Prayer of Confession From Afghanistan

Read this story of a UU chaplain, Chris Antal,  and the prayer of confession he offered in Afghanistan.

An investigation resulted, and the affair is unresolved, but here is the prayer:

A Veteran’s Day Confession for America
November 11, 2012
On this Veteran’s Day Let us confess our sins before God and neighbor.

Most Merciful God
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed by what we have done,
and what we have left undone.

We have become people of the lie
out to tame the frontier wilderness
while the beast within lurks hidden in shadow
paralyzing us in a perpetual state of denial.

We have made war entertainment
enjoying box seats in the carnival of death
consuming violence, turning tragedy
into games raising our children
to kill without remorse.

We have morally disengaged
outsourcing our killing to the one percent
forgetting they follow our orders
the blood they shed is on our hands too.

We have insulated ourselves
from the painful truths veterans carry
our bumper magnets proclaim, “support our troops”
but for too many, suicide is the only panacea
our insulation is their isolation.

We have made our veterans into false idols
blood sacrifice on the National Altar of War
parades and medals perpetuate the hero myth
glorifying those who kill and die on our behalf.

We have betrayed the dead saying,
“they will never be forgotten”
yet how many among us
can name a single war casualty
of the past decade?

We have sanitized killing
and condoned extrajudicial assassinations
death by remote control
war made easy without due process
protecting ourselves from the human cost of war.

We have deceived ourselves saying,
“Americans do not kill civilians; terrorists do”
denying the colossal misery our wars inflict on the innocent
the national closet bursts with skeletons.

We have abandoned our Afghan allies
luring them in with promises of safety and security
then failing to follow through with promises made
using them and leaving them to an almost certain death.

Almighty God, on this Veteran’s Day
help us to turn from this wayward path
deliver us from indifference, callousness, and self deception
fill us with compassion for all who bear the burdens of our wars.

Grant us the courage to pay attention,
to stay engaged so we may listen without judgment,
restore integrity
accept responsibility,
keep promises
and give honor
to whomever honor is due.
Rev. Chris J. Antal, Kandahar, Afghanistan November 9, 2012


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