Saturday, March 31, 2007


Of all my study and readings regarding the Revolution Toward Militant Brotherliness (aka nonviolence) this collection of essays is by far the most helpful. Edward Guinan has been used to give us the Gift of a Miracle. These quotes below, and his book must be read.

We seem to have lost all recolection of what courage and citizenship outside of the military looks like. These excerpts and quotations can serve as a quick reminder:

"Peace and Nonviolence" author, If we Listen Well, Ed Guinan Introduction, Napoleon
Christian Nonresisstance, Adin Ballou
Paul IV, from Intro
Reflections on War, Simone Weil
Leo Tolstoy
An Indian Prayer: A Proposal to Man. Ron Skenand...
I Believe, Perry Muckerheidi
Is There Anything the Individual Can Still Do? Fr...
Address to the Congres de la Paix, Victor Hugo
Letter to a Minister of State, Hermann Hesse
LOVE IN ACTION, Thich Nhat Hanh
Active Nonviolence, Hildegaard Goss-Mayr
Religious Satyagraha, M.K. Gandhi
The Time of My Commitment, George Fox
Our Father, Desiderius Erasmus
Nonviolence VS the Mafia, Danilo Dolci
Dorothy Day
Not the Smallest Grain of Incense, Tom Cornell
Militant Non-Violence, William Sloane Coffin
Cesar Chavez
Fetters of Injustice, Dom Helder Camara
Stations on the Road to Freedom, Dietrich Bonhoeff...
Christ's Teachings, Vinoba Bhave
An Open Letter to a Bishop, Philip Berrigan
A Meditation from Catonsville, Dan Berrigan

Friday, March 23, 2007

Introduction, Napoleon

"Do you know, Fontanes, what astonishes me most in this world? The inability of force to create anything. In the long run the sword is always beaten by the spirit."

Christian Nonresisstance, Adin Ballou

Bio: Adin Ballou, the founder of the Utopian Hopedale Community in 1841, was also co-founder (with Wil­liam Lloyd Garrison) and president of the New Eng­land Non-Resistance Society. The selections here * are a clear and forceful statement on non-resistance in Gospel terms. As a thinker, Ballou’s writings in­fluenced the thought of Thoreau, Tolstoy and Gandhi.


"Whence originated the term Christian non­resistance? Non-resistance comes from the injunction, “resist not evil,” Matt. 5:39. The words “resist not,” being changed from the form of a verb to that of a substan­tive, give us non-resistance."

"It will appear from the foregoing exposition that a true Christian non-resistant cannot, with deliberate intent, knowledge or conscious voluntariness, compro mise his principles by either of the following acts.
1. He cannot kill, maim or otherwise absolutely injure any human being, in personal self-defense, or for the sake of his family, or any thing he holds dear.
2. He cannot participate in any lawless conspiracy, mob, riotous assembly, or disorderly combination of individuals, to cause or countenance the commission of any such absolute personal injury.
3. Je cannot he a member of any voluntary association, how ever orderly, respectable or allowable by law and general consent, which declaratively holds as fundamental truth, or claims as an essential right, or distinctly inculcates as sound doctrine, or ap proves as commendable in practice, war, capital punishment, or any other absolute personal injury.
4. He cannot be an officer or private, chaplain or retainer, in the army, navy or militia of any nation, state, or chieftain.
5. He cannot be an officer, elector, agent, legal prosecutor, pas sive constituent, or approver of any government, as a sworn or otherwise pledged supporter thereof, whose civil constitution and fundamental laws require, authorize or tolerate war, slavery, capital punishment, or the infliction of any absolute personal injury.
6. He cannot be a member of any chartered corporation or body politic, whose articles of compact oblige or authorize its official functionaries to resort for compulsory aid in the conducting of its affairs to a government of constitutional violence.
7. Finally, he cannot do any act, either in person or by proxy; nor abet or encourage any act in others; nor demand, petition for, request, advise or approve the doing of any act, by an individ ual, association or government, which act would inflict, threaten to inflict, or necessarily cause to be inflicted any absolute personal injury, as herein before defined."

Paul IV, from Intro

"The awareness of a universal brotherhood is developing in our world, at least in principle. Whoever works to educate the rising generations in the conviction that every man is our brother is building from the foundation the edifice of peace. Whoever implants in public opinion the sentiment of human brotherhood, without any limits, is preparing better days for the world. Whoever conceives of the protection of political interests as a logical and organic necessity of social life, without the incitement of hate and combat among men, is opening to human society the ever effective advancement of the common good. Whoever helps in discovering in every man— beyond his physical, ethical, ethnic and racial characteristics—the existence of a being equal to his own, is transforming the earth from an epicenter of division, antagonism, treachery and revenge into a field of vital work for civil collaboration. For where brotherhood among men is at root disregarded, peace is at root destroyed. And yet peace is the mirror of real, authentic, modern humanity, victorious over every anachronistic self-injury. Peace is the great concept extolling love among men, who discover that they are brothers and decide to live as such."

Reflections on War, Simone Weil

Bio: A French writer, and part of the French Resistance to the Nazi regime, Simone Weil was 24 when she wrote this article, “Reflections on War.” She was born a Jew, but rejected Judaism and became sym pathetic to the Catholic Church. Thomas Merton has said of her, “Simone Weil is one of those brilliant and independent French thinkers who were able to articulate the deepest concerns of Europe in the first half of this century.”


"But the impotence one feels today—an impotence we should never consider permanent—does not excuse one from remaining true to oneself, nor does it excuse capitulation to the enemy, what ever mask he may wear. Whether the mask is labeled fascism, democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat, our great adversary remains The Apparatus—the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier or the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers’ enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this Apparatus, and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others."

Leo Tolstoy

Bio: A man caught in the turmoils and social upheavals of his time, Leo Tolstoy was one of the giants of his age. His philosophy was based on a radical understanding of the ethical demands of Christianity. He was an artist, a pioneer in new educational forms, and a theoretician of non-violence. He is a man whose influence is still being felt. In the first selection,* Tolstoy discusses the states of the Christian world. The second selection is the text of a letter addressed to The Daily Chronicle. The final selection *** is a letter Tolstoy wrote to Ernst Schramm, a young draftee of the Hessian army, in 1899. This was Tolstoy’s second letter to Schramm; however, before it reached him, Schramm had left his native land to avoid conscription.

States of the Christain World

"The states of the Christian world have not only reached, but in our day have passed, the limits toward which the states of ancient times were approaching before their dismemberment. We can see this from the fact that each step we make today toward material progress not only does not advance us toward the general well-being, but shows us, on the contrary, that all these technical improvements only increase our miseries. One can imagine other machines, submarine subterranean and aerial, for transporting men with the rapidity of lighting; one could multiply to infinity the means of propagating human speech and thought, but it would remain no less the case that these travelers, so comfortably and rapidly transported, are neither willing nor able to commit anything but evil, and the thoughts and words they pour forth would only incite men to further harm. As to the beautifully perfected armaments of destruction, which, while diminishing the risk of those who employ them, make carnage easier, they only give further proof of the impossibility of persevering in the direction we are going.

Thus, the horror of the situation of the Christian world has a double aspect: on the one hand the absence of a moral principle of union, and on the other a gradual lowering of man to a degree below that of the animals, in spite of his intellectual progress and the complexity of the lies that hide from us our misery and our cruelty.

The lies cover the cruelty, the cruelty causes the spreading of the lies, and both increase like insidious snowballs. But everything must come to an end. And I believe that a crisis in this horrible situation is approaching. The evils, resulting from the lack of a religious ideal corresponding to our epoch, are the inevitable conditions of progress; they should as inevitably disappear after the adoption of such an ideal."

Reply to Critics

"But the fact is that the Christian doctrine, in its true sense, never proposed to abolish anything, nor to change any human organization. The very thing which distinguishes Christian religion from all other religions and social doctrines is that it gives men the possibilities of a real and good life, not by means of general laws regulating the lives of all men, but by enlightening each individual man with regard to the sense of his own life, by showing him wherein consists the evil and the real good of his life. And the sense of life thus imparted to man by the Christian doctrine is so simple, so convincing, and leaves so little room for doubt, that if once man understands it, and, therefore, conceives wherein is the real good and the real evil of his life, he can never again consciously do what he considers to be the evil of his life, nor abstain from doing what he considers to be the real good of it, as surely as a plant cannot help turning toward light, and water cannot help running down­ward.

The sense of life, as shown by the Christian religion, consists in living so as to do the will of Him who sent us into life, from whom we are come, and to whom we shall return. The evil of our life con­sists in acting against this will, and the good in fulfilling it. And the rule given to us for the fulfillment of this will is so very plain and simple that it is impossible not to understand, or to misunder­stand it.

If you cannot do unto others what you would that they should do to you, at least do not unto them what you would not that they should do unto you.

