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.

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One thought on “Praying for Peace While Waging War

  1. I respectfully dissent. Consider the possibility that the US military is shedding its blood to liberate and fight for freedom of oppressed people; to prevent genocide / ethnic cleansing; and to put down terrorists who have no problem slaughtering the innocent. In fact, it would not surprise me if there is no other nation that has sacrificed more of its blood and treasure to fight for the freedom of others than the US. It does not trouble me that the US military spending is more than China & Russia given how China and Russia oppress their people and imprison political dissidents, refuse economic liberty to their people, and in Russia’s case, use their military to conquer and seize new territory for themselves.

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