Monday, May 26, 2014

Ministering to the moral injuries of war



From Simple Gifts, All Soul's Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, May, 2014:

When we send our young people to war, we are asking
them to face the realities of warfare on our behalf.
Therefore, it is the job of those of us who are civilians
(and especially as religious people) to do our part to
help veterans who come home to heal from what
they’ve experienced. This is important and true
whether we agree with the war or not. This is the
reciprocal relationship between warriors and civilians
in a community. War itself, no matter if just or unjust,
will leave many of the men and women who fight it
feeling that they have dirtied their souls, and perhaps
for a simple reason: “There is just something about
killing that bites the conscience and doesn’t let go.” (1)

Moral injury is a wound to the spirit when we believe
we have done or we have witnessed something that
has violated our deepest sense of right and wrong.
These wounds to the spirit are not healed by psychiatric
medications or ordinary talk therapy. This is where
the religious community can come in. It is said, “the
first casualty of war is truth.” War veterans have a
truth that the rest of us do not have and do not understand.
We need them to be able to share their truth
with us for the good of our nation and its future.

For more click here.

Editor's note: 
Because we Unitarian Universalists covenant together to promote and affirm justice, equity, and compassion in human relations it makes us more understanding and sensitive to the moral injuries that accompany war making. War making begins in our own hearts when we see people on this planet different from us as "other". In seeing people different from ourselves as "other" we can objectify them and out of our fears demonize them and kill them.

Jesus said that we should love our enemies and the first step is to drop the objectification and get to know them as fellow humans suffering just like we do on this planet. We are here to help and learn. This Memorial Day let us begin by forgiving ourselves and "them" for whatever sins we think we have committed.

My Kind Of Church Music, Peace Train, Cat Stevens

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing Rev. Lavanhar's message about moral injuries. This concept is overlooked in all our war mongering and "support the troops" brou ha ha. There are plenty of brave and courageous souls who objected to participating in our bloodshed and they are too often overlooked and forgotten.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

    —Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, responding to a U.S. soldier serving in Iraq who asked him why troops had to dig through scrap metal to armor vehicles, Dec. 8, 2004

    ReplyDelete