Yesterday I wrote about the visit by a North Korean delegation to Bear Creek Friends meeting in 2001, and the meeting’s hope a similar visit could happen again. The question of whether such a visit would even be allowed was raised at the meetinghouse, and comments since also mentioned the travel ban in place against North Korea. The meeting approved the letter extending the invitation anyway.
Following are reasons I believe it is good to offer the invitation. Regarding the travel ban specifically, who knows how long that will be in place, for various reasons? It is being challenged in the courts. And the current administration will only be in power for a limited time. It may be upheld or continued in one form or another by subsequent administrations.
I don’t believe it will because it doesn’t represent the ideals of our nation, such as the free exchange of ideas and respect for others. It represents a mistaken view of security, which wants isolation, classifying and fearing others, closing borders, and building walls. Real security is achieved by building a society based upon valuing all of our people, and those of the world, celebrating diversity. By engaging in and sharing the things of real value in life–family, community, faith, recreation and the arts.
Extending the invitation to North Korea is an expression of faith that somehow, in some way we don’t yet know, perhaps a way will be found. Or it may not happen, but serve a different purpose. Perhaps those in North Korea, whether government officials or the people, maybe through some sort of underground communication, will hear about it. That might have some unknown influence in the future.
Maybe the impact will be on people in our own country, to encourage a different way of looking at our relationship with the people of North Korea and other nations.
We don’t know. But it feels like something similar to Martin Luther King articulating a dream. I’m very glad Bear Creek Friends were led to approve the letter and extend the invitation.
Martin Luther King, Jr, Memorial Washington, DC
Korean War Memorial Washington, DC