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Posts Tagged ‘Peace’

In today’s America, with a new president who seems reckless and irresponsible, we worry about the end of what our founding fathers called “tranquility.” They created a constitution designed to insure domestic tranquility because that is a necessary condition for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

They also had a concern for peace and the defense of our nation. That, too, now seems uncertain as our president proceeds to offend our international friends and cozy up to Putin in Russia.

In 1934 Bonhoeffer already understood that war was inevitable so long as Hitler remained in power. He saw through the illusion that Hitler was fomenting that the Nazi aim was nothing more than the safety and security of the people. Here is one of Bonhoeffer’s most cogent points:

“How does peace come about? . . .There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared. It is the great venture. It can never be made safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to mistrust, and this mistrust in turn brings forth war. To look for guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means to give oneself altogether to the law of God, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won where the way leads to the cross.”

Oh how I wish there were such wisdom in Washington today!

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At an ecumenical conference on the island of Fanø, Denmark in the summer of 1934, Bonhoeffer challenged the participants with these strong words:

“How does peace come about? Through a system of political treaties? Through the investment of international capital in different countries? Through the big banks, through money? Or through universal peaceful rearmament in order to guarantee peace? Through none of these, for the single reason that in all of them peace is confused with safety. There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared. It is the great venture. It can never be made safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to mistrust, and this mistrust in turn brings forth war” (DBWE 13:308f; emphasis added).

Peace must be dared. Cowardice is never the path toward peace. Building walls of self-protection, excluding thousands of desperate people because maybe one or two of them might be bad. . .these are the plans of a coward. And the offensive stench of such ideas is already damaging the trust between the US and other nations.

Trump is not even the official Republican candidate for president, yet he is already heading us down a path from which it will take years to recover. He is shouting for short-term security at the expense of long-term peace. That is too great a price to pay.

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