If you would not be made to work ten hours at a stretch in factories or in mines, if you would not have your children hungry, cold, and ignorant, if you would not be robbed of the land that feeds you, if you would not be shut up in prisons and sent to the gallows or hanged for committing an unlawful deed through passion or ignorance, if you would not suffer wounds nor be killed in war—do not do this to others. All this is so simple and straight forward, and admits of so little doubt, that it is impossible for the simplest child not to understand, nor for the cleverest man to refute it. It is impossible to refute this law, especially because this law is given to us, not only by all the wisest men of the world, not only by the Man who is considered to be God by the majority of Christians, but because it is written in our minds and hearts.

Let us imagine a servant in his lord’s power, appointed by his master to a task he loves and understands. If this man were to be addressed by men whom he knows to be dependent on his master in the same way as he is, to whom smaller tasks are set at which they will not work, and who would entreat him for his own good and for the good of other men to do what is directly opposed to his lord’s plain commandments, what answer can any reasonable servant give to such entreaties? But this simile is far from fully expressing what a Christian must feel when he is called upon to take an active part in oppressing, robbing people of their land, in executing them, in waging war, and so on, all things which governments call upon us to do; for, however binding the comands of that master may have been to his servant, they can never be compared to that unquestionable knowledge which every man, as long as he is not corrupted by false doctrines, does possess, that he cannot and must not do unto others what he does not wish to be done unto him, and therefore cannot and must not take part in all things opposed to the rule of his Master, which are imosed upon him by governments.

Therefore the question for a Christian does not lie in this: whether or not a man has the right to destroy the existing order of things, and to establish another in its stead, or to decide which kind of government will be the best, as the question is sometimes purposely and very often unintentionally put by the enemies of Christianity (the Christian does not think about the general order of things, but leaves the guidance of them to God, for he firmly believes God has implanted His law in our minds and hearts, that there may be order, not disorder, and that nothing but good can arise from our following the unquestionable law of God, which has been so plainly manifested to us); but the question, the decision of which is not optional, but unavoidable, and which daily presents itself for a Christian to decide, is: How am I to act in the dilemma which is constantly before me? Shall I form part of a government which recognizes the right to own landed property by men who never work on it, which levies taxes on the poor in order to give them to the rich, which condemns erring men to gallows and death, which sends out soldiers to commit murder, which depraves whole races of men by means of opium and brandy, etc., or shall I refuse to take a share in a government, the doings of which are contrary to my conscience? But what will come of it, what sort of State will there be, if I act in this way, is a thing I do not know and which I shall not say I do not wish to know, but which I cannot know.

The main strength of Christ’s teaching consists especially in this: that he brought the question of conduct from a world of conjecture and eternal doubt, down to a firm and indisputable ground. Some people say, “But we also do not deny the evils of the existing order and the necessity of changing it, but we wish to change it, not suddenly, by means of refusing to take any part in the government, but, on the contrary, by participating in the government, by gaining more and more freedom, political rights, and obtaining the election of the true friends of the people and the enemies of all violence.”

This would be very well, if taking part in one’s government and trying to improve it could coincide with the aim of human life. But, unfortunately, it not only does not coincide, but is quite op posed to it." "

"“Wilt thou, a being of reason and goodness, who comes today and may vanish tomorrow, wilt thou, if thou believest in the existence of God, act against His law and His will, knowing that any moment thou canst return to Him; or, if thou dost not believe in Him, wilt thou, knowing that if thou errest thou shalt never be able to redeem thy error, wilt thou, nevertheless, act in opposition to the principles of reason and love, by which alone thou canst be guided in life? Wilt thou, at the request of thy government, take oaths, defend, by compulsion, the owner of land or capital, wilt thou pay taxes for keeping policemen, soldiers, warships, wilt thou take part in parliaments, law courts, condemnations and wars?”

And to all this—I will not say for a Christian, but for a reason able being—there can be but one answer: “No, I cannot, and will not.” But they say, “This will destroy the State and the existing order.” If the fulfillment of the will of God is destroying the existing order, is it not a proof that this existing order is contrary to the will of God, and ought to be destroyed?"

Advice to a Draftee

"In my last letter I answered your question as well as I could. It is not only Christians but all just people who must refuse to become soldiers—that is, to be ready on another’s command (for this is what a soldier’s duty actually consists of) to kill all those one is ordered to kill. The question as you state it—which is more useful, to become a good teacher or to suffer for rejecting conscription?—is falsely stated. The question is falsely stated because it is wrong for us to determine our actions according to their results, to view actions merely as useful or destructive. In the choice of our actions we can be led by their advantages or disadvantages only when the actions them­selves are not opposed to the demands of morality."

"The question should not be stated: which is more useful, to be a good teacher or go to jail for refusing conscription? but rather: what should a man do who has been called upon for military service—that is, called upon to kill or to prepare himself to kill?

And to this question, for a person who understands the true meaning of military service and who wants to be moral, there is only one clear and incontrovertible answer: such a person must refuse to take part in military service no matter what consequences this refusal may have. It may seem to us that this refusal could be futile or even harmful, and that it would be a far more useful thing, after serving one’s time, to become a good village teacher. But in the same way, Christ could have judged it more useful for himself to be a good carpenter and submit to all the principles of the Pharisees than to die in obscurity as he did, repudiated and forgotten by everyone.

Moral acts are distinguished from all other acts by the fact that they operate independently of any predictable advantage to our selves or to others. No matter how dangerous the situation may be of a man who finds himself in the power of robbers who demand that he take part in plundering, murder, and rape, a moral person cannot take part. Is not military service the same thing? Is one not required to agree to the deaths of all those one is commanded to kill?"

"If I, finding myself in a crowd of running people, run with the crowd without knowing where, it is obvious that I have given my self up to mass hysteria; but if by chance I should push my way to the front, or be gifted with sharper sight than the others, or receive information that this crowd was racing to attack human beings and toward its own corruption, would I really not stop and tell the people what might rescue them? Would I go on running and do these things which I knew to be bad or corrupt? This is the situation of every individual called up for military service, if he knows what military service means."

"In every person’s life there are moments in which he can know himself, tell himself who he is, whether he is a man who values his human dignity above his life or a weak creature who does not know his dignity and is concerned merely with being useful (chiefly to himself). This is the situation of a man who goes out to defend his honor in a duel or a soldier who goes into battle (although here the concepts of life are wrong). It is the situation of a doctor or a priest called to someone sick with plague, of a man in a burning house or a sinking ship who must decide whether to let the weaker go first or shove them aside and save himself. It is the situation of a man in poverty who accepts or rejects a bribe. And in our times, it is the situation of a man called to military service. For a man who knows its significance, the call to the army is perhaps the only opportunity for him to behave as a morally free creature and fulfill the highest requirement of his life—or else merely to keep his advantage in sight like an animal and thus re main slavishly submissive and servile until humanity becomes degraded and stupid."

An Indian Prayer: A Proposal to Man. Ron Skenandore

Bio: One of the very impressive spokesmen for the American Indian Movement, Rod Skenandore was one of the prime resource people at the Young World Development’s National Conversation during the summer of 1971. He delivered “An Indian Prayer” during the conference, one of the most moving moments for the gathering.


"I taught you when you first came to this land to plant certain things in the soil by which to survive. For you did not know the nature of this soil. And even though my methods were not all that productive quantity-wise, they worked. I taught you to take the skins of certain animals and to tan them. When you had learned this, I taught you to sew the hides together, and the protection these methods provided was far better than you employed. In your newness to this country, I took the time to teach you and you repaid me with death. But now, my brothers, don’t you think it is only fair and almost past time when you show me your appreciation by allowing me from here on out to live in the way I see fit? Don’t you think I should have a choice in the way I want to protect my own country? For once, allow me to decide if I want to go off and to fight in the wars you start and to perish as you obviously relish at the thought of for egotistic reasons. Allow me to live under my own laws as before, and I will not interfere with yours. Allow me to have control over my homelands that are called reservations, and if I want to be neutral where other countries are concerned, let me. Let me walk this land where I was born and where the spirits of my ancestors still sing in my songs. And, allow me to worship as I myself see fit. For have you not said that God is a just God? And if he is, he will not mind. For even though my ways of worship are different than those of yours, they still praise and thank the same thought. And allow me to have a seat in your United Nations. And if I want, let me beat on the table with my shoe while I voice my objections as you have allowed others to do. And if I so desire, let me speak as alternatively as you.

And when you have allowed me all these rights as are the rights of man that you wrote of, then at a point in time, let us meet on a neutral ground. And after we have prayed, thanking the spirits, let us smoke the pipe of man together. And, while we smoke, let us both see how the other is made. And then before the pipe goes out and before our spirits depart, let us take the other by the hand and speak the words, “I love you, my brother, and forever you will remain my brother.” And then forever like the blowing wind, and with feelings deeper than the reaches of space and warmer than the radiance of the sun, let us live as brothers in peace."


