If a war is unjust according to Christian Just War Theory norms, then the killing in that war is unjust. The unjust killing of a human being is murder. Men and women who participate in killing people in an unjust war are not heroes by Christian standards and must not be celebrated or honored as heroes by Christians—regardless what the non-Christian secular society and government proclaim them to be.
Those Christians who participate in the killing process in a war, unjust by the moral standards of CJWT, must be revered because of the Spark of the Divine that resides within them and they must be loved as Jesus loves them. But they must never be related to as a hero. “Hero” is absolutely not the word that a Christian can attach to them or the disposition a Christian should have towards them for the killing in which they participated in an unjust war according the standards of CJWT. The use of the word “hero” in such circumstances can only motivate other Christians, especially young Christians, to participate in murder in future unjust war. The exalting, honoring, praising, admiring, lauding men and women who have murdered people in an unjust war is first and foremost a recruiting tool. Second, it is a clever diversionary method to keep peoples’ minds off of the overwhelming physical, psychological, moral and spiritual atrocity into which the rulers of a society have led people, namely, the unjustified mass slaughter of human beings.
The Nonviolent Jesus who lives unto death a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is the prototype hero of all Christians and only those people who are heroes in the model of the Nonviolent Christ should receive the designation “hero” from any Church, Church leader or Christian. Most certainly, the soldier who unjustly stuck the lance into the heart of Jesus and the other soldiers who participated in His murder should not be called heroes by any Christian. And, it should go without saying that whenever a soldier unjustly kills even the least of Jesus’ brothers or sisters in the human family that soldier is simultaneously sticking a lance in Jesus’ side as sure as the soldier on Golgotha did. It would be gross blasphemy for a Church, a Church leader or a Christian to call such a soldier a hero.