What do you think of military recruiters on campus?

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Military Recruiters on Campus

Let's be honest with ourselves. There has always been and will always be several branches of the military in the United States. There are those who desire to make the military a career, just as there are those who pursue engineering, medicine, law and even the ministry. I can see no reason why military recruiters shouldn't have the same opportunity to recruit on campus as do recruiters for major corporations.

Military Recruiters

I think they should be allowed, despite our anti-war stance. The men and women in the military need ministers as do the rest of our citizens. How best can we influence the people in the military but from inside. Hal

electronic discussion with names

Hi Hal and others:
I think this discussion is crucial to our ministries, and the issues you all have raised are great at getting at the complexities of the military in the U.S. But, I would feel better about this electronic discussion if folks would sign their names. Here at PSR, we sit next to each other in the classroom, some of us share meals in the dining hall, and some of us sleep in the same buildings. All of these settings can be richer and safer if we know who we've been dialoging with online. What do you think? ---Alex McGee

BTW iceberg under the waterline post is by Donnel Miller-Mutia

I agree with Alex. My apologies for not signing my name. Hal is making a good point.--Donnel

Military Recruiters on Campus - Melissa Fafarman's thought

I would welcome the recruiters to the campus, not because I support militarism or colonialism supported by military might, but because as a pacifist this might be one of my few opportunities to speak with people for whom recruiting into the military is congruent with their values. We need to understand how people view this kind of a commitment, how they integrate it with their idea of the role of God. Would it be practical to make their recruiting on campus conditional on there being a discussion circle facilitated by a caring, respectful and skilled facilitator?

Military Recruiters

I say to let people of Military Recruitment come to our table. This is an opportunity to open a dialogue with people who choose this profession, Military Chaplaincy Recruitment. A question of war vs. peace, equality for all people regardless of anything is a dialogue worth having. Candis Hanson

Loyalty Oaths and Our Consciences

While we debate military recruiters on our campus, I am aware that at other campuses, the matter under discussion is quite different. I just read from a People for the American Way publication that there is a teacher as Cal State Fullerton, Wendy Gonaver, who was fired because she refused to sign the school's "loyalty oath" unless she could add a statement to her signature that as a Quaker pacifist, she would refuse to bear arms for her country.

This is the loyalty oath the school expects teachers to sign:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter."

What a different conversation to be having. How could we help other schools maintain climates of freedom of conscience in an increasingly militaristic 'homeland,' through whatever stance we take about military recruiters?

- Audrey

Stolen from Soldiers

To add to this discussion, I want to post a letter from Seminarians to End War:

12 May 2008

An Open Letter to PSR Students, Faculty, Staff, and Other Community Members;

Last week, we, the members of Seminarians to End War (SEW), began to collect the items for our final care package for our "adopted" soldier serving in Iraq, from the donation box in the Holbrook lobby. To our deep disappointment, we found that items we ourselves had placed in the box were no longer there. We concluded that some member(s) of the PSR community had stolen these items from the donation box.

Perhaps we have not made clear that these care packages are not part of the "war effort," but instead part of our peace effort. We see how the war's effects do not take place only abroad on the front lines of battle. The repercussions of war resound for decades in the lives of all who experience it. Currently, soldiers and veterans alike are systematically denied equipment and care, and hundreds of veterans attempt suicide every month; this is part of the travesty of war that those who wage it would rather we did not know. As faith leaders who work for peace, we choose to know this - and to act to ameliorate this sin. By supporting the mental and spiritual health of one soldier, we are hoping to end part of the war being waged on the battlefront of his very soul.

This theft was not only from our soldier friend in Iraq, but also from all the members of the PSR community who have been donating what they can afford.

We have another chance to rectify the damage of this theft. We have postponed sending out our final care package, in order to gather more candy, snacks, and other items. If you took any items from the donation box, we invite you to donate at least as much as you took. If you did not take the items, but would like to contribute toward the care package, we invite you to join us in supporting this peace effort and we thank you for taking part. Please place your donations in the box by Friday, May 16th.

Blessings of peace and healing,
the members of Seminarians to End War, Sow Peace (SEW Peace)
contact at sewpeace gmail.com


For further clarification, at least $20 worth of candy was taken from the box, which has been located behind the Info Desk in Holbrook Lobby, which is out of the way of regular pedestrian traffic. This was probably a simple error by one or more members of our community, but it has had a cumulative impact on those of us who have donated from our limited funds to help provide a soldier a taste of comfort.