Bio: The late Pope John XXIII, one of the greatest spiritual and social influences in the century, left a great legacy in his encyclical Pacem in Terris, an excerpt of which is printed below, and in the spirit of Vatican Council II which he convened and which was continued by his successor Pope Paul VI, a portion of whose encyclical The Development of Peoples is also given. Included here too are excerpts from Vatican Council II's Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, the National Council of Catholic Bishops’ Justice in the World, and a statement of American bishops made in the fall of 1971.


THE DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLES - "God intended the earth and all that it con­tains for the use of every human being and people. Thus, as all men follow justice and unite in charity, created goods should abound for them on a reasonable basis.” All other rights whatsoever, including those of property and of free commerce, are to be subordinated to this principle."


To quote Saint Ambrose: “You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his. For what has been given in common for the use of all, you have arrogated to yourself. The world has given to all, and not only to the rich.” That is, private property does not constitute for anyone an absolute and unconditioned right. No one is justified in keeping for his exclusive use what he does not need, when others lack necessities. In a word, “according to the traditional doctrine as found in the Fathers of the Church and the great theologians, the right to property must never be exercised to the detriment of the common good.” If there should arise a conflict “between acquired private rights and primary community exigencies,” it is the responsibility of public authorities “to look for a solution, with the active participation of individuals and social groups.” "


"Let recognition be given to the fact that international order is rooted in the inalienable rights and dignity of the human being. Let the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights be ratified by all governments who have not yet adhered to it, and let it be fully observed by all."

"War / Nonviolence

Ancient divisions between nations and empires, between races and classes, today possess new technological instruments of destruction. The arms race is a threat to man’s highest good, which is life; it makes poor peoples and individuals yet more miserable, while making richer those already powerful; it creates a continuous danger of conflagration, and in the case of nuclear arms it threatens to destroy all life from the face of the earth."


Our faith demands of us a certain sparingness in use, and the Church is obliged to live and administer its own goods in such a way that the Gospel is proclaimed to the poor. If instead the Church appears to be among the rich and the powerful of this world its credibility is diminished.

We have nevertheless been able to perceive the serious injustices which are building around the world of men a network of domi­nation, oppression and abuses which stifle freedom and which keep the greater part of humanity from sharing in the building up and enjoyment of a more just and more fraternal world.

Unless combatted and overcome by social and political action, the influence of the new industrial and technological order favors the concentration of wealth, power and decision-making in the hands of a small public or private controlling group."


Bio: During his lifetime, A. J. Muste was regarded as one of the most prominent spokesmen for the pacifist movement in America. He wavered in the mid-1930’s, believing violence to be an effective means for change, but after 1936 he was reconverted to the validity of a religious-based pacifism, as the fol lowing selection ‘K indicates.


"There are two ultimate questions we must now consider. If we may use a military figure to state a pacifist case, we can say that one is the question of what we fight for; the other of what we fight with and rely on for a sense of security.

Paradoxically, life is worth living for those who have something for which they will gladly give up life. Individuals and nations need something beyond themselves to which they give unconditional homage and devotion. A nation cannot exist if it has no purpose save to exist, to survive at any cost and on any terms. It needs a spiritual goal. In the words of the Psalmist, “Except the Lord build the city, they labor in vain that build it.” "

"In answer to the question, “What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence?" Lincoln replied: “It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, our army and our navy. These are not our reliance against tyranny. All of these may be turned against us without making us weaker for the struggle. . . . Our defense is in the spirit which prized liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere.”

A people thus devoted to a spiritual goal and thus skilled in wielding spiritual weapons would have immense driving and staying power, It would have a faith that other peoples, especially the long down-trodden masses, could embrace in place of the Communist faith that has so vast an attraction for them now. .

The Western world in its concept of democracy, the United States in “the American dream,” and Christians in their gospel and ethic of love, of evil, overcome not by evil but by good, have knowledge of such a spiritual goal."

"With the chanting of the magic word “utopianism,” these people dismiss the challenge and the hope of building brotherhood on earth as in heaven. Alas, not a few peace-workers are among them, placing their reliance on some device by which an unrepent ant and essentially unbelieving nation will on the basis of self-interest work out an agreement with an unrepentant and avowedly unbelieving Communist regime that will bring peace!'

On the other hand, if in any typical Protestant church of a Sun day morning I were to say pretty much what I have here been writing about centering our national policy around the needy children of the world, Christian hearts would be touched and Christian heads would be nodded gravely in assent. And then, as the Roper polls show, these good Christian folk would agree nearly to the man that it is also right and wise for the United States to keep adding to the H-bomb stockpile as the best way to keep the godless, Christ-denying Communists from coming over here and closing Christ’s churches!"

"The problem of morale and faith facing the West is here vividly laid bare. It is that the Christian nations, Christian churches, Christian people are in thorough agreement with that Communist. Again the “enemy” is ourselves. We and that Communist are agreed that the Christian faith and way are superior; agreed that someday it has to prevail; and agreed that this will come to pass after we—Communists and Christians—have made it possible for our ways of life to survive and prevail by our respective impure and violent means. The Communists believe it will come to pass “after the revolution” when they are in control. American Christians believe it will come after they by the threat or use of their atomic arsenal have got things under control. But they all unite in the grand chorus: “But it isn’t practical now!”

At an earlier stage we found that it is not possible to be ab sorbed at one and the same time in the power struggle and in the task of spreading general well-being across the world and building a stable world economy. We are faced with a choice of goals.

A choice of means must likewise be made, however we may shrink from it. Our firm conviction as pacifists is that it is not possible to achieve democracy by undemocratic means, to over come Communism by resorting increasingly to Communist methods, to save the values of. Christian civilization by throwing them overboard as modern war requires us to do. On the positive side it is our conviction that love translated into concrete action for hu­man brotherhood is the way to overcome evil and that the spiritual power which flows through men when they give themselves to God in faith and obedience is real and the most potent force in the universe.

In this context we always come up against the question, “Will it work?” Will it work with the Russians, the Communists, the totalitarians? In the abstract and in general people are usually will­ing to grant the pacifist case, but the concrete enemy of the mo­ment is always a special case. Nor would pacifists deny that totalitarianism in its modern forms and equipped with modern weapons of thought control, regimentation and terrorism presents a tremendous challenge to pacifists. It does also to the advocates of any other method for meeting aggression and tyranny, a point which non-pacifists sometimes overlook. Their record, as we pointed out at length in the beginning of this essay, is not one of success!

But what is the pacifist’s answer to the question of workability?"

"In Christian terms we are proposing that men apply Christ’s method of uncalculating love, of feeding the enemy and so on, rather than depending upon the sword for defense or liberation.

Stating the matter in other terms, we are here thinking of the morally responsible human being. All who believe in some kind of moral order, whether or not they are Christians or consider them­selves religious at all, face a crucial problem in connection with war. The question is not whether one is going to die in war; at the appointed time all men, and nations also, die. This is in the order of nature. The question for the morally responsible being is what happens to himself if he becomes a murderer, drops atomic bombs on little enemy children instead of trying to bring them food and healing. The question is what moral price he is prepared to pay for his country’s victory in war.

When on this level the Christian is asked whether the way of uncalculating love—of not “offending one of these little ones” be hind the Iron Curtain—”works” in some immediate political sense, his first answer is bound to be that he doesn’t think this is any of his business. God whom he knows in Christ commands love. He does not promise success to today’s Christian any more than he did to Jesus. Indeed, there is sure to be a cross in the picture some where. One of the signs that we are off the track is that everything goes smoothly and all men speak well of us. When the Christian asks God for victory, success, a blank check, he has ceased to believe in God.

The morally responsible person will give essentially the same answer. He has to be true, in the final pinch, to the highest that he knows. He has to be able to live with himself. If his moral standard amounts to obeying whatever orders some government gives him (remember the Nuremberg doctrine of the guilt of individual Nazis) or if his standard is what he can get away with, then he is no longer a moral being. This is why, in fact, any human being not bereft of sanity altogether “draws a line somewhere,” at some point says, “I can do no other.”

The modern pacifist draws the line at participation in atomic and bacteriological war. When he is asked whether this pacifism is “politically effective,” his reply is: “If human beings do not draw this line, then where will they draw the line? What are they waiting for?” In the great drama, Jakobowski and the Colonel, Jakobowski, the refugee, says to the Nazi colonel who has just been engaged in torturing certain victims: “There is one advantage that the hunted has over the hunter—namely, that he is not the hunter.” The advantage is an ultimate one: not to join the hunters. If a man loses it, there is nothing to compensate for the loss.

