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Why Did We Hand Over Our World to the Warmongers?



The current protests on college campuses and the discomfort of many people around the world with the Israeli-Hamas War misses an essential point. Yes, there is nothing but horror with what Hamas did: raping, burning babies, indiscriminately killing civilians, and taking hostages. Yes, there is nothing but horror with the Israeli bombing response that has left 34,000 Palestinians killed, the majority women and children, as well as a million homeless and many on the verge of starvation. That is certainly more than the Torah and Old Testament "eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." (Leviticus 24:19-21)


I do not mean to diminish the incredible hurt, despair, and anger felt by Jews and Muslims in these countries at the terrible injustices many of them have endured over the past century, whether it was the Nazi's Holocaust or the loss of Palestinian homes and lands under the governance of the Colonials. This does not even include the many wars and inhumane acts committed by both sides since WWII. So, we can empathize with the generations of anger and rebellion these injustices have birthed. If it was our people, we, too, might be tempted to raise our hand in hatred and revenge. Yet, as Confucius noted about human nature, "It is easy to hate, and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve, and bad things are very easy to get."


On top of that, we must ask how successful has all this hatred, conflict, and war been in resolving the issues in the Middle East over the past one hundred years? The evidence speaks for itself. Not at all. No progress.


Instead, listen to what the Peace Chiefs have to say.


  • "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9) Jesus, ever the peacemaker, asserted this in The Beatitudes. He lived in Palestine.

  • Through Isaiah, God commands that "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." (Isaiah2:4)

  • Despite the violent world he lived in, Muhammad was known as a messenger of peace and tolerance. He said, "Shall I not inform you of a better act than fasting, alms, and prayers? Making peace between one another: enmity and malice tear up heavenly rewards by the roots."

  • Gandhi embraced the Jain principle of ahimsa (non-violence in all things), underlying his lifelong struggle for independence from the British.

  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. later adopted the same Gandhi principle in the Civil Rights Movement.

  • Buddha affirmed, "Once I dwell in peace, In adversity I react with no anger; Living among angry people, I act with no anger." (Dhammapada, Taisho 4:210).

  • White Buffalo Calf Woman introduced the chanupah, the Sacred Peace Pipe, as one of her seven sacred teachings to the Plains Indians.

  • Confucius saw that peace rose from the bottom up. "If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nations. When there is order in the nations, there will be peace in the world."

All of these peacemakers, Jew, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Confucian, and Native American, were the leaders in their various religions. Not one would support what is going on now in Israel and Gaza, or for that matter, in Ukraine.


When did we give our world over to the warmongers? When did we stop listening to our great leaders, peacemakers all, even if we profess to follow them in our various faiths? When did we allow leaders in Hamas to state without moral opposition that it is a good and right thing to annihilate a whole people, the Israelis, and drive them into the sea? Muhammad and the Prophets would not agree. When did we turn over leadership to right-wing Israeli politicians who believe it is a good and right thing to take over the Palestinian Gaza homeland, starve the children, and wipe the people out? Isaiah and the Prophets would not agree.


I don't want to get into deep political and philosophical discussions about history and who is right and who is wrong. There is enough hurtful history, blame, and mistakes for everyone, including the United States. It is all wrong. There are pathways to resolution and peace. Many have been presented, and they are good. They require compromise and understanding. They require we listen to and respect each other as equals, all as children of God.


But now, I want to bring the issue down to its basics. In the end, I simply want to take the side of the children, the women, the elderly, and the innocents. It is time their voices are heard. As Lightworkers committed to peace and love, we are responsible for speaking up on their behalf and being the Peacemakers. We know that this is what the average Palestinian and Israeli wants despite the war posturing of their leaders.


Stop the hatred! Stop the violence! Stop the War! Restore peace and harmony to an ancient and beautiful land, remembering that the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian people who live there all worship the same God of Abraham.


Blessings,

Tom

Rev. Dr. Tom Norris

 

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