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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Perspective:It takes courage

My two boyhood heroes served in the Vietnam War. The majority of my classmates in graduate school were military officers. Our family's relatives and friends have served in all four military branches. I respect them and what they've taught me about war and violence. I believe our discussions in the United States about peace and war would greatly improve if we displayed qualities associated with military service — particularly courage

For example, it takes courage to move past stereotypes. Without exception, people I know with military backgrounds are less inclined to support war than political leaders without military experience. They love their country. They respect other viewpoints. They disapprove when some in the military are overly aggressive or into ultraviolent films and macho talk.

Similarly, few peace activists I know are stereotypically naive about conflict and war. They, too, love their country. They believe in nonviolence, which means respecting and listening to those with whom they disagree. They care about civilians and soldiers who bear the brunt of war. They disapprove when peace activists are arrogant or insensitive.


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August issue

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