I have a couple of thoughts about pacifism. The first is my own:
I am not a pacifist, but I do not believe that there is any killing which does not require forgiveness.
I would like to be a pacifist. But then there’s the real world. I hate living in this tension. I would like to be a pacifist, but I have an African American friend who won’t let me–because without that brutal war, nothing would have changed for the slaved.
I do believe that the Christian’s place in society is always to bear witness to another economy: an economy where defeat of the gravest powers of the world came by the defeat, rather than military victory, of a marginalized people’s prophet-king.
Within this story, I do not know that it is possible to ever claim that a war is just.
Claiming to be a part of this story, Christians must actively work for peace: blessed are the peacemakers. That should typify kingdom people.
Then sometimes you’ve got Russia and China keeping the Security Council from doing justice. What then?
Thought two. This time, a quote from Stanley Hauerwas:
I’m not a pacifist because I’m so nice. I’m a pacifist because I’m such a mean sonofabitch I need the community to keep me accountable.
Confessing the demands of the gospel story is not, at its best, to issue a claim that faithful expression of this religion is to be like I am. We confess the demands of the gospel story to set out the impossible, glorious vision of the Kingdom of God so that we can, as a people, work toward embodying that vision and seeing that vision reflected in the world.
I talk about the economy of the cross all the time–not because my life looks like one of self-denial, but because that’s how it should look in every relationship, every dollar spent, every minute blown in front of this computer screen.
Ok, so maybe that’s a good argument for being a pacifist after all…