I post this to raise the question of whether PSR has the climate to address the complexities of war and military service? Can we make sense of a peace group sending a care package to a soldier in Iraq? Or are some of us - if not all of us - too concerned about our own needs and hungers to sacrifice (or allow others to sacrifice) for others made needy by an imperial war of aggression?

- Audrey

Military Recruiters On Campus

Within the UCC and her cousin MCC they toss the phrase and utter a statement (please excuse the paraphrase), "Whoever you are, where ever you come from, where ever you are on your spiritual journey you are welcome here." Is this true? Is not barring military recruiters from campus a departure from this committment? Such a stance makes our claim of being open and welcoming ring rather hollow and slides us closer to becoming what we oppose.

I am a veteran, a combat veteran and a cold war veteran. There was a day when I held the keys in my hand that would unleash the full retaliatory might of the United States. I have slept in jungles and deserts, and I have sent my share of humans into eternity. I carry that with me every day. It is not theoretical to me, nor abstract. I am opposed to war and especially this war in Iraq. I do not want to ever see another Gold Star Mother, military burial detail, or have to tell a family their son or daughter is gone.
I enlisted into the Army when I was 17, at a time when my brothers were being drafted. It changed my life in both good and bad ways. I am not proud of the military's part in exploitation and American imperialism. I am proud of the discipline, courage, and leadership skills i learned after some 14 years of military service, both active and reserve. I am proud of every school and clinic I helped build and organize. I am proud that that in the wake of catastrophe it is the military that is first in delivering aid and assistance to the stricken. However, I will remind you that the military does not make the decision to go to war. Our civilian leaders make that decision. Military service is not for everyone, just as working in the ministry or any other profession is not for everyone. The decision to serve is a deeply personal one. Students should be allowed the opportunity to hear the various pitches and make their own choice. When you want to raise the issue of allowing recruiters puts PSR in league with the government, that die is cast when you accept any government financial assistance for your education. If military recruiters are banned, then all recruiters, regardless of industry, should be banned.
In my reading of the Gospels I never read of Jesus condemning any Roman soldier he encountered, or telling them to leave Roman service.
We are at this Seminary in preparation for ministry as a vocation. It is assumed that the UCC will entrust congregations and/or other groups to our leadership. Then trust your brothers and sisters to make their own decision.
Finally, it is my faith that helps me daily face the ghosts of the comrades I lost and those that I dispatched to their maker. I have seen and lived in hell, and for some reason I survived and am working to redeem my time. I carry these people with me daily, and without my faith to help carry that burden I would be dead in spirit; a walking death. I welcome anyone who wants to serve just as I welcome anyone who does not. I fought and bled for that choice. Do not cheapen that with a denial of our creed of forgiveness and inclusion.

Military on campus

I have a problem with the Military coming on campus. Our military is a volunteer force, and I respect the choice of the individual to join.

As a former High School teacher, I have seen/heard what the military promise these kids. Their concern is for numbers of inlistees, and some, not all, will tell people whatever it takes to get them in. I have a problem with this. These recruiters approach teachers to get the names of the seniors. It feels very preditory, and I find it troubling.

I am also very concerned about where the recruits end up: Iraq, for months at a time, broken promises on when they can go home, not enough equipment. What we were told as to why we went in was at best based on faulty reasons, if not out and out lies. Over 4,000 of our soldiers have died over these reasons. It's criminal.

Just these two reasons have made me a consciensous objector.

Then there is don't ask don't tell, which is discrimitory.

If the military were to be allowed on campus, for me to accept it, I would want to see things like don't ask/don't tell eliminated and have everyone who wants to serve be allowed to serve. I would want the government come clean as to why we went into Iraq. And lastly, I would want less preditory recruiting practices. If a person wants to join, there is nothing stopping them from walking into a recruitment office, and THAT is where the recruiters should stay. Then it truely is a choice. Coming on campus preasures too many people to join, and is an afront to those of us who object to this war.

Military on campus

Why shouldn't the Federal Gov't have a roll in wanting military recruiters on schools? If those schools want to turn of the Federal spigot and receive no Federal funding; then allow that school to say no. My all expenses paid camping and hiking trip to Vietnam got me some maturity, out of (negative) gang influence, my undergraduate degree, and my first house. Policemen in this country are to "protect" us, just as our military is for our pretection. One for global defense, the other for local defence. When we exclude police from recruiting on school campus, then I will sign up for excluding the military.

