The Kurdish forces combating ISIS recently received aid from an unlikely ally: a Dutch motorcycle gang known as No Surrender.
Tattooed and muscled members of the group were pictured looking armed and dangerous in photos alongside Kurdish soldiers. The photographs circulated Twitter, receiving comments of public support as well as government concern.
Last month, Public Prosecutor Spokesman, Wim de Bruin, said the bikers’ decision to combat ISIS was perfectly legal.
“Joining a foreign armed force was previously punishable, now it’s no longer forbidden,” de Bruin told AFP. “You just can’t join a fight against the Netherlands.”
The bikers traveled to parts of Syria and Iraq, hoping to give the Kurds some much needed military support.
“I want you to know that what’s being offered to you is not just a film, this is a life changer,” actor Shia LaBeouf recalled director David Ayer telling him. “We’re going to push it all the way to the edge. I want you to make this movie like you’ll never make another movie. You’re going to die on this set.”
The next day, LaBeouf began preparations for the film, “Fury.” Through National Guard training, the actor learned to work as a medic, a gunner, and shadowed an army chaplain.
He also embraced a radical spiritual conversion.
“I found God doing ‘Fury,’” LaBeouf told Interview Magazine. “I became a Christian man.”
In the WWII action melodrama — rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout — LaBeouf plays Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan. Serving in a tank squadron under the command of Brad Pitt’s character, Don “Wardaddy” Collier, Swan’s Christian faith often sets him apart from the other men.
“I could have just said the prayers that were on the page,” LaBeouf said. “But it was a real thing that really saved me . . . . It’s a full-blown exchange of heart, a surrender of control. And while there’s beauty to that, acting is all about control. So that was a wild thing to navigate.”
LaBeouf described the film’s writer and director, Ayer, as “a full subscriber to Christianity.”
Having served in the military, Ayer strived to depict the spiritual and emotional struggles soldiers face — both in WWII and the wars of today.
In an interview with Relevant, Ayer described the paradox of warfare as “the nobility of knowing what you’re going to see and expose yourself to and the moral hazards that you’re going to experience in undertaking your duty with honor and with pride.”
“There’s great nobility in that,” he said. “I don’t know if people understand those things, and I want people to get a little insight into that.”
In addition to tackling the moral struggles defining military service, “Fury” illuminates the challenges faced by Christian soldiers.
“It was important to me to show how someone can lean on Scripture and their relationship with Christ in an environment where they’re seeing this much inhumanity and destruction,” Ayer said.
Ayer utilized LaBeouf’s character to depict the persevering strength flowing from a foundational Christian faith.
“It’s fascinating that, because of his faith, [the character is] not unafraid of dying, but he’s able to accept it and doesn’t see it as the end of the road,” Ayer said. “It’s hard to bring Scripture to life in a realistic and impactful way in film.”
It remains to be seen whether LaBeouf’s new faith will transform the celebrity’s lifestyle — recently tarnished by his arrest for criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct, and harassment.
“I’m trying to find a way to have some control over my actions, my behavior, my ideas, my thoughts, my path in life,” LaBeouf said. “But it’s very new for me.
“My work in my film and my work in my life have influenced who I’ve become. Life imitates art. And so a lot of my choices, these characters that I’ve been playing, have actually built a person, they’ve raised me. So I’ve just been more careful about my choices. I’ve taken control back. After calamity comes hope. And I do feel a deep hopefulness in my life and in my work.”
Ayer wanted “Fury” to reflect this hope. “I’m a big believer that, no matter who you are, there’s redemption for you, and there is forgiveness,” Ayer said.
“Fury” hit theaters on October 17. Described as a “war horror film” by the New Yorker, the film was praised for its accurately traumatic, though graphic, depiction of WWII.
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Corban University, a private Christian university, was named Military Friendly® School by Victory Media for the fifth year in a row.
Corban received the recognition on Sept. 23, and is considered one of the top 15 percent of schools nationwide for veterans services by Victory Media, according to their website.
Forty-one student veterans currently attend Corban. Victory Media graded the university on military support on campus, academic credibility and assistance, and veteran graduation rates.
The university said it has “consistently worked with student veterans to help them receive the educational benefits for which they are eligible.”
Veterans attending Corban are eligible for a scholarship through the Yellow Ribbon Program, which allows students to use the maximum yearly Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits owed to them. Through the scholarship veterans can graduate without debt.
The university also provides non-financial support for veterans, through events and a new mentoring program.
On Veteran’s day some of the staff, faculty and students take turns recognizing those that died while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, by reading names from a list of more than 7,000 military men and women.
The new mentoring program will strive to help students veterans adjust to college life, according to the university’s website.
Marine Corps Veteran and Corban senior Andrew Holbert worked with Corban to develop strategies to help veterans transition from a military lifestyle to a college lifestyle.
Hoblert said the transition can be difficult, but the program will seek to ease the challenges. “Corban has an opportunity to see that veterans are taken care of and provided for the way Corban takes care of all of its other groups,” he said.
Corban has a welcoming environment that fosters life-changing growth in Christ, Holbert said, but veterans can still have a hard time adjusting to the environment.
“[The new] program is important to help vets embrace the environment our school has set, and it will help the transition between worlds,” he added.
For information about Corban University and veteran educational benefits offered contact Rebecka Vessey at email@example.com or call 503-375-7017.