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Author Topic: Opinions wanted  (Read 10808 times) Average Rating: 0
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spartacus
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« on: June 07, 2004, 03:20:38 PM »

I was just curious as we are facing this issue in my family:

What do people here think of Orthodox Christians joining the US Army? I am not talking about some job skill like a medic or a clerk -- but infantry -- where the soldier's job is to close with and destroy the enemy.

What do you think of an Orthodox Christian who would choose to re-enlist for such duty after a number of years as a civilian, and the person now has a wife and young children?


The motivation in both cases is a sense of duty to the country. In the case of the re-enlistment that sense of duty extends to the soldiers who are now in the Army, and a desire to help that group with their current missions by benefit of that veteran's years of experience and maturity. FYI, the veteran's skills include that of being a sniper and a Non-Commissioned Officer. The desire is not so much to kill humans but more to safeguard the lives of US Soldiers. Killing the enemy is just an aspect that might become necessary at some point -- not unlike a police officer possibly one day needing to kill someone in the line of duty -- but the mission of the soldiers and the police are different in scope.

WHat are your opinons and why?
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spartacus
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2004, 04:20:42 PM »

Don't be shy to reply. This should not be seen as political.
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2004, 04:59:30 PM »

Wow, no one has replied yet... well I guess here goes me...

I was in Army ROTC for a duration of time, and had even selected Infantry as my first branch choice, followed by Artillery. I was full aware of the job description, which frankly involved killing! It's a tough job, it is one that gets little recognition, little pay, but lots of hardships and expense, mentally and physically. The training was grueling, but rewarding, and I found that the military lifestyle was somewhat enjoyable to me.

I am not claiming to be someone with a massive amount of experience, as I am young and may appear quite naive about some things to some people.  However, I will state that the guys I have met who have done time as Infantry(or any combatant job), whether it be Airborne, Ranger, even Green Beret, have been some of the finest gentlemen I have ever met in my life.  They love their country, have good, solid CHRISTIAN values, and are willing to lay down their life for their friends. Not to mention they are in top physical shape, are usually pretty mentally sharp to boot, and they have experienced the Christian lifestyle first hand on the battlefield.  How you contend? Well, anytime you are around folks who are DYING you have a tendency to reflect on your own mortality. It isn't a pretty picture, and I'm sure it is tolling. Some of these guys crack, some of them work harder...we all handle it in different ways.

From an Orthodox Christian standpoint? I see no problem whatsoever for a man to join the armed forces, to serve, either combatant or non-combatant roles.  We have had lines of Orthodox saints who fought, Alexander Nevsky comes to mind? There is nothing shameful or unOrthodox about serving.  If it leads you to commit unChristian things, then yes there is a conflict, but in of itself, how can it be wrong?

For a man who has a wife and a family? Well that is the reason I left ROTC. I want a wife and a family one day. I don't want to be deployed around the world being distanced from them.  I cannot fathom the loss I would feel if I was apart from those I love. I think it is the duty of a man, especially one with wife and children, to be with them, to work for them, and to serve them.  I think it involves many sacrifices, including that of being in the armed forces, in order to be a good husband and father, and I think in this case, it would be prudent to stay a civilian.

People usually don't respond or read my posts, but if this one is read by one person I'd at least be happy.

Bobby
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2004, 05:11:01 PM »

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but if you actually kill someone in combat (I guess knowingly that is), you are banned from Communion (or should be) for three years.
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2004, 05:16:14 PM »

People usually don't respond or read my posts, but if this one is read by one person I'd at least be happy.

I read it.  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2004, 05:23:08 PM »

I read it too.  Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2004, 05:24:14 PM »

Quote
People usually don't respond or read my posts, but if this one is read by one person I'd at least be happy.

I read it, too. Smiley Smiley Smiley I love you so much, baby.
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hmmmm...
Ben
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2004, 06:00:25 PM »

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but if you actually kill someone in combat (I guess knowingly that is), you are banned from Communion (or should be) for three years.

