I was reading some interesting webpages about Military Veterans for a speech I was writing, and I ran across a sermon that had an interesting view on the subject of the Church and violence/war. It was written by a gent named D. M. Senseing:

Last Tuesday was Veterans Day. I asked a minister at a large Methodist church in Nashville what his church was doing to commemorate the day. "Nothing," he said. I didn't ask why because I fear I already know the answer. There is a widespread feeling among many church people that to honor our military veterans is to glorify war. The revulsion of glorifying war among most Christians is so great that they will not mention the sacrifices of the veterans of their own congregations who, through hard service, preserved the church's freedom to ignore them.

No Christian can glorify war as a Christian. Certainly no combat veteran would ever glorify war. Bill Mauldin drew a cartoon in which Willie and Joe are sitting on the sidewalk of an Italian town far behind the battle line. They are leaning against a building, utterly exhausted from combat, their clothes torn and filthy. Striding past them is a clean-shaven, well-groomed young trooper who obviously has a chip on his shoulder. His fists are clenched and his jaw is set in obvious anger. As he goes by, Willie says to Joe, "That cain't be no combat man-he's lookin' fer a fight!" It's true. No combat veteran goes looking for more fighting.

After the Civil War General William T. Sherman became so disgusted at the rhetoric of glory being used to describe the war's campaigns that he fired off a verbal barrage in opposition. In a graduation speech at the Michigan Military Academy in 1879, Sherman said, "War is at best barbarism. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell!"