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Laurence M. Vance
U.S. Presidents and Those Who Kill for Them
Mon Jul 5, 2010 02:54

This is a short excerpt from the entire article by Mr. Vance.

The link at the bottom of the page will take you to the entire article. You may find it a worthy read.

"Contrast the modern-day soldier who is willing to kill for U.S. presidents with Benjamin Salmon (1889–1932). Soon after the United States declared war on Germany during World War I, Salmon wrote to President Wilson:

Regardless of nationality all men are brothers. God is "our father who art in heaven." The commandment "Thou shalt not kill" is unconditional and inexorable. . . . The lowly Nazarene taught us the doctrine of non-resistance, and so convinced was he of the soundness of that doctrine that he sealed his belief with death on the cross. When human law conflicts with Divine law, my duty is clear. Conscience, my infallible guide, impels me to tell you that prison, death, or both, are infinitely preferable to joining any branch of the Army.

Salmon soon began writing letters, giving speeches, and distributing pamphlets against the "Great War." He returned his Army registration questionnaire with a note explaining why he was refusing to fill it out: "Let those who believe in wholesale violation of the commandment, ‘Thou Shalt not Kill’ make a profession of faith by joining the army of war. I am in the army of peace, and in this army, I intend to live and die." He was subsequently arrested, tried, and convicted. While out on appeal, he was then re-arrested for refusing to report for induction into the Army. After being charged with desertion and spreading propaganda, Salmon was court-martialed on July 24, 1918, and sentenced to death. The sentence was later commuted to 25 years. All charges could have been dismissed if Salmon had agreed to make a deal and serve as a clerk in the Army, but he refused to cooperate with what he said was an institution "antithetical to Christianity."

The armistice soon ended the war, but not Salmon’s prison time in Leavenworth. After suffering in solitary confinement for five months, he was transferred to a military prison in Utah where he was beaten, starved, and stripped; that is, he was treated like some U.S. prisoners at Abu Ghraib. After spending two weeks on a hunger strike, Salmon was force-fed and then sent to a mental hospital. Thanks in part to the ACLU, he was dishonorably discharged in 1920 – from an army he never joined.

Although initially denounced by the New York Times and forsaken by his own church, Salmon persevered in his refusal to kill for Wilson. God only knows how many Americans have willingly killed for U.S. presidents since then."

July 2, 2010

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