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A Day for Reflection

26 May 2008

McKnight pleads for us to leave the “just war” argument aside for a day to honor the dead.

But I’m wondering why Memorial Day is NOT the day nor the time to think soberly about military engagements.

The rest of the year, with the possible exception of July 4th and Veterans’ Day, we rarely if ever pause from our profit-seeking ways to reflect on this type of thing. If not today, then when? Presumably, McKnight would say the same thing on the two other military-oriented holidays…

qb is not a pacifist – at least not yet. (Hays and Yoder have me wavering, but I have to give Lewis another fair shot, too.) And I certainly agree that we can honor those who died for what they believed to be right and just and good even if we are pacifists.

But today’s holiday, it seems to me, puts the ethical and emotional dimensions of the issue on an even footing where, if we were ruthlessly charitable about it, we could take another run at forging a consensus Christian understanding. The rest of the time, our American culture just takes our military hegemony to be an irreducible premise so that the central ethical issue appears settled.

I wonder if opening the wounds of war afresh might not be precisely the way to go forward – again, if we are charitable about it.


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