Earlier I wrote about LewRockwell.com, and discussed that I don't always agree with its authors but nevertheless enjoy the differing viewpoints presented. One of those authors whose views I disagree with regarding military enlistments (although I do agree with him that the Iraq war is unjust).
Mr. Vance argues that one should not enlist in the United States Military. This begins as a principled viewpoint based (it seems) on the idea that one should not cooperate with evil, and he views the war effort in Iraq as evil. He further goes on to explain that one of the big reasons the military is able to recruit so many young men and women every year (180,000 in 2007 alone!) is due to the cash bonuses offered to young recruits, and then goes on to compare their being hired to be soldiers as to those who sell drugs or their bodies on the streets.
Mr. Vance seems to operate under the assumption that everybody knows/believes the Iraq war is unjust and therefore is prostituting himself.
Mr. Vance's view is FAR from a Catholic view (and Mr. Vance speaks as a Protestant, not a Catholic), which allows two Catholics in good standing to argue whether a war is just or not, but NO room for argument whether selling one's body (as if one has the right to sell it) is anything but a mortal sin.
Catholics will recognize the incongruity here, but I'll explain a little more for my non-Catholic readers. Cooperating in evil is just as evil as the person who commits the act. This is why it is not only a mortal sin (punishable by auto-excommunication) to have an abortion but it is also equally wrong and punishable to aid somebody, through counsel or physical means, to have an abortion. However, it would not be a mortal sin to vote for a pro-choice politician if he was the lesser of two evils.
Similarly, while the current and former Popes have spoken out against the Iraq war, neither have given advice or orders to soldiers and sailors that are currently deployed fighting this war. Neither did they give any advice concerning those who might be considering the career option of going military. Pope John Paul II was extremely anti-war (almost to an un-Catholic degree) but he never tried to make the point that joining the military was mortally sinful or poisonous to the soul.
Men and women in good standing with the Church may disagree on the war. Furthermore, with the huge amount of propaganda that is pro-war, anti-Islam circling in Christian communities, it is understandable that many believe that joining the military is the right Christian thing to do. There certainly is a concern about the rise of Islam in the world, and the rate at which it is growing. Regardless of his views on the military, Mr. Vance should realize if is a Christian he ought to have an interest in the rise of Islam in the world. However, he offers no alternate path to combating false religions.
Finally, Christians should re-up and spend MORE time in the military. We need more men and women who know right and wrong to be defending our nation. A good Christian voice might have been all that was necessary to stop many of the abuses that have happened in the war, whether it be prison scandals or waterboarding. Many (if not all) of the horrors that happen during war happen because somebody with an ill-formed conscience is unable to make principled decisions.
How do we combat Islam outside of joining the military? As our Lady of Fatima said, "Pray the Rosary for peace in the world". I'll cover this more in depth another time.
I shudder to imagine our military might unmitigated by decent Christians.
My comments are offered in charity, not enmity, Mr. Vance. I welcome a response.