Totalitarian regimes do indeed present a grave problem, and our argument in no sense proceeds on the basis of minimizing the evil of such regimes. But the familiar argument that Gandhi could get by with non-violence in dealing with the British but that non-violence is no good in dealing with this or that other regime in practice means that any methods have to be used with the latter. This clearly means surrender of the moral life. It is capitulation to the amoral or antimoral philosophy of Bolshevism: any means is justified because my end is good. Indeed, it is to fall lower than this in the moral scale because it amounts to saying: “The mere survival of my coun­try at any cost and by any means in a naked struggle for power is justified.” It is to enthrone the doctrine of military necessity as the moral imperative and to deny, utterly and finally, that “he who seeketh his life shall lose it.” "

"What faith in material things and military means is here revealed!

If men are not willing to practice the way of non-violence with the same kind of commitment and recklessness of cost or con­sequences as they practice the way of war and as Communists work for Communism, clearly non-violence will not work."

I Believe, Perry Muckerheidi

Bio: Perry. Muckerheidi has spent the last few years in Milwaukee coordinating youth’s commitment to hunger and directing the Walk from Hunger Campaigns. He wrote and produced Miles to Go, an enthusiastic and spirited documentary of the walks. In mid-summer 1971 he began filing his C.O. Statement and shared his thoughts and reflections with the editor of this volume. The Prologue is included below.


I believe in God.
I believe in Jesus Christ.
I believe in Man.

I believe in God as the infinite power which is the reason for my being.
I believe in Jesus Christ as major revelation of God.
I believe in man as the house of God, created in his image.

I believe that my finite person is incapable of ever comprehending the infinite, yet God reveals himself to me daily through myself and relations with others, through the lives of men and women throughout history, and ultimately through the life of Christ.
I believe that through Jesus Christ, the man from Nazareth, God reveals to me the life I should live.
I believe God lives within me and all of mankind.

I believe the basis of life is love: love of oneself, love of one’s neighbor, and as Christ has said, love of one’s enemies.

I believe we are meant to live in harmony.
I believe that when we seek this harmony with the motivations of love, we glorify God as he has commanded.

I believe in the basic law of God: Thou shall not kill.
I believe in the basic law of God: Thou shall have no other gods be fore me.
I believe that since God lives within each of us and all of us, the service of man is the service of God; therefore the destruction of man is the profaning of God.
I believe in non-violence as witnessed by the life of Christ.
I believe the laws of man must become secondary when they conflict with the natural laws of God.

I believe life must be a witness.
I believe this witness must be total, a commitment of all one’s talents to the glory of God.
I believe this witness must work to overcome national, racial, economic, political and cultural divisions to unite mankind in peace.

I believe the way of God is the way witnessed by Christ which is the way of peace.
I believe peace is found through its pursuit.
I believe God is revealed through the pursuit of peace.

I believe to search for the revelations of God is to work to know God.
I believe to seek God is to know God.
I believe God reveals himself through the revelations of the soul.
I believe the soul is revealed through the process of the search for it.
I believe the search takes many individual and collective forms.
I believe it is found in the development of creativity which is within all of us, which we must work to free for the collective use in the service of man, which is again the revelation of God.
I believe it is most found in the service of my fellow man as witnessed by the life of Christ, the man closest to God.

I believe that just as Christ's life is a witness to the laws of God, my life
must be a witness to my search of him through my service to man.

I believe therefore that I could not kill another man nor could I in good conscience serve or involve myself in any system, nor support in any way, the creation or continuation of any process which seeks to or results in the killing of an other man.


Bio: A Trappist monk, Thomas Merton was one of the strongest voices in the 1960’s writing on a theology of non-violence and speaking against the evils of our society. Merton strongly influenced many of the contemporary Catholics active in peace and social justice today. He himself was influenced by Aldous Huxley, Erasmus and Gandhi. The following excerpt * is from an article that Merton wrote for the 1968 FAX Conference, shortly before his death later that year.


"Non-violence is meant to communicate love not in word but in act. Above all, non-violence is meant to convey and to defend truth which has been obscured and defiled by political double-talk."

"Has non-violence been found wanting? Yes and no. It has been found wanting wherever it has been the non-violence of the weak. It has not been found so when it has been the non-violence of the strong. What is the difference? It is a difference of language. The language of spurious non-violence is merely another, more equivocal form of the language of power. It is a different method of expressing one’s will to power. It is used and conceived pragmatically, in reference to the seizure of power. But that is not what nonviolence is about. Non-violence is not for power but for truth. It is not pragmatic but prophetic. It is not aimed at immediate political results, but at the manifestation of fundamental and crucially important truth. Non-violence is not primarily the language of efficacy, but the language of kairos. It does not say “We shall overcome” so much as “This is the day of the Lord, and whatever may happen to us, He shall overcome.” "

"It may do more than anything else to promote an irresponsible and meaningless use of force in a pseudo-revolution that will only consolidate the power of the police state. Never was it more necessary to understand the importance of genuine non-violence as a power for real change because it is aimed not so much at revolution as at conversion. Unfortunately, mere words about peace, love and civilization have completely lost all power to change anything."


Bio: Raised in the Southern Baptist tradition and educated in liberal theology at Boston University, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man who met the moment of crisis and provided for Americans—both black and white—a leader and a focus of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s. The actions that he led were deeply committed to non-violence, a non-violence that was greatly influenced by Gandhi. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964


"I have learned now that the Master’s burden is light precisely when we take his yoke upon us.

My personal trials have also taught me the value of unmerited suffering. As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways that I could respond to my situation: either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course. Recognizing the necessity for suffering I have tried to make of it a virtue. If only to save myself from bitterness, I have attempted to see my personal or deals as an opportunity to transform myself and heal the people involved in the tragic situation which now obtains. I have lived these last few years with the conviction that unearned suffering is redemptive.

There are some who still find the cross a stumbling block, and others consider it foolishness, but I am more convinced than ever before that it is the power of God unto social and individual salvation. So like the Apostle Paul I can now humbly yet proudly say, “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” The suffering and agonizing moments through which I have passed over the last few years have also drawn me closer to God. More than ever before I am convinced of the reality of a personal God."

"Today’s problems are so acute because the tragic evasions and defaults of several centuries have accumulated to disaster proportions. The luxury of a leisurely approach to urgent solutions—the ease of gradualism—was forfeited by ignoring the issues for too long. The nation waited until the black man was explosive with fury before stirring itself even to partial concern. Confronted now with the interrelated problems of war, inflation, urban decay, white backlash and a climate of violence, it is now forced to address itself to race relations and poverty, and it is tragically unprepared. What might once have been a series of separate problems now merge into a social crisis of al most stupefying complexity.

I am not sad that black Americans are rebelling; this was not only inevitable but eminently desirable."

"“If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
That’s the question before you tonight. Not, “If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to all of the hours that I usually spend in my office every day and every week as a pastor?” The question is not, “If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?”

“If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?” That’s the question.

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with

It really doesn’t matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us; the pilot said over the public address system, “We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all the bags were checked, and to be sure that noth ing would be wrong with the plane, we had to check out every thing carefully. And we’ve had the place protected and guarded all night.”

And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place.

But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

"I’d like somebody to mention that day, that “Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others.” I’d like for somebody to say that day, that “Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love sonic-body.” I want you to be able to say that day, that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day, that I did try to feed the hungry. And I want you to be able to say that day, that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say that day, that I did try, in my life, to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.

Yes, if you want to say that I was a Drum Major, say that I was a Drum Major for justice, say that I was a Drum Major for peace, that I was a Drum Major for righteousness."

"Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?” But conscience asks the question, “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him that it is right.

I can’t segregate my moral concern. We are engaged in a war where we are the aggressors. And I think it’s necessary to say to the policy-makers of our country that we are wrong. We should admit to the world that we made a tragic mistake in Vietnam."


Bio: Clarence Jordan, a farmer and biblical scholar, was a prolific writer and experimenter in community. His understanding of the content of Christianity was demonstrated in his Koinonia Farm in Americus, Georgia, an attempt to live in inter-racial harmony and in accordance with the words of Jesus. Taken from a book which offers a contemporary under standing of the teachings of Jesus, this selection * deals with two scriptural passages: “Ye have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, Resist not him that is evil: but whosoever smitheth thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5.38-39), and “Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy: but I say unto you, Love your enemies and pray for them that persecute you” (Matthew 5 :43-44).


"We have seen that Jesus thought of the Mosaic laws as disciplines or steps toward the creation of a new society made up of new people. His proclamation of the kingdom or heaven did not destroy the Law but fulfilled it, just as the fruit of a tree does not destroy the blossom but fulfills it, that is, brings it to its highest culmination. Jesus climaxed this thought by pointing out the stages through which the law of retaliation had passed, and how it finally came to rest in the universal love of the Father’s own heart.

There were four of these steps, each clearly defined and each progressing toward God’s final purpose. First, there was the way of unlimited retaliation; second, that of limited retaliation; third, that of limited love; and fourth, that of unlimited love. Let us seek to discover the meaning of each of these steps on the road from retalia tion to reconciliation."

