Author Topic: The holiday that hurts  (Read 8831 times)

LutherMan

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Re: The holiday that hurts
« Reply #45 on: November 10, 2015, 11:40:48 PM »
Chaplains are non-combatants...so they are never armed.

As for communing other Lutherans, yes...that is how the LCMS chaplain guidelines are written (or at least they were).  Usually, WELS Lutherans would tell me what they could not do.  I would simply invite them to do as much during worship as they could.  After a few weeks without saying anything more, more than a few would commune.
God Bless you for caring for them.  I appreciate it and thank you...

Steverem

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Re: The holiday that hurts
« Reply #46 on: November 10, 2015, 11:54:13 PM »
No, I'm not going to suggest a holiday to honor those who serve by refusing military service. Nor do I expect many to understand what kinds of "sacrifices" they make. May appropriate blessings and honors go to those who put on uniforms and pick up weapons in service of our country. But they are not the only ones who serve us. Nor are they the only ones who sacrifice.

Refusing military service is, by definition, not serving.  They might be wonderful folks, make a great old fashioned, volunteer at the local animal shelter ... but service and sacrifice aren't exactly their things.  And to downplay a day dedicated to those who do serve and sacrifice to an amazing degree because you don't want to leave these folks out is, charitably, misguided.

Dan Fienen

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Re: The holiday that hurts
« Reply #47 on: November 11, 2015, 12:03:05 AM »
No, I'm not going to suggest a holiday to honor those who serve by refusing military service. Nor do I expect many to understand what kinds of "sacrifices" they make. May appropriate blessings and honors go to those who put on uniforms and pick up weapons in service of our country. But they are not the only ones who serve us. Nor are they the only ones who sacrifice.
I am reminded of the closing banquet scene of the first Harry Potter movie when Dumbledore is handing out last minute house points for Herminoe, Ron and Harry for saving the day.  He also awards points to Neville Longbottom because, "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but it takes even more to stand up to your friends."  He is referring to the time earlier when Neville tries to stop Herminoe, Ron and Harry from going out after hours to save the day because it would be breaking the rules.


It is far too easy to dismiss those who conscientiously object to going to war as cowards.  We need their voices to remind us that war should be a last resort, undertaken reluctantly and with stringent limits.


But it is also far too easy to dismiss those who take up arms in service to their country as simply bully boys (and girls) and blood thirsty barbarians.  Contrary to the opinion popular among some, it does not take two to start a war and sometimes aggression must be met with force because that is the only language that aggressors may understand.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Charles Austin

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Re: The holiday that hurts
« Reply #48 on: November 11, 2015, 04:22:12 AM »
steverem writes:
Refusing military service is, by definition, not serving.
I comment:
No, it is not serving in uniform or with a weapon. There are other ways to serve your country.

steverem writes:
They might be wonderful folks, make a great old fashioned, volunteer at the local animal shelter ... but service and sacrifice aren't exactly their things.
I comment:
Again, you are limiting what constitutes "serving." I am grateful for those willing to go to war for our nation. I am also grateful for those who witness to pacifism (although I am not a total pacifist). And these people do sacrifice, if not the sacrifice of life and limb. They sacrifice their "standing" in some communities, often their jobs and friends or even family. There may be financial consequences to their refusal to serve and pacifists have gone to prison as part of their witness. To go against prevailing social and political attitudes quite often involves sacrifice.

steverem writes:
And to downplay a day dedicated to those who do serve and sacrifice to an amazing degree because you don't want to leave these folks out is, charitably, misguided.
I comment:
Did you not read what I posted? I do not downplay Veterans' Day and I believe that all appropriate honor should be given to those who have in good conscience and honorably worn the uniform of our armed services. I only note - as I often do on Memorial Day, Veterans' Day and the Fourth of July - that service to our nation can be given in other ways.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns couldíve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

Fletch

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Re: The holiday that hurts
« Reply #49 on: November 11, 2015, 06:50:12 AM »
It seems to me that those who serve in the military do sacrafice - mainly for the benefit of others.

It seems to me that those who refuse to serve in the military (other than for religious reasons) do sacrafice - mainly for the benefit of themselves. 


