Friday, December 24, 2004

Peace on Earth

My friend Judy recommended that I write about war for Christmas Eve, and immediately the title "Peace on Earth" came to me. What better title to show the irony, the disconnect between the sentiment for Jesus' birth and the policies of our "one nation, under God."

Supposedly, that God is Jesus' dad, and supposedly both father and son were (and may still be) notable proponents of peace on Earth, as in the whole Earth.

That means we shouldn't export war, yet that is what the Bush administration has done - exported a war - not a very Christian gift to the Middle East. Wars may be most often fought for economic and imperialistic reasons, but almost as often, wars are motivated and exaccerbated for religious reasons.

It seems to me that the true Christians, in Jesus' lifetime and in the 2000 years since, are all pacifists, not necessarily passive all the time, not pawns to fascism, but resistant to violence until violence is upon them. Exporting a war is not defense, and it is not a good offense, either.

If we follow the Golden Rule, we would treat others the way we want to be treated. And we would not want to be told what to do by a big, bullying nation we didn't like, much less be invaded and ravaged by that nation. We'd be fighting in the streets, too. So let's bring peace to our own streets (by being civil, by driving more carefully and with more sobriety) and peace to the streets of the world. Neither prayers nor bullets will bring peace. What brings peace? Community, understanding, respect, education, the quelling of fears. Nothing less than cultural bravery and domestic security bring peace. We don't need propaganda and plattons as much as we need peacekeepers and the Peace Corps.

Peace is not better violence or violence that is "just" or violence that is "smart" or "targeted" or violence that is pre-emptive, for godsakes. It's a retreat from violence, a repulsion to violence, a return to civil resolutions. Peace is peace, and please don't be blinded by the Rumsfeldian propaganda and Bush bullying that insists otherwise.

'Tis the evening and the holiday, supposedly, to not only wish for "peace on Earth" but to act, personally, locally and globally for peace. So please, let's back away from our nation's military aggressions and demand that our military make a humble retreat and come home from around the globe.

Then let's make sure that we send enough humanitarian aid and secular support to make up for our ills and wrongs.That is what "peace on Earth" really means. Nothing less.

Peace is not free, but it doesn't have to cost thousands of lives or billions of dollars. Peace costs less than our leaders would like for us to believe. We can't afford to not work for peace, so please, work for peace. It's a modest and yet mighty and mighty good investment in the future, a future that, like it or not, all of us on Earth share.


At 12/25/2004 6:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peace on Earth... I was again reminded of the horrors of war in the movie A Very Long Engagement. Having seen the previews I thought it would be a beautifully filmed love story, but to my delight it was much more. It reminded me that there are no winners in war. It's ugly with villans on both sides and mud and maggots. I am a Pacifist and yearn for the day that differences will be resolved at the negotiationtable, no matter how long it takes or what comprimises we make. War should be left back in the amoeba stage of developement. We should evolve to a higher plain. Peace, RQM

At 12/27/2004 5:58 AM, Blogger Lawrence said...

Excellent comment, RQM/Judy, and thanks for the movie recommendation. Our anthem this week should be U2's "New Year's Day," an anti-war song from a band for peace.

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