Military chaplain recruitment at PSR

I'm going to have to raise my voice here. Jim Weller speaking.

First, as Alex McGee requested, and others have agreed, I think we really must insist that anyone posting an opinion here should disclose his or her real name. "Anonymous" postings degrade the communal spirit of this forum, and encourage disingenuous, exhibitionistic essays like those of May 14 and May 19.

Furthermore, let us be mindful that we are talking about military chaplains promoting career opportunities for ordained ministry, as military officers in the U.S. Defense Department - not "cannon fodder" recruiters targeting disadvantaged youths, or hustling armed forces jobs to unsuspecting college students.

As a Christian ethicist, I oppose the latter; the former is less objectionable, although I would not recommend military service to anyone who seeks to follow the way of Jesus Christ. Christian life and service in the armed forces are entirely incongruent. You cannot serve two masters . . . you cannot serve both God and Mammon - and the U.S. military is all about money, not defense.

In my opinion, the best way for seminarians to support "our troops" is to help them get out of the so-called "service." We should concentrate on organizing support for military resisters, and counter-recruiters, and political efforts to end war.

Military chaplain recruitment at PSR

Since 1969 I have marched, spoken, written, and stood in mourning in protest of war and war-like activities waged by the US govenment, declared and undeclared. And I object to military recruitment on high school campuses. I also have a nephew who served two tours of duty in Iraq, and friends who were in the Gulf war, Vietnam, Korea, and WWII. Who do I hope will be the chaplain for the moments of fear, of hope, of loss, of pain, of gut-wrenching, and of soul-searching? I hope that it will be a person with deep compassion, openness of heart and mind, and someone who can see more than one path to God, through life, and even in the present moment. Perhaps someone from PSR.

I envision the day when some who serve in the military are there to support, join, and encourage those who say, "Hell, NO, we won't go!" To stop war will take more than citizens in the streets, in the legislature, in the courts; it will take hard decisions by people in the military too. I like to think those moral, ethical decisions will have some bold spiritual leadership.

Military chaplains and their recruiters

For me, the bottom line of this issue is that members of the military need chaplains. Regardless of why a person joins the military, military service can turn that person’s life upside down in countless ways. Military chaplains are there to walk with people through their struggles. In fact, in many cases, the chaplain is the ONLY person that a servicemember can have a confidential conversation with. (From what I understand, military doctors and counselors do not have confideniality according to military regulations.)

If a PSR student, who is an adult with the ability to make his or her own decisions, decides to make the very complicated and difficult choice to explore military chaplaincy, I think that we as a community should respect and support that person’s decision. Telling that student to find another place to meet with their recruiters does not feel like support to me.

Meredith Files

Military, God, and a Progressive Voice

I write this from my context as a 14 year navy veteran and military jet carrier pilot- who was kicked out of the navy for being gay: Jeff Crews.
We would not be here as Americans if it were not for our military. That is just a fact. We would not be in this horrible unethical mess in Iraq if it were not for the fact that our politicians do not understand the use of our military as a "Department of Defense". Also a fact.
Military forces are not the issue, it is the USE of military forces. Did the ancient nation of Israel use force wisely (and what would wise-force look like?). Did the Roman Empire use force with integrity? The answer, in my opinion to both questions, using the biblical text is, "No." But are we currently concerned about the military per se, or the mis-use of the military by our polticical mechanisms gone completely haywire?
I think we could say that we as a nation no longer have the political wisdom to wisely use military force. We have lost our ethical and structural integrity as a nation and cultures- it has been replaced by polls and politics. One can also easily trace the loss of political integrity in ancient Israel and Rome. Power is corruptive.
But perhaps an even greater question is whether the use of force is ever 'wise'. Jesus knocked over the money-changer's tables in the outer court of the Temple with force-- or did he?

As a complete change of subject, the current religious culture in the miltary is rabidly conservative-- seeing the US military as the final force holding the forces of Satan from overwhelming "us." I beleive one main reason is because the chaplaincy of the US armed forces is overwhelmingly conservative fundamental Christians who paint the cross on their holy war against evil. How will this ever change unless there is an open, progressive, thoughtful, liberal counter-voice? The last bastions of institutional gay-hatred in the US are the church and the military (what strange bedfellows, eh?). Of all of the places in our nation where the progressive voice of thoughtful and inclusive Christianity NEEDS to be heard, the military is most in need (well, the halls of Congress, but my belief in miracles only extends so far...). I also cannot imagine joining the ranks of the military chaplaincy as a progressive-- you would be eaten alive by the hierarchy.
Do we need a military? Sadly yes.
Are we abusing the military? Sadly, yes.
Do we need progressive chaplains in the military to battle this insanity from the inside? Brothers and sisters, yes.
The real question is how can we inject progressive, thoughtful, open dialogue about spirituality and God into the military? After all, they only do as they are told.
But maybe--just maybe--we are worried about the actions and ethics of the wrong institution...