... Fletch

John_Hannah

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Re: The holiday that hurts
« Reply #50 on: November 11, 2015, 07:45:57 AM »
To the chaplains here:  Have you ever had a WELSian place you in charge of his spiritual care?

I always had WELS members at the Lutheran Services I conducted in Army chapels. Just as there were always ELCA [(and predecessors) and even some LCMS.   :)

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Charles Austin

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Re: The holiday that hurts
« Reply #51 on: November 11, 2015, 08:18:54 AM »
Fletch writes:
It seems to me that those who refuse to serve in the military (other than for religious reasons) do sacrafice - mainly for the benefit of themselves.

I comment:
Yeah, sure, they are just selfish or masochists.
And since we do not have a draft, you can refuse to serve in the military for any damn reason you want. If you make your pacifist beliefs known, you are likely to suffer a little. But if you choose not to serve because you want to make more money, spend time with your family, or because you don't like the color of the uniforms, people probably won't say much to you.
And if you volunteer as a civilian to go overseas to a war zone or a dangerous part of the world and provide medical care, education or help to refugees, there will probably not be a parade, a banner across main street or a beer bash at the Legion hall when you return. Furthermore, should you be injured or killed because of your voluntary efforts, you and your family are pretty much on your own; no VA hospital or government pension.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Oh, my. How close we were to a situation where many people with guns couldíve killed many members of Congress. The possible result? Martial law and/or Civil War. Thank God some people are still coming forward to tell the truth.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: The holiday that hurts
« Reply #52 on: November 11, 2015, 08:29:06 AM »
Fletch writes:
It seems to me that those who refuse to serve in the military (other than for religious reasons) do sacrafice - mainly for the benefit of themselves.

I comment:
Yeah, sure, they are just selfish or masochists.
And since we do not have a draft, you can refuse to serve in the military for any damn reason you want. If you make your pacifist beliefs known, you are likely to suffer a little. But if you choose not to serve because you want to make more money, spend time with your family, or because you don't like the color of the uniforms, people probably won't say much to you.
And if you volunteer as a civilian to go overseas to a war zone or a dangerous part of the world and provide medical care, education or help to refugees, there will probably not be a parade, a banner across main street or a beer bash at the Legion hall when you return. Furthermore, should you be injured or killed because of your voluntary efforts, you and your family are pretty much on your own; no VA hospital or government pension.

Charles, on this Veteran's Day what is your point?
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but itís not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Steverem

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Re: The holiday that hurts
« Reply #53 on: November 11, 2015, 08:53:10 AM »
steverem writes:
Refusing military service is, by definition, not serving.
I comment:
No, it is not serving in uniform or with a weapon. There are other ways to serve your country.

steverem writes:
They might be wonderful folks, make a great old fashioned, volunteer at the local animal shelter ... but service and sacrifice aren't exactly their things.
I comment:
Again, you are limiting what constitutes "serving." I am grateful for those willing to go to war for our nation. I am also grateful for those who witness to pacifism (although I am not a total pacifist). And these people do sacrifice, if not the sacrifice of life and limb. They sacrifice their "standing" in some communities, often their jobs and friends or even family. There may be financial consequences to their refusal to serve and pacifists have gone to prison as part of their witness. To go against prevailing social and political attitudes quite often involves sacrifice.

steverem writes:
And to downplay a day dedicated to those who do serve and sacrifice to an amazing degree because you don't want to leave these folks out is, charitably, misguided.
I comment:
Did you not read what I posted? I do not downplay Veterans' Day and I believe that all appropriate honor should be given to those who have in good conscience and honorably worn the uniform of our armed services. I only note - as I often do on Memorial Day, Veterans' Day and the Fourth of July - that service to our nation can be given in other ways.

The fact that you feel compelled, every single time military service is brought up, to mention those who haven't served as such belies your claim.  It would be as if I, every time someone mentioned Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, felt the need to say, "You know, there are a lot of white people who contributed to this country too, and they don't have a holiday to recognize their accomplishments."  You would most likely (and correctly) feel that I have some racist tendencies, or at the very least that I have some degree of animus toward Dr. King.  And with your statements comes at least a whiff that you believe the decision to not serve is a morally superior one.

