Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice (St. Stephen’s University)

June 22, 2017
Posted in Blog
June 22, 2017 Editor

Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice (St. Stephen’s University)

Please click on audio of post. NOTE: only main text read; no links, text markings, images, videos, footnotes, etc. read aloud.

WN: Below is notice of a new Institute to address our fractured world with a message and initiatives for peace and peacemaking. There are highlights from their website. Here are some considerations that make the IRPJ unique.

It is headed by a friend of my son Mark, Andrew Klager. He is an up-and-coming scholar, already widely published, with an enormous contribution to make in the field of peace studies theology. Andrew explains that “we’re trying to hammer home the point that IRPJ is planning on making this year our only fundraising campaign, after which we will become financially self-sustaining in all subsequent years through revenue from tuition. For every Certificate student, IRPJ receives a set amount, which means we need only three students per year to keep IRPJ operable. So, we’re asking folks to give only once as an investment in a self-sustaining Institute that will inspire and produce many, many informed, passionate, and transformed peacemakers for years to come.

The one-time fundraising goal is: $24,370 (Cdn).

It would be wonderful if the IRPJ can quickly move to “self-sustaining”, and with that, focus uniquely on developing courses, etc. Andrew goes on to explain in this regard: “For example, Jarrod McKenna has asked me if he can be my co-host on the IRPJ podcast, and with our combined contacts, we’re going to try to interview everyone from Stanley Hauerwas, Leymah Gbowee, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, James Cone, Sami Awad, John Dear, Desmond Tutu, Cornel West, and Malala Yousafzai — but we need the funds to get started on this as soon as possible. And of course we want to be ready for the launch of the Certificate program in the fall of 2018, which means we have five courses left to develop.”

There’s my pitch to everyone reading this! Please be in touch directly with Andrew if you can contribute to the IRPJ’s fundraising goal!  His contact information is below.

Our Mission

To be a teaching, research, and resource institute of St. Stephen’s University that provides students, scholars, practitioners, and any thoughtful person with a robust education and experience that integrate attentiveness to one’s inner transformation, peace theology and social justice, an understanding of the role of religion in peace and violence, and practical peacemaking as a vocation and way of life.

Our Purpose

1. To help students, scholars, practitioners, and any thoughtful person genuinely reflect on and wrestle with issues of peace and violence through an engagement with Christian theology, Scriptures, and history in an ecumenical context and apply this process to contemporary challenges.     

2. To be a teaching and research resource on issues related to the role of religion in peace and conflict and how to appropriate the values, teachings, rituals, and myths of the world religions to encourage peaceful coexistence. 

3. To prepare students—through education, inner transformation, and practical experience—to be peacemakers amidst conflict and violence, from interpersonal and community conflicts to interreligious, interethnic, and international conflicts.

Place

Although the certificate program of the Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice is offered entirely online, we strongly believe in the power of face-to-face human encounters. So along with the interactive video conferencing and online chatting that we integrate into our online courses, we also offer an annual symposium in British Columbia or at St. Stephen’s University (New Brunswick) that includes a retreat to focus on the inner transformation of a peacemaker.

Director

ANDREW P. KLAGER, PhD
Director, Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice
St. Stephen’s University – IRPJ
British Columbia, Canada
t. 604-858-2855 | e. andrewklager@ssu.ca

Andrew Klager earned a PhD in Religious Studies and History from the University of Glasgow focusing on Anabaptist-Mennonite history and theology including the 16th-century Anabaptist peace tradition(s) and has completed continuing studies in Interfaith Conflict Resolution and Conflict Analysis from the United States Institute of Peace.

In addition to his responsibilities at the Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice (St. Stephen’s University), Andrew teaches at Trinity Western University and Catholic Pacific College (Langley, BC), the University of the Fraser Valley (Abbotsford, BC), and Rocky Mountain College (Calgary, AB). He was also previously a Research Associate at the Humanitas Anabaptist-Mennonite Centre at TWU and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria.

Andrew has also given a number of public lectures and made presentations at conferences, symposiums, and interfaith dialogues across North America. He is also widely published in various peer-reviewed journals (Peace Research: The Canadian Journal of Peace and Conflict Studies; Journal of Ecumenical Studies; Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace; Greek Orthodox Theological Review; Mennonite Quarterly Review; Conrad Grebel Review; Journal of Mennonite Studies; Renaissance and Reformation; Journal of Theological Studies (Oxford); Refor-mation & Renaissance Review; Direction Journal) and in a number of books (Stricken by God? Nonviolent Identification and the Victory of Christ [Eerdmans 2007]; Compassionate Eschatology: The Future as Friend [Wipf & Stock, 2011]; and Canadian Christian Zionism: A Tangled Tale [Synaxis Press, 2014]) in a variety of research fields ranging from peace and conflict studies, Anabaptist-Mennonite studies, interreligious peacebuilding especially in Egypt and the Middle East, peace theology, history of Christianity, 16th-century Reformation and Humanism, the Church fathers (especially St. Gregory of Nyssa), and Eastern Orthodox theology and asceticism. Andrew has also written for Egypt Independent (Al-Masry Al-Youm) and currently writes regularly for the Huffington Post and Clarion Journal of Spirituality and Justice, of which he’s also a co-editor, and is the Editor-in-Chief of St. Macrina Press, contributing editor of Solomon’s Porch (In Com-munion), and is on the Advisory Council of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship.

