Magazine article Anglican Journal

Believing There Is a Better Way

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Believing There Is a Better Way

Article excerpt

FINE PRINT

THE HUMAN RIGHT TO PEACE by Douglas Roche Novalis 271 pages, $24.95

At the end of this month it will be Lent again and, as always, I am haunted by that question in the Book of Prophet Micah (6:8b) "... and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" As we recall Jesus' sojourn of 40 days in the wilderness, with its temptations and contemplate the wilderness of the modern world with its multiple temptations and endless wars, the question demands a response. Our traditional Lenten programs highlight the need for growth in loving kindness and provide opportunities for both learning and action. Similar opportunities are provided for pursuing personal holiness. But what about justice? Where does it figure in our collective Christian conscience? And where does peace fit in the Lenten menu? Can there be any peace without justice?

Justice is a touchy topic because it begins with identifying and exposing injustice. It may mean confronting spiritual and earthly wickedness in high places. In other words it can lead to upsetting the status quo apple cart. An excellent book for Lenten study groups concerned about peace and justice is Douglas Roche's The Human Right to Peace. His credentials include being elected to the Canadian House of Commons four times, being Canada's ambassador for disarmament and elected chairman of the United Nations Disarmament Committee, and appointment to the Canadian Senate in 1998. In recognition of his work he has been awarded the United Nations Association's medal of honour, the Pomerance Award for work at the United Nations on nuclear disarmament, and the Papal Medal for his service as special adviser on disarmament and security matters.

It is his thesis that we need to move from a "culture of war" to "a culture of peace." He begins by cataloguing what a culture of war has meant through the 20th century. The millions of people who died in war after war, combatants and civilians, was catastrophic and instead of bringing peace, each war has led to further conflicts. There are those who profit from warfare and he recalls the warning of U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower in 1961 about the development of the "military-industrial complex" which has now become a powerful political force world-wide. …

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