Larry Kerschner Writes

Honor Peacemakers at Least Equally with the Warriors


       I understand that my last letter to the editor engendered some negative responses. For the record I am a combat Infantry veteran.  I am a member of Disabled American Veterans.  I am President of Veterans for Peace Rachel Corrie Chapter #109.  Thus I have some background when I speak about the military.  I am also a Christian who believes that when Christ called us to love our enemies He was not being na´ve.  I believe that a true disciple of Christ has no choice but to oppose evil wherever it may be seen.

     Our culture, instead of being marked by justice and compassion, is marked by retribution and revenge.  Our government under the current warlord President does its best to keep the populace in a state of fear.  Martin Luther King Jr. rightly named the three main evils of our society as racism, poverty and militarism. Christians who wish to be true to Jesus message must confront all three.  Not confronting them publicly is the same as assenting to evil.

    America has become a society in which a state of war is considered normal.  There is little public discourse about our assertion of permanent global military superiority.  It is taken as a given that our constant war status is an obvious good.  The U.S. spends more on the Pentagon budget than the combined defense budgets of all the other nations on earth.  We have over 20,000 nuclear weapons and are planning to build more.  In the four years between 1989 and 2003 the U.S. Military were involved in nine major military adventures.  That does not include the various cruise missile strikes around the world, the weekly bombing of the people of Iraq during the sanctions, or the missions of the GIs sent to Rwanda, Colombia, East Timor and the Philippines.

     I believe that the only possible stance for a Christian is as a pacifist.  The churches are complicit in the evils of our day when they preach their justified war theories.  Christ never justified violence in any form.  The churches need to separate themselves from the ruling power structure and return to the simple message of Christ.

    That being said if you look closely at the letters that I have written I have never suggested that our children not join the military.  All I have suggested is that anyone taking this step should not do so without having all the information before making a decision that places one in situations of kill or be killed.  I applaud the desire of the young people to do something positive for their country.  I believe that the current selfish American culture abuses this laudable desire.

      I personally long for the America that honors the peacemakers at least equally with the warriors.