Rev. David Peters is vicar of a Pflugerville church plant in the Diocese of Texas and founder of the Episcopal Veterans Fellowship.

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When War Lives on Inside You

by Rev. David Peters 01-22-2020
As told to Sojourners. 

U.S. Army paratroopers depart for the Middle East in January / Bryan Woolston / Reuters

“IF PTSD RESULTS from being the prey—re-experiencing the feeling that something is hunting you, hurting you, trying to kill you—then moral injury results from being the predator—where you have done things to hurt people.

I hear moral injury when a veteran tells me, ‘If people knew what I had done ...’ or ‘I can’t walk into church.’ Sometimes it takes a form of humor, where people joke about not wanting to be around ‘holy stuff.’ In a story of St. Martin of Tours, a Roman soldier who is baptized and converts to Christianity, after he leaves the army to enter the monastery, he refuses to come to the altar, and he cowers in the corner.