Getting ready to head off to the peace march in Washington, D.C., tomorrow. A small group of people from this congregation are heading down to witness for peace.
When I was trying to decide whether or not to go down, I called my friend Elizabeth, who lives in DC. I asked her if this peace march was worth going to — Elizabeth has connections with the world of political activism, and since I can’t afford to head down to Washington every five minutes, I’m cautious about which actions of public witness I’ll get involved in. It’s not like I have a lot of money to throw around, and of course I could give that money to a charitable organization.
I called her, explained that I was thinking of heading down, and asked, “So is it worth my while to go?”
“I’m going,” said Elizabeth decisively. “It may not be all that well organized. But this war has gone on too long, and we’ve got to do something.”
As she often does, she helped me clarify my thoughts. From a religious point of view, I am willing to say there is a possibility of a just war, but there is no possibility any longer that this is a just war. We are sending our servcemen and servicewomen into risk of serious bodily harm, no doubt about it. But when a war can no longer be considered just, we are also sending them into risk of serious moral harm, causing them to make impossible moral choices. For they cannot say that at least their actions are in service of a just war.
If the war in Iraq can no longer be considered a just war, the implications for our country are serious. To use traditional language, even a just war requires repentance and penance by religious persons — but war that is neutral in terms of justice or even unjust will require even more repentance and penance. At this point, much of this country is not even ready to engage in repentance and penance for a just war, let alone a war that cannot be considered just. I am beginning to think of my upcoming trip to Washington in terms of a pilgrimage and a beginning act of repentance. Or if you prefer less tradititional religious language, I might say that this is a first step towards the healing of the web of relationships that has been damaged by the war.
Yikes. Who knew I felt so strongly about all this?
In any case, don’t know if I will be able to post to this blog while I’m in Washington, but I should be able to post again no later than Monday.