Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day 2006: Children of God

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. ~ Matthew 5:9

A foible that has astonished me about Christian fundamentalists is the uproar that they create about public posting of the Decalogue—the Ten Commandments. I, along with other Mainline Christians whom I know, wonder why fundamentalists are not as zealous about words that are specifically Christian, such as The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11). However, this Memorial Day 2006 post is not about that issue; it is about one of the Beatitudes, the seventh: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

In the convoluted concepts of contemporary conservatives, the words peace and peacemaking are given corrupt connotations. I have had more than one conservative tell me that peacemakers are “anti-military” and “undermine our soldiers.” Nothing could be further from the truth. I suggest that those whose vocation is formulating peace are much more pro-soldier than the legislative hawks who vote to make war. As Winston Churchill said:

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.

Perhaps more to my point today are the words of general and President Dwight D. Eisenhower:

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.

It has been my experience that, for the most part, those who glorify war have seldom been in battle. I suggest that the same is true of those who vilify peacemakers by stating that those who work for peace somehow hurt soldiers. If the same objective can be obtained using words, compassion, understanding, negotiation, and love as is obtained using bullets and bombs, then no soldier would die in battle, no soldier would be wounded and maimed. And so I ask, who loves the soldier more? The warmonger who sends the warrior into the valley of the death and devastation, or the peacemaker who seeks that the soldier may do his or her duty without risking life and limb?

I was going end this Memorial Day post with the lyrics of two songs by Eric Bogle, The Band Played Waltzing Matilda and No Man’s Land. However, I realize that I have already posted those lyrics to this blog. If you wish, you may find them in my November 11, 2005 post.

My alternative ending of this post is the words of an Israeli general, Moshe Dayan, which are to me a guide for peacemaking:

If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.


  1. Very beautiful tribute, every single word of it.

  2. I concur & 2nd Squirl's words.

  3. I think you said it much better than any of our current politicians is ever likely to.

  4. That brought tears to my eyes. This is just one post of many that show you are a kind and loving soul.
    I clicked on the Beatitudes link- i'm so glad I did. I need to print that out and put it where I can see it everyday.

    Right now, i'm in a 'give up', nothing matters place. I dont like this place at all.

    Have you heard of Kathy Tricolli? There is one song she has based on this: Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    She has many, many more awesome songs. One of my favorites is one she does based on Psalm 23.

    If you havent heard of her, or dont have any of her CD's, shoot me an email with your address and i'll burn some for you and mail them out.

  5. I hear and appreciate the words of Moshe Dayan

  6. I agree. Very beautifully written. Touches the heart!

  7. Wow, and very true . . . thanks for writing this Nick . . . it is from your heart. My heart agrees with every word. Thanks!

  8. I couldn't find the exact quote, but Dorothy Day said something like, "Our manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount." I think we would have liked her.