Peace and Justice


Peace and Justice

"If you see injustice and say nothing, you have taken the side of the oppressor." --South Aftican Archbishop Desmund Tutu.

"When I feed the hungry, they call me a saint, but when I ask why people should be hungry, they call me a communist." --Bolivian Archbishop Dom Helder Camara

"The prophet courageously challenges oppressive social structures of which the church may be an integral part. The prophet is the end result of the best in the tradition and spirituality of the church - which soon, sadly, drives him or her out." -- J. Milton Yinger, 1946

"You Christians have vested interests in unjust structures, which create victims, to whom you then can pour out your hearts in charity." --Karl Marx

"A country which has dangled the sword of nuclear holocaust over the world for half a century and claims that someone else invented terrorism is a country out of touch with reality." --John K. Stoner, 2001

"Beginning with Constantine, Christianity triumphed at the level of the state and soon began to cloak with it authority persecutions similar to those in which the early Christians were victims. Like so many previous religions, ideological, and political enterprises, Christianity suffered persecution while it was weak and became the persecutor as soon as it gained strength." --Rene Girard (The Scapegoat)

"Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security" --Benjamin Franklin

"Fascism shouldrightly be called corporatism as it is a merger of state and corporate power" --Benito Mussolini

"The greatest attraction of patriotism is to fulfill our worst wishes." --Aldous Huxley [source unknown]

"All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working hours or shorter rations. And even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because, being without general ideas, they could only focus it on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice." --George Orwell 1984

"War represents a vice that mankind would like to get rid of but which it cannot do without. Man is like an alcoholic whoknows that drink will destroy him but who always has a reason for drinking. So with war." --Thomas Merton

"Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore [individualcitizens] have the duty to violate domestic laws to preventcrimes against peace and humanity from occurring" -- Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal, 1950

"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day." --Theodore Roosevelt, on April 19, 1906

"It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy abomber"WILPF

"The test of the sincerity of one's prayer is the willingness to labor on its behalf" --St. John Chrysostom

"We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we do about peacemore about killing than we do about living"Omar Bradley

"Military power is as corrupting to the man who possesses it as it is pitiless to its victims. Violence is just as devastating to the soul of the perpetrator as it is to the body and souls of those who are victims of it" --AFSC

"Where there is mercy, there is the Christ. And where there is cruelty, there is the satanic" --Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

"One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better" --Daniel Berrigan

"War is the greatest plague that can afflict humanity; it destroys religion, it destroys states, it destroys families. Any scourge is preferable to it" --Martin Luther

"It may well be that the greatest tragedy of this period of social change is not the glaring noisiness of the so-called bad people, but the silence of the so-called good people" --Martin Luther King

"Nonviolence is the inherent quality of women. For ages men have trained in violence. In order for them to become nonviolent they have to cultivate the qualities of women. Ever since I have taken to nonviolence, I have become more and more of a woman" --Gandhi

"In nonviolence, the masses have a weapon that enables a child, a woman, or even a decrepit old man to resist the mightiest government successfully. If your spirit is strong, mere lack of physical strength ceases to be a handicap" --Gandhi

"No one has a right to sit down and feel helpless, there's too much to do." -- Dorothy Day  

"There must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass 1857

"I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to thefuture." --Frederick Douglass, 1852  

"As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems, maintaining my convictions that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But, they asked, and rightly so, what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their question hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against violence on the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today - our own government." -- Martin Luther King, Jr. NYC April 4, 1967

"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate . . . Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Love is the most durable power in the world. Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend." --Martin Luther King, Jr.

"He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice...Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance - how violently I hate all this; how despicable and ignoble war is...I would rather be torn to shreds than be part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder." --Albert Einstein

"Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on Star Wars will take money away from education, programs for women and children, and health care. There is a direct link between promoting weapons for space and the destabilization of our communities. People must connect these struggles." --Bruce Gagnon

"The soulless corporate exploiters and militarists, each poised to become our future oppressors, somehow always succeed in staying on the gravy train no matter which cards fate deals them. It seems like it would make sense to stop voting for, stop paying for and stop supporting any system or group that could turn out to be our future executioners." --Gary Kohls

"One cannot level one's moral lance at every evil in the universe. There are just too many of them. But you can do something, and the difference between doing something and doing nothing is everything." --Daniel Berrigan

"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today." --John F. Kennedy

"Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder.... the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish their corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace... They are continually talking about their patriotic duty. It is not their duty but your patriotic duty that they are concerned about. There is a decided difference. Their patriotic duty never takes them to the firing line or chucks them into the trenches." --Eugene V. Debs

"Conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism... Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all others." --Emma Goldman

"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral." -- Paulo Friere

"The most profoundly creative way to overcome enemies is to make them our friends. But this involves a series of painful acts. A constant decision never to achieve our goals by destroying or humiliating others." -- Dom Paulo Cardinal Arns

"The absence of the gospel Jesus preached in the gospel the church has preached has woefully impoverished the church's sense of missional identity." --Missional  Church, ed. by Darrel L. Guder, 1998

Pacifist Statements of the Early Church
"You have heard it said of old, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, that you resist not evil with evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." --Mt 5:38-42

"You have heard it said of old, love your neighbor, but hate your enemy. But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you; that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven; for he makes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love them that love you, what reward have you? Do not even the publicans do the same? Therefore be compassionate even as your heavenly Father is compassionate." --MT 5:43-48

"Put up the your sword into its place: for all they that take up the sword shall perish by the sword." --Mt 26:52

"A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, you shall also love one another." --John 13:34

"Do not return evil for evil. Avenge not yourselves, but rather give way to wrath; for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." --Romans 12:17-21

"Whoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." --I John 3:15

"If anyone says, I love God, but hates the brothers or sisters, he is a liar...Whoever loves God must also love the brothers and sisters." --I John 4:20, 21

"See that none render evil for evil to any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men." --I Thessalonians 5:15

"I am a soldier of Christ; it is not lawful for me to fight." --Saint Martin of Tours

"I am a Christian and cannot fight." Maximilian

"Christians no longer take up the sword against nation, not do we learn war any more, having become children of peace, for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader." --Origen

"It can never be lawful for a righteous man to go to war, since his warfare is in righteousness itself; nor to accuse anyone of a capital charge, since it makes no difference whether you put a man to death by word or by sword, since it is the act of putting to death which is prohibited. It is always unlawful to put a man to death." --Lacantius

"When Christ disarmed Peter in the garden, he disarmed all Christians." --Tertullian

"The prophet courageously challenges oppressive social structures of which the church may be an integral part. The prophet is the end result of the best in the tradition and spirituality of the church - which soon, sadly, drives him or her out." -- J. Milton Yinger, 1946

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