An American soldier has been granted conscientious objector status and honorable discharge from the army after he said he experienced a religious awakening in Iraq. Pfc. Michael Barnes said his Christian beliefs meant he could no longer continue to fight.
“I can no longer justify spending my short time in this world participating in or supporting war… I must try to save souls, not help take them,” he wrote in December 2006 when applying for conscientious objector status. The army originally refused to give him the status. This court judgement now over-rules that.
Are religious beliefs a valid reason not to fight for your country?
War history is peppered with people who refuse to fight because of their religion. Some were resisting against conscription, but if you’ve chosen to be a soldier, can you pick and choose the battles you want to fight along religious grounds?
Many soldiers who are practising Christians do think it’s acceptable to fight for their country. Are they wrong? The Bible says “thou shalt not kill”, so are Christians who believe in fighting for their country somehow less Christian?
In Britain a reservist was prosecuted for refusing to fight fellow Muslims in Iraq.
If you’re a practising member of a religion, do you think it’s wrong that people take up arms, or are you grateful to the soldiers who have fought to defend your country and your way of life? Can you be religious and a soldier at the same time?