"The daddy of this idea is the theory that “might makes right.” If one has the power to inflict more in jury than he receives, he has the right to do so. The main thing is to make sure ahead of time that you have more strength than your enemy. Of course, all the while he’ll be making an effort to have more power than you, but it will be a lively contest, even though there might not be any survivors.

It became evident that the end result of this method would be mutual self-destruction. Therefore, a better way was sought, and the law of limited retaliation arose. This principle declared that if one harmed another, “then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” (See Exodus 21:23-25; also Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21.) According to this law, if one knocks out one of your eyes, you must not knock out both of his, just one. Or if it’s a tooth, you must not retaliate by knocking out all of his teeth, just one. In other words, limit your retaliation to the exact amount of the injury. Get even, but no more. Do unto others as they do unto you. This is the attitude that characterizes some modern business organizations. The books must exactly bal ance, penny for penny, dollar for dollar. It’s also what many people have in mind when they speak of “justice.” It is the most frequent basis of capital punishment."

"Now limited retaliation is a sight better than unlimited retalia tion, especially if you’re on the receiving end, but Jesus felt that kingdom citizens should go further yet. He said, “You’ve also heard the saying, ‘Take an eye for an eye; take a tooth for a tooth.’ But I’m telling you, never respond with evil. Instead, if somebody slaps you on your right cheek, offer him the other one too. And if anybody wants to drag you into court and take away your shirt, let him have your undershirt. If somebody makes you go a mile for him, go two miles. Give to him who asks of you, and don’t turn your back on anyone who wants a loan” (Matthew 5:38-42, Cotton Patch Version). All this adds up to one thing: Let yourself be imposed upon.

The third stage is that of limited love. This method is prescribed in the Old Testament and is referred to by Jesus when he said, “All of you have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy’” (Leviticus 19:18). Some devout Jews might have agreed with Jesus that if your neighbor, i.e., another Jew, knocked out your eye or tooth he might possibly be forgiven, but if he were an enemy, i.e., a Gentile, then he should be given the works. The idea was that there had to be some limit to this love and good-will business, and the proper place to draw the line was with your own race. In this way a man could have two standards of righteousness: one in dealing with his kinsmen and another in deal ing with strangers. This is what happens invariably in a bi-racial society when the minority group is fairly large. It is the bulwark of prejudice and is echoed in such cries as “white supremacy” and “Herrenvolk.” It is also manifested in nationalism, which is merely another form of prejudice, and is back of such slogans as “America for the Americans,” not meaning, naturally, the original Americans, the Indians.

To be sure, love, even though limited to one’s own circle, is far superior to retaliation, whether limited or unlimited. But Jesus didn’t feel that even this brought the law to its final goal, or ful fillment. It was making progress, but would not be complete until it arrived at unlimited love. “But I’m telling you, love the outsiders and pray for those who try to do you in, so that you might be sons of your spiritual Father. For he lets his sun rise on both sinners and saints, and he sends rain on both good people and bad. Listen here, if you love only those who love you, what is your advantage?

Don't even scalawags do that much? And if you speak to no one hut your friends, how are you any different? Do not the non-Christians do as much? Now you, you all must be mature, as your spiritual Father is mature” (Matthew 5:44-48, Cotton Pate!:

Here Jesus is simply saying that, for kingdom citizens, love must be the basis of all relationships and that it must be applied uni versally, both to one’s race and nation and to those of other races and nations. There must be no double-dealing, no two-facedness, no partiality. Hate has the same effect upon the personality whether its object is friend or foe. Spiritual traffic cannot be halted at the artificial borders of caste or nation.

Some people rise up to say that this just isn’t practical. It might be all right to turn the other cheek to a little baby enemy that can’t hit very hard anyway, but it just won’t work with a big, bad, grown-up enemy who might knock the daylights out of you. Force is the only language some people can understand (and the only language some people can speak!), so you might as well be realistic about the matter. Suppose you try to be nice to everybody and give to those who ask of you and lend to those who borrow and let the guy who takes the shirt off your back have your undershirt, too, and then they take advantage of you. With human nature being what it is, can you go in for this until everybody is willing to live that way?

Then there are people who say that this attitude is very practical and will work if given a chance. They believe that even in the most cruel person there’s a tender spot which will respond to a con tinuous bombardment of love and good will.
Citing many examples from history, they can present a strong case for the effectiveness of non-retaliation and active love. Many of them are willing to back up their belief in this idea with their lives, which within itself is a strong argument.

The truth might be that in its initial stages unlimited love is very impractical. Folks who are determined enough to hold on to it usually wind up on a cross, like Jesus. Their goods get plundered and they get slandered. Persecution is their lot. Surely nobody would be inclined to call this practical. Yet in its final stages, un limited love seems to be the only thing that can possibly make any sense. Crucifixions have a way of being followed by resurrections. The end of love seems to be its beginning. Only lie who is foolish enough to lose his life finds it. It’s the grain of wheat which falls into the ground and dies that lives.

But Jesus didn’t tell his followers to love their enemies because love would or would not work. The idea probably never occurred to him to raise the question of whether or not it was practical. He told them that they should do it “that they might be Sons of their spiritual Father.” It was quite evident from the sunshine and rain that the Father didn’t limit his love to those who loved him and obeyed him, and it was to be expected that the Son should partake of the Father’s nature. This course of conduct would flow as nat urally from them as it would from him. Being what he is, God can’t help loving all men, regardless of what they are. Even so with God’s sons. Their nature is not determined by the reaction of their enemies, but by their relationship to the Father. So in a way, Chris tians are at the complete mercy of their enemies, since by virtue of their complete surrender to the divine will they no longer have the freedom to cease being what they are. Bound by this higher loyalty, the argument of practicality is irrelevant to them. They do not for the sake of convenience set aside their nature, any more than a minnow transforms itself into a bird when in danger of being swallowed by a bass.

Of course, one does not have to be a son of God. It is purely a voluntary matter, though the choice is the difference between life and death. Yet if one does choose to become a son, then one of the conditions is that you “love the outsiders and pray for those who try to do you in.” Hate is a denial of sonship, because the Father, not having it in his own nature, never transmits it to his offspring. Or if one confines his love to his own circle, he identifies himself not with God, who loves universally, but with the racketeers and pagans, who limit their love to those who love them."

"This is perfect," but that this was the completion of that phase of his ministry. It had come to its desired end. Paul also uses the word in I Corinthians 13:9-10. “For we know by parts and we prophesy by parts, but when that which is complete comes it supersedes that which is partial.” Love, being whole, takes precedence over knowl edge and prophecy, which are incomplete. Paul likens it to reach ing maturity. Love is the adult stage. Without it, people “talk like a baby, think like a baby, act like a baby.” Love is that which makes a man “outgrow childish things” and become mature.

This is almost exactly what Jesus means when he says, “Now you, you all must be mature, as your spiritual Father is mature.” To talk about unlimited retaliation is babyish; to speak of limited retaliation is childish; to advocate limited love is adolescent; to practice unlimited love is evidence of maturity. It is the Father’s desire that his sons become adults like himself.

To be perfect, then, really means to quit acting like a child and to grow up. Is this an impossible command or an unreasonable request for Jesus to make of his followers?"

"Without this love, Paul says, it’s like looking at your brother through a trick mirror (“through a glass, darkly”). He appears dis torted and misshapen and maybe inhuman. But with this love, you see him face to face as he really is. Your knowledge of him is no longer in part, but full. You’ll understand him as the Father and the fellowship understand you."

Is There Anything the Individual Can Still Do? Franz Jagerstatter

Bio: An Austrian peasant, Franz J├Ągerst├Ątter refused to serve in the Nazi army following Germany’s invasion of Austria. His courageous and singular refusal was based in a deeply pietistic Catholicism. His story, and his reflections, are a moving testimony to the moral responsibility of the individual as opposed to the obligations of the state. The excerpt that fol lows is from a letter written during his imprisonment.


"I believe that should have begun a hundred or even more years ago. But as long as we live in this world, I believe it is never too late to save ourselves and perhaps some other soul for Christ. One really has no cause to be astonished that there are those who can no longer find their way in the great confusion of our day. People we think we can trust, who ought to be leading the way and setting a good example, are running along with the crowd. No one gives enlightenment, whether in word or in writing. Or, to be more exact, it may not be given. And the thoughtless race goes on, always closer to eternity. As long as conditions are still half-good, we don’t see things quite right, or that we could or should do otherwise."

