The oppression of American veterans began specifically as an ideological enterprise and has been exceptionally successful in its main objectives: to marginalize veterans and to appropriate any political efficacy they might retain after the trauma of war.
Evan Knappenberger, Tikkun
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“The U.S. Army Chaplain Corps has, in recent years, been utilized in roles that conflict with fundamental Judeo-Christian values of peace and reconciliation,” the author writes. “Chaplains in my Army unit, for example, were seen as ‘readiness maintenance’ officers whose job was to keep soldiers on the rosters.” Here, an Army chaplain reads a sermon at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joe Zuccaro.
April 1, 2013 | A deep rift separates the pacifist and veteran communities in this country. To form a movement strong enough to bring an end to war, we will need to bridge this gap. The articulation of a veteran liberation theology has the power to create a space for cathartic exchange between the pacifist and military communities, enabling both groups to perceive how soldiers are exploited and oppressed by the war system. It is in this space that the end of war as envisioned in the Bible by Isaiah and Micah will come about.
The rich tradition of liberation theology has done much to connect the idea of liberation from economic and social oppression to an anticipation of ultimate salvation. In particular, liberation theologians have sought to center the perspectives of the poor and of communities of color, engaging the oppressed in a process of discernment and empowerment that works both within their own hearts and in systems of oppression. There is great potential in taking this approach to veterans and the military community, groups whose desperate oppression is often missed.