Monday 12 November 2007

On Soldier Saints and Patriot Pacifists - Reflection for Veterans' Day

Today I read an excellent reflection piece that appeared Thursday on the "God's Politics" blog. It was authored by Logan Laituri, a six-year Army veteran with combatant service in Iraq during OIF II and experience with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Israel and the West Bank. He is an active member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and currently resides in Camden, New Jersey, in an intentional Christian community called Camden House, where he continues to seek ways to wage peace wherever he goes. Logan blogs at Courageous Coward and his latest entry is another facinating read in itself.

Here now, are a couple of paragraphs excerpted from Logan's essay in God's Politics:

This Sunday (Nov. 11) the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of St. Martin of Tours, one of the first saints not to be martyred. In fact, St. Martin was one of many to be beatified who, by today's standards, would be identified as a conscientious objector - an individual verifiably opposed to "war in any form." At one time a Roman centurion, Martin came to a "crystallization" of conscience, laying down his sword and declaring, "I am a soldier of Christ, it is not permissible for me to fight."

It has been speculated that in 1918, Nov. 11 was chosen as Armistice Day in part due to St. Martin, who is especially the patron of soldiers and chaplains. It is curious to consider that this Christian soldier in fact thought it more Christlike to return to the front lines unarmed than with the sword the empire placed in his hands.

David Thoreau, an inspiration to another saintly Martin who believed that a creative, nonviolent minority could serve the state by resisting it with the intention of improving it. Could this in fact be the embodiment of service to the state Paul speaks of in Romans 13? After all, he and St. Martin both were imprisoned for their beliefs…

Read Logan's entire piece here.


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