we fight. You whine and bitch while we fight, you complain about Bush while we fight, you post on the internet with like minded people while we fight, you live while we die, protecting your worthless asses.Jason 12.10.06 – 2:47 am”

———————–

Jason, I would like to thank you for the courage it took to enter into a discussion which you surely knew would be centered on ideas about which you disagreed with, though I must admit I find it troubling that you put others down while elevating yourself (“It makes me sick that people like you live under the blanket of brave people like me”), which is, sadly, exactly that which Christ condemns mercilessly in Matthew 23, and scattered throughout His earthly ministry. While He quite clearly has the authority and power to condemn such people (and He will), I do not believe we, sinful human beings, are granted that authority, so I will not allow myself to succumb to more hatred (which is really rooted in fear). It is this same such condemnation that I found myself being ordered to undertake in Iraq which I found troubling (Jesus taught that even hatred as a passing thought is as potent as murder itself).

However, I will take this opportunity to reveal to you one of the facts behind what eventually led me out of the Army that Will did not have time for in the article. As a part of the CO process, I was interviewed by a medical professional and was diagnosed with a mental disorder after I told an Army Psychiatrist that I wanted to deploy without a weapon (since my ‘allegiances’ between God and Man were coming into conflict, and my willingness to die for what I believed in represented a threat to my physical well being). It was a combination of this diagnosis and a lawyer seeking a copy of my application packet that eventually led my commander to deem me medically non-deployable; effectively banning me from the deployment. I am still willing to die for that same cause, but not to kill. When I applied to Christian Peacemaker Teams in Palestine, it was because they no longer had delegations to Iraq. The Lebanon war had just begun, so I decided to try to go to Israel.

I will not deny you the opportunity to label me a coward, in fact, I wear the title proudly. You are not the first, nor will you be the last, to use it. In an act of loving subversion, I actually proactively adopted the name for myself, stealing the opportunity from the Enemy to tempt someone weak in the Spirit to sin by degrading me with such a title. You may call me a coward all you wish, though if you are familiar with military customs, you will know that everything is an acronym, so let me share with you its new meaning; a C.O.W.A.R.D. is nothing more than a Conscientious Objector Willfully Against Rendering Death.

~

Please remember Jason in your prayers tonight. It is this kind of attitude that we are called to prevent through active, compassionate witness. Hopefully we are all able to respond to behavior like this in love; to return contempt with concern. To end the cycle before we allow ourselves to be rolled up in it.

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