A Department of Peace

1958 Church of the Brethren Statement

Query, 1957

Believing that the time has come for positive and constructive teaching of friendship and peace in our churches and nation, the Modesto Church of the Brethren, through the district meeting of Northern California, asks Annual Meeting to request the General Brotherhood Board of our church to seek the co-operation of other peace-loving organizations in asking the President of the United States to take such steps as are necessary for the creation and establishment of a Department of Peace, whose Secretary shall have Cabinet rank with a fully staffed and equipped department to seek, teach, and promote world-wide peace and brotherhood among men without recourse to arms and physical combat.

Harold Duncanson, Moderator
Wayne Allen, Church Clerk

Answer of 1956 District of Northern California conference: Query passed to Annual Conference.

Claude Dadisman,
Mrs. J. C. McCray

Answer of 1957 Annual Conference: Request granted.

1958 Report of the General Brotherhood Board

The General Brotherhood Board recommends the following answer to the query on a department of peace:

The General Brotherhood Board fully shares the concern expressed In this query that this Is a time “for positive and constructive teaching of friendship and peace in our churches and nation.” After careful consideration, however, the Board does not believe that the establishment of a Department of Peace within the government is the most appropriate way to secure the ends sought for; all departments of the government should seek to do the things that make for peace.

The foreign policy of the United States, administered through the Department of State, can be influenced or determined by the people of the United States. If they are willing to speak through their representatives in Congress. If the United States foreign policy is to seek “world-wide peace and brotherhood among men without recourse to arms and physical combat,” it will be necessary that our representatives in Congress, and the people who support them, basically change their attitudes. The idea of superior force, either physical or economic, as the basic determinant of foreign policy must be replaced by a higher idealism. This means Christian growth on the part of the voting public. At times in recent years the Department of State and the administration would have desired a more enlightened and constructive approach to foreign policy but were hindered by their people back home.

To bring about a more constructive and peaceful United States foreign policy and a more brotherly world, we make the following recommendations:

  1. that we work more effectively to influence public opinion, to guide our representatives in Congress, and to make our beliefs known to persons occupying Important policy-making positions In