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In most places in Canada, We ban smoking in public places and strive to limit the promotion and availability of tobacco products, and rightly so because smoking is very addictive and destructive. Those who smoke are seduced by the affects of nicotine (it calms, yet stimulates), and they become addicted to the adverse by-product. Smoking is extremely costly, in many ways. It can be said that smokers are victims; they are not bad people.
Militarism - the culture of war and military admiration - is similarily highly addictive and destructive. There is an undeniable allure to military machinery and bravado.
From the crisp uniforms to the grit of combat soldiers, there is an ancient mystique about “fighting men” [and women]. We applaud the soldier’s honour and sacrifice, and for good reason approve of their desire to serve their country. Yet, the addiction, more often than not, causes us to gloss over the countless others who are sacrificing in their public service. Military tools (tanks, jet fighters, etc.) are high tech, and we are impressed by the power they possess, not to mention the bang they make. Moreover, just as Hollywood once glamorized smoking, we too are being seduced into believing the glorified myth that we must fight and kill for our freedom and that our nation’s enemy is a bad guy, worthy of destruction. And, just as nicotine calms and stimulates, militarism calms us with the belief that we are safer if we are militarily powerful, and that sense of power also stimulates us into asserting our will on others–using brute force instead of peaceful alternatives. It should be noted that history teaches us that enhanced military force rarely goes unused.
Similar to tobacco, militarism is addictive and very destructive. It produces its own self-perpetuating culture in a society that is based on the fear of not having enough military. This sensation is similar to the panic in withdrawals. The addiction becomes a preoccupation. It brings all things military into constant public focus and screams that military spending is never enough: more and more is needed, again and again–the cry of the addict. Militarism demands devotion and support, and those who see the consequences and question the destructive patterns are berated as unpatriotic or idealistic extremists. Moreover, like nicotine, militarism is a great deceiver because it is destructive and it lies. Hiram Johnson correctly said, “The first casualty when war comes is truth.” The base purpose of the military is war, and war kills and destroys, period. In addition, militarism
On November 11, 2010, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan's Peace and Justice Commission again sponsored a memorial service in downtown Saskatoon. The holistic service took place outdoors in Rotary Peace Park and grieved losses resulting from war. Repentance and a pledge to work for peace through non-violent means were also included. The event was promoted through Mennonite Church Saskatchewan churches, word of mouth and the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism, an interchurch agency for the promotion of Christian unity on the Canadian prairies. The service was attended by representatives from Mennonite Church Canada's General Board, Area Churches and staff who were in town for Fall Leadership Assembly, along with about 70 other individuals. The City of Saskatoon lit the peace pole flame for the service.
Many Mennonites in Canada are familiar with the red message buttons,"To Remember is To Work for Peace" distributed by Mennonite Central Committee each year around Remembrance Day, Nov. 11. Christians in the United Kingdom have come up with an alternative idea as well; a white poppy. To learn more, see http://www.whitepoppy.org.uk/
Want to find out how you can become "a biblical, prayerful, playful peacemaker"? Check out http://seasonedwithpeace.blogspot.com/ Four passionate-for-peace women are collecting peace-focussed material from devotions to recipes and sharing them in Seasoned with Peace, a series of four seasonal books. Susan Mark Landis, Lisa J. Amstutz, Cynthia Friesen Coyle and Cindy Snider are volunteering their time; any profits from Seasoned with Prayer will be directed toward Mennonite peacemaking projects.
Aware that the images we consume contribute to our vision of the world, the International Guild of Visual Peacemakers has created a website to counter misconceptions through dignified and inspiring photographs of various cultures around the world.
Calling all peace-loving Anabaptists! Are you willing to commit an act of peace – from baking cookies for a new neighbour to displaying peace posters or singing songs of peace in a park? Can we generate 225 acts of peace between Oct.1 and Nov. 11, 2010, one for every Mennonite Church Canada congregation? Record your act of peace on the 1000 Acts of Peace forum.
All individuals and groups who post their efforts will be entered into a Nov. 18 draw for Live for Peace toques and peace posters. Ten entries will be drawn. Nudge your friends and pew partners and spread peace! Story post deadline: Nov. 17.
Submitted by Grant Klassen on Mon, 08/30/2010 - 23:49
Saskatchewan churches are launching a Live for Peace campaign this September.
The Saskatoon area churches have combined their resources to rent 5 King Boards for 8 weeks, September 6, until October 31. The Saskatoon area churches are:
The Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) reports that together with partners it has formed the Quaker Peace Network (QPN). The Network's 200 election observers will work at polling stations during Burundi's election.
The group recruited and trained more than 200 election observers to work at polling stations on the election days.
"Burundi’s election season started in late May and will continue through September, with at least five elections scheduled during those months. These elections are the first since all rebel groups laid down their weapons in 2008, officially ending the country’s 15-year civil war," writes Chad Umble in a July 9, 2010, MCC release.
San Anselmo Filmaker Haydn Reiss has released a new film based on Amercian poet William Stafford's writings and actions in World War II. Stafford could not rationalize the biblical commandment, "Thou shalt not kill" with the actions of his homeland and the horrors of war. He became a conscientious objector during World War II.
Every War has Two Losers features Stafford's writings as well as a cast of writers including Alice Walker, Robert Bly, Maxine Hong Kingston and just-named U.S. Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin as they reflect on the influence of Stafford's words on their lives. Actor Peter Coyote puts a voice to Stafford's words. Stafford died in 1993.
Common Dreams reports that the "The 32-minute documentary feels more like a poem or a peace meditation than a movie."
"I belong to a small, fanatical sect," Stafford wrote in his journal. "We believe that current ways of carrying out world affairs are malignant."
Submitted by Dan Dyck on Wed, 07/07/2010 - 21:03
Instead of speaking to the G8 political leaders, Robert J. Suderman, General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada recommended a 9th millennium development goal aimed at the 80 gathered international delegates at the World Religions Summit, 2010 that the religions of the world "... condemn religiously motivated terrorism and extremism and commit to stop the teaching and justification of the use of violence between and among our faith communities."
The Canadian Mennonite's July 12, 2010 issue reports Suderman saying, "This millennium goal could be as simple as that our houses of faith stop teaching—and stop justifying—the use of lethal violence between and among our own people.”
The leaders included Suderman's wording as part of a broader consensus statement called "A Time for Inspired Leadership and Action" calling on G8 leaders to honour decade-old pledges to the UN's Millennium Development Goals.
MP Stephen Fletcher, Minsiter of Democratic Reform (Canada), received the statement on behalf of the religious leaders and promised to deliver it to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper who hosted the G8 political leaders summit in Ontario from June 25-27, 2010.
Faith leaders representing Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Shinto, Hindu, Aboriginal, Baha'i, and Buddist faiths from over 20 countries attended the Summit in Winnipeg, Manitoba, from June 21-23.