In this case, "all appropriate honor" means saying, "Thank you for your service," and not following it up with, "But, you know, there are others ..."

John Mundinger

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Re: The holiday that hurts
« Reply #54 on: November 11, 2015, 09:13:06 AM »
Those who post in criticism of others who serve as warriors or in criticism of our nation's commitment to the defense of freedom make me smile. This is what those elite few who have worn the uniform and their families have sacrificed so much to preserve - our precious freedom of speech. Keep exercising it! It means that what my shipmates have done was not done in vain.

I am not critical of those who serve as warriors.  I am critical of those who send them to war, especially when they do so on false pretenses.  And, I am critical of the church when the church supports - if only by silence - our country when it sends our uniformed personnel into war on false pretenses.  E.g. Pr. Cullers post.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  But, if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

D. Engebretson

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Re: The holiday that hurts
« Reply #55 on: November 11, 2015, 09:27:17 AM »
Those who post in criticism of others who serve as warriors or in criticism of our nation's commitment to the defense of freedom make me smile. This is what those elite few who have worn the uniform and their families have sacrificed so much to preserve - our precious freedom of speech. Keep exercising it! It means that what my shipmates have done was not done in vain.

I am not critical of those who serve as warriors.  I am critical of those who send them to war, especially when they do so on false pretenses.  And, I am critical of the church when the church supports - if only by silence - our country when it sends our uniformed personnel into war on false pretenses.  E.g. Pr. Cullers post.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  But, if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

As with anyone in leadership it is easy to find points to criticize.  Given the chance we would have always done it differently. From our vantage point the truth is always clearer.  Yet under the pressure of constantly changing geo-political crises decisions are made to respond to various realities, many of which you and I cannot fully appreciate given the backseat where we are.  No leader is totally objective.  Their own biases and desires creep in to the decision-making process. And once in the whole machinery can easily become rutted in one direction and fail to course-correct.  That said, would you and I do any better - overall?  And when the concept of "just war" is raised, who is to decide when a given conflict is "just"?  Who sets the standards?  Or is the "just" war no war at all?  Is the highest ideal isolation? 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

John Mundinger

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Re: The holiday that hurts
« Reply #56 on: November 11, 2015, 09:46:46 AM »
As with anyone in leadership it is easy to find points to criticize.  Given the chance we would have always done it differently. From our vantage point the truth is always clearer.  Yet under the pressure of constantly changing geo-political crises decisions are made to respond to various realities, many of which you and I cannot fully appreciate given the backseat where we are.  No leader is totally objective.  Their own biases and desires creep in to the decision-making process. And once in the whole machinery can easily become rutted in one direction and fail to course-correct.  That said, would you and I do any better - overall?  And when the concept of "just war" is raised, who is to decide when a given conflict is "just"?  Who sets the standards?  Or is the "just" war no war at all?  Is the highest ideal isolation?

That logic does not apply to either Vietnam or Iraq.  We had plenty of opportunity to know better and intentionally chose to ignore the information that contradicted the hawks.

The concept of "just war" is rooted in Christian theology.  The Church has the capacity to articulate the concept and speak to its application to current events.  Where was that voice?
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine

Buckeye Deaconess

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Re: The holiday that hurts
« Reply #57 on: November 11, 2015, 09:49:32 AM »
And if you volunteer as a civilian to go overseas to a war zone or a dangerous part of the world and provide medical care, education or help to refugees, there will probably not be a parade, a banner across main street or a beer bash at the Legion hall when you return. Furthermore, should you be injured or killed because of your voluntary efforts, you and your family are pretty much on your own; no VA hospital or government pension.

Then petition your politicians for the creation of a Green Peace Veterans day.  For God's sake, it is one day to honor those who have served and sacrificed for the sake of their country . . . a pledge they made to sacrifice life and limb for their countrymen.  What other national organization requires that type of oath?  And not all veterans have historically come home to the welcome you describe.  Because of the shameful "welcome" received by Vietnam vets, people like me were welcomed home from Desert Storm with much pomp and ceremony.  Those Vietnam vets who were spit on and called all sorts of horrible names knew all too well what that betrayal felt like and collectively said, "Never again!"  Even if you don't agree with the decisions of your country's leadership, sacrifice and service means doing your job . . . what you are bound by your oath to do.  Those who serve under the banner of Christ have to especially wrestle with all sorts of moral issues to do so . . . diminishing the importance of their service is most unhelpful.

