It was one of the most poignant pictures to come out of
It was evidence, as well, that
The idea that freedom is the state in which God intends us to live is found in the Bible. The Indian apologist Vishal Mangalwadi makes this clear in his teachings. In a tape on how the Bible influenced the second millennium, Mangalwadi says the prototypical model is the Exodus. This was the first time that people were delivered from slavery and bondage, and a record made of it. This, Mangalwadi says, ?is what changed the whole course of Western civilization?the notion that God was bringing us freedom.?
The belief that humans deserve to live in freedom is what motivated Americans to fight for their own freedom from the British. It motivated us to fight Nazi Germany and the Japanese during World War II, and against communism during the Cold War. And it?s what motivates us today to bring freedom to parts of the world that have never known it?
This willingness to sacrifice on behalf of our neighbors is why serving in the military is considered such a high calling for Christians?and part of what makes just wars just. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica puts his discussion of just war in his chapter on charity?the love of God and neighbor. Aquinas applauded those who wielded the sword in protection of the community.
Reformer John Calvin agreed. He called the soldier an ?agent of God?s love? and called soldiering justly a ?God-like act.? Why? Because ?restraining evil out of love for neighbor? is an imitation of God?s restraining evil out of love for His creatures. And as Darrell Cole, a professor at William & Mary, argued in the journal First Things, the failure to fight a just war may be a failure to love. Fighting just wars, he wrote, ?is something Christians ought to do out of love for God and neighbor.?
A world where all Christians refused to fight just wars wouldn?t be peaceful, and it certainly wouldn?t be just. It would be a world where evil reigned unchecked by justice, and where the strong would be free to prey on the weak. The mass graves in
While the polls show that many Americans are becoming tired with the war in
One way you might celebrate Memorial Day today is by watching a film being premiered tonight on HBO, Unknown Soldier: Searching for a Father. I was not able to attend the preview, but I?m told it is deeply moving and will fill you with gratitude for those who have laid down their lives to set us free. And it will cause you, I hope, as well, to pray for those who are still fighting for freedom around the world today.
Find out when Unknown Soldier: Searching for a Father airs in your area (rated TVPG for adult content and language).
Read a review of Unknown Soldier from Hollywood Reporter.
?Making their mark: After Saddam,? Sydney Morning Herald,
Learn more about Vishal Mangalwadi.
Adopt a troop to pray for daily.
Darrell Cole, ?Good Wars,? First Things, October 2001, 27-31.
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica (1267-73).
BreakPoint Commentary No. 040531, ?A Soldier?s Valor: Helping and Healing in Iraq.?
BreakPoint Commentary No. 030526, ?Willie and Joe: Quintessential American Soldiers.?
Stan Guthrie, ?Faith and Fighting,? Christianity Today, 27 May 2005.
Kathryn Jean Lopez, ?God and Man on the Frontlines,? National Review,
Jim Lacey, ?The Commanders,? National Review,
Elliot Blair Smith, ?Reporting for spiritual duty in Iraq,? USA Today,
Christopher Levenick, ?High Noon at Sunrise Rock,? Wall Street Journal,