Last Sunday, November 11, 2018, I made a speech to the combined Unitarian Universalist Congregations of Brevard County, Florida:
Many mistakenly assume that, because the Unitarian Universalist Assembly supports the rights of conscientious objectors, that UUs do not support the US military. I believe the Rev. William G. Sinkford, the seventh president of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, said what many of us agree with when speaking at a National Prayer Breakfast. “War is not our first choice, and, in some sense, it always represents a failure.” Rev. Sinkford served in the military and his son was a Ranger at the time.
John F. Kennedy said, “It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war.” According to an article by Nick Turse in The Nation, the US has deployed troops in 135 nations and carries on military operations in 80 of those. Many of these exercises are for training, but an equal number are secret and undoubtedly involve clandestine activities by Special Operations Forces.
There are 18.5 million veterans in the United States, those whom we honor on this day. They are not all of one race, religion, or creed, but they share one common trait, they all defended and swore to protect our constitution. Those serving today are not in some foreign land by choice. Our beliefs, our way of life, and our nation are under attack by many factions. We must, however, resist the temptation, promoted by some to make America’s wars about religion. Separation of church and state are fundamental to our American doctrine.
“The soldier above all others prays for peace,” said Gen. Douglas MacArthur, “for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” Our hearts and prayers go out today to the many veterans who, while they did not die in action, still suffer the wounds and trauma of the military experience. Too often, society underserves or neglects them when their duty time ends
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion characterized by a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning”. While our roots lie in liberal Christianity, we seek inspiration and derive insight from all major world religions.
Morihei Ueshiba, a Shinto teacher said, “A warrior is always engaged in a life-and-death struggle for Peace.” We must appreciate our warriors―seekers of peace.