Thursday, 7 June 2012

Are peacemakers called to CREATE conflict?

Stouffville has made national news in the past few weeks, as the local peace churches have strongly opposed plans to celebrate the War of 1812. (lots of coverage by CBC's As it Happens)

Watching from afar, I've been admiring this bold witness to peace my brothers and sisters are making, especially with the whole country watching.

It's a little tempting to use the Stouffville actions as a model for faithful witness today, given the huge attention given to this community. These are the bold peacemakers for Christ!

Yet, I know there have been many other faithful witnesses to peace in our history, and yes, today as well.

An equally faithful group of peace witnesses have been raising questions about how the War of 1812 is celebrated down in Niagara. Their commitment has led to inspiring engagements like this blog, and an 1812 bike tour to conscientious objector sites.

For the most part, the Niagara peace churches have not made the news. Stouffville peace churches have. The difference?


The Niagara churches have tried to offer an alternative voice to the 1812 conversation in Niagara. I think they've done that rather well.

The Stouffville churches, on the other hand, directly opposed specific plans by specific people. Conflict created. And where there's conflict, there's media.

This is not to suggest that we peacemakers should constantly seek out the attention of the media.

But the media is an important tool in grassroots peacemaking and forming public opinion. More people talking about war, militarism and peace can only be a good thing.

Maybe it's time the peace churches start picking more fights in order to create peace???

1 comment:

  1. As part of the Bicentennial Peace Committee that helped to place the plaques commemorating the witness of conscientious objectors in the war of 1812, we debated just that. Where do we put the plaques? One suggestion was that we try to get the plaques put in prominent places, such as the National park at Queenston Heights. We also talked about juxtaposition to other war memorials. Besides the obvious difficulties of getting such a prominent location approved, our committee was divided on the wisdom of coming "head to head" or "plaque to plaque" as the case may be with veteran's groups. We don't want to dishonour those who fought for what they believed in, but rather we want to remember those who believed in another way to achieve peace.


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