“Gross impiety it is that a nation's pride should be maintained in the face of its poor.” William Penn wrote these words in 1669. We have no means of knowing what his voice might have sounded like when he read them aloud, as he undoubtedly would have done, but when I hear them in my mind's ear, they are spoken with firmness and a touch of anger. They are words we do well to heed in our own time.
Edinburgh will be awash with military symbolism and celebration today (25 June 2011), as the city hosts the national event for Armed Forces Day - which David Cameron last year said should be “an explosion of red white and blue all over the country.” That thought may cause SNP First Minister Alex Salmond at least a moment's hiccup as he stands next to the PM on the podium!
David Cameron has tried to use Armed Forces Day to whip up support for the unpopular war in Afghanistan, but the ruinous cost of ineffective military spending is clearly at odds with his government's rhetoric about the urgent need for cuts.
A page of resources from Ekklesia to help churches and other civil society groups and individuals engage with Armed Forces Day in a way that more accurately reflects the belief of many that war is no solution - and indeed that what we need are more unarmed services - those with professional conflict transformation and resolution skills - operating in conflict zones.