April 16, 2024 Editor

Comments on: Christian Peacemakers Are Ramping Up Their Faith-Based Call for a Cease-fire

Dozens of Christians for a Free Palestine activists were arrested in Washington last week, in a burgeoning effort to save famine-threatened Gaza.

by John Nichols \ Activism

April 15, 2024
image above: Christian protesters singing for Gaza ceasefire

WN: I was struck by this statement in the article:

So when you hear a president say the term, ‘redeem the soul of America,’ well, this is a stain, a scar on the soul of America. There’s something about this that becomes hypocritical.”

While this is profoundly true, this entire website is dedicated to an understanding that the Gospel is Counter-Narrative to Empire — of which the United States of America is supreme example — more than any other in world history. On my Front Page, this theme is introduced at length. You will find there:

In this historical moment that supreme manifestation of Empire is the United States – to which the entire Western world is tied in various supportive ways; under which domination the rest of the world suffers: in the Greater Middle East as only one example, which endures brutal will to domination and oppression at the hands of American Empire. I reflect on this in an introduction to a posting here. An expanding list of postings on American Empire may be accessed here.1

The Vietnam War is classic instance of what it means for America to be “leader of the free world”. It was prosecuted under five Presidents: from Eisenhower to Nixon, 1955 to 1975. The New York Times ran an article in 2003 about a series published by The Toledo Blade, based upon accounts of several Vietnam War veterans, entitled “Report on Brutal Vietnam Campaign Stirs Memories.”  The article reads in part:

The report, published in October [2003] and titled ‘Rogue G.I.’s Unleashed Wave of Terror in Central Highlands,’ said that in 1967, an elite unit, a reconnaissance platoon in the 101st Airborne Division, went on a rampage that the newspaper described as ‘the longest series of atrocities in the Vietnam War.2

Please consult further two of many websites: Major US Vietnam War Atrocities Case Exposed by Ohio Newspaper; and The Mad Men Premiere’s Dark Vietnam Subtext.

There is “no honour among thieves”? There is no honour among American leadership—with rare exceptions throughout its history. Expressed differently, American leadership has been for centuries made up of thieves, brigands and murderers of the highest order.

One American scholar asks: Was America Great When It Burned Native American Babies? That question with its implicit answer (detailed in a book the article tells about) can be asked of any historical period of the United States.

In the middle of the Vietnam War President Lyndon Johnson made a speech about America “The Great Society” to a group of university students. He said in part, while fully aware of the supreme atrocity that was the Vietnam War–one he was vigorously waging:

Will you join in the battle to make it possible for all nations to live in enduring peace — as neighbors and not as mortal enemies?

Will you join in the battle to build the Great Society, to prove that our material progress is only the foundation on which we will build a richer life of mind and spirit?

There are those timid souls who say this battle cannot be won; that we are condemned to a soulless wealth. I do not agree. We have the power to shape the civilization that we want. But we need your will, your labor, your hearts, if we are to build that kind of society.

Those who came to this land sought to build more than just a new country. They sought a new world. So I have come here today to your campus to say that you can make their vision our reality. So let us from this moment begin our work so that in the future men will look back and say: It was then, after a long and weary way, that man turned the exploits of his genius to the full enrichment of his life.

Thank you. Good-bye.

In the end, he was only fooling himself! The United States has been above all else about “soulless wealth” almost since inception. Its way of enduring peace has ever been that often of the graveyard–of vast hordes of slaughtered victims over time and the world, multiple times in excess of the tally of The Nazi Holocaust. (It’s called deceptively “pacification” Pacification is an attempt to create or maintain peace. That can mean appeasing a hostile country through diplomacy or even just by settling an argument.” Or through mass slaughter! See my: Kipling, the ‘White Man’s Burden,’ and U.S. Imperialism 02-08-2018.) The classic biblical text is of course: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9) In answer to the question posed, the majority of “settler” Americans simply do not know it–never have! One of my longstanding (American theology professor) friends has asked me over the years: Why are you so angry (about this)? To which I reply thunderously: THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE TRUTH ABOUT THE AMERICAN HALL OF HORRORS HAS NEVER BEEN TOLD (to average white Americans)!!! But there are they who have told it. One could start with Howard Zinn . . .

