King's Business - 1968-03

those committed to Him, in whatever age. So also, the soldier who lays down his life does so for the sake o f his buddies, his loved ones, and his country. The soldier sees himself as policeman in inter­ national affairs, protecting the country at large. The city and the state have police for protection of persons and property, and for preservation of peace, within their respective jurisdictions. War is seen as the last alternative when the sol­ dier’s country faces another nation that refuses to live peaceably, or to honor the sovereign integrity of its neighbors. The soldier also knows it takes two to live at peace or to make peace. When one (be it nation or neighbor) becomes aggressive and vio­ lates the rights of others, there is no alternative but defensive force for the other—his own, or the police, or the military, depending upon the scope. Defensive force is required if peace tries have failed; defense, if capitulation or submission is not to be preferred. I f the pacifist, or the conscientious objector, has ever relied upon the police to protect his rights and family, or if he has ever called upon the police to arrest and the courts to imprison a criminal, he has then violated his own beliefs. Such inconsis­ tency is hypocrisy. In the classical question, “What would you do if your wife were being attacked by a rapist?” the true conscientious objector or paci­ fist must never answer, “ I will try to protect her and defend her.” If he does, his principles go out the proverbial window! The only difference be­ tween individual action and national action is in magnitude, not in principle. The soldier, too, views war as a near total in­ volvement of the population. The bus driver who hauls workers to an arms plant and the farmer growing food that ends up in military mess halls, etc., are indirectly involved in any armed conflict. Without home-based supplies and moral support, an army is helpless. Therefore the civilian popu­ lace is not entirely innocent and must be treated in degree with their involvement. The Communists recognize this principle of total involvement, and North Viet Nam has armed farmers so they can shoot at U.S. aircraft, and has taken other meas­ ures toward civilian involvement. Members o f the hostile army are not viewed so much as separate individuals necessarily, but rath­ er as representatives of their government, its phi­ losophy and its way of life. Therefore they bear the responsibility and the consequences of that kind of government they chose and/or are support­ ing. Even the civilians bear that same responsibil­ ity. And, military or civilian, everyone who lives in that country at war shares in the blessings o f vic­ tory or he shares in the sufferings o f defeat. How are there any truly innocent adults in a country that maintains an armed force? Thus the man in un i f orm, having thought

through his beliefs, comes to the conviction that military force is a continuing necessity in our world. To that end, he performs military duty as a responsible citizen; More often than not, he views it as an unpleasant task requiring self-sacrifice. But it is part of the price o f the way of life he holds dear. He also sees fallacies and questions in the love precepts voiced by the conscientious objector. As a last consideration, and briefly, there is our nation’s military involvement in Viet-Nam; and on the larger scale, in its world-wide confrontation with Communism. There is a city that I have vis­ ited. It is a prison. It is East Berlin. Here in South Viet-Nam there are hundreds of thousands of refu­ gees who have fled from Communist control. I have seen some o f their children rummage in garbage heaps for food. I have seen families live in places no American would house his dog. There must be something horribly evil about a political system that would treat its own in this fashion, and cause so many o f its other peoples to prefer the most ab­ ject deprivation in freedom rather than submit. To me, there is a moral right for us to be in Viet- Nam because here is where aggression is facing the free world. That right is nearer to being mis­ sionary in motive than seeking the selfish (but proper) protection o f our way o f life. It is based on the concept behind the Great Commission; to wit, we are under obligation to proclaim the Gospel (cf Rom. 1:14). The same principle would follow that we, as a nation, bear a responsibility toward the weak, the helpless nation, so that it will not be lost to an evil system such as Communism. Now we have not shirked from a similarly motivated responsibility to assist the backward country in ways o f peaceful development. Therefore, when it concerns the liberty and defense o f another people against aggression, by what ethical gymnastics can we withhold good when it is in our power to do it? Finally, it seems to me that the Christian must always question his loyalty to his “ Caesar,” even if that be our own United States. He must ask him­ self, “ Is my country, and the way o f life I find here, worth defending? Is it worth the allegiance re­ quired? Is my country Christian, or does it allow for the best expression of the Christian way and the work o f Christ’s church?” If so, then I have a loyalty and an obligation to my country. It is to safeguard it from foes, domestic and foreign; and to seek to bring the influence of the Holy Spirit upon those areas needing His enlightenment: spir­ itual, economic, social, political, etc. It is my coun­ try right and wrong. A Christian must always give his allegiance to God first, and then support his country as a result of, and in accord with, his love for God. As for me, I can loyally support my country. I know I have been called to present and represent Christ to Army men. Can you loyally serve your country? Have you examined the reasons behind your allegiances? BE



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