Search the scriptures

Here’s one who did:

“Love thy enemy” — U.S. soldier gets discharge

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. soldier who said his Christian beliefs compelled him to love his enemies, not kill them, has been granted conscientious objector status and honorably discharged, a civil liberties group said on Tuesday.

Capt. Peter Brown — who served in Iraq for more than a year and was a graduate of the elite U.S. military academy West Point — said in a statement issued by the New York Civil Liberties Union that he was relieved the Army had recognized his beliefs made it impossible for him to serve.

“In following Jesus’ example, I could not have fired my weapon at another human being, even if he were shooting at me,” said Brown, who plans to continue seminary classes he began by correspondence while in Iraq.

While in Iraq, Brown processed insurgents and detainees, the NYCLU said.

Brown said he had no conflict between his faith and military service until after he graduated from West Point in 2004 and began to study scripture and his belief.

During his Iraq deployment he applied for discharge as a conscientious objector but the request was denied, the NYCLU said. In July 2007 the NYCLU and the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal court in Washington, D.C., to order the honorable discharge.

“Before the court acted, the Army reconsidered the issue, this time granting Brown’s request,” said the NYCLU, adding it would now withdraw the lawsuit.

The U.S. Army was not immediately available for comment.  

Here’s one part of our system that still works. 

10 thoughts on “Search the scriptures

  1. When I saw this news item and posted it I hadn’t made the connection that it was about the very same soldier who had commented on this blog just over a year ago. Peter, as for those who are unkind: remember that the blessing for the persecuted shows up in Matthew 5 in immediate connection with the blessing on the peacemaker; and you’ll know by now that the appropriate response is to take joy in knowing that you are walking in the shoes of the prophets.

  2. therevr

    you are right, the whole reason i cannot kill is that i must love my enemies, so absolutely i must love those who are unkind too. blessings


  3. Wow, thanks for sharing this information. Sadly, stories such as this are not heard in the mainstream media-EVER. Instead we only hear from that faction of American Christendom that wants to ratchet up our warring ways and spread the killing to Iran. I wonder who benefits from showing the world this unbalanced picture of faith?

  4. southern beale

    you are right. these kinds of things are not spoken of in the media, but more importantly in the church. i grew up in various cities and denominations, and i never heard there was a thing as a “non-violent” christian (or whatever you wants to call it).


  5. Peter,

    There are a number of church groups in the US that have been recognized as “peace churches” since at least WWI, and members of these have had an easier time than others establishing conscientious objector status for themselves based on their religious affiliation. These include Mennonites, Quakers, and others including the Church of God — although this last group, from which I get my bearings, tends to support the individual conscience of those who choose to be soldiers as well as those who conscientiously object, and also to produce a somewhat disproportionate number of military chaplains. Many church groups, including this one, also have active peace fellowships.

    I was blessed to be the nephew of two ministers who were also WWII conscientious objectors, supported by their faith in that stance. Never knew really where my dad stood on such things; he once commented that he had been too young for the first war and too old for the second.

    I have followed in my uncles’ footsteps in being an active Peace Fellowship participant during my years of ministry. The problem is that many good church people “greatly err, knowing neither the scriptures nor the power of God” (and yes, I know I’ve conveniently borrowed that from quite a different context).


  6. therevr

    you are right…unfortunately, i didnt know anything about “peace churches” until i applied for CO. since then i have spent some time discovering the few others who do believe the same thing.


  7. I don’t know what type of challenges you have faced since making this decision, but I can imagine. For me, I want to commend you for your courage. I am sure some will see this quite differently. I hope and pray that you are finding the support you need.

  8. christian

    thanks for the support. there havent been too many others who have been supportive through the situation. but God has been. and i know He will provide just the right support at just the right time.


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