Excerpts from “Reborn on the Fourth of July”

by Logan Mehl-Laituri

Logan Mehl-Laituri was a solider in the USA military. Along his journey into a deeper relationship with Christ, he became convicted that he couldn’t love his enemies while killing them. He applied for status as a conscientious objector, not to seek discharge but to return to Iraq with his unit, unarmed. He was denied this and discharged. Logan Mehl-Laituri has returned to Iraq as part of a Christian Peacemaker Team and is a founding member of The Centurions Guild.

I just thought a little bit about the author would provide a foundation for his quotes.

“Most (soldiers), if not all, … are forever altered by the performance of (their military) duties, no matter (the) legality or justifiability. The door through which you go in taking a life doesn’t remain open behind you; the threshold cannot be uncrossed. It alters your very consciousness; the truths you learn about yourself can never be unlearned.”

“When Jesus told his followers to love their enemies, I realized, he certainly did not intend for that love to be expressed at the business end of an artillery shell.”

“To love is not always the most expedient action – it might not even be the most rational – but Christians are not called to efficiency or rationality.”

“It is our duty as Christians to question war. The church’s task at the least, is to critically consider whether or not centuries-old criteria for just war have been met, like there being a just cause and right intent, a clear declaration of war, noncombatant immunity, and so on. Christians are not free to blindly follow orders; instead, we ultimately obey God rather than men.”

“I feared most a life of complacency, a life that denied my past and ignored my transgressions, a life that refused to acknowledge the presence and urgency of evil.”

“My favorite class in high school was an introduction to psychology, led by a white-haired thread of a man whom I admired. He taught us that love and hate are actually not opposites but emotionally related. Hate, he would tell us, is really just frustrated love. The opposite of love is indifference.”

Albert Einstein believed ‘peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding’ [written in his Notes of Pacifism]”

MLK Jr. on Non-Violence in “Why We Can’t Wait”

“Like their predecessors, the Negro was willing to risk martyrdom in order to move and stir the social conscience of his community and the nation. Instead of submitting to surreptitious cruelty in thousands of dark jail cells and on countless shadowed street corners, he would force his oppressor to commit his brutality openly – in the light of day – with the rest of the world looking on.” p.31
“(Non-violence) enabled him to transmute hatred into constructive energy.” p.32
“(Militant extremists) cannot solve the problem because they seek to overcome a negative situation with negative means.” p.37
“Nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek … It is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends.” p.110
“Man was born into barbarism when killing his fellow man was a normal condition of existence. He became endowed with a conscience. And be bad now reached a day when violence toward another human being must become as abhorrent as eating another’s flesh.” p.191