Is allowing people to suffer under tyranny and brutality part of the Christian ideal?
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."
How nice. But did Norwegian churches, which are mostly empty in that increasingly secular country, offer any solution for removing a mass murderer from his clutching perch of over 20 years? Likely not. The Religious Left around the world routinely condemns America and its allies, while offering no constructive alternatives for restraining the world’s most sinister predators. What “security” has the United Nations offered to anyone?
Naturally, in their concluding manifesto, the religious peace activists bemoaned the “continued occupation” in “Palestine,” while extending “solidarity” with the people of “divided countries” such as Korea, without offering any particular sympathy to the specifically suffering people of North Korea. Always anxious to apologize for the sins of other Christians less virtuous than themselves, the WCC delegates woefully acknowledged that “Christians have often been complicit in systems of violence, injustice, militarism, racism, casteism, intolerance and discrimination.” They expressed hope that all war would become “illegal,” evidently wanting to repeat the failed project of the 1928 Kellogg-Briand pact outlawing war, soon to be followed by the world’s most calamitous war ever.
The WCC delegates cited the “fact” that all “violence is contrary to the will of God and can never resolve conflicts,” hence the need for transition from “just war" to “Just Peace,” while continuing to “struggle with how innocent people can be protected.” Struggle indeed. Pacifism requires that permitting the innocent to suffer in homage to non-violence is a brutal but necessary virtue. And of course, no Religious Left gathering could conclude without warning against the ominous threats of “climate change” and the “neoliberal system” preoccupation with “unfettered economic growth.”
In short, this WCC “peace” convocation would prefer that victims of aggression suffer without rescue, and that billions of poor perpetually remain poor, rather than succumb to “neoliberal” free markets ideas of economic growth or dare to sully the environment. Hardly a message of hope from purported representatives of the Prince of Peace and Hope.