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By Eric Metaxas
At the height of World War II, there was room in America for conscientious objectors. Where are we now?
It was the great cataclysm of the twentieth century—World War II. America was fighting for its life. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, totalitarian nightmares bent on world conquest, had to be defeated.
Millions of Americans took up arms, willing to sacrifice their lives.
And now there’s an amazing, powerful film about one man who was willing to give his life, but whose conscience and deeply held religious beliefs would not allow him to take the lives of others.
Mel Gibson’s new movie, “Hacksaw Ridge,” tells the story of Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist from the hills of Virginia, who enlisted in the Army with the understanding he could serve as a medic—and therefore not violate his firm belief in “thou shalt not kill.”
But when Doss arrived at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, he was in for a rude surprise. His sergeant, his captain, and the judge at the subsequent military hearing didn’t seem to care much for Doss’s convictions. Nor did members of his platoon, who accused him of cowardice—and let Doss know how they felt with their fists.
Doss stood firm—despite facing years of imprisonment. “With the world so set on tearing itself apart,” he told the military tribunal, “it don’t seem like such a bad thing to me to put a little bit of it back together.”
Now, I won’t tell you exactly how the Army gave in—that would be a spoiler—but I will tell you this, because, as they say, the rest is history.
Doss went with his platoon to Okinawa and scaled a cliff known as “the escarpment,” which in the film is called “Hacksaw Ridge.” And that is where the floodgates of hell opened…
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