In 1917 as the United States was preparing to enter World War I, the New York Bible Society wanted to give a New Testament to each warrior and called upon former President Theodore Roosevelt to provide an inscription to be printed inside them. He then wrote The Micah Mandate ̃He has shown you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you: but to do justice and to love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.’ (Micah 6:8)
“Do justice; and therefore fight valiantly against those who stand for the reign of Molech and Beelzebub on this earth. Love mercy; treat your enemies well, suffer the afflicted, treat every woman as though she were your sister, care for the little children, rescue the perishing, and be tender with the old and helpless. Walk humbly; you will do so if you study the life and teaching of the savior, walking in His steps.”
Roosevelt went on to write, “Remember, the most perfect machinery of government will not keep us as a nation if there is not within us a soul, no abounding of material prosperity shall avail us if our spiritual sense is atrophied. The foes of our own household will surely prevail against us unless there be in our people an inner life which finds its outward expression in a morality like unto that preached by the seers and the prophets of God when the grandeur that was Greece and the glory that was Rome still lay in the future.”
This became their “Warrior Code.” The last paragraph of Roosevelt’s inscription is most critical. We are a nation battling for its soul. Will we be a nation that will be guided by the principles upon which it was founded or will we continue to slouch? Will we promote a culture of life or will life be cheapened to the point that it holds no meaning? The real war is over the soul of our nation.
Such a warrior code gives a sense of faith-inspired professionalism, rooted in history and elevated by a holy vision, is burned into the individual soul and into the heart of the culture through rituals. Like the vigil of the medieval knights of old, there must be the rituals that welcome men and women to arms, celebrate their victories, honor their sacrifices and extend their memory. A holy warrior code must literally be fashioned on the altar of worship. It must be shaped on the anvil of a discipline held before a watching God.
There are four elements of a warrior code-the commitment to wage only just war, the commitment to justice in the conduct of war, the creation of a holy and historic profession of arms, and the art of serving that profession with an artillery of words.
I invite you to ponder these thought-provoking principles and ask yourself, do you have a warrior code?
Editor’s note: The Chaplain’s Corner covers everything faith related. Facts not attributed are purely the opinion of the writer.