The Common Good
March 2005

Speaking Truth To Power

by Douglass Bakke | March 2005

I applaud Larry Rasmussen'

I applaud Larry Rasmussen’s efforts to find the middle ground between the positions of just war theory and Christian pacifism in the form of "just peacemaking" ("In the Face of War," January 2005). I, however, take exception to his conclusions in two regards. First, the non-believing world clearly sees the hypocrisy of a religion that claims to follow the Prince of Peace but will all too readily serve the god of war if its position of power and privilege is in any way threatened (even if it is supposedly as a last resort). Just war theory has in practice been little more than a religious apology for the excesses of empire. Until the church universal (the body of Christ on earth) renounces the use of war, our collective voice will only be "a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."

Second, we Quakers discovered long ago effective public forms for our evangelical practices, in ways as diverse as abolition of slavery to equality of women. Our centuries of living witness to the message of Jesus to love our enemies and our neighbors as ourselves has given us a voice in far greater proportion to our numbers.

Douglas Bakke
Klamath Falls, Oregon

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