Serving veterans in VA hospitalsby Various authors
In "Serving Veterans in VA Hospitals" (September), Rod Deaton says, "If we still have central air and the audacity to darken the door of a Starbucks, we owe our easy access to those amenities to many combat veterans." He goes on to express his hope that we can “passionately honor” combat veterans while holding true to our values.
As a veteran who is now a pacifist Christian and a Mennonite, my response is that I desire neither gratitude nor honors for previously choosing the wrong response to enemies.
Glorifying military service is perhaps the most effective way society recruits its young, but I neither expect nor desire them to kill my enemies for me when I refuse to do it myself. If access to central air and Starbucks requires killing, then I’d rather live in a 17th-century agrarian economy. May God decide my freedoms and prosperity and safeguard them without expecting Christian soldiers to disobey Christ.—Scott Smith, Greensboro, N.C.
Thank you for Anna Groff's excellent story “Serving Veterans in VA Hospitals,” published in the Sept. 3 TMail. I have for too long felt that convicted Mennonite pacifists prematurely judge —or simply judge too harshly—those who have chosen an alternative path. The vignettes of Mennonites who work in the Veterans Administration system are immensely encouraging and offer another way to do ministry among those who believe differently as well as those who seek and need healing as a result of war.
I’ll share links to this story on Mennonite Church Canada’s Live for Peace Facebook page as well as on our website, www.liveforpeace.org. Thanks for lifting up these people and their stories.—Dan Dyck, director of communications, Mennonite Church Canada
Thanks for the piece on those who are working to heal the wounds of war. National Public Radio’s series with ProPublica focusing on the challenges of veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries has convinced me that our country has a tough road ahead as more veterans’ families deal with the destruction of war long after loved ones return from combat. Though not always as physically deadly, these vets bring home their own set of unexploded “cluster bombs” like the real ones our countries have left behind in Asia. Our government has failed miserably in fulfilling the health-care obligations made to veterans. It’s time the peace churches made a more intensive effort to reach out to those who are suffering as a result. Praise God we already have some folks enlisted in this effort.—Tony Krabill, Elkhart, Ind.
Associated Issue: A life of opportunities - September 201
Associated Article: Serving veterans in VA hospitals
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