- "Put up again thy sword into his place: for all
they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." - Matthew 26:52
- The above quote is from Jesus of Nazareth, the founder
of the Christian faith. He preached a message of peace, love and nonviolence
and his early disciples followed this model. However, somewhere along the
way, things changed. The Crusades and the Holocaust are two extreme examples
of where war was carried out in the name of Christ.
- Currently we find ourselves faced with another religious
war that pits Christians against Muslims. President Bush has stated that
the so-called War on Terrorism is a "crusade" of good versus
evil. By implication, Christians and Jews are good and Muslims are evil.
This is not to minimize Islam's role in making war; however, Jerry Falwell
called the Islamic faith violent without examining the militant tendencies
in his own religion.
- Forgiving for a moment the fact that Christian fundamentalists
and militant Zionists have declared war on Islam, does this represent a
newfound cooperation between Christians and Jews? Hardly. The Evangelical
Christians who are lobbying for Israel believe that the state of Israel
is fulfillment of prophecy, as do the Zionists; however, the Evangelicals
believe that God's army will kill two-thirds of the Jews and the remaining
will be converted. Gershem Gorenberg told "60 Minutes" recently,
"If you listen to the drama they're describing, essentially it's a
five act play in which the Jews disappear in the fourth act." He also
stated, "As a Jew, I can't feel very comfortable with the affections
of somebody who looks forward to that scenario."
- Incidentally, one scripture that Zionists and Evangelicals
cling to is in Isaiah 2:2-4, which states, "And it shall come to pass
in the last days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established
in the top of the mountains. And he shall judge among the nations, and
shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against
nation, neither shall they learn war any more." However, fundamentalist
Christians seem to have the opposite philosophy. They see the hardcore
Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza as the only truly faithful ones.
They believe that God did not want the Oslo Accord to go through. They
essentially support those things that have been a stumbling block to peace
and oppose those things that seem to be making moves toward peace.
- Ariel Sharon is hardly fulfilling the prophecy in Isaiah
either. He has stated that he will rule the occupied territories with an
Iron Fist. Israel has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the Middle
East and Sharon continues to expand military operations. This is the opposite
of turning "swords into plowshares."
- The scary thing is that these militant Christians and
Jews are close to the U.S. President. In fact, when Jerry Falwell sent
a letter to the White House decrying the President's call for Israel to
remove tanks from the occupied territories, Bush recoiled from his former
speech and didn't repeat the demand.
- It is important to remember that Islam has had a substantial
role in perpetuating violence and war, especially in Palestine. However,
those of us who come from a Christian or Jewish background can do something
to help change the situation. We can no longer throw all the blame at the
- There are many Jewish and Christian groups that are working
for peace. Groups like Gush Shalom, Women in Black, Courage to Refuse and
Rabbis for Human Rights are Israelis who are really fulfilling the prophecy
in Isaiah to "beat swords into plowshares."
- Christian groups like Pax Christi, the Catholic Worker
Movement and Every Church a Peace Church are also ones who strive to live
by Jesus' words at Matthew 26:52. Scott Schaeffer-Duffy, a Catholic Worker
who has visited the occupied territories, writes in The Catholic Radical,
"After such experiences in Israel/Palestine, both the nightmares and
the miracles, I am more sure than ever that peace is not only necessary,
- [Mitch Jones is currently a student majoring in journalism
and sociology. He attends the State University of New York at Brockport
where he writes for the student newspaper, the Stylus. He also is a singer/songwriter
and poet. More information can be found at Mitch's website: http://www.hastheboyfallen.cjb.net.
He lives in the United States.]
- Mitch Jones encourages your comments: mjones@YellowTimes.org
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