Film tackles question: Can you serve Jesus and serve in the Military?

Salute examines the morality of Christians serving in the military through the story of Robbie, a young man who wants to join the US Navy but must also come to grips with the idea of killing people. The film screens at the Churches Making Movies Christian Film Festival in Basking Ridge, New Jersey on Saturday, October 12 at 2:30 pm. followed by a Q&A with the film's writer/director.

Executive producer Paul Anderson, a retired Navy Chaplain and current Director of Adventist Chaplaincy ministries for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventist church, approached filmmaker Anthony Hackett to produce Salute based on Anderson’s vision to make a film that would show people, specifically Christians, that there is a place for them in the US military and that it is also a highly personal decision that requires a great amount of prayer and consulting with friends and family.

Before making the film, Hackett, the founder and president of Sonset Friday Entertainment, actually never considered the morality of war. Though he himself did not serve, over forty percent of the cast and crew have either served in the military or have a parent who has served. Within the cast and crew, every branch of the United States military is represented. The experiences and stories that these veterans shared along with many others shaped the way Hackett made the film and made him seriously think about the moral choices that one must consider before joining the military. This is why Hackett neither encourages or discourages anyone from joining the military. His only advice is to seek God’s will regarding the decision.

That said, Hackett does believe that Christians are able to serve if they believe that it's God’s calling for them to do so. He says that “it’s our God-given call to use our skills and gifts to His glory to help people see a Godly point of view in difficult issues in life.” There are many times in the Bible, where God calls the people of Israel to go to war with the neighboring nations in order to accomplish His will. Hackett also cites Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, in which King Solomon says that there is a time for everything, including “a time for war, and a time for peace.”

There are traditions in the Church that follow in the pacifistic behavior of Christ, who humbly gave up his life to violent people. Isaiah 2:4 paints a picture of Heaven as a place where people of every nation “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” To live in a world without war is an ideal that all people strive for. However, because we live in an imperfect world, many believe there will always be a need for a military to defend our country from those who wish to harm its people. While physical wars are waged with guns and ships, the true war that is fought is, as Ephesians 6:12 says, one against “the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Hackett and Anderson’s hope for the film is that those seeking God’s will and deciding whether or not to join the military as part of their service to Him, will identify with the film’s story and be encouraged that they can serve.


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