Good morning Dean Hays;
I hope your secretary successfully delivered my letter to you about a week ago, before the Thanksgiving break. If that is not the case, I have attached a copy of it to this email.
As I indicated in the letter, this email is for the purpose of following up with you about the need for a Truth Commission here at Duke to equip pastors and seminarians with the tools required to help service men and women, who to this day succumb to suicide at a higher rate than any other identifiable demographic in our society (at rates higher than ever recorded in our history). I have had the privilege, no, the pain, of having to explain to pastors and loved ones with service members in their midst how destructive and injurious the Church’s silence is in the face of wars without end being fought by the poorest, the least, of our nation.
With this email, I hope to provide you with some resources for your own discernment about how to equip current and future Christian leaders to speak with conviction and hope about war and it’s effects. Below you will find a short list of links to visit to learn more about the TCCW, conscience in war, and moral injury.
- TCCW final report (attached): also included with my letter on the 22nd, the recommendations for religious leaders and communities marked for your convenience.
- I have also maintained a list of articles written about the TCCW, including news outlets such as the NY Times, Christian Century, America Magazine, PBS, etc: https://feraltheology.wordpress.com/conscience/tccw/
- my own testimony in March can be watched here: http://conscienceinwar.org/2010/07/24/logan-mehl-laituri-testimony-video/
- Conscience in War series on Sojourners’ God’s Politics blog: http://blog.sojo.net/tag/conscientious-objection/
- Sojo has also indicated that they are interested in running a full campaign on this issue next fall, leading up to Veterans Day, hopefully in conjunction with a DDS truth commission for religious leaders and communities
- I was interviewed for a short video that captures the issue of Just War, but with a focus on the conflict in Afghanistan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK0wSpD81wI
- Moral Injury is a new term being used by VA clinicians and practitioners in an article published by Clinical Psychology Review last year (attached)
- Military officials are also taking notice: http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/military/article_179c6d17-ebb5-5e26-9aa4-8dc4c8f721cd.html
As I stated in my letter, I would be overjoyed to compile a packet containing valuable resources on the TCCW, conscience in war, and moral injury if you would authorize such a packet to be distributed to faculty and other key leaders within DDS. It is my firm belief that Duke has the opportunity to lead the way in discussing war and its psycho-spiritual effects in a more meaningful and constructive way. I have been praying for this opportunity for many years, often wondering if Duke was the place for this to happen, and I remain uncertain to this day, but I trust that the direction I have been drawn is indeed the community He has plans for in this regard. With Martin of Tours, and the host of weary and conflicted Christian service members, living and dead, I pray for perseverance in this work. I hope you will join me;
Lord, if your people still have need of our services, we will not avoid the toil. Your Will be done. We have fought the good fight long enough. Yet if You bid us continue to hold the battle line in defense of Your camp, we will never beg to be excused from failing strength. We will do the work You entrust to us. While you command, we will fight beneath Your banner.