In addition to his teaching, speaking, and publications, Andrew also carries out research on interreligious peacebuilding, asceticism and the inner transformation of a peacemaker, uses of history and peacebuilding, and Mennonite approaches to peacebuilding, especially in the Balkans and Middle East and in Egypt in particular. He is also the editor of the book, From Suffering to Solidarity: The Historical Seeds of Mennonite Interreligious, Interethnic, and International Peacebuilding (Pickwick, 2015) and will release his new book, Why the Creeds Matter: Gregory of Nyssa on the Iconic Function of Christological and Trinitarian Theology (St Macrina Press), later this year.

Andrew’s responsibilities at the Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice include teaching courses; arranging the student practicum placements overseas; organizing events including speakers, conferences, panel discussions, and peace theology cafés; coordinating research fellows; maintaining and adding content to the blog and podcasts; carrying out research and publishing in peace theology and inter-religious peacebuilding; speaking at conferences and other events; co-editing the Clarion Journal of Spirituality and Justice; editing the Journal of Peace Theology; and editing the books that appear in the IRPJ book series.

For Andrew Klager’s full CV, click here.

PLEASE CONSIDER SPREADING THIS NEWS WIDELY!

The great website is here: IRPJ.

  1. [1]Please look at several articles as well on American/Western will to world domination by clicking on "Selected Articles: Western Aggression Backed by Western Media”. The series of articles is introduced thus:
    The Western allies never run dry of resources to support their global war of terror and aggression, ostensibly an integral part of their foreign policy. They dynamically legislate laws lest the people awaken. They have the unbending support of the corporate media, which skilfully distorts reality. When will they ever back down from their destructive quest for colonies? Read our selection below.
  2. [2]It continued:
    ‘For seven months, Tiger Force soldiers moved across the Central Highlands, killing scores of unarmed civilians – in some cases torturing and mutilating them - in a spate of violence never revealed to the American public,’ the newspaper said, at other points describing the killing of hundreds of unarmed civilians. ‘Women and children were intentionally blown up in underground bunkers,’ The Blade said. ‘Elderly farmers were shot as they toiled in the fields. Prisoners were tortured and executed - their ears and scalps severed for souvenirs. One soldier kicked out the teeth of executed civilians for their gold fillings.”   The New York Times confirmed the claimed accuracy of the stories by contacting several of those interviewed.  It reported: “But they wanted to make another point: that Tiger Force had not been a ‘rogue’ unit. Its members had done only what they were told, and their superiors knew what they were doing. “Burning huts and villages, shooting civilians and throwing grenades into protective shelters were common tactics for American ground forces throughout Vietnam, they said. That contention is backed up by accounts of journalists, historians and disillusioned troops… ‘Vietnam was an atrocity from the get-go,’ [one veteran] said in a recent telephone interview. ‘It was that kind of war, a frontless war of great frustration. There were hundreds of My Lais. You got your card punched by the numbers of bodies you counted.’ Current likely Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry was also quoted giving evidence before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971.  He reported that American soldiers in Vietnam had “raped, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country. Nicholas Turse [later author of: Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam], a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, has been studying government archives and said they were filled with accounts of similar atrocities. ''I stumbled across the incidents The Blade reported,'' Mr. Turse said by telephone. ''I read through that case a year, year and a half ago, and it really didn't stand out. There was nothing that made it stand out from anything else. That's the scary thing. It was just one of hundreds.'' Yet there were few prosecutions.
  3. [3]Historian John Coatsworth in The Cambridge History of the Cold War noted:
    Between 1960, by which time the Soviets had dismantled Stalin's gulags, and the Soviet collapse in 1990, the numbers of political prisoners, torture victims, and executions of nonviolent political dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded those of the Soviet Union and its East European satellites. In other words, from 1960 to 1990, the Soviet bloc as a whole was less repressive, measured in terms of human victims, than many individual Latin American countries [under direct sway of US Empire] ("The Cold War in Central America", pp. 216 - 221).
    What was true for Latin America was true for around the world: massive human rights abuses, assassinations, regime changes of democratically elected governments, etc., etc., etc. orchestrated by US Empire. Yet Americans invariably have wanted it both ways: to be seen as the exemplary "City on A Hill" that upholds universal human rights and democracy, while operating a brutal Empire directly contrary to all such elevated values, and a concomitant rapacious Empire market economy that takes no prisoners. This began of course even before the founding of the United States of America and continued apace, in its mass slaughter and dispossession of indigenous peoples, in its brutal system of slavery on which its obscene wealth in the textile industry in the first place was built. "The Land of the Free" conceit was a sustained con job on the part of America's leaders. It was also apotheosis of hypocrisy. American exceptionalism was/is true in one respect only: it was brutal like no other Empire in its eventual global reach.
  4. [5]