Elisha I was told it was 7 years. Whether 3 or 7, there is a punishment for killing somone in combat.
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2004, 06:17:10 PM »

There is a thread on this topic at the Cafe:

http://www.euphrosynoscafe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2340

It is more about becoming a priest and/or a monk after you serve in the Military, but it addresses the issue of War, and the penalty for killing in combat.
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2004, 07:03:30 PM »

Elisha I was told it was 7 years. Whether 3 or 7, there is a punishment for killing somone in combat.

Yeah, I knew it was something like that.  The point is, if you kill, however necessary or involuntary.  No Communion for You!
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2004, 07:14:13 PM »

I read it, too. Smiley Smiley Smiley I love you so much, baby.

Awww, bobby wobby has a girlfriend.   Wink
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« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2004, 07:48:22 PM »

I feel a banning coming up... heh
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« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2004, 08:46:11 PM »

You wanted an opinion, here's mine, with the proviso that I'm not EO. But I am married and have children.

The man now has a wife and children; he is 'one flesh' with another human being and has caused others to be born who look to him as Daddy. He has responsibilities to them first and then to others.  He has served in the military and done duty for his country. But now he is not 'his own man' as it were, but belongs to his family. You write that his motivation is a sense of duty and a desire to help the other soldiers. What of his duty  and helping to the young lives he has helped bring to being?  For him to re-up (when it is not required) and possibly die leaving a widow and fatherless children is, imo, wrong. Other men may have his skills, no other man is the children's father.

Ebor
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« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2004, 08:47:38 PM »

I read your posts, Bobby.  And the one above is a good one.

Ebor
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« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2004, 08:52:51 PM »

You wanted an opinion, here's mine, with the proviso that I'm not EO. But I am married and have children.

The man now has a wife and children; he is 'one flesh' with another human being and has caused others to be born who look to him as Daddy. He has responsibilities to them first and then to others.  He has served in the military and done duty for his country. But now he is not 'his own man' as it were, but belongs to his family. You write that his motivation is a sense of duty and a desire to help the other soldiers. What of his duty  and helping to the young lives he has helped bring to being?  For him to re-up (when it is not required) and possibly die leaving a widow and fatherless children is, imo, wrong. Other men may have his skills, no other man is the children's father.

Ebor

Ebor....very well put...I agree with you 100%.
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« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2004, 10:11:51 PM »

Indeed, Ebor, very well said.
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« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2004, 10:16:15 PM »

A lot of the problems with this issue may have to do with the culture today.  Times past, military service was more or less required, you did it to help protect your family and country and way of life, and often in a couple of years it was over.  

Today we have a "mercenary" force, for lack of a better word.  Paid volunteers who do the military's job.  A lot of people "re-up," not having much else, and the military community provides a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose.

You also can't forget the protestant "warrior soldier" ethos prevalent in American protestantism.  It's common for many Americans to see few careers as more "honorable" than being in the military.  Military posts in America are enclaves of evangelical protestantism.  

It's wrong to judge fellow Orthodox Christians who choose to re-enlist or stay in the military.  Perhaps they're good at their job, and while you train to fight, combat is always a last resort.  Military communities are usually extremely family-oriented, and there's nothing wrong with that.
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« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2004, 10:16:35 PM »

I agree with Ebor that a husband and father's primary duty is to his family.  

I have to confess that I view the phrase "duty to country" with a bit of cynicism.  Does a man (and I think we're safe limiting this to men only) have a duty to his country to protect it from outside invaders?  What if that's at the cost of his and his family's life?  Of course this is the easier question.  The US Army today is involved in actions that many (including myself) do not view as defense of country.  Therefore I personally do not view joining the army as fulfilling a duty to defend the US from foreign invaders.  

And coming off of memorial day and all the remembrances of the D-Day invasion, it strikes me that patriotism is somewhat of a secular religion in the US.  Therefore is "duty to country" practicing another religion?  We certainly don't have an Orthodox country.  I personally believe this is a protestant country founded on enlightenment principles (also based on protestant theology).   This country has been good to us non-Protestants.  But is democracy really our way?  I'm very much in favor of separation of church and state given that we're in the minority but it strikes me that separation of church and state isn't 'catholic.'  

