Joshua Casteel (1979-2012) grew up in an evangelical household and was raised as a patriotic Christian. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves at age 17, and later enrolled at West Point.
Joshua was trained as an Arabic translator and deployed with the 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion to Abu Ghraib prison working as an interrogator from June 2004 to January 2005.
It was at Abu Ghraib that Joshua would have a crisis of conscience while interrogating a Muslim who then questioned him about his faith in Jesus.
Soon after being confronted with the non-violent teachings of Jesus by a self-proclaimed jihadist, Joshua applied for conscientious objector status and was honorably discharged in May 2005.
Joshua labored internationally for several years as a subversive voice against war and violence. He served on IVAW’s Board of Directors in 2006.
Joshua authored the book Letters from Abu Ghraib (2008). Some of his essays on war and Christian ethics have become part of course curricula at Wheaton College and Duke Divinity School.
Joshua was diagnosed in early November 2011 with stage IV lung cancer (adenocarcinoma), present in his lungs, liver, spine and adrenals. He believed his illness was a result of his service in Iraq where he was exposed to the toxic fumes from the burn pits in Abu Ghraib.
Joshua Eric Casteel died on August 25, 2012.
I was deeply saddened to discover the news of Joshua’s death at the end of last year. I felt compelled to share his testimony with you.
The following video is an excerpt of Joshua’s story from the documentary Soldiers of Conscience (2008). May Joshua’s life and work be remembered and celebrated in the Kingdom revolution. Until Kingdom comes!
What do you think about the teachings of Jesus? Does Joshua’s story challenge you to follow Jesus as a peacemaker? Please share Joshua’s story if you have been touched by his testimony of Christ and the Kingdom.
D.D. Flowers, 2013.