Memorial Day 2011

Memorial Day commemorates the United States’ soldiers, sailors, airman, and marines who died while in military service.

War is a challenging moral issue to come to grips with, especially from a Christian perspective. But while it is always tragic, and often evil, war is sometimes morally right, just, and practically necessary.

Consider philosopher John Stuart Mill’s words, penned during the American Civil War:

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. . . . A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.1

On this sacred day of remembrance I encourage you to visit a national cemetery and pay your respects to those brave men and women who gave their lives for our freedom.

For study concerning the ethics of war from a Christian perspective, see Evangelical Ethics by John Jefferson Davis and The Life and Death Debate by J. P. Moreland and Norman L. Geisler.

1. John Stuart Mill, “The Contest in America,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, April 1862, 683–84, http://digital.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=harp&cc=harp&idno=harp0024-5&node=harp0024-5%3A1&frm=frameset&view=image&seq=687.

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