With that said, however, if I were a man I would certainly register with selective service and join the army if I was drafted just like my grandfather and my great-grandfather and all my ancestors all the way back to the revolutionary war.
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« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2004, 11:34:45 PM »

Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville used to have an excellent pamphlet called "the Christian Faith and War"  As with the Discussion on the Cafe, there seems to be some significant differences between the Romanaoi ("Byzantine") and Russian traditions in this area (Romanoi more concerned about killing in war). I think the witholding of communion was not so much as punishment (Even then recognized as involuntary  or systematic sin), but consitent with other canons at the time, which recomended long periods for other situations that are not maintained today.

Personally, I admire the young people serving in the armed forces. I also admire dedicated parents. The most important other person in this decision is your wife. If I was you, I would make the decision in scrupulous concert with her.  
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« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2004, 12:50:16 AM »

I agree with Jennifer somewhat. The US is usually not engaged in defending our Country. Look at Vietnam, Korea, the first Iraq war, and the war today. In every one of the wars I listed, the USA was not attacked. Yes we were (and are)protecting our interests, but America was not being invaded.

I also have a deep respect for those who serve in the military, but I sincerely believe there is such a thing as a just war, and many times we can become to wrapped up in patriotism and the love of our troops that we forget God loves all, and he isn't always on our side.

War is a horrible thing, but *somtimes* it is neccesary, and in those cases we do need brave men and women who are willing to die for our nation. But we must be careful, in my opinion, and realize America is not infallible, and we can screw up, we can get involved in stuff we shouldn't, we can be wrong, and God isn't always on our side just because we are America.
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« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2004, 01:29:31 AM »

Actually, we were attacked on 9/11, and though I definitely don't want to get into a political discussion here, one can make the case that the current war on terror (and by extension the war in Iraq since the Saddam Hussein regime was a known backer of terrorists) is defensive and preventing future terrorist attacks (which it miraculously has thus far).  I really don't think it's just a big coincidence.

2nd, the Orthodox Church has NO "just war" theology.  You may believe in it, but it's never been part of Orthodoxy.  It would be tantamount to saying that killing is OK.  War is a last resort, but as Saint Gregory the Theologian wrote, a war is better than a false peace.
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« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2004, 01:36:44 AM »

Quote
Actually, we were attacked on 9/11, and though I definitely don't want to get into a political discussion here, one can make the case that the current war on terror (and by extension the war in Iraq since the Saddam Hussein regime was a known backer of terrorists) is defensive and preventing future terrorist attacks (which it miraculously has thus far).  I really don't think it's just a big coincidence.

Sadam Hussein did not directly attack us.
Iraq did not attack us. Not one Iraqi flew those planes into the World Trade Center. They were Saudis, our good friends. Links between the terrorists and Sadam are weak, but my point is that Iraq did not attack us. We did not attack Iraq in defense of our nation. We were the aggressors.

Quote
2nd, the Orthodox Church has NO "just war" theology.  You may believe in it, but it's never been part of Orthodoxy.  


I know this, but I am Catholic, and I do firmly believe in a just war theology.
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« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2004, 01:58:40 AM »

Heh, heh....

Well, without actually waiting for an official proclamation from the moderators stating a lifting of the ban, it has begun again, right on cue:

THE ENDLESS WAR DEBATE!!![/u]  Roll Eyes

Happy June 8th, everybody!
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« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2004, 03:16:51 AM »


If you are interested in the military go for it Bobby.

We orthodox have many saints and martyrs who were in the military right up until the present day -

http://english.pravda.ru/society/2003/01/08/41724.html

Orthodoc
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« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2004, 03:50:30 AM »

Elisha I was told it was 7 years. Whether 3 or 7, there is a punishment for killing somone in combat.

Well there is a famous photograph of an Orthodox chaplain conducting a Pascha service in Viet Nam where he is giving Holy Communion to the troops.

In previous wars, the US and most other countries relied on conscriptions. Times are different though and now the US relies on all-volunteers. I would not though classisfy this as a "mercenary" Army as the term mercenary implies a force that will fight for anyone for the right price -- and that is not the case with the US Army.