"I realize, too, that today many words would accomplish little more than make one highly eligible for prison. Yet, in spite of this, it is not good if our spiritual leaders remain silent year after year. By “words” I mean, of course, instruction; but example gives direction. Do we no longer want to see Christians who are able to take a stand in the darkness around us in deliberate clarity, calmness, and confidence—who, in the midst of tension, gloom, selfishness, and hate, stand fast in perfect peace and cheerfulness— who are not like the floating reed which is driven here and there by every breeze—who do not merely watch to see what their friends will do but, instead, ask themselves, “What does our faith teach us about this?” or “Can my conscience bear this so easily that I will never have to repent?”

If road signs were ever stuck so loosely in the earth that every wind could break them off or blow them about, would anyone who did not know the road be able to find his way? And how much worse it is if those to whom one turns for information refuse to give him an answer or, at most, give him the wrong direction just to be rid of him as quickly as possible!"

Address to the Congres de la Paix, Victor Hugo

Bio: Victor Hugo, the great French poet, dramatist and novelist, was active in many of the international peace conferences that were held in the 1840’s. His great novel, Les Miserables, contains within it many of the concepts that have been essential to a deep understanding of non-violence. The following selection * is a speech he delivered in Paris in 1851.


" Gentlemen, if someone four centuries ago, at a time when war raged from parish to parish, from town to town, from province to province—if someone had said to Lorraine, to Picardy, to Normandy, to Brittany, to Auvergne, to Provence, to Dauphine, to Burgundy, “A day will come when you will no longer wage war, when you will no longer raise men of arms against each other, when it will no longer be said that Normans have attacked the men of Picardy, and the men of Lorraine have driven back those of Burgundy; that you will still have differences to settle, interests to discuss, certainly disputes to solve, but do you know what you will have in place of men on foot and horseback, in place of guns, falconets, spears, pikes, and swords? You will have a small box made of wood, which you will call a ballot box. And do you know what this box will bring forth? An assembly, an assembly in which you will all feel you live, an assembly which will be like your own soul, a supreme and popular council which will decide, judge, and solve everything in law, which will cause the sword to fall from every hand and justice to rise in every heart. And this event will say to you, ‘There ends your right, here begins your duty. Lay down your arms! Live in peace!’ On that day you will be conscious of a common thought, common interests, and a common destiny. You will clasp each other’s hands and you will acknowledge that you are sons of the same blood and the same race. On that day you will no longer be hostile tribes, but a nation. You will no longer be Burgundy, Normandy, Brittany, Provence, you will be France. On that day your name will no longer be war, but civilization.” "

"Henceforth the goal of great politics, of true politics, is this:
the recognition of all the nationalities, the restoration of the historical unity of nations and the uniting of the latter to civilization by peace, the relentless enlargement of the civilized group, the setting of an example to the still-savage nations; in short, and this recapitulates all I have said, the assurance that justice will have the last word, spoken in the past by might."

Letter to a Minister of State, Hermann Hesse

Bio: A German novelist and poet, Hermann Hesse was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946. He left Germany during World War I, to protest the violence that was rampant in that country, and became a citizen of Switzerland. The letter below, written in 1917 to a minister of state, challenges him to end the dilemma of war.


"Beethoven’s music and the words of the Bible said exactly the same to me. It was water from one Source, the only Source from which good comes to man. And suddenly I felt that your speech, Mr. Minister, and the speeches of your governing colleagues, now and then do not stem from this Source; they lack that which makes words valuable and meaningful. Your words lack love; they lack humanity.

Your speech shows a deep feeling of concern and responsibility for your people, for the army of your people, for the honor of your people. But it does not show a feeling for mankind. It means, in brief, a few ten thousand new human sacrifices.
You may possibly call my memories of Beethoven a sentimentality. The words of Christ and of the Bible you will, at least in public, regard with certain reverence.

But if you believe in only one of the ideals for which you are fighting this war—be it freedom of countries or of the seas, be it the political progress or the rights of the small nations—if you believe in only one of these ideals, in one of these non-egotistical thoughts in your soul—then, while reading your speech, you must recognize that it has not served this ideal. It has not served any ideal at all. It is not an expression and result of a belief, of a feeling, of a humane need."

"To conceal a great dilemma for the time being, for yourself and your people, to postpone great and important decisions (which a! ways demand sacrifices)—that’s why you gave your speech, and that’s why the other ruling parties give theirs. It’s understandable. It is easier for a revolutionary or for a writer than it is for a responsible statesman to recognize the human in a world situation and to draw conclusions from it. It is easier for one of us because we are not responsible for the tremendous depression which grips a people when it realizes that it has not reached its war aim, and it may possibly have sacrificed hundreds of thousands of people and milliards of “values.” "

"The moment in which you would do it could become extremely important for the world. Possibly you would find inner freedom. It could be that your eyes and ears would suddenly be opened. Your eyes and ears, Mr. Minister, have been trained for years to see theoretical goals instead of reality; they are—true, it was necessary!
—long since used to not seeing a great many of the things of reality, to overlook them, to deny them to yourself.

You know what I mean? Yes, you know. But the voice of a great poet, the voice of the Bible, the eternally clear voice of humanity that speaks to you from this art, maybe it will make you for a moment really see and hear. Ah, what you would see and hear! Nothing any more of a dearth of work and the prices of coal. Nothing any more of tonnage and of pacts, of loans and all the things which have long since become the realities for you. In their place you would see the world, our old patient world, as it lies strewn with corpses and dying, as it is torn and ruined, burnt and defiled. You would see soldiers who lie between the frontiers for days, and how they cannot chase away with their shattered hands the flies from the wounds from which they perish. You would hear the voices of the wounded, the cries of the insane, the clamor and accusations of mothers and fathers, of brides and sisters, the cry of hunger in the people."

"If it were only possible to achieve this! This hour of music, this return to the true reality! I know you would hear the voice of humanity. I know you would lock yourself in and cry. And the next day you would go and do what is your duty to humanity. You would forsake a few millions or milliards of money, you would consider a small loss of prestige, you would blow to the winds the thousands of things (things for which in reality you are still fighting alone), if necessary even your seat of Ministry. For it you would do what humanity is pleading for and hopes for from you in untold anguish and misery—you would be the first among the reigning to condemn this lamentable war. You would be the first among the responsible to express what secretly all are already feeling: that a half year, that a month of war, is costlier than all it can gain in return.

Then, Mr. Minister, we would never forget your name, and your deed would mean more to humanity than the deeds of all who have ever led and won the wars."


Bio: Rabbi Abraham J. Heschel, one of the most significant religious philosophers and interpreters of Judaism, was a professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary. In addition to his scholarly work, he was one of the strongest voices to oppose the war in Vietnam and was one of the founders of Clergy and Laity Concerned. He gave the following speech in March 1938 at a conference of Quaker leaders in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany.


"We have trifled with the name of God. We have taken the ideals in vain. We have called for the Lord. He came. And was ignored. We have preached but eluded Him. We have praised but defied Him. Now we reap the fruits of our failure. Through centuries His voice cried in the wilderness. How skillfully it was trapped and imprisoned in the temples! How often it was drowned or distorted! Now we behold how it gradually withdraws, abandoning one people after another, departing from their souls, despising their wisdom. The taste for the good has all but gone from the earth. Men heap spite upon cruelty, malice upon atrocity.

The horrors of our time fill our souls with reproach and everlasting shame. We have profaned the word of God, and we have given the wealth of our land, the ingenuity of our minds and the dear lives of our youth to tragedy and perdition. There has never been more reason for man to be ashamed than now. Silence hovers mercilessly over many dreadful lands. The day of the Lord is a day without the Lord. Where is God? Why didst Thou not halt the trains loaded with Jews being led to slaughter? It is so hard to rear a child, to nourish and to educate. Why dost Thou make it so easy to kill? Like Moses, we hide our face; for we are afraid to look upon Elohim, upon His power of judgment. Indeed, where were we when men learned to hate in the days of starvation? When raving madmen were sowing wrath in the hearts of the unemployed?

Let modern dictatorship not serve as an alibi for our con science. We have failed to fight for right, for justice, for goodness; as a result we must fight against wrong, against injustice, against evil. We have failed to offer sacrifices on the altar of peace; thus we offered sacrifices on the altar of war."

"Our world seems not unlike a pit of snakes. We did not sink into the pit in 1939, or even in 1933. We had descended into it generations ago, and the snakes have sent their venom into the bloodstream of humanity, gradually paralyzing us, numbing nerve after nerve, dulling our minds, darkening our vision. Good and evil, that were once as real as day and night, have become a blurred mist. In our everyday life we worshiped force, despised compassion, and obeyed no law but our unappeasable appetite. The vision of the sacred has all but died in the soul of man. And when greed, envy and the reckless will to power came to maturity, the serpents cherished in the bosom of our civilization broke out of their dens to fall upon the helpless nations.
The outbreak of war was no surprise. It came as a long-expected sequel to a spiritual disaster. Instilled with the gospel that truth is mere advantage and reverence weakness, people succumbed to the bigger advantage of a lie—”the Jew is our misfortune”—and to the power of arrogance—”tomorrow the whole world shall be ours,” “the peoples’ democracies must depend upon force.” The roar of bombers over Rotterdam, Warsaw, London, was but the echo of thoughts bred for years by individual brains, and later applauded by entire nations. It was through our failure that people started to suspect that science is a device for exploitation, parliaments pulpits for hypocrisy, and religion a pretext for a bad conscience. In the tantalized souls of those who had faith in ideals, suspicion became a dogma and contempt the only solace. Mistaking the abortions of their conscience for intellectual heroism, many thinkers employ clever pens to scold and to scorn the reverence for life, the awe for truth, the loyalty to justice. Man, about to hang himself, discovers it is easier to hang others.

