AWOL, Military Christians Protest NATO Summit

An interesting, if somewhat odd, article at the ChristianPost documents the story of Jacob and Jordon George, two men who grew up in the church and have developed a pacifist view:

George grew up in a Southern Baptist church…but said it was his three tours in Afghanistan that opened him up a new interpretation of Christianity – one that does not misuse or misconstrue the words of Christ and war.

“I think those two things have absolutely nothing to do with each other,” he said…

“Jesus was an advocate for non-violence. He never advocated for people going to war. He advocated for compassion and loving our enemy. What I witnessed (in war) drifted from that ethos – there was very little love for the enemy, there was hatred for the enemy,” he said. “And the true essence of a warrior is loving your enemy.”

Jacob George reportedly deployed to Afghanistan three times in three years.  His younger brother apparently enlisted several years later and also received orders to deploy:

“I was looking at him and he was terrified…” George told CP.

Jordon protested his deployment by taking absence without official leave, and for the past two years the two brothers…have been riding bicycles across the South advocating for an end to the war and sharing their story through music.

It seems that the elder George was unable to dissuade his brother from joining the Army even in a nation currently at war — but supported him going AWOL when he got the orders to war he had to have known would come.  Presumably, Jordon George remains in an AWOL status.

If one has a religious issue with war, there are avenues of redress.  Conscientious objection is a means by which those who believe their religious beliefs are inconsistent with war may be discharged.  Though infrequent, the military has recognized that religious beliefs can develop or change after one joins the military.

However, simply being “terrified” of war (a healthy feeling, to be sure) or objecting to a specific war rather than the principle of war itself are insufficient reasons for the military to simply let you go. People in those situations have two choices:  Go to war, or go to jail.

The younger George voluntarily enlisted while the nation was at war, and given he went AWOL at 19, he couldn’t have been in long before he changed his mind about wanting to fight.  The rest of his unit probably adapted to the absence of their battle buddy, but it is not an obstacle they should have had to overcome.

Jacob George talks much in the article about his Christianity.  Nowhere in the Christian faith does it advocate shirking one’s responsibilities — in fact, it encourages the opposite. Both Georges can continue to protest the war, but the younger should accept responsibility for his conduct and turn himself in to the military authorities.