As for obligations --

God is always first -- Did Christ forbid his Apostles from carrying swords, and what was Christ's reaction in Luke to St. Peter when St. Peter lopped off an ear of one of Christ's persecutors whne they took him away?

Country should come before family.

Family is right after country.

One must always strive to do what is right and given the circumstances of today's professional Army, anyone looking to re-enlist should do so only with the knowledge, consent and support of their spouse -- that's only common sense.

When one joins the MIlitary they swear an oath to defend the United States and its Constitution against all enemies, foreign and DOmestic, and also to obey orders of the officers appointed over them...when it comes right down to it the ultimate Officer is the American people as represented by their elected officials. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan were both voted for in Congress in defacto declarations of war.

And who is the enemy the US fights against? -- fanatical radical muslims and tyrants. Both have murdered, opressed, torutured, terrorized, raped and subjegated millions of people. If Saddam is not like a modern version of Hitler, I do not know what is. Was it wrong to defeat Hitler? How could it be wrong to defeat Hussein and liberate 30 million? Was it wrong to go after the Taliban in Afghanistan after 9/11? IS it wrong to to continue to pursue Al Quaeda in the rugged moutains along the border of Pakistan of where experienced Light Infantry soldiers and snipers will be very badly needed?

Anyone keeping abreast of terrorist activities realizes that the US has been at war with terrorists for more than ten years. The level, number and severity of their attacks against US targets kept uincreasing until the US finally decided to take their decalartion of War against us seriously after 9/11.

In my opinion the US has a duty to its citizens and the world to hunt down terrorists wherever they are. Today that is Iraq and Afghanistan. Tomorrow or next week it could be Syria, Yemen, The Sudan...

Of all the active wars in the world today, Radiacal islamists are involved in all save two. These Radicals can never be bargained or negotiated with. They have no honor. They have no regard for any human life. They do not even have regard for the clerics f their own faith. Can anyone, anywhere in the world be truly free until their numbers have been greatly diminished?
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« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2004, 03:57:03 AM »

Could someone tell me why a soldier who kills an enemy combatant in defense of self or comrade in combat and/or in defense of country in combat is not permitted to take Communion (that means participating in the Eucharist, right?) for some period of time?
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« Reply #26 on: June 08, 2004, 04:02:19 AM »

You also can't forget the protestant "warrior soldier" ethos prevalent in American protestantism.  It's common for many Americans to see few careers as more "honorable" than being in the military.  Military posts in America are enclaves of evangelical protestantism.  
 

Protestants -- yes...but there are also very many Roman Catholics, Jews, Mulims, Bhuddists, all faiths.....

Most services in the military are either non-denominational generic Protestantism, or Roman Catholic. There are though Orthodox Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Chaplains. Painting the  Armed Forces of the United Staes as an "enclave of evangelical protestantism" is a comment I think that is made entirely out of ignorance.
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« Reply #27 on: June 08, 2004, 04:10:58 AM »

Could someone tell me why a soldier who kills an enemy combatant in defense of self or comrade in combat and/or in defense of country in combat is not permitted to take Communion (that means participating in the Eucharist, right?) for some period of time?  

Such rules apply only for priesthood as far as I know....A priest who has spilt blood in any manner can no longer be a priest.....I read that link and it conerned a young man wanting to become a monk at a particular monestary after his time in Marine Corps was up. Besides in today's modern warfare...only the sniper usually knows when he has indeed killed someone personally. And whether one is a sniper,  artilleryman, clerk or truck driver -- they all play a part in the killing. Some are just closer when the metal hits the meat.
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« Reply #28 on: June 08, 2004, 07:28:42 AM »

"And coming off of memorial day and all the remembrances of the D-Day invasion, it strikes me that patriotism is somewhat of a secular religion in the US."

Yes, yes it is certainly that.  There is a wierd, quasi-liturgical element to certain aspects of patriotism, and in the United States this is linked up with rather vague notions of a so-called "non-denominational 'Christianity'" (and of course there is no such thing in reality), so it can be somewhat disturbing, or at least somewhat jarring, to those who are "catholic".  

