These are a few tidbits that I have read thus far in Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings, Introduction by John Dear.
“We have assumed the name of peacemakers,” Daniel Berrigan famously wrote at the height of the Vietnam War in his classic work No Bars to Manhood, “but we have been, by and large, unwilling to pay any significant price. And because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total–but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial.”
“There are no makers of peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war, at least as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison and death in its wake.”
“Dan knows by heart that God does not bless war, justify war or create war. He points to a nonviolent Jesus who blesses peace makers, not war makers; who calls us to love enemies, not kill them; who commands us to take up the cross of nonviolent resistance to empire–not put others on the cross.”
“A prize-winning poet, an acclaimed Broadway playwright, a best-selling memoir-ist, a theologian, a professor, an actor, a social critic, a radical resister, a fugitive, an ex-con, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and in the words of Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, “a national treasure,” Dan remains a beacon of hope to peace-loving people everywhere.”
….”Daniel Berrigan remains one of this century’s leading voices for peace and disarmament, in a rare pantheon with Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Merton, Mairead Maguire, Cesar Chavez, Dom Helder Camara, Hildegard Goss Mayr, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mohandas Gandhi, bishop Thomas Gumbleton, and Thich Nhat Hanh. He Has come to embody the Christian insistence on peace and disarmament in a world of war, empire, and nuclear weapons.”
During his 1981 Plowhares action trial…this is a challenge to all of us to pursue God’s reign of nonviolence as the main task of spiritual life (he said):
“The only message I have to the world is: we are not allowed to kill innocent people. We are not allowed to be complicit in murder. We are not allowed to be silent while preparations for mass murder proceed in our name, with our money, secretly…It’s terrible for me to live in a time where I have nothing to say to human beings except, “Stop killing.” There are other beautiful things that I would love to be saying to people. There are other projects I could be very helpful at. And I can’t do them. I cannot. Because everything is endangered. Everything is up for grabs. Ours is a kind of primitive situation, even though we would call ourselves sophisticated. Our plight is very primitive from a Christian point of view. We are back where we started. Thou shalt not kill; we are not allowed to kill. Everything today comes down to that–everything.”
Wow! What a book to read to start off 2014. I have been learning more and more about the peace movement in the USA, especially from a Christian perspective for the past 15 years since I moved from Amish country back to a suburban area that is surrounded by people who seem to love war, warring, flag waving, glorifying veterans. I asked why we do not glorify Peace Corps veterans, Christian Peacemaking Teams? The intensity in the voices of especially the males is quite revealing when I bring up questions about this. Maybe “glorify” is too close to idol worship which is warned against in the Bible.
Signing off for today’s reading and going to read Jeremiah in our Bible, and Sermon on the Mount again for today’s Christian reading.