In the midst of a time of urgent crisis at home and abroad, we affirm that these are good times and bad times.
A time full of hope, yet a time of despair
A time to love, yet a time of hatred and hostility
A time for unity, yet a time of widening polarization
A time to affirm life, yet a time marked by death and destruction
A time of joy, yet a time of deep tragedy
A time for peace, yet a time of war
Given these times, we of the Church of the Brethren speak our concern
Our Focus Is
The war in Southeast Asia and its consequences at home and abroad:
The staggering waste of human, material, and financial resources
The increasing reliance upon military might as a way of settling international disputes
The legalized, mass violence of war as manifested in the inhumane destruction visited upon people thousands of miles from our shores
The fear and distrust among nations generated by the competitive development and stockpiling of weapons
The wrongness of the priorities of our national agenda
The tearing apart and the polarization of our society
The continuous use of scientific and technological developments for destructive purposes
There Is No Hope
No hope in the “body count” but only in assuming that persons count—every person
No hope in “my country, right or wrong” allegiance to governmental authority, but only as duly constituted government is responsive to the democratic processes of critical analysis and of checks and balances, and to the God-given rights of man
No hope in violence whether it be on the college campus, in the city’s ghetto, or on a faraway jungle battlefield. Violence is an evil means no matter what the end.
No hope in “might makes right,” for to follow such a dictum is to court disaster in a world gone mad
No hope in seeking a military victory in international conflicts
Absolutely no hope in remaining silent. Silence at a time such as this expresses the height of insensitivity and is, in the Nuremburg Trial sense, criminal.
And so we speak and act . . .
There Is a Hope
A hope in God who is Father of all men and in Christ, his Son, who is the Prince of Peace
A hope in the power of God’s Spirit and not in the might of men
A hope in abandoning the sword, for “they who take the sword shall perish by the sword”
A hope that our nation will seek life for others. (A nation that seeks to save its life by military might shall lose it, but a nation whose trust is truly in God need never feel insecure.)
A hope that we will reaffirm in ways appropriate for this day and time our long heritage of consistent opposition to all war as being sinful and contrary to the will of God
We call upon ourselves as members of the Church of the Brethren
To rededicate ourselves to the principles of love, peace, and humaneness as exemplified in New Testament teachings, and as lived and taught by the Lord of the church, Jesus Christ.
To engage our congregations in dialogue regarding the implications of the biblical peace witness in the present crisis.
To examine our complicity, direct or indirect, in this war.
To take risks for peace and to live out our faith within the context of life.
To encourage our legislators to support measures to end the war.
To engage in the political process through active support of candidates in the upcoming elections who will work diligently to end the war.
To participate in appropriate forms of public witness to end the war.
We call upon our government
To take steps immediately to bring about the cessation of all military combat by United States forces in Southeast Asia, and the subsequent withdrawal of troops, material support, and technical assistance designed to sustain the war.
To redirect our resources and energies to promote peace, recognizing that international and domestic peace will issue from a just distribution of power and resources rather than military capability.
To recognize that we cannot pursue peace while at the same time we prepare for war.
We call upon all
To join heart and hand in bringing honor to our country and peace and justice to the world.
Turn, turn, turn, America . . .
Away from greed to sharing
Away from pettiness to greatness
Away from indifference to caring
Away from hate to love
Away from death to life
Away from war to peace
Away from despair to hope
For where there is no hope, a people perish.
Celebrate with peace!
The above resolution was approved by the General Board and submitted to the Annual Conference. Prior to a consideration of the paper, Dr. David Waas presented a discussion of the subject entitled “Exploring an Ethic.” The paper was read by Thomas Wilson. The position of Standing Committee was presented by Warren Miller.
Action of 1970 Annual Conference: The resolution was adopted. An adaptation of the ideas in the resolution prepared for publication in newspapers was approved by the delegates. The following motion was presented and adopted: That this conference request the Board and the staff to establish rehabilitation and reconstruction teams to move into the tension areas of the world; secondly, that we solicit support from our youth to become literally agents for reconciliation on behalf of the Christ we serve; and thirdly, that we challenge our churches to undergird this mission with their prayers and finances, and that the General Board establish a method by which we can have a report back at our next Annual Conference as to the effectiveness of this program.