Father John Dear, a prominent peacemaker who has been arrested 75 times in the name of peace and has written numerous books on the nonviolence of Jesus, calls on peacemakers of all religions, and certainly to Christians, who’ve by and large forgotten the core teachings of the nonviolent Master, to turn away from violence and bloodthirst, as a solution, and to instead answer the call of peace in the only way that this call can be answered, through peaceful means:
“Those who live by the sword will die by the sword,” Jesus told his disciples the night before he was assassinated. Violence in response to violence only leads to further violence, he taught. Retaliatory violence will not break the downward spiral of violence. It will only fan the flames of hatred and war. Active nonviolence breaks the cycle of violence. Nonviolently resist those who do evil; don’t become like them. Create justice for everyone and you will reap a great harvest of peace.
I think Jesus’ teachings on the futility of retaliatory violence and the possibilities of active nonviolence have long ago been proven true. Our wars, our weapons, our state terrorism have not brought peace. The U.S. assassination of bin Laden, like the death of Saddam Hussein, will not end terrorism or bring peace. It will only inspire further violence, and bring new terrorist attacks against us.
Bombing and killing civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan only fuels the spiral of violence and inspires a new generation to retaliate against us. Jesus was right. Stop killing people, treat people nonviolently, and you will have a better chance of being treated nonviolently too.
But who follows these teachings anymore? Very few. We have twisted Christianity so that God will bless our wars. If Osama bin Laden did not represent true Islam and the All-Merciful One, neither do George W. Bush or Barack Obama represent true Christianity and the nonviolent Jesus.
In fact, Al Qaeda and the Pentagon are two sides of the same coin. In the end, both spend their resources trying to kill, and end up killing innocent civilians. If Osama bin Laden was guilty of killing innocent civilians, so are George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton guilty of killing innocent civilians. But the truth is that the U.S. military has killed many more people — millions more — than Al Qaeda. Both need to be stopped and dismantled.
Read All of Father John’s article: