People who gave their lives in service to our country deserve our deep respect.
But as a Quaker and pacifist, these holidays make me very sad. Why did they have to die? Why did civilians also have to die in those conflicts? Why didn’t diplomacy work? What could we have done to prevent these conflicts?
Are we working as hard and effectively as we can to prevent future deaths from existing and future conflicts? I recently shared stories of draft resisters and conscientious objectors as examples of some ways to work for peace. https://jeffkisling.com/2018/05/25/draft-resistance-and-conscientious-objection/
Another example is the efforts of Iowa Quakers, working with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) to try to arrange another visit by North Koreans to Iowa.
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) works diligently to promote legislation to advance peace.
The current administration’s approach has been to drastically reduce the staff and influence of the State Department, impairing possibilities of diplomacy. And to dramatically increase the already gigantic military budget by billions of dollars. To continually spotlight the military might. Planning a military parade through the streets of the nation’s capitol.
Why did we invade a country, Iraq, for the first time in our country’s history? Why didn’t we stop that conflict when the justification of weapons of mass destruction were never found? How did we let a war on an idea, “terror”, get started? Even if that made sense, how are we supposed to know when that war would end? How could this not be a constant and endless war?
How did we allow weaponized drones to kill “targets”, people that were never given a chance to assert their innocence, and in countries we have not declared war with? Drones that kill so many innocent bystanders. Drones that terrorize the populace as they buzz overhead.
How did we buy our way out of military service with a volunteer army? How could we allow soldiers to sign up for tour after tour of traumatizing service?
Historically Quakers have spoken out against war and knew the causes of war came from the desire to take land or resources from other countries or peoples.
“I told [the Commonwealth Commissioners] I lived in the virtue of that life and power that took away the occasion of all wars… I told them I was come into the covenant of peace which was before wars and strife were.” George Fox
“Oh! that we who declare against wars, and acknowledge our trust to be in God only, may walk in the light, and therein examine our foundation and motives in holding great estates! May we look upon our treasures, and the furniture of our houses, and the garments in which we array ourselves, and try whether the seeds of war have nourishment in these our possessions, or not. Holding treasures in the self-pleasing spirit is a strong plant, the fruit whereof ripens fast.” John Woolman
Today another type of war is waged on a global scale against Mother Earth herself. Only death can result when the resources our environment depends upon (land, water, air, energy) are excessively consumed, and polluted in the process.
Today we must speak out against this environmental war and find a way to live in the virtue of that life and power to take away the occasion of this ongoing environmental destruction. And take away the occasion for armed conflict.
May we look upon our treasures, the cars we drive, the large homes we heat and cool, the electronic devices we use and try whether the seeds of war have nourishment in these our possessions, or not.
May we have the courage to really listen to what the Inner Light is asking of us, and then do that?