Praying for Peace While Waging War

Today is Memorial Day, a day of remembrance for those who have died in military service.  It is also a day on which we pray for peace, for an end to all armed conflict.

My friends at ReligiousLeftLaw ask an uncomfortable question: “is it possible to honestly pray for peace while our country is far and away number one in the world in waging war, military presence, military spending and the sale of weapons around the world?”  The statistics they cite are sobering and the post is worth reading in its entirety.

I do not minimize the value of praying for peace.  I think we should pray and pray hard.

But perhaps we also need to do more – to lift our voices as people of peace to criticize the actions of our government in allowing the United States to become (in Martin Luther King’s words in 1967) “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”

I also do not minimizing the sacrifice and heroism of so many members of the United States armed forces.  But we ought to be troubled by the fact that “US military spending is about the same as the total of military spending by the next eight largest countries combined, that is more than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, UK, India and Germany combined” and that more than half of our national discretionary spending goes to the US military.

Pray for peace; I do so every day.  But let’s also think about our government’s policies and the extent to which they do or don’t make peace a realistic possibility.