MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Associate Pastor Robert Gardner with Romar Beach Baptist Church. Here’s a look at our conversation:
Anchor: Veterans Day is tomorrow. Why is there generally a strong tie between faith and military service?
Guest: As a nation, we have always sought the blessings of God for those who defend our lives and freedoms. Also, I think you will overwhelmingly find that those who volunteer for military service are from rural areas where the Faith is still a present part of everyday life. Until recent years, and thank God that’s changed somewhat lately, the military has encouraged faith in God and maintained a chaplain’s service specifically to nurture the faith and comfort of those who risk all to serve.
Anchor: When it comes to veterans, what do you pray for?
Guest: I pray for their safety and I pray for their families, that the bonds of love remain strong. I pray for their peace of mind. And I pray for the Christians among them to boldly share the Gospel with their brothers and sisters in arms that others may be saved.
Anchor: There’s a popular saying “there are no atheists in foxholes.” What does that mean to you?
Guest: We were created to be immortal. Young adults still feel bulletproof and as if they will live forever. But when the bullets start flying, or whenever we encounter life-threatening events, we are made suddenly, intensely aware that we are very mortal indeed. In those moments of clarity we will call out to the God who created us. I was profoundly moved, when watching video clips taken by people in New York as the Twin Towers fell. So many of them cried out to God over and over again in those dreadful moments. The soldier under fire in war certainly feels that need for God.
Anchor: Is there a conflict between the second commandment and the necessity to kill in war?
Guest: Thou shalt not kill, is the King James translation, and I love it. That word “kill” is taken from a word which means “murderer” and in this context refers to criminal homicide. Many times the Bible tells us that God ordered for the armies of Israel to kill the enemies of the chosen people. Capital crimes were also punished by the culprit being killed by stoning. There is a difference between the execution of a criminal or using lethal force in war and homicide.
Anchor: What do you hope for this veterans day?
Guest: During worship at our church this morning, and every Sunday, we sing “God Bless America” as a prayer in song. On these patriotic holidays, or holy days, we also play taps, recite the Pledge, and sing the National Anthem. We do this honor the sacrifices made and the risks our veterans took and their families endured. My hope is that America will be strong enough, wise enough, and faithful enough that those in active duty service will be strengthened in their faith in God and will safely return home to the ones they love to join the ranks of the veterans who served before them.
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