Military on Campus

There is no better place than the military to recruit than on Religious campuses.

There is no avoiding the fact that millions and millions of people have died in the name of Religion. Pick a year since the time which the second religion was started and then start counting the dead.

Death, War and Religion are joined at the hip. So enjoy the ride.

Unfortunately, that's so

Unfortunately, that's so true. I think that the military should never be "religious".

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Military Chaplains

I am deeply considering becoming a military chaplain, given the great number of returing Soldiers, Marines and Airmen who basically went from swim practice and Prom to the battlefields. These youngsters are coming back physically and psychically damaged, and will be in need of Spiritual Care. We have seen the Bush Administration is far more comfortable sending them off to the war zone, that it is with caring for them when they come back. Someone needs to stand for them. I personally feel called to serve in those places where many don't want to go (prison and military ministries, for example). Dealing with our American brothers and sisters as they come to terms with the loss of their arms, legs,and innocence is as much a part of my faith walk as it is to learn to deal lovingly with the systems of domination/oppression that sent them there.

Once again, George Bush is my greatest teacher. Without him, I would not be at PSR, taking Jesus back from the Religious Right. Without him, I wouldn't be considering joining up.

Barack Obama is a leader whose vision I can put my name to. Once he is elected, I would be proud to honor my family name and my country by serving the men and women who offered their lives on the battlefield.

Until then, or if McCain is elected, I will NOT be a part of our military. I would rather volunteer at the Palo Alto VA than risk being sent off to another round of useless wars.

I welcome further dialouge on this matter.
Come find me in Holbrook Reception and chat me up.
-Amelie Hansen
"Queer Peacemonger"

Why not have military

Why not have military recruiters on campus? After all, students are free to join or not. As long as adults are targeted, everyone has their own mind and they can make their own decisions.

Military Chaplaincy

I am a retired (medically) armed forces chaplain, having had the distinction of having served with all branches (Army, Navy (w/Marines & Coast Guard), and Air Force. I grew up in a military family (my dad was a Navy CPO (hospital corpsman), and I protested the Viet Nam War because I believe we didn't belong there. In those days, my view was respected (if not always agreed with) in my family, and I had no problem serving in ministry to our troops. I am a service-connected, disabled vet due to injuries sustained in the line of duty (Gulf One-Desert Shield/Storm). I hold my service in ministry in the armed forces as dearest to my heart, and where I felt the most free to BE in ministry. I also spent many years as a parish pastor and am thankful for that ministry opportunity/venue as well.
I do not, nor feel obligated to agree with the policies (political and otherwise) of our government or its leaders at any given time. This is a right of citizenship I hold very deeply, and participate in the political process as my conscience so moves me. I DO feel that those so moved to minister to the spiritual and religious needs of our troops should have the opportunity to do so, with full knowledge of the parameters and circumstances regarding the conditions of such service, and that as chaplains we serve in ministry to those in that venue, regardless of their religious background or affiliation. In my view, it demands spiritual grounding and maturity, a real sense of knowing your own spiritual relationship so as not to be threatened or intimidated by the stance/experience of others, and a commitment to do that ministry in the face of some of the most perilous and dangerous circumstances. Although my career as a chaplain was cut short due to injury/illness, I still have contact with many of my former troops, and I consider it a sacred privilege to be connected to these people of tremendous and deep faith.
Honestly, I've probably ducked more bullets in civilian parishes than I ever had to in the military. Both civilian and military venues for ministry (as well as many others, mind you) are tremendously worthwhile and needful, and each person should be free to be moved to serve where they feel most called and equipped to perform that ministry. Ministry isn't for everyone. Neither is the military, or the civilian parish, hospital ministries, or the myriad of ministry venues. If one feels called and guided to particular service, one should take that seriously and explore the plausibility of such service. Please don't stifle possibilities and opportunities for yourself and for others. No one MADE you come here, or KEEPS you here. Please be of good grace, and be that instrument of God's presence in the manner you feel most called. Grace & peace. Dee

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