The New York Times published a reflection on religious identity during wartime, by Capt. Henry Brewster. How does our religious identity affect our attitudes and responses to others? Captain Brewster offers up this reflection; well worth pondering:
Personal Identity in a War Zone
From The New York Times
Behind closed doors and away from our soldiers, my fellow officers and I often criticized the Iraqis. Initially, it was a way to blow off steam, but I came to realize that my religious identity fueled my complaints.
Of more than 900 men in my battalion, I was one of only two Jewish soldiers. While serving in this predominately Muslim country, Lieutenant Schwartz had opted to translate his last name from the German and go instead by Lieutenant Black. My last name, Brewster, did not pose the same problem, but I had my own difficult choice to make.
My father is a fourth-generation Episcopal minister from a blue-blooded New England family who fell in love with a Jewish girl. Rather than prescribing a religion to any of their children, my parents raised my brother, sister and me in both religions and allowed us to decide for ourselves. While not rejecting my Christian heritage, I have considered myself Jewish since shortly after my bar mitzvah.
For safety’s sake, I ordered two sets of dog tags before my deployment, one that identified me as Jewish, the other as Episcopalian. . .
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