The Common Good

Be A Good Neighbor to a Veteran

The other week during an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis and Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, talked about the GI Bill as a positive example of how the government can support opportunity in our country.

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After the press club event, I got a tweet from a friend, @ericteetsel:

Hey @tmking I know @jimwallis likes the GI Bill too. But I never understood given his whole anti-militarism thing.

My 140 character response:

We disagree on foreign policy but being pro-veteran should not be an issue.They serve, we need to support when they come home.

For 40 years, under Republicans and Democrats, Sojourners has spoken out against U.S. foreign policy decisions. By and large, I believe we rush to military options far too quickly. But the people who make those decisions are rarely the ones who pay the highest costs for them.

Already, about 20,000 veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have experienced homelessness at some point during the last five years.

The unemployment rate for young veterans is over 30%.

And, in 2010, more veterans committed suicide (468) than died in combat (462).

Christians are called to be peacemakers and healers. Disagreement on policy does not excuse us from a responsibility to help those who come home broken and in need of help.

You might call yourself a pacifist, a just-war theorist, a pragmatist, a dove or a hawk but today (and every day), you should be a good neighbor to a veteran.

 

Tim King is Communications Director for Sojourners. Follow Tim on Twitter @TMKing.

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