The Loma Linda University Church (LLUC) is not now and never has been planning “a program” of the sort that Mr. Osborn described in his open letter. Had Mr. Osborn had the foresight and the courtesy to place a phone call to the LLUC office—an act which would have been consistent with the spirit of Matthew 18—he could have written a piece based on facts rather than on misguided assumptions. His opportunistic piece needs to be recognized for what it is: one using mistaken assumptions about a church program as a forum to express and get visibility for his opinions and convictions. It is based on inaccurate information regarding a program that does not exist in a local church to which Mr. Osborn does not belong and has not had the courtesy to contact.
Had Mr. Osborn simply called the LLUC and spoken with LLUC’s administration, he would have been informed of three things:
1. The “program” to which he refers was a simple announcement that in the following week’s announcement segment of the service, veterans would be acknowledged. Those wishing to wear their uniforms could do so. 2. The veterans who are part of our church are largely those who were involved in WWII, Vietnam and Korea, not in Iraq. Further, many—possibly the majority—served in noncombatant and/or conscientious objector roles. 3. This brief but important moment in our service recognizes those who have served our country, and is intended to respect the service and sacrifices these men and women made at important times in our country’s history.
One further point. Mr. Osborn’s statement that “every Adventist soldier who has served in any conflict other than World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War has served voluntarily as a full combatant” is either misleading or simply wrong. It is misleading if by “soldier” he is referring specifically and only to Army combatants. But if such is the case, then one wonders why he limits his statement to only one specific position in the Army—which is just one branch of the Armed Forces—thus ignoring many other branches of the service (and also ignoring other Army roles) where there are noncombatants. It is wrong, however, if by “soldier” he means anyone who has served in any branch of the military, for he thus discounts the many Adventist (and other denominational) chaplains and medical personnel who have served and continue to serve as noncombatants, as well as ignoring the chaplains who serve as conscientious objectors.
The issue of pacifism and war is a most worthy one. Mr. Osborn’s perspectives deserve consideration and conversation. Any follower of Jesus is called to do what is within his/her power to be a peacemaker. Such a conversation needs to take place—and needs to be based on truth and accurate facts.
I would have appreciated Spectrum checking its facts before posting an inaccurate piece that pushes a hot button issue like this one. I would hope for better in the future.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4867