Larry Kerschner Writes

Opposition Stems From Love

     In a recent letter to the Chronicle Mr. Karl Davidson suggests I may have done something when I was in the military that has shamed me into hating the military.  I make every effort not to hate anyone.  My current beliefs and understanding about the military and it's use as a tool of U.S. foreign policy come from several places. 

     When drafted and sent to Vietnam I had not been prepared by a true historical understanding from our U.S. educational system.  I was not prepared by a true moral education by my Church. I have since managed to educate myself in both areas. 

     I try to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Not the Jesus taught in most churches in this country who is used to justify state violence but the Jesus who clearly taught that it is never right to kill another.  For the first three hundred years of Christianity it was understood that a Christian could not be in the military or the police.  Both of these careers require that you be willing to kill.  This was absolutely unacceptable to Christ and his early followers.

    Seventeen hundred years ago the Church became part of the power structure and suddenly had property and position which was defended by the State.  If the Church wanted to maintain their power they had to develop a rationalization which allowed the State to use force when it deemed necessary.  At that time the Church stopped teaching what Jesus had taught and substituted teachings of justified violence.

     America is not and has never been a Christian nation.  Since most people living in America are not Christians there is no reason to expect this to be a nation that follows the teachings of Christ.  I was, however, raised to believe that America is a nation of law.

     In Article Six of the U.S. Constitution it says, "this Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land".  I repeat, "the supreme Law of the land".

     One of the Treaties that the U.S. in 1945 voluntarily entered was the U.N. Charter.  Article 2 of the U.N. Charter essentially prohibits war (except in self-defense) by stating, "All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations".  

    So Mr. Davidson, as a follower of Jesus Christ and an American citizen who believes in the rule of law, I cannot do anything other than oppose the current illegal mission of the U.S. military. I hope that this, in fact, stems from love rather than hate.