I've been thinking about World War II for the past few days. Everyone uses it as the model of just war- even this morning on the radio an interviewer asked a consciencious objector (who is supposed to be against all war to get that status) if he would be against WWII. The objector answered that he wasn't there and he really couldn't say, but any war he'd witnessed in his lifetime seemed wrong to him.
I was reading Philip Yancy's book Finding God in Unexpected Places, and he talks alot about the fall of communism in the eastern block countries and how it was a nonviolent struggle lead by Christians and started in churches. It made me realize that WWII was really just as evil as any war. I don't know that the Allies really ended up with any choice once the war really got started. (I'm still trying to figure that out.) But I think that the war itself was the result of a moral breakdown and the immorality of people standing passively by. As Rabbi Kushner says in "Who Needs God?" what Hitler and his henchpeople did was not illegal, but it was morally wrong. But the immorality was in people not standing up to him and to the Japanese and Italian governments both at home and abroad. Basically, people were trusting their government and not really caring about what they did. Of course, some people were for it, but I suspect that many more just said - as long as it doesn't hurt me, I don't care.
The point is, we have to remember that now. Christians have to be aware of what's going on in the world and active in their government and the international community. I don't want governments going Christian- I just want moral Christians (really, I want my kind of Christian) in government. And by moral Christians I mean ones who are for peace and justice and against war and willing to light a candle and march in protest of injustice. I was wishing it wouldn't be so logistically impossible to parachute thousands of people into the Darfur region to stand in solidarity with the people there, for example. (Can you believe everything that was going on there two years ago is still going on despite the media attention and protests of other governments?)
People think of pacifists as people who just shut up and let violence happen. No. Pacifists just don't respond to violence with more violence. We seek to find other means to solve problems. But the most important solution to this violence is prevention. If we can stop it before it even starts, and really address what is leading to the voilence itself, that's the absolute best option. Even for a war like WWII.