The Religious Left’s Warped ‘Just Peace’

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The Religious Left’s international arm recently convened an International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Jamaica to advocate “Just Peace.” What does such a just peace look like?  Apparently it involves eradicating American influence from the world.

One U.S. Quaker representative explained:  “My country suffers as its hatred, the poison drunk in pursuit of revenge, dominance, and righteousness sinks deeply through its veins and murders not only the indigenous, the immigrant, the union worker and the poor.”

It’s doubtful that that such harsh words were spoken about any truly poisonous and oppressive regimes in the world at this celebratory finale of the Swiss-based World Council of Churches’ (WCC) “Decade to Overcome Violence.”  The “Decade,” launched not long before 9-11, rehashed the WCC’s favorite themes of bashing America, capitalism, and the West, while ignoring or apologizing for the regimes and ideologies that truly murder and impoverish.

A Hiroshima survivor testified to the nearly 1000 religious peace activists from over 100 countries about her horrific experience of 66 years ago.  Perhaps the gathering would have been more well-rounded if survivors of Japanese militarist atrocities, of the Holocaust, and of Stalin’s gulags had also testified, to illustrate the world’s fate had the U.S. not been the first to develop atomic weapons.  “No human being should ever have to repeat our experience of inhumanity, illegality, immorality and cruelty of atomic warfare,” the survivor asserted.  Neither she nor the other activists admitted that nuclear war has been averted across 7 decades largely thanks to American strategic deterrence.

But apparently the advocates of “Just Peace” are more interested in abstract rhetoric than in concrete actions to sustain at least a measure of peace and justice.  One Mennonite school professor profoundly opined: “Jesus doesn’t use the word ‘security.’ The language of the church is much more about justice and peace than about security.”  And she concluded:  “Security does not land in a helicopter.”

In fact, “security” for millions of people around the world across the last century has been attained by the arrival of American helicopters or tanks during their liberation from various totalitarian and authoritarian murder regimes.  People of faith of course locate their ultimate eternal security in the love and grace of God.   But the God of Jesus is also concerned about provisional physical security for his creatures in this fallen world. Aren’t the followers of Jesus obliged, where possible, to protect the innocent from slavery, pillaging, rapine and mass murder?  What if God sometimes deploys American helicopters in this pursuit?  Or is the American “empire” so odious that better thousands should die before attaching any possible virtue to American power?

Former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, who now heads  the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights,  recalled to the rapturously attentive peace activists the troubling days when President George W. Bush phoned him in 2003 seeking Norwegian support for removing Saddam Hussein.   “And I said no,” he proudly recounted to applause.  “I cannot. First of all you don’t have a mandate from the U.N. And, from my ethical Christian perspective, using military means must be the very, very last solution after you have tried all other peaceful means.”  He also told the approving audience:   “Churches in Norway made a campaign against possible war in Iraq.”

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