"But is democracy really our way?"

No, it isn't, but under the current fallen circumstances it may be the best way.  I suppose that the "catholic" ideal in this case is pretty similar and it looks more like monarchy, because that would be the closest thing to what we anticipate Heaven to be.  Under the current reality in the world, however, this may not be a workable ideal.

"I'm very much in favor of separation of church and state given that we're in the minority but it strikes me that separation of church and state isn't 'catholic.'"  

No, it isn't, either.  Again the ideal would be a state infused with Catholic/Orthodox ideas and ideals, but not a state divorced from those principles as a "purely secular state".  That would be the ideal, but for the same reasons that monarchy isn't really a good idea under the current realities, this also would not be a good idea.  And I agree that under the current circumstances in the United States, a "catholic" should be a strong supporter of the separation of church and state because in our context "church" means the religion called Protestantism.

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« Reply #29 on: June 08, 2004, 07:46:50 AM »

"Such rules apply only for priesthood as far as I know"

I think that there is confusion on this within Orthodoxy.  In the Byzantine Empire, we know that soldiers who killed  in war were subject to the temporary disciplinary excommunication mentioned above.  Current Orthodox thinking on this topic appears to be muddled, but it is clear that there is no "just war" doctrine in Orthodoxy.

Does the Catholic "just war" doctrine apply to the situation in Iraq?  The Vatican seems to think "no".
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« Reply #30 on: June 08, 2004, 10:42:04 AM »

God is always first -- Did Christ forbid his Apostles from carrying swords, and what was Christ's reaction in Luke to St. Peter when St. Peter lopped off an ear of one of Christ's persecutors whne they took him away?

He told him to put it away, because if you live by the sword, you die by it.

Quote
Country should come before family.

I could not disagree more, but such is our mutual right in this great country.
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« Reply #31 on: June 08, 2004, 12:27:09 PM »

There are many people to stand up for the country. There is only one father to the man's children.  Sorry, God, Family, Country.  

Ebor
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« Reply #32 on: June 08, 2004, 12:51:53 PM »

There are many people to stand up for the country. There is only one father to the man's children.  Sorry, God, Family, Country.  

Ebor

If a family member commits a crime is one obligated to ignore their duty as a citizen and not report it?

If a father is called to national service is he to avoid at all costs even to the point of fleeing the country?

No country should come over family. By serving your country you also serve your family and set an example for the children.
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« Reply #33 on: June 08, 2004, 01:06:52 PM »

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There are many people to stand up for the country. There is only one father to the man's children.  Sorry, God, Family, Country.  

Ebor

 
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If a family member commits a crime is one obligated to ignore their duty as a citizen and not report it?

If a father is called to national service is he to avoid at all costs even to the point of fleeing the country?

No country should come over family. By serving your country you also serve your family and set an example for the children.

1st, well said, Ebor. Smiley

2nd, if a family member commits a crime that is also a crime against God (which ideally would be all things identified as "criminal" in society, but this isn't always the case), then yes, reporting them would be correct, in my opinion, particularly if the justice taken on the criminal is for his or her own good and will help improve the situation. But if you wanted, I could describe many hypothetical situations - most very extreme, I grant you - in which turning in the family member committing the "crime" is far more problematic, because the "criminal's" intentions are good and Christian...Les Miserables comes to mind (Valjean steals bread from a post office for his starving sister and her child, and he is put in the worst type of jail for an incredible amount of time because, since he stole from a post office, it was deemed a "federal offence"...this is France, yes, but the morality of the situation still applies). Now I'm NOT saying we should let people who commit crimes get away with them just because we know them and love them or because they are family...but your logic would require that Christian compassion and in some cases Christian morality take second place to "duty to country."

My duty is first to God, and that means being a good Christian for Him. It is His laws I live by first, my country's second.

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« Reply #34 on: June 08, 2004, 01:20:19 PM »

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My duty is first to God, and that means being a good Christian for Him. It is His laws I live by first, my country's second.

Aye, aye, Cap'n!

