Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day 2018

My Dad in Paris, 1945ish
I believe we should honor the memories of those who serve and sacrifice to defend their people. I am an American. My father served in World War 2. My great-grandfather served in the Civil War. I had a great, great, great, great, great grandfather who served in the Revolutionary War.

Yet there are always bad actors, and there are wars where your country is in the wrong. War is always the result of sin, and it seems inevitable that, on the level of the individual, wrongs will be done by individuals on all sides. Nevertheless, I accept the exigence to fight against aggressors and especially to fight in self-defense. And I accept that the common person is often pressed into service because of the sinfulness of the powerful.

I believe World War II was a just war, one brought on by the aggression of a thoroughly sinful man. The Iraq War seems less justified, even if well-intended. I also accept the dictum, "If you wish peace, prepare for war." It is the paradox of a fallen world. Yet war should always be entered reluctantly, as a course of last resort. As the Catholic Catechism says, "all other means of putting an end to it [the aggressor] must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective."

In the end, the Christian must avoid rubber stamping any war, as well as the deification of the soldier or the nation. I was glad to see that Mike Pence modified a tweet yesterday that initially said that "Other than the service of those who wear the uniform of the United States especially our cherished fallen, the ministries that you lead and the prayers that you pray are the greatest consequence in the life of the nation."

God is always first, not nation. When we cannot tell the difference, we have become idolaters. In fact, it is then that we do a disservice to our nation because it is then no longer "one nation under God."