Gandhi said "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent." What good has been brought by war or violence that could not have been better off with love and non violence? Really, think about it. Now think about how much our government is spending right now for its military. Business insider presents 15 facts about military spending and is full of nuggets like: the US spends more than the next 15 countries combined, and that the yearly cost of having one soldier in Iraq could feed 60 american families! Dwight D Eisenhower was critical of these priorities and said so. "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed...This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron." (From a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953.)
We are supposed to be a Christian nation or at the very least a moral nation. Why do borders and boundaries have such power over the way we see one another? People in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, China or Vietnam are all human beings. All children of God that live, love, struggle, and laugh the same as you and I. Yet we go abroad and kill "the enemy" by the hundreds and thousands! Is this the way to end the war on terror or rather to perpetuate it endlessly? A US army vet George Mizo wrote this poem based on his experience as a soldier...powerful:
"You, my church, told me it was wrong to kill...except in war.
You, my teachers, told me it was wrong to kill...except in war.
You, my father and mother, told me it was wrong to kill...except in war.
You, my friends, told me it was wrong to kill...except in war.
You, my government, told me it was wrong to kill...except in war.
But now I know, you were wrong, and now I will tell you, my church, my teachers, my father and mother, my friends, my government, it is not wrong to kill except in war...it is wrong to kill."
Why is this OK? Why when someone in our neighborhood is shot (even if they are a "low life") are we all enraged and totally freaked out? Yet when we send our sons and daughters, friends and family, abroad to do the same thing all the sudden it is ok?
I have a favorite war hymn of truth, "Universal Soldier" by the British troubadour Donovan which speaks to the idea that if we all refused to fight there would be no Hitler, no Stalin, no war.
This is a clip created by a Ron Paul supporter. It is an important exercise in empathy regarding violence and war.
I'll finish with two deep quotes by two wise Christian men, both juniors. Joseph Smith Jr: "It is a time-honored adage that love begets love. Let us pour forth love—show forth our kindness unto all mankind, and the Lord will reward us with everlasting increase." And now to brother Martin: "To our most bitter opponents we say: Throw us in jail and we will still love you. Bomb our houses and threaten our children and we will still love you. Beat us and leave us half dead, and we will still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory. (The American Dream).
War happens and is happening across the globe because we are complicit to it. We allow it to happen. Let us rise up as human beings that long for peace that we may see no more violent American, Iraqi, Christian, Islam, Jewish or HUMAN deaths. Love has the power but it must be active not passive. Speak out brother, cry out in prayer sister and let us end the perpetual madness of violence.
As always comment if you have any thoughts or experiences for or against my position.