Yet even people who know me well do not want to hear this. Why?! Does The Truth hurt that much?! There is in this regard the ominous comment by Desmond Tutu about White South Africa during apartheid:

The former apartheid cabinet member Leon Wessels was closer to the mark when he said that they had not wanted to know [about brutal repression of Blacks and Coloureds], for there were those who tried to alert them (p. 269).

There are always “those who try to alert.” They are called prophets. They are generally ignored and worse. Jesus (Matthew 23:30 -32):

And you [Americans/Westerners] say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets/[Native Americans/Blacks/Etc./Etc./Etc.]’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets/[Native Americans/Blacks/Etc./Etc./Etc.] Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

And to this day America tragically has been doing exactly that!

excerpts:

So it comes as little surprise that Lee often brings a language of faith and morality to policy debates. That has certainly been the case with regard to the Israeli assault on Gaza, which has left more than 33,000 Palestinian men, women and children dead. Lee was one of the first co-sponsors of the House resolution calling for an immediate de-escalation and cease-fire in Israel and occupied Palestine, and she has argued for months that “every day that the United States does not explicitly call for an immediate ceasefire is a moral failure.”

Lee is not alone in that view.

Opposition to US policy regarding the devastation of Gaza has come from people of all faiths since Israeli forces targeted the Palestinian enclave in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attack. Muslim Americans have taken the lead, in conjunction with Jewish American groups such as Rabbis for Ceasefire, If Not Now, and Jewish Voice for Peace. But there have always been Christians at rallies and protests as well, which should come as no surprise to those who know that Palestine is home to one of the world’s oldest Christian communities.

Much of the domestic debate on US policy toward Israel and Palestine has focused on the enthusiastic support for Israel’s war on the part of Christian evangelical pastors and their allies in the Republican Party. Less attention has been paid to the Christian groups working on behalf of peace and justice in Gaza.

So it comes as little surprise that Lee often brings a language of faith and morality to policy debates. That has certainly been the case with regard to the Israeli assault on Gaza, which has left more than 33,000 Palestinian men, women and children dead. Lee was one of the first co-sponsors of the House resolution calling for an immediate de-escalation and cease-fire in Israel and occupied Palestine, and she has argued for months that “every day that the United States does not explicitly call for an immediate ceasefire is a moral failure.”

Lee is not alone in that view.

Opposition to US policy regarding the devastation of Gaza has come from people of all faiths since Israeli forces targeted the Palestinian enclave in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attack. Muslim Americans have taken the lead, in conjunction with Jewish American groups such as Rabbis for Ceasefire, If Not Now, and Jewish Voice for Peace. But there have always been Christians at rallies and protests as well, which should come as no surprise to those who know that Palestine is home to one of the world’s oldest Christian communities.

Much of the domestic debate on US policy toward Israel and Palestine has focused on the enthusiastic support for Israel’s war on the part of Christian evangelical pastors and their allies in the Republican Party. Less attention has been paid to the Christian groups working on behalf of peace and justice in Gaza.

For months, the group Mennonite Action has organized protests at congressional offices around the country. as well as a January 16 “Day of Action for a Ceasefire” on Capitol Hill, during which 150 Mennonites were arrested for engaging in an act of civil disobedience that featured prayers and singing in the Cannon House Office Building. A few weeks later, one thousand Black pastors from multiple denominations signed a call for the Biden administration to support a cease-fire, with one prominent signer, the Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, the senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas who recently succeeded Jesse Jackson as the president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, saying, “What they are witnessing from the administration in Gaza is a glaring contradiction to what we thought the president and the administration was about. So when you hear a president say the term, ‘redeem the soul of America,’ well, this is a stain, a scar on the soul of America. There’s something about this that becomes hypocritical.”

Please click on: Christian Peacemakers Are Ramping Up Their Faith-Based Call for a Cease-fire

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Footnotes:
  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. 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.[]

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.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.