Thank you to those of you who understand and appreciate the sort of sacrifice required of those who have served and continue to serve in our nation's military.

D. Engebretson

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Re: The holiday that hurts
« Reply #58 on: November 11, 2015, 09:55:43 AM »
As with anyone in leadership it is easy to find points to criticize.  Given the chance we would have always done it differently. From our vantage point the truth is always clearer.  Yet under the pressure of constantly changing geo-political crises decisions are made to respond to various realities, many of which you and I cannot fully appreciate given the backseat where we are.  No leader is totally objective.  Their own biases and desires creep in to the decision-making process. And once in the whole machinery can easily become rutted in one direction and fail to course-correct.  That said, would you and I do any better - overall?  And when the concept of "just war" is raised, who is to decide when a given conflict is "just"?  Who sets the standards?  Or is the "just" war no war at all?  Is the highest ideal isolation?

That logic does not apply to either Vietnam or Iraq.  We had plenty of opportunity to know better and intentionally chose to ignore the information that contradicted the hawks.

The concept of "just war" is rooted in Christian theology.  The Church has the capacity to articulate the concept and speak to its application to current events.  Where was that voice?

Without getting into an overall debate about the merits or lack thereof of those wars, what do you suspect might have been the outcome of non-intervention?  Admittedly Vietnam eventually fell to the Communists and Iraq has destabilized a lot in the last few years.  Still, the failures at the end of either of these wars are not necessarily due to poor decisions at the beginning.  Not a little failure comes from political intervention that contributes to a destabilizing that forces on the ground cannot control.  Wars are not fought by the military alone.  It is a mixture of military and political.  In the end, who do we blame? 

As to the concept of "just war," what definition do you prefer?
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

John Mundinger

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Re: The holiday that hurts
« Reply #59 on: November 11, 2015, 10:36:30 AM »
Without getting into an overall debate about the merits or lack thereof of those wars, what do you suspect might have been the outcome of non-intervention?  Admittedly Vietnam eventually fell to the Communists and Iraq has destabilized a lot in the last few years.  Still, the failures at the end of either of these wars are not necessarily due to poor decisions at the beginning.  Not a little failure comes from political intervention that contributes to a destabilizing that forces on the ground cannot control.  Wars are not fought by the military alone.  It is a mixture of military and political.  In the end, who do we blame? 

It is not a question of non-intervention, but a matter of how we choose to engage.

Vietnam fell to the Communists, but none of the predicted consequences of that fall resulted.  In fact, just the opposite.  Vietnam is now a trading partner.  We had the opportunity to side with Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam's civil war.  We chose not too.  But, doing so would have made a lot of sense because we should have factored in the long-standing adversarial relationship between Vietnam and China.

Many knowledgeable people predicted the kind of instability that currently exists in the Arab world as a consequence of our decision to invade Iraq.  And, when you think about it in the context of the history of the region, their arguments made a lot of sense.  Yet, those voices were ignored and the people who made such arguments were demonized as un-patriotic.

It's not so much a matter of bad decisions, but a matter of decisions that resulted from bad decision making.  War is serious business and the decision to go to war should be deliberative.  In the case of both Vietnam and Iraq, the decisions were made to go to war and the only deliberation was that related to making up excuses to justify the decision.  So, who do I blame?  The administration, congress, and the media and the electorate for failing to hold the administration and congress accountable.  I also think the church is at fault for its silence. 

As to the concept of "just war," what definition do you prefer?

Saint Augustine's would be a good place to start.  In practice, I think the following are applicable:

1.  Response to a very real threat.
2.  Response to a threat that is not a reaction to our provocation.
3.  Armed conflict as a last resort.
4.  A response that is proportional to the threat.

Neither Iraq nor Vietnam satisfied any of those criteria.
Lifelong Evangelical Lutheran layman

Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.  St. Augustine