‘Justpeace’ Movement Urges Nonviolent Resistance to ISIS
While President Obama dithers about whether to “destroy” ISIS or “manage” them, the Christian left is urging him to engage the butchers in nonviolent, “community-level peace and reconciliation processes.”
The Catholic, Washington-based Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns recently posted a letter addressed to President Obama and other White House officials at the end of August. Signed by 53 national religious groups (including Maryknoll), academics, and ministers, the letter urged the White House to avoid warfare in Iraq by resorting to “a broader set of smart, effective nonviolent practices to engage hostile conflicts.” The strategies are part of “a fresh way to view and analyze conflicts” offered by an emerging ecumenical paradigm called “justpeace” (a cutesy combination of justice and peace). This approach was initiated by the Faith Forum for Middle East Policy, a “network of Christian denominations and organizations working for a just peace in the Middle East.”
The signers expressed their “deep concern” not so much over “the dire plight of Iraqi civilians” being slaughtered by ISIS as “the recent escalation of U.S. military action” in response. “U.S. military action is not the answer,” they claim, sounding a pacifist note common among left-leaning Christians. “We believe that the way to address the crisis is through long-term investments in supporting inclusive governance and diplomacy, nonviolent resistance, sustainable development, and community-level peace and reconciliation processes.”
Good luck with that. It doesn’t take a diplomatic genius to know that ISIS’ response to such flaccid tactics would be the same as the one they delivered recently in a video warning to the U.S.: “We will drown all of you in blood.”
But the left deals in wishful thinking, not reality. Thus the signers affirm, with Pope Francis, that “peacemaking is more courageous than warfare” – a statement that makes a great bumper sticker for Priuses but has no basis in fact. “It is licit to stop the unjust aggressor,” concedes Pope Francis, but “stop” does not mean wage war, which he calls the “suicide of humanity.”
Typical of the blame-America-first left, the letter’s signers faulted “decades of U.S. political and military intervention, coupled with inadequate social reconciliation programs,” for “the current crisis in Iraq.” More violence, they believe, will simply lead to “a continual cycle of violent intervention” that does not address “the root causes of the conflict.” You know that when the left speaks of “root causes,” they mean poverty, social injustice, imperialism – all of the familiar grievances whereby the left legitimizes “freedom fighters” such as ISIS. The left is also fond of the notion of the “cycle of violence” – as if both sides are equally to blame, and if one side takes the bold step to end that cycle, the other side will stop as well.