Thursday, April 24, 2008

Blessed Are the Peacemakers—Unless…

…they speak with our enemies.

I am outraged! Not by former President Carter’s meeting with Hamas, but by the reaction of the United States’ politicians and press. What is it about our nation that prefers military force and threats to diplomacy and negotiation? Why are peacemakers uniformly vilified in the United States? Why do we prefer war to peace?

When I received the above political cartoon in my email this morning, we clicked to the Daryl Cagle’s site that publishes U.S. political cartoons—HERE, if you want to look—and reviewed what the cartoonists drew about the Carter/Hamas dialogue. Every cartoon without exception maligned both Jimmy Carter and Hamas.

Yes, Hamas is a terrorist organization whose actions infuriate and sadden me. Yet, I have learned from much painful experience that no one—no individual, no people, no nation—ever succeeds by using violence. Hamas will fail unless it modifies its objective to destroy Israel; Israel will fail using an “eye for an eye” policy of violence against the Palestinian people. Negotiation and peacemaking can succeed!

I thank President Carter for his efforts at peacemaking. And I humbly add my blessings to God’s blessings to this fine gentleman—I emphasize the word “gentle.”

I thank God that peacemakers do exist, even as the war mongers persist:

There will be oil to heal the wounds, and there will be olive branches to wave when peace arrives. ~ Palestinian pastor Mitri Raheb

In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful,
Praise be to God, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds,
The Mercy-giving, the Merciful. . . .
O Lord, Lead us from hate to love and from violence to peace,
from fear to trust and from despair to hope. Enable us
to eliminate poverty, prejudice and oppression
so that peace may prevail with righteousness and justice. . . . Amen

~ Dawud Ahmad Assad, Council of Mosques, USA, New York, NY

O God Source of Life, Creator of Peace. . .
Help Your children, anguished and confused,
To understand the futility of hatred and violence
And grant them the ability to stretch across
Political, religious and national boundaries

So they may confront horror and fear
By continuing together
In the search for justice, peace and truth. . . .
With every fiber of our being
We beg You, O God,
To help us not to fail nor falter. Amen

~ Rabbi H. Rolando Matalon,

This we know:
Fear can yield to faith, hope can reignite
Rage can cease, hatred can be melted. . . .
Merciful One, illumine the sight of your children
To see You in each other's eyes.
Merciful One, spread the canopy of your peace over us,
Over Israel, over Ishmael, over all who dwell on earth. Amen

~Rabbi Sheila Weinberg, Jewish Community of Amherst, Amherst, MA

American Friends Service Committee


  1. I think you should send this in to all of the media faces who are vilifying Carter. They might be surprised to know that not every red-blooded American agrees with them!

    Oh, and well said!

  2. I agree with Courtney.

  3. here! here!! and Amen to that! I've always admired Jimmy Carter's negotiating abilities.....

  4. You wrote very well thoughts that have been in my mind. Thank you also for the song The Great Mandela. I haven't heard it in many years.

  5. Nick,this is what we really need people trying to bring peace to the world and that being attacked by their own countrymen.It sounds like that there are way to many people that really donot want to see peace in the world and that they thrive in conflict.Just my opion mind you.I had to put a relitive into the spam filter due to what they are sending me.
    some of the stuff is anti-christian.It borders on prejudice and I for one will not stand for nor do I want that stuff sent to me,I lost a friend dur to forwarding some of their stuff because I bought into it.when my friend said that I had hurt them with what I forwarded and could not make amends for my stupidity.I lost a friend and I decided that I donot want to even read the garbadge that was being sent.

  6. I admire Jimmy Carter. I loathe George Bush.

  7. great post, nick, and i really wish i'd been at one of the churches you pastored!!

  8. This is a very saintly blog, Mr. Sometimes Saintly. I am happy to have found you.

  9. I'm with you 1000 per cent yes 1000 Always controversy that what the media feeds on- and we have yet to pin these so called candidates to the wall on anything - tip toeing around their issues. I'm sick of it !!!!(insert scream here)

  10. Looks like I'm one of the crowd here. Glad I'm not the only who feels that way. Jimmy Carter was the most spiritual man in the White House during my lifetime. And he was treated like dirt for it by the same ones who use the cross to beat others.