Michael Totten

No Easy Answers

The National Council of Churches wonders, why can’t everyone just get along?

Is there ever to be an end to violence in the land we call holy? What has violence solved these last 60 years? What has violence solved these past weeks?

Maybe I’ve been in the cynical newspaper business too long, but isn’t that rather simple-minded? “Give peace a chance” feels good when you chant it, but shouldn’t we expect more hard thinking from theologists? What has chanting matras of peace from a safe distance solved these past 60 years other than making the chanters feel good?
What’s odd is that after describing the all around mess and chaos of the present Middle East, the NCC calls upon “our own government and all governments, recognizing the success of former peace initiatives ….”
Well, it’s a bit hard to recognize them amid the smoke and flying shards and collapsing apartment blocks, isn’t it? If it doesn’t stick for more than a few months, is it really success?
The NCC statement is absolutist pacifist. That’s probably (but not certainly) what Jesus Would Have typed up in a press-release, right?
But maybe a better step, for serious thinkers about religion, would have been to take notice of the fact that not all the faiths involves have the same scriptural foundation. Or to consider the doctrine of just and appropriate use of force as it has been shaped by men and women of faith over the centuries since Augustine.