Peace church seeks positive alternatives to military recruitment
The non-violence programme of the Church of the Brethren (together with Mennonite and Quakers, one of the three ëhistoric peace churchesí) is inviting supporters to strengthen their work of providing positive alternatives to the US military recruitment message in high schools and communities.
ëOn Earth Peaceí is several planning several practical networking phone calls for the week commencing 19 June 2006, says Matt Guynn, the groupís coordinator of Peace Witness.
They will join together people around the country who are involved in counter-recruitment work in order to share lessons, spark creativity, heighten motivation and develop plans for the future.
Counter-recruitment isnít a negative activity, its practitioners stress. It is about showing students that there are constructive alternatives to armed service ñ ways of making the world a better place through humanitarian relief, life-giving industry and peace building.
The initiative comes at a time when public opinion is swinging against what many see as the Bush administrationís global military adventurism.
The invasion and occupation of Iraq is widely seen to have gone badly awry, and grassroots initiatives such as Christian Peacemaker Teams are challenging the authorities to look at alternatives to war.
But the government is concerned by the growth of anti-military activism. Last year it was revealed that the security services (the FBI) had been listening in on phone calls and communications by Quakers and others.
The breach of privacy prompted complains from civil rights groups, and accusations that resources which could have been directed against terror groups were instead ironically being wasted on targeting non-violence promoters.
Some church commentators and theologians also raised the intriguing question, ìIs your church worth spying on?î in terms of its witness to the Gospel of peace and justice.
The Church of the Brethren is a Christian denomination ìcommitted to continuing the work of Jesus peacefully and simply, and to living out its faith in communityî, it explains.
It is rooted in the Anabaptist and Pietist traditions and celebrates its 300th anniversary in 2008. The Church counts about 130,000 members across the United States and Puerto Rico, and has missions and sister churches in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Nigeria.
[Also on Ekklesia: USA and Iran should pursue talks, say Mennonites 11/06/06; Mennonites highlight plight of Canadaís undocumented migrant workers 10/06/06; Mennonite educationists touch global vision in Egypt 08/06/06; Inter-Mennonite agencies cooperate in disaster action; Mennonites describe Indonesian earthquake horror; Java quake scene like tsunami, says Indonesian Mennonite; UK Anglican election observer invited to Congo by Mennonites; Mennonites and other churches step up Darfur relief; Mennonites and Anglicans work to overcome violence in northeast Uganda; Cambodian tree project backed by fossil fuel-free Mennonites; More church agencies gear up aid for Java quake zone; End scandal of poverty in churches, says Mennonite leader; Mennonites to play mediating role in Congolese election; Decade to Overcome Violence gathers momentum]