  5. [4] The highlighted article about renowned whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg points to again what is utterly chilling, horror-filled, exponentially beyond immoral, American (hence the world's) reality: "Daniel Ellsberg: U.S. Military Planned First Strike On Every City In Russia and China … and Gave Many Low-Level Field Commanders the Power to Push the Button". [5]He has since written The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Of it we read:
    Shortlisted for the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist for the California Book Award in Nonfiction The San Francisco Chronicle's Best of 2017 List In These Times “Best Books of 2017” Huffington Post's Ten Excellent December Books List LitHub's “Five Books Making News This Week” From the legendary whistle-blower who revealed the Pentagon Papers, an eyewitness exposé of the dangers of America's Top Secret, seventy-year-long nuclear policy that continues to this day. Here, for the first time, former high-level defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg reveals his shocking firsthand account of America's nuclear program in the 1960s. From the remotest air bases in the Pacific Command, where he discovered that the authority to initiate use of nuclear weapons was widely delegated, to the secret plans for general nuclear war under Eisenhower, which, if executed, would cause the near-extinction of humanity, Ellsberg shows that the legacy of this most dangerous arms buildup in the history of civilization--and its proposed renewal under the Trump administration--threatens our very survival. No other insider with high-level access has written so candidly of the nuclear strategy of the late Eisenhower and early Kennedy years, and nothing has fundamentally changed since that era.
  6. [6]A classic instance of this aligning with "just war" is the United States' "war on drugs" as subset of "war on crime", while at the same time the CIA was a major worldwide drug dealer in league with other drug cartels -- all done to enhance American Empire during the Cold War -- and continues to the present. The four-part series mentioned below connects American Empire drug dealing to the current War on Terror, in particular in Afghanistan. This of course is colossal hypocrisy as well. Worse: the series posits American federal government administrations over many decades as the Ultimate Drug Cartel, with Blacks, Latinos, and generally the poor directly being knowingly poisoned en masse. Then they have been primary targets of the Drug Enforcement Agency, and thereby become victims of America's too often savage prison system that oppresses and brutalizes them all over again... See: "The War on Drugs Is a Failure, So [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions Is All for It". A citation from the article reads:
    In June [2017], the History Channel aired a four-part documentary series called America’s War on Drugs.” The series asserts that the war on drugs was actually a war of drugs—and that the CIA was essentially a partner in spreading drugs and drug use. The series follows how the U.S. intelligence agency, in an obsession with fighting communism, allied itself with U.S. organized crime and foreign drug traffickers and includes firsthand accounts from many involved. In an interview with Truthdig columnist Sonali Kolhatkar on her radio program “Rising Up With Sonali,” the series’ executive producer, Anthony Lappé, explains why the CIA got involved:
    It’s actually a pretty mind-blowing story when you look at the extent to which the CIA was involved with drug traffickers and drug trafficking throughout the Cold War. … If you look at Cold War policy against the Soviet Union, we were locked in a global battle for supremacy, where we have lots of proxy wars going on. … We needed to team up with local allies, and often the local allies we were teaming up with were people who had access to guns, who had access to underground networks, to help us fight the perceived threat of communism. There are actually a lot of similarities between what drug traffickers do and what the CIA does.
    Lappé elaborates by saying the hypocrisy of the war on drugs has been evident from the start: Secret CIA experiments with LSD helped fuel the counterculture movement, leading to President Richard Nixon’s crackdown and declaration of the war on drugs. The series also explores the CIA’s role in the rise of crack cocaine in poor black communities and a secret island “cocaine base.” In addition the documentary makes the connection between the war on drugs, the war on terror and the transformation of Afghanistan into a narco state and contends that American intervention in Mexico helped give clout to Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and the super cartels, making it easier to send drugs across American borders. Watch Kolhatkar’s full interview with Lappé by clicking here. Please also see the now classic: The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, by noted American historian Alfred McCoy. Of it we read:
    The first book to prove CIA and U.S. government complicity in global drug trafficking, The Politics of Heroin includes meticulous documentation of dishonesty and dirty dealings at the highest levels from the Cold War until today. Maintaining a global perspective, this groundbreaking study details the mechanics of drug trafficking in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South and Central America. New chapters detail U.S. involvement in the narcotics trade in Afghanistan and Pakistan before and after the fall of the Taliban, and how U.S. drug policy in Central America and Colombia has increased the global supply of illicit drugs.
    To be noted as well is Johann Hari's Chasing The Scream, which tells the tragic tale of America's long-standing offensive against drugs, and the way to end such a war worldwide -- that several nations are successfully embracing.
,

Editor

Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 + twelve =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Care to follow posts?

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox (unsubscribe any time):