As the debate on government spending continues, our military expenditures are a cancer that eats away at our society, economically and morally. Where are the voices of faith who question the militarization of our society and the state of endless war we now take for granted?
How would the NRA, who suggested after the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut that we provide armed guards in every school across America, at a cost of nearly $8 billion per year, respond to New Jersey's shooting?
We can start with gun control legislation. President Obama is in his second term and now is in a position to take action. Public opinion is on his side. Let's put pressure on our legislators to make sure this happens.
If we are being honest with ourselves, we must admit that our national histories, our ethnic histories, our religious histories, our family histories, our personal histories, all take precedence over the Bible.
In the name of "national security,' our government spends billions every week on military weapons and action in other nations. But we must face the painful reality that violence in our schools and communities is also a very legitimate concern with respect to national security.
The voice of the Christian pacifist is a quiet one, a patient one. Rather than make grand pronouncements, it sets itself to the work at hand. It speaks love, mercy and hope, and, when all else fails, it makes the ultimate sacrifice.
I believe a highly significant part of my being an American is my freedom to protest actively and nonviolently when I completely honestlly disagree with the momentary course of events. In this spirit, I watched President Obama accept the mantle of leadership for another four years.
To this man patriotism was religion. This man spoke of love and truth. He is the father of my country. His name is Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the man who surpassed Superman in his bravery and determination.
When I stop and consider Gandhi's timeless message, I am refreshed. He said the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. So here I am, offering to you my service. Celebrating his life, his message in a new video I made for my song "Be The Change."
Many, especially in New York, remember 9/11 because they cannot forget; the traumatic grip of memory is severe and unrelenting. What can "Never forget!" mean for those who have no choice in the matter?
The Catonsville Nine still are worth remembering. Their protest and trial provided a singularly sweeping and sharp critique of the failings of American society in the 1960s. But it's probably a mistake to remember them merely as one-dimensional religious icons.
Mennonites around the world are very involved in responding to basic human needs and working for peace and justice. How in the world, then, can war, prejudice, hate-filled media, income inequality and poverty fit into this paradigm?
We think we really can win this precarious game of one-upmanship against our enemies. At what point do the violent acts done in the name of "civilization" cause us to ask whether a civilization whose existence demands such bloodshed is worth protecting?
If we want to stop shootings in theaters and houses of worship, we'd better start paying attention to the seeds of hostility we're sowing in our theaters, houses of worship and even around our dinner tables.
Neo-Nazi violence divides the world into the good guys and the bad guys, and then employs violence against turban-wearing people of color who threaten "our way of life." The nonviolent, suffering love of Jesus was a direct challenge to this myth.
The same monks who campaigned against a brutal former regime are advocating against a stateless people, for what appears to be no other reason than their race and religion. How can we make sense of this, and where do we go from here?