Elizabeth Weise 06-03-2014

Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier captured during war in Afghanistan. Photo courtesy United States Army via Wikimedia Commons.

The newly freed soldier who spent nearly five years in captivity in Afghanistan has the mental and physical toughness to survive the experience, his former pastor said.

Bowe Bergdahl grew up in a conservative Christian family in Idaho, studied ballet, was home-schooled, spent time in a Buddhist monastery and finally served in a parachute infantry regiment of the Army’s 25th Infantry Division.

“If there’s anybody I can think of pulling through this, and doing well, it’s Bowe,” said Philip Proctor, who was pastor of Sovereign Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Boise, Idaho, when Bergdahl was a teenager.

“He has the mental and physical stamina not to be crushed by this experience,” Proctor said.

Gregg Brekke 03-05-2014

Christians have a presumption against war—as well as an obligation to help heal those who suffer its consequences.

Photo illustration of planned monument for Lake Elsinore, Calif. Courtesy: The American Humanist Association, public record.

A California federal judge has rejected a proposed religious memorial at a publicly owned baseball stadium as a violation of both federal and state laws.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson of California’s Central District ruled that a granite monument depicting a soldier kneeling in prayer before a cross lacked “a secular purpose” and has “the unconstitutional effect” of endorsing religion over nonreligion.

The decision came nine months after a lawsuit was filed by the American Humanist Association, a national organization of nonbelievers. The memorial was planned for city property in Lake Elsinore, Calif., a community of about 53,000 people in Southern California’s Riverside County.

Moriel Rothman 01-05-2014

An Israeli-American resister on the spiritual links between violence and nonviolence.

Dr. Coleman Baker 12-23-2013

Soldiers from all eras have faced difficult moral dilemmas. lazlo/Shutterstock

As we move into the Sundays following Christmas and begin to anticipate Epiphany, we face the terror of the coming week’s Gospel reading, the Massacre (or Slaughter) of the Innocents. While there are a number of stories in the Bible that are difficult to read/hear, Herod’s murdering the innocent children of Bethlehem in his attempt to kill a potential threat to his throne must be among the top.

Herod’s brutality is legendary. Most of what we know comes from the Jewish historian, Josephus. Matthew records that Herod became distraught when he learned from the Magi that an astrological sign had indicated the birth of a Judean King (2:1-8). When the Magi did not return to report the location of this newborn King, Herod realized that he been tricked and “he was infuriated, and he sent and killed the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under” (2:16). While scholars debate whether this event is historical or not, it is certainly consistent with what we learn about Herod from Josephus.

Janelle Tupper 11-20-2013
Photo: Audrey Burmakin/Shutterstock

Congress is considering a new law on how sexual assault cases are handled in the military. Photo: Audrey Burmakin/Shutterstock

By official estimates, 26,000 people are sexually assaulted in the U.S. military each year. That comes out to 71 people every day. It’s an epidemic that’s been widely reported in the news.

As if that weren’t bad enough, most of the assaults go unreported – only 11 percent of assault victims ended up filing reports last year (3,374). Studies show that those who do not report the assault cite fears of retaliation and a concern that nothing will be done.

Leaders in Congress are trying to change that this week with the Military Justice Improvement Act.

Right now, if a woman is sexually assaulted in the military, her case is evaluated by a commanding officer. This officer decides whether to bring the case to trial. Once it has been tried, the same commanding officer is responsible for enforcing the consequences. That’s called “convening authority.”

Jim Wallis 10-27-2011

Finally, as President Obama has announced, this American war will soon be over, with most of the 44,000 American troops still in Iraq coming home in time to be with their families for Christmas.

The initial feelings that rushed over me after hearing the White House announcement were of deep relief. But then they turned to deep sadness over the terrible cost of a war that was, from the beginning, wrong; intellectually, politically, strategically and, above all, morally wrong.

The War in Iraq was fundamentally a war of choice, and it was the wrong choice.

Shane Claiborne 10-03-2011

Today (Oct. 4) Christians around the world celebrate the life of St. Francis of Assisi, one of the bright lights of the church and one of the most venerated religious figures in history.

The life and witness of Francis is as relevant to the world we live in today as it was 900 years ago. He was one of the first critics of capitalism, one of the earliest Christian environmentalists, a sassy reformer of the church, and one of the classic conscientious objectors to war.

Hannah Lythe 07-14-2011

[Editors' note: As part of Sojourners' campaign to end the war in Afghanistan, we will run a weekly Afghanistan news digest to educate our readers about the latest news and developments related to the war, the U.S. military's strategy, and the people impacted by our decisions. Read more about our campaign at]

Gary M. Burge 06-27-2011
I send many of my students to the Middle East as interns. In fact, Wheaton College has an entire program devoted to student short-term placement.
Jim Wallis 05-06-2011
There is no more room or time for excuses.
Hannah Lythe 04-14-2011
[Editors' note: As part of Sojourners' campaign to end the war in Afghanistan, we will run a weekly Afghanistan news digest to educate our readers about the latest new
Logan Isaac 04-04-2011
Forty-three years ago today, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee.
Rabbi Arthur Waskow 03-24-2011
During the past week we have seen both the worst and the best versions of Palestinian action.
Hannah Lythe 03-24-2011
[Editors' note: As part of Sojourners campaign to end the war in Afghanistan, we will run a weekly Afghanistan news digest to educate our readers about the latest news
the Web Editors 03-15-2011
God, we lift up the people of Japan in these turbulent times. May recovery be swift and complete after this earthquake and tsunami. We ask for a restoration of both those affected and their homes.
Alex Awad 03-07-2011

We have seen the collapse of Mubarak in Egypt and the regime in Tunisia. Turmoil continues in Libya and elsewhere.

Eric Stoner 03-04-2011

In December, as the United States entered the 10th year of what President Obama called the "good war" in Afghanistan, I traveled to Kabul to take stock of the human toll of the increasingly bloody occupation.

Jim Wallis 03-03-2011

In a credit to both Republicans and Democrats, Congress just passed a measure that will avoid a government shutdown for at least the next two weeks. This means that there is still time to protect the poor and most vulnerable during the budget debate.