"The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

On Nobel Prize Winners

"You have sacrificed nearly ten thousand American lives—the flower of our youth. You have devastated provinces. You have slain uncounted thousands of the people you desire to benefit. You have established reconcentration camps. Your generals are coming home from their harvest bringing sheaves with them, in the shape of other thousands of sick and wounded and insane to drag out miserable lives, wrecked in body and mind. You make the American flag in the eyes of a numerous people the emblem of sacrilege in Christian churches, and of the burning of human dwellings, and of the horror of the water torture." - from the floor of the House of Representatives in 1902, denouncing U.S. imperialism in the Philippines.

What too many in the peace movement fail to understand is that war is not the enemy, but only a symptom of the real enemy. Fighting war, just like fighting climate change, will be an endless losing battle as long as the real enemy is not engaged. Many noble souls such as Walter Wink, whom I consider one of the great theologians of our time, reify war and violence, making them evils-in-themselves that can be targeted through nonviolent strategies. This approach to war and violence makes them symptoms that can be cured through the therapy of nonviolent resistance, but nonviolence must be made far more profound if it is truly to achieve the healing which we crave.

Long before the first missile is fired, the greatest violence has already worked its will. This violence is the choice of profit-making over human welfare and it condemns a billion of our fellow images of God to near starvation every minute that we breathe. As long as we tolerate this evil, wars will continue to proliferate because the conditions for their growth are always present. We have to begin with justice from top to bottom in all aspects of life.

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