"I die the king's faithful servant, but God's first"  
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« Reply #35 on: June 08, 2004, 03:36:29 PM »




My duty is first to God, and that means being a good Christian for Him. It is His laws I live by first, my country's second.



My family's third.

I must say I am surprised by the lack of of pacificism presented here. I expected more idealistic posts...you know the kind of idealism devoid of reality.
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« Reply #36 on: June 08, 2004, 03:40:27 PM »

We can debate the current war forever, and get no where, but it isn't a just war.

Attacking a nation that hasn't attacked you is not just, and frankly not Christian. How can one justify attacking and taking over another nation, when that nation hasn't even attacked ours?

You can go on and on about what Sadam did to his people or the fact that he could have attacked us. But we were the aggressors, we were not attacked, and were simply protecting our interests. Yes we were attacked on 9-11, but it has not been proven that Sadam had anything to do with that. And yes invading Iraq and ousting Sadam did eliminate the possibilty of Sadam attacking us, but this still does not justify a war.

A just war, in my opinion, is when you are attacked and you must fight back for the protection of your nation. I am sure many of you will disagree with me, but hey thats the way things go. And please don't make me out to be some anti-American anti-troops kinda guy.

I love America and our troops, and this is why I am so concerned when we get involved or start wars that really have little justification, if any.

Anywho now that I have said that, I would also like to say that God must always come first in everything we do. To many Americans put their nation before God, or even worse, turn God into some kind of Uncle Sam who is always on America's side.
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« Reply #37 on: June 08, 2004, 04:11:00 PM »

If a family member commits a crime is one obligated to ignore their duty as a citizen and not report it?

If a father is called to national service is he to avoid at all costs even to the point of fleeing the country?

No country should come over family. By serving your country you also serve your family and set an example for the children.

Extreme cases make for bad general rules and don't clarify a situation.  A family member committing a crime has broken the rules of society; a child needing and wanting her/his father breaks no rule of heaven or earth.  

Being called up is an "I Must" as is being in the military and then having to go where one is sent.  Volunteering after prior service is not the same, but an "I want to" for any number of reasons, some of which may good, others bad.  A father is not his own man anymore but is supposed to submit his own desires to the good of his wife and family.

I've known people who had a parent die before they were adults.  It leaves a scar and pain soul deep.  For some the example shown might be "My Dad didn't want to be with me, so he left and he's dead and he's never coming back.  Why didn't he love me so he would stay?"

Why should those of us on the forum be 'devoid of reality', out of idle curiosity?  Those of us who are in our 40's, 50's and older have probably had plenty of "reality" in our time, same for the younger set, imho.

You asked for our opinions.

Ebor
« Last Edit: June 08, 2004, 04:21:51 PM by Ebor » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: June 08, 2004, 04:16:48 PM »

You can go on and on about what Sadam did to his people or the fact that he could have attacked us. But we were the aggressors, we were not attacked, and were simply protecting our interests. Yes we were attacked on 9-11, but it has not been proven that Sadam had anything to do with that. And yes invading Iraq and ousting Sadam did eliminate the possibilty of Sadam attacking us, but this still does not justify a war.

AMEN, Ben!  I could not have said it better myself
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« Reply #39 on: June 08, 2004, 04:31:06 PM »

AMEN, Ben!  I could not have said it better myself

Thank you, gald to see some here have good Christian comon sense.
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« Reply #40 on: June 08, 2004, 04:32:47 PM »

God comes first, He will make it clear to us where in the tangled web of responsibilities, duties and obligations our attention should turn.

I am a Father, Husband, Citizen, Subject, Employee, Church Trustee, Church Treasurer, Subdeacon, Webmaster, Brother, Son, Web Developer with clients, Friend, School Governor etc etc.

Often I am not always sure where I should commit myself because ALL of these things are responsibilities that require my attention at some time or another - but as God wills and makes clear through prayer and fasting even, not by an artifical hierarchy.

