In their debate over Viet Nam, are churchmen ignoring the most crucial concern?

Seldom has the Church been confronted with such wide demands on so many important fronts as it is today: civil rights, hard-core poverty, the growing needs of the inner city, the rise of a new class of highly intelligent, questioning young “unreachables,” the development of a “new theology” to meet the needs of a modern scientific world—and a war in Southeast Asia.

Viet Nam has posed a number of urgent problems. Churchmen have wrestled with the moral implications of our involvement in what some prefer to call a civil war and have debated the ethical questions inherent in all war, the dangers of possible extension of the war, and the threat of a nuclear confrontation between the world’s great powers.

Amid the clamoring social issues in our society and the general debate over the morality of our position in Asia, one segment of our church populace is in danger of being forgotten and neglected at a most critical time. This is the young men between eighteen and twenty-five. The Church must seriously concern itself with the stark realities confronting those who are called to fight in the rice paddies and jungles of Viet Nam.

Most men called into military service drift off one by one, hardly noticed by a prosperous society, leaving few discernible vacancies in the local church programs, and missed only by their families and close friends. Yet the number of those entering military service in one year is more than half a million. And the Church dare not forget the total of more than 3,000,000 now in uniform who, together with their families, compose a sizable minority in our nation.

Some who are drafted have no opinions about the morality of our position ...

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