Faith Under Fire
This week’s Newsweek cover features the words “God and War” and the focus is on chaplains in the armed services. The cover story focuses on Army Chaplain Roger Benimoff. As Newsweek write Eve Conant puts it, his story is a “tale of a devout young man who begins his time in Iraq brimming with faith and a sense of devotion that carries him into a second tour.” But that faith would come to be severely tested in the cauldron of war:
Benimoff’s journal is written in a scribble of printed letters on 126 unlined pages. It’s a tale of helicopter crashes, suicides, improvised explosive device blasts—and the professional, spiritual and marital troubles of soldiers seeking comfort. A mixture of adrenaline and devotion keeps Benimoff focused in the theater of war. Yet over time, his spiritual foundation is shaken by the carnage. The demons surface in full once he finds more time for reflection. After joining Walter Reed last June, Benimoff was plagued by questions. “I am not sleeping well and I am still scared,” he wrote. “I was reading my Bible and I found myself getting violently mad at God.” For a brief period early this year, he came to “hate” God, and wanted nothing to do with religion.
It’s a powerful story, and one worth reading.