My family comes very high up on my list but SOMETIMES I have to annoy and frustrate my non-Orthodox wife by being committed elsewhere in Church service. SOMETIMES I disappoint my bishop by being committed to my wife and family - but he understands the pressure I am under and doesn't want me to have a nervous breakdown so he goes easy on demands for my time for a while.

I could imagine serving in defence of my country and family AND not serving in defence of my family but being led into some other activity. That's for God to determine and make clear.

So for me God is first and last (and I don't mean that in some pious way but practically otherwise I'd go mad trying to juggle everything) - He will put all the other things in the right order in each different circumstance.

Peter
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« Reply #41 on: June 08, 2004, 06:43:49 PM »

God comes first, He will make it clear to us where in the tangled web of responsibilities, duties and obligations our attention should turn.

I am a Father, Husband, Citizen, Subject, Employee, Church Trustee, Church Treasurer, Subdeacon, Webmaster, Brother, Son, Web Developer with clients, Friend, School Governor etc etc.

Often I am not always sure where I should commit myself because ALL of these things are responsibilities that require my attention at some time or another - but as God wills and makes clear through prayer and fasting even, not by an artifical hierarchy.

My family comes very high up on my list but SOMETIMES I have to annoy and frustrate my non-Orthodox wife by being committed elsewhere in Church service. SOMETIMES I disappoint my bishop by being committed to my wife and family - but he understands the pressure I am under and doesn't want me to have a nervous breakdown so he goes easy on demands for my time for a while.

I could imagine serving in defence of my country and family AND not serving in defence of my family but being led into some other activity. That's for God to determine and make clear.

So for me God is first and last (and I don't mean that in some pious way but practically otherwise I'd go mad trying to juggle everything) - He will put all the other things in the right order in each different circumstance.

Peter

Amen Peter! I totally agree with and understand everything you said.
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« Reply #42 on: June 08, 2004, 07:55:37 PM »

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Extreme cases make for bad general rules and don't clarify a situation.

Good call Ebor, and good post in general.

If a family member commits a crime is one obligated to ignore their duty as a citizen and not report it?

No, but this is not an example of leaving an innocent family member without a provider, as would be going off to die in a war.

Quote
If a father is called to national service is he to avoid at all costs even to the point of fleeing the country?

Married men with children are some of the last to go if a draft is actually called...they purposefully call the young, single, childless men and women first; heads of family are intentionally called second.  However, if this were to actually occur, I woudn't blame the father a bit for running...I speak Spanish and could get along just fine for as long as I needed to in Mexico....

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No country should come over family.

I think you meant to write, "No; country should come over family," because as you wrote it I agree: No[/b] country should ever[/b] come over family.  

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By serving your country you also serve your family and set an example for the children.

An example of what?  That it's all right to leave a family without a provider because of some war we didn't need to fight?  In this current situation -- of which I'm obviously speaking -- it would definitely NOT set a good example...however, were we directly attacked by a sovereign nation or set of sovereign nations which we could directly engage and who continued to directly and demonstrably threaten us as Americans, THEN I would set the example, as the threat was clear and present.  Otherwise?  No.  Not for a pre-emptive bullying like this.
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« Reply #43 on: June 08, 2004, 08:21:37 PM »

Pedro very well put. I find myself agreeing with the majority of your posts. You put things much better than I ever could!
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« Reply #44 on: June 08, 2004, 10:05:43 PM »

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What do people here think of Orthodox Christians joining the US Army? I am not talking about some job skill like a medic or a clerk -- but infantry -- where the soldier's job is to close with and destroy the enemy.

From what I was told, armies and wars under the best of circumstances are an admission of failure - they are the least of many evils, never a good.  There are no "good" wars.  Though this may be incorrect, what I was told is that a soldier who kills a man in combat still needs to confess this.  It may also be indicative of the Church's view of such things that if a clergyman shed's another man's blood, even if it is purely for self defense reasons, he must cease functioning as a Priest.

On the other hand, the Church has Saints who were lauded in large part for their military defense of Orthodox nations (St.Alexandre Nevski comes to mind.)  I think the best thing to say, is that there is a tension in Orthodoxy on this subject - while not the ideal, on a practical level military service for a nation is something that is often needed.

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