Left Justified: Jesus still doesn’t like killing

“Jesus don’t [sic] like killing, no matter what the reason for,” (John Prine).

Imagine an army of Christians who invade a country with skills to donate, medicines for the sick, and help for the poor. Imagine hundreds of caring individuals sweeping over the world with love instead of high-powered rifles. Some may say I’m dreaming, but I’m not the only one.

I was chagrined to hear televangelists call for the head of Saddam Hussein on a platter. “Fundamentalists” leaders are drumming for a holy crusade against non-believers, slaughtering the mullahs and converting the heathen.

Since when did Jesus Christ ever sanction war? I remember reading in my Bible about the times Jesus told people to stop beating on each other. He admonished a crowd of Pharisees not to stone a woman, and he told Peter to “put away your sword” after Pete cut off the high priest’s servant’s ear. Jesus also said to “turn the other cheek” even though the Torah said “an eye for an eye.”

Of course, the warlike Christians use more obscure Bible quotations to try to prove that God blesses their massacres. “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” and “vengeance is mine,” which are both taken way out of context.

God does not sanction murder, but there are few Christian clergy who would publicly say prayers for peace, especially at a peace rally.

So suppose there was an army of Christians who were armed only with love, technical knowledge and the desire to do good and stop war. Imagine this army voluntarily standing between two opposing sides bent on killing each other. That’s what Jesus calls us to do. And the Christian Peacemaker Teams are an answer to that call.

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is a real organization based out of Chicago. It was started by a combination of Quakers, Brethren and Mennonite church leaders who wanted to put their faith into action.

Individuals are trained in conflict resolution, and they learn the language of the country to which they are going to be sent (imagine that!). The CPTeams are now active in many countries, though their numbers are less than 250.

In Colombia, these true Christians live among the native villagers who are constantly caught between rival drug gangs, leftist rebels, right-wing death squads and the Colombian military.

Most of these young Americans are saving lives and standing up to military might without the support or knowledge of the United States government. One of these young men, David Corcoran, will be speaking this Monday, Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner St. He spent time in Guatemala during the bloody civil war. He lived in Colombia, and then moved to the occupied territories controlled by Israel. Palestinian families hosted David as he tried to teach civil disobedience and the tactics of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I want to know how successful he was (or is, because he may return soon).

There are many so-called Christian leaders who are calling for war. Where are the peacemakers that Christ calls for? Meet one on Monday here in Rockford. Just don’t crucify him.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

From the Oct. 25-31, 2006, issue

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