Showing posts with label War and penance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label War and penance. Show all posts

Monday, January 17, 2022

Moral injuries and suicide by soldiers.

 I mean that the Church might not be able to wait passively for penitents to come to the sacrament for healing. One reason the Church can’t stand by and wait is the deep cultural narrative about military service in the United States. According to that narrative, those who serve in uniform are heroes. We must support the troops. What the troops are up to usually isn’t part of the discussion. The thing to do—the only thing to do—is support them. P.17, War and Penance, Philip G. Porter, Commonweal, Jan. 2022

Supposing there is guilt for what has been seen and done by troops in our U.S. wars?

 Demonizing the returning soldiers can drive them to despair, to conclude that Christ’s forgiveness is not available to them. Heroizing soldiers causes the opposite but equally damaging problem: presumption. Even if a returning soldier is aware of his or her guilt, being greeted as a hero is likely to cause some cognitive dissonance: Am I wrong to feel bad about what I’ve done if people are praising and thanking me for it? P.18

From NBC News :

Since 9/11, four times as many U.S. service members and veterans have died by suicide than have been killed in combat, according to a new report.

The research, compiled by the Costs of War Project at Brown University, found an estimated 30,177 active duty personnel and veterans who have served in the military since 9/11 have died by suicide, compared with 7,057 killed in post 9/11 military operations. The figures include all service members, not just those who served in combat during that time.

The majority of the deaths are among veterans who account for an estimated 22,261 of the suicides during that period.

What is the role of the church in assuaging such anguish, especially Unitarian Universalism? UUs covenant together to affirm and promote the acceptance of one another and encourage spiritual development in our congregations. Sounds good in principle, but where is the action in ministering to our soldiers and the people who sent them to war?

There is lip service paid to the ideas of PTSD and moral injuries, but there is no effort on the part of Unitarian Universalists to minister to those suffering from these problems. Perhaps it is time that they did to heal the long standing, repressed spiritual wounds of our society.

For more click here.

This is the second article in a series on the sin of war.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

The search for the truth and meaning of U.S. wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq

The violent collapse of our two-decade mission in Afghanistan has made it clear to me that the Church needs to recover a theology of sin and penitential practice capable of accounting for the trauma of war. P. 17, War and Penance by Philip G. Porter, Commonweal, Jan. 2022

In many parts of the world, President George W. Bush, and -President Richard Cheney are considered war criminals for the prosecution of the wars by the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq.

There were no weapons of mass destruction which was the pretext supposedly justifying U.S, promulgation of war in Iraq. The war in Afghanistan was to root out Al Qaeda terrorist training camps and does not meet the criteria of just war action: last resort, probability of success, and proportionality.

The U.S. has now withdrawn from Afghanistan as it did from Vietnam with the legacy of sin on its conscience. How has society and the Church dealt with these sins? Denial, minimization, rationalization, and repression.

Is it time for an examination of consciences both individually and collectively?

Unitarian Universalists join together to affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. Further, we affirm and promote supposedly the goal of world community with  peace, liberty, and justice for all.

And what has happened with our Unitarian Universalist covenant in acting on our principles when it comes to these wars? Nothing. The silence is deafening. Perhaps it is time to create a truth commission to examine what we, as Americans, have done in other countries, and generate ideas for changes in our society so that these kinds of wars never happen again.

How can we be forgiven if we cannot even name the sin?

Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Let us intentionally search for the truth and meaning of our collective war making.

This is the first article in a series on the sin of war.

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