The conscience of the world was destroyed by those who were wont to blame others rather than themselves. Let us remember. We revered the instincts but distrusted the prophets. We labored to perfect engines and let our inner life go to wreck. We ridiculed superstition until we lost our ability to believe. We have helped to extinguish the light our fathers had kindled. We have bartered holiness for convenience, loyalty for success, love for power, wisdom for information, tradition for fashion."

"What was in the minds of our martyred brothers in their last hours? They died with disdain and scorn for a civilization in which the killing of civilians could become a carnival of fun, for a civilization which gave us mastery over the forces of nature but lost control over the forces of our self.

Tanks and planes cannot redeem humanity, nor the discovery of guilt by association nor suspicion. A man with a gun is like a beast without a gun. The killing of snakes will save us for the moment but not forever. The war has outlasted the victory of arms as we failed to conquer the infamy of the soul: the indifference to crime, when committed against others. For evil is indivisible. It is the same in thought and in speech, in private and in social life. The greatest task of our time is to take the souls of men out of the pit. The world has experienced that God is involved. Let us forever remember that the sense for the sacred is as vital to us as the light of the sun. There can be no nature without spirit, no world without the Torah, no brotherhood without a father, no humanity without attachment to God.
God will return to us when we shall be willing to let Him in into our banks and factories, into our Congress and clubs, into our courts and investigating committees, into our homes and theaters. For God is everywhere or nowhere, the Father of all men or no man, concerned about everything or nothing. Only in His presence shall we learn that the glory of man is not in his will to power, but in his power of compassion. Man reflects either the image of His presence or that of a beast.

Soldiers in the horror of battle offer solemn testimony that life is not a hunt for pleasure, but an engagement for service; that there are things more valuable than life; that the world is not a vacuum. Either we make it an altar for God or it is invaded by demons. There can be no neutrality. Either we are ministers of the sacred or slaves of evil. Let the blasphemy of our time not become an eternal scandal. Let future generations not loathe us for having failed to preserve what prophets and saints, martyrs and scholars have created in thousands of years. The apostles of force have shown that they are great in evil. Let us reveal that we can be as great in goodness. We will survive if we shall be as fine and sacrificial in our homes and offices, in our Congress and clubs, as our soldiers are on the fields of battle.

There is a divine dream which the prophets and rabbis have cherished and which fills our prayers, and permeates the acts of true piety. ills the dream of a world, rid of evil by the grace of God as well as by the efforts of man, by his dedication to the task of establishing the kingship of God in the world. God is waiting for us to redeem the world. We should not spend our life hunting for trivial satisfactions while God is waiting constantly and keenly for our effort and devotion.

The Almighty has not created the universe that we may have opportunities to satisfy our greed, envy and ambition. We have not survived that we may waste our years in vulgar vanities. The martyrdom of millions demands that we consecrate ourselves to the fulfillment of God’s dream of salvation. Israel did not accept the Torah of their own free will. When Israel approached Sinai, God lifted up the mountain and held it over their heads, saying: “Either you accept the Torah or be crushed beneath the mountain.”

The mountain of history is over our heads again. Shall we renew the covenant with God?"

[Note from Start L.: This man Rabbi Heschel is proof that Jews are not exterminating Palestine; Fake Jews (Hypocrites), NEVER REAL JEWS, ARE EXTERMINATING PALESTINE. Real Jews, people like Rabbi Heschel ARE GIVING their lives to PREVENT what Fake Jews ARE DOING IN THE NAME OF REAL JEWS. I find the following from Rabbi Heschel to be the most Sacred, humane essay that ever I have read.]

LOVE IN ACTION, Thich Nhat Hanh

Bio: A Vietnamese poet and scholar, Thich Nhat Hanh refuses to be identified with any of the factions in Vietnam, with the exception of the poor and the young. He is one of the major voices urging peace and social reconstruction in Vietnam, as the following poem illustrates. The second selection * deals with the non-violent struggle for peace in Vietnam.


"The nature of the struggle is not a doctrine to be materialized by a program of action; it is communication and love. Thus, its leaders must create and inspire love for the masses in the hearts of their people. They touch the people by altruistic acts born from their own love. When Nhat Chi Mai burned herself because she wanted to be a "torch in the dark night," she moved millions of Vietnamese. The force she engendered was the force of love for non-violent action." [Side note from Start Loving: I always felt more horror than anything at the self immolation of Buddhist monks in Vietnam. Last month in reading Dellinger, and close advisor of King, I learned that such an immolation by a Buddhist Monk was largely responsible for Dr. King coming out against the Vietnam war. It touched Dr. King's heart as nothing else had.]

"We have witnessed tragic and heroic scenes of love: a monk seated calmly before advancing tanks; women and children raising bare hands against clubs and grenades; hunger strikes held in patience and silence. Only love and sacrifice can engender love and sacrifice. This chain reaction is essential to the non-violent struggle. Thich Tri Quang did not make strategy; he fasted 100 days. And everyone who passed by the Duy Tan clinic at that time had to hold his breath.

"The usual way to generate force is to create anger, desire,and fear. But these are dangerous sources of energy because they are blind, whereas the force of love springs from awareness, and does not destroy its own aims. Out of love and the willingness to act, strategies and tactics will be created naturally from the circumstances of the struggle. Thus, the problems of strategy and tactics are of secondary importance. They should be posed, but not at the beginning."

"...Our struggle's purpose... the destruction of fanaticism and inhumanity, which are the real enemies of man."

"At a joint press conference with a Buddhist monk, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King declared, "both the colored people struggling for civil rights in the US and the Buddhist struggling for peace in Vietnam are bound to the cause of peace and social justice, and are determined to sacrifice themselves to achieve their goal."

"Westerners often misunderstand and see self-immolation as and act of violence. To the Vietnamese it is quite the opposite. By accepting extreme suffering, one lights the fires of compassion and awakens the hearts of the people, as Christ did. Among a number of Vietnamese who immolated themselves for peace were Thich Quand Duc, a monk, and Nhat Chi Mai, a yound girl student."

"Another means - the one most often used by Gandhi to communicate with the people - has been fasting. Thousends of Vietnamese, both as individuals and in groups, have fasted to try to end the war. One fasts to pray, to purify one's heart and strengthen the will - or to arouse the silent awareness and compassion of the population. In 1966, Venerable Thich Tri Quang fasted for 100 days, deeply affecting the people of Vietnam.

"There have been other painful sacrifice. In 1963, a girl student named mai Tuuyet An cut off her hand as a warning to the Diem regime, unleashing tremendous emotion among young people. In 1966, ten university students, Nhat Chi Mai among them, pleedged to kill themselves to try to end the war, but the church forbade them. A year later, Nhat Chi Mai burned herself.

"There have been strikes, business licenses returned, resignations of university presidents, deans and professors (40 professors at Hue University), boycotts of classes and refusals to participate in the war. One typically Vietnamese act mentioned earlier has been the carrying of family altars into the streets to oppose tanks, a demonstration of the people's determination to pit the most precious symbols of their traditional values against the instruments of inhumanity and violence.

"Humanist efforts in Vietnam are suppressed by secret police, tear gas, suffocating gas, TNT, grenades, prisons and torture. False nuns and monks infiltrate the Buddhist movement, damaging its prestige and sowing seeds of fear. Extremists are thus encouraged to pervert and destroy the leaders and cadres of non-violent moments. Uncounted numbers of Buddhists and non-Buddhist leaders from all walks of life have been liquidated or sent to prison. In the School of Youth for Social Service, whose only aim is to help the peasants, eight young people have been kidnapped, six killed, eleven seriously wounded. Why? Because they refused to accept American aid or to participate in the war."

"The non-violent struggle in Vietnam goes on - amid vast pain and hardship. The world is just beginning to understand that peace everywhere, as well as the future of Vietnam, is linked to this movement. Its success and its contribution to the humanist revolution throughout the world depends upon your understanding and your help."

Active Nonviolence, Hildegaard Goss-Mayr

Bio: An Austrian by birth, Hildegaard Goss-Mayr and her husband, Jean Goss, have worked extensively in South and Latin America, as well as in Europe, as field secretaries for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. She writes out of deep experience and commitment to the principles of non-violence. The following selection is a talk given at CIDOC in August 1970.


