Craig Watts is pastor of Royal Palm Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Coral Springs, Florida and co-moderator for the Disciples Peace Fellowship.
In a recent conversation about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan I found myself echoing the words often spoken by antiwar folk: “I oppose the war but I support the troops.” My conversation partner was quick to respond, “You really don’t.” I replied, “So, you don’t think it’s possible to be supportive of the troops and stand against the way that are being misused in this war?” He answered, “Perhaps that’s possible for some people. But you’re a pacifist. Even in the best of circumstances you don’t support the troops. You may support the soldiers as men and women but not as troops.”
I had to concede his point. I don’t support the troops as troops. Since I oppose, not just the war in Iraq but war altogether, I oppose the very purpose of the troops. While I do believe they are being abused as troops by placing them in an unjust war, I believe they are being abused as people – and abusive of people – when fighting any war. I simply can’t square the purpose of troops with the purpose of Christians as taught by Jesus, and so I believe no Christian should be part of the troops. Read more