THANKS Richard Congram (Opinion, CL 23/8/09) for continuing the discussion on Christian peacemaking/warmaking.
You and GK Chesterton are right that, “Jesus never said a word about the wickedness of war”. Nor did he say a word about the wickedness of slavery, aborton, rape, incest, racism and much more.
But it is no coincidence that Christians have often led the opposition to these evils.
As far as I can see, there can be little doubt where Jesus would stand on the issue with such admonishments as, “love your enemies, turn the other cheek, repay evil with good, blessed are the peacemakers etc, etc”.
Both recent popes have reminded us time and again where Jesus’ teachings lead us in relation to war.
Richard quotes John’s gospel to claim Jesus was not condemning violence when he told Peter to put away his sword.
But he fails to quote Mathew’s Gospel where Jesus is so clear: “Put your sword back, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”
As for finding my description of Jesus as a great non-violent activist, “offensive”, the description is certainly not meant in any way to limit Jesus or deny his divinity or any of the other things he was and is.
I feel Pope Benedict would be affirming such a description when he calls the Sermon on the Mount the “Magna Carta of Christian non-violence”.
Of course Jesus was friendly to Roman soldiers. Did this mean he supported the Romans lining the roads of Jerusalem with hundreds of crucified Jews? Does his friendship with prostitutes and adulterers, mean he supports prostitution and adultery? Finally, you describe our behaviour as “extreme”. Maybe we need more “extreme behaviour” in conforming to the Gospels, rather than conforming to the ways of this world.
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