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Moral Injury: Intro to Ethics

Decalouge and Jesus: Christian Ethics

Sunday, January 26

9:30-10:15 a.m.


Jonathan Shay and his colleagues at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs coined the term “moral injury” to describe soldiers’ responses to their actions in war.  It involves “perpetrating, failing to prevent, bearing witness to, or learning about acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations.”  Originally moral injury included three components, occurring when (i) there has been a betrayal of what is morally right, (ii) by someone who holds legitimate authority, and (iii) in a high-stakes situation.  Can one pardon war criminals?  Can one pardon oneself as a perpetrator?


One need not be a soldier however to do bad things to good people.  And what if the "someone" holding "legitimate authority" is a hero, a president, or none other than God? The Bible is full of situations where the "good guys" perform actions that are hard to swallow.  What do we make of these stories?