Petition 80478

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Support for Members of the Armed Forces and Veterans (80478-C1-R9999)

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Support for Members of the Armed Forces and Veterans

    WHEREAS, our Social Principles state that war is incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ (165.C), and
WHEREAS, the pervasiveness of violence and the threat of violence in social ordering on the local, national, and international levels present conscientious Christians with profound challenges in living out the Church’s rejection of war and violence, and
WHEREAS, reflecting these challenges, our Social Principles state that we support and extend the ministry of the Church to those persons who conscientiously oppose all war, or any particular war, and who therefore refuse to serve in the armed forces or to cooperate with systems of military conscription, and that we also support and extend the Church’s ministry to those persons who conscientiously choose to serve in the armed forces or to accept alternative service (164.I), and
WHEREAS, United Methodist men and women have served in various capacities in the armed forces and need the acceptance and pastoral ministry of the Church, regardless of the Church’s view of the wisdom or moral justification of the military operations into which national political leadership sent them, and                                      
WHEREAS the hardships and risks faced by members of the armed forces and the separations inherent in military service impact their families and especially their children, and
WHEREAS, many of those who serve in the military return with physical or emotional injuries, some of which may persist throughout life or first become apparent many years after their return from service, and
WHEREAS, expenditures for medical and readjustment services and the needs of military families should be recognized as a cost of war and an obligation of society as a whole, and
WHEREAS many military veterans return with experiences which could be an asset in the ministries of the Church, for example, insights arising from the direct experience of military life and war, the perspective gained from having faced one’s own mortality, and an understanding of disciplined commitment to a  team of people who depend on one another,
Therefore, be it resolved, that the 2008 General Conference of the United Methodist Church reflects upon Resolution 268 which states that the General Conference honors, supports, and upholds in our prayers those men and women who serve in our armed services and, in addition, honors and supports those United Methodist clergy who serve as chaplains, and
Be it further resolved, that the Church commits itself to extend its pastoral ministry to members of the armed forces and their families during their time of service and after their return, and
Be it further resolved, that we call upon national governments to fully provide medical care and other benefits which promote the welfare of military veterans and their reintegration into civilian society, and
Be it further resolved, that we call upon our churches to extend a welcome home to persons who return from service in the armed forces, to respect their stories and interpretations of their experiences, and to value and encourage expression of their potential contributions to the ministry of our churches, and
Be it further resolved that we call upon our churches and members to pray for persons serving in the armed forces and their families, to pray for persons whom circumstances have caused us to relate to as enemies, to pray for other persons for whom war has caused suffering, and to pray for peace.