"First of all I should like to present myself and my husband. We work together, and there­fore if I speak of “us,” it is always the two of us.Jean and I have been secretaries of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, which is an ecumenical peace movement, for a number of years. Our work, in particular during the time of the cold war, has been in East-West relations in Europe. We tried to estab­lish a dialogue between Christians and non-Christians at the time when it was still very difficult to get through the “Iron Curtain.” Later on we built up a kind of peace lobby at the Vatican Council and we tried to push the bishops and theologians of the Catholic Church—we are Catholic ourselves—to develop a dynamic theol­ogy of peace. "

"Now I should like to ask you not to take the expression non violence in a negative sense. It is a very negative expression for something which is highly active, aggressive and strong; which is a force. We regret that we have not found a better word to express this type of action. I hope we will not limit ourselves to discuss this term but try to get the sense, the real meaning for which it stands.
There are in man three possibilities to react against injustice:

1. Once you have become aware of an injustice you can remain passive. This is the first and I think the most common attitude. Probably each one of us has had this experience in his own life. We have accepted passively many injustices, many things that we considered wrong. This is the most negative attitude that man can take.

2. The second is the traditional way of reacting against injustice, the way that has been taken in history in general, that is, to react against injustice, aggression and other forms of evil with the same means. We could say to oppose the institutional forms of violence with counter-violence in the effort to overcome existing injustices. This means to resort to the same means with which the established forces are operating. By doing this, we remain, however, within the system, that is to say, we accept to remain within the vicious circle of violence and counter-violence which necessarily creates new forms of violence, even if we succeed to overcome certain injustices through the application of violence. It must be made very clear that the means are linked to the aim. That is to say, the use of violence in the effort to overcome injustice necessarily creates new forms of suppression and exploitation. Acting in this way one remains within the vicious circle of arms’ trade, money speculation, verbal promises etc., and the mass of the people continue to suffer exploitation and injustice. There has been, perhaps more in our time than before, more serious research concerning a new way of fighting against injustice by using means that do not include hatred, violence, etc.

3. Perhaps this third way of reacting against an injustice could be explained through a very simple example. I have two children. If, for instance, my boy, who is ten and by nature violent, has done something wrong and if I use the same aggressive means as he does, we shall just hurt each other. He does not improve and I must tell myself; “Well, you have not done anything to overcome the evil. On the contrary. if one really wanted to solve the problem a teacher or parent would explain to the young person why his way of acting is wrong and help him to direct his forces toward positive tasks. That is to say, you dialogue, you begin to use certain methods and techniques in order to solve the conflict. In this process neither of us is diminished; on the contrary, he advances and I begin to understand him better and to learn about what he has to contribute. This force is the force of intelligence but also the force of truth, of love and justice that has been brought into play in this effort of solving a problem. This is the type of strength which is at the core of non-violent action.

There are always two aspects in this form of action which are in separable. If they are separated, we can no longer speak of an authentic non-violent action. These two aspects are: (1) a specific view of man, a certain attitude toward men and society, and (2) certain techniques and methods that correspond to this attitude and that incarnate this force in a given conflict. This technique and this view go together and cannot be separated."

"Those who work with this power of non-violence believe that every man has a conscience. This conscience may be uneducated, underdeveloped; it may, by tradition, be deformed; but it is there and if work is done, this conscience can be awakened, it can be challenged, it can be reached. I think this is truly an aspect of hope; if we cannot believe anymore that man is man, in this sense, in the final analysis, there is then no other way than to use the old traditional forms of violence in trying to solve our problems. This implies that man must never be identified with evil. As long as we identify him with evil we sacrifice him to an ideology. On the contrary the task of the non-violent action is to fight the injustice and to liberate men, those who suffer the injustice as well as those who are responsible for it. This therefore is a very constructive, positive and active form of living.

There are different ways of reaching this view. It may be through a humanistic attitude, it may be through religion, Buddhism, Hinduism or Christianity. Personally I believe that the essential point of the Christian faith is precisely this aspect. In this lies the revolutionary aspect of our faith. We are challenged, we are asked to reply in a radically new way to evil. It is our specific task to introduce this new way of fighting injustice into the historical situation that we are experiencing. For Christ has shown us a new view of man. Going beyond the Old Testament attitude of considering as one’s “neighbors” only those of one’s own clan, that is to say, the Jewish people, he teaches that every human being without exception, even the enemy, is in a very realistic sense our neighbor. This implies that we react to those who stand against us in a radically new way, a way that refuses all means that diminish, violate or destroy them, but which, on the contrary, tries to overcome the evil that separates us. Christ has not only taught this, he has lived it and furthermore has shown some techniques of how to live that force in a specific historical situation. He attacked the status quo of his time, those who betrayed men and were the privileged. He attacked the established Church of his time. He attacked the conscience of its representatives throughout the three years of his public life so strongly that they reacted in the traditional way with violence against him and crucified him. He was not crucified because he did nothing, but exactly because he attacked the injustice of his time in a very clear and precise way and because he spoke the truth. But he always respected men. Neither did he join the established groups of his time nor the guerrilla who operated in Israel, and who wanted to liberate the country from the Roman occupation. He showed a new way of fighting evil and he was willing to accept the consequences of his action.This is something we must bear in mind: The moment we attack an injustice, we must be prepared and willing to accept the sacrifices and the suffering that necessarily will result from our attack. For those whose conscience is attacked will as a first reaction use violence against us. This may be the cross for some of those engaged in a non-violent action."

"I think it has already become clear that this kind of action has nothing to do with a sentimental form of love or of being nice. It is a strategy, it is a way to act, it is a struggle that has to be carried on to the last consequences. If it remains only a single, sporadic action it will not succeed. This implies that non-violent workers have to undergo training—just as a soldier is trained for violent combat."

"I should like to add that it is significant that these methods, so far, have mainly been used by the poor; I think non-violence is essentially an arm of the poor, a force of liberation for them. Not only do they have no access to the arms of the rich, they often passively accept injustice because they are unaware of the power of resistance that lies within them because they are human beings. It is an essential task to make them aware of this force and train them to apply it. Most of the non-violent actions that have been realized in Latin America so far have been carried out by the very poor people, by industrial workers and campcsinos, on the plantations or in the barrios of the cities."

"A Few Basic Principles of Non-Violent Strategy

1. Analysis. One has to be aware of the injustice in order to be able to fight it. You have to analyze very well the situation, not only its local aspect but the whole context in which it occurs; for instance, if you work for economic and social justice in Latin America, you must make the complete analysis and see how it is linked to the economic and military policy of the rich countries.
2. Form action groups and train leadership. If there is no local leadership, an action will not succeed; I think so far this has been one of the weak points in non-violent action.
3. Then select a limited and well-defined first project. It must be at the level where the people with whom you work can understand it and where they are capable to solve it with their small forces. It is very important, in particular if you work with poor people for whom it may be the first time that they act, that this action makes them aware of their own strength. I remember working in MedellIn, Colombia, with a group in a barrio. There were about 5,000 people who had occupied land on a steep hill above the city. They had neither water nor electricity, canalization or schools. Many were unemployed. A priest who came to live with them developed leader ship and tried to stimulate initiatives among the people to change their dismal conditions. With his help a seminar on non-violent action was organized in which did participate not only representatives of the barrio but also students, teachers, social workers, intellectuals, priests, etc. It was for them, who knew poverty only from statistics, a challenging experience to live in the mud of the barrio. It helped to bridge the gap between the poor and the educated and to make them understand the necessity of working together for justice for all. The objective was, after having trans mitted the basic facts about non-violence and its methods of action, and after having analyzed their situation, to make the poor people themselves decide upon their first project and to outline their plan of action. They decided that their most urgent problem was water:they learned how to negotiate, how to bring their problem before the mind of the responsible people who live far from the reality of the poor—how to build up their forces with the help of conscious and educated people and to win the support of a growirig section of the population. They learned to use their imagination and to try out their human, moral and political power in this first project. They did win and helped themselves to build their water pipes. From there they went on to electricity, schooling, labor, etc. They had experienced the power of man to work for change.
4. Expansion to the international level. Then, once you act against one injustice, you see how it is linked to others, nationally and internationally. Therefore in the future the strategy must be to join actions in Africa, Asia or Latin America where people are working, for instance for land reform or where they are suffering particularly from the exploitation by certain international companies or from certain economic policies of the industrialized countries, with efforts in Europe and in the United States which are directed at changing these injustices. This means to put pressure on our political, economic and cultural groups, and upon our Churches in order to finally transform this system of exploitation. We are facing a task that concerns humanity as such. It is impossible for the developing countries to bring about the necessary changes unless in the rich countries as well the change of our economic, political and military system is obtained."