Should Christians volunteer to serve in the military here in the USA? Is there any basis in the Word of God telling us we should protect our families and homeland? I think in Israel they have a draft and everyone serves their country in some way. Are there examples in the Word that would guide us in knowing whether Christians should fight for our country?
What a complicated question you are asking and it is one that becomes more complex each day. To begin with, once military service becomes a voluntary action rather than an obligation required by law, the question of service becomes more tangled. Second, many militaries today, including recently in the United States, can force one to make a choice between service to God and commitment to the military. In general, supporting and defending the country in which one lives is a given in ancient Jewish wisdom, and military service is one way in which to do that. However, that general rule runs into potential problems today and since service is voluntary, the question becomes a real one.
Let’s focus on our second point. In effect, today it is possible that there may be a distinction between “fighting for our country” and serving in the military. Sadly, as the U.S. military prioritizes its mission as imposing (anti-Biblical) social change rather than protecting its country’s citizens and land, being in the military may actually force one to assist in destroying our country rather than defending it. We know families with generations of U.S. military service in their past who are, with great sadness, discouraging the present generation from enlisting. They feel that the top echelon of the military not only doesn’t care about the soldiers under their command, but that they scorn and deride the very values that have led these families to serve.
We must add that we also know families and individuals who still see joining up as their patriotic duty. They are committed both to their country and their faith and do not see the two in conflict. We hope they will chime in with comments.
If you are asking a practical rather than a theoretical question, we encourage you to speak in person to a faith leader of yours as well as to those currently in service. There are numerous factors to take into account. One thing is now clear, in the U.S. at least, the once-clear question of military service, is now no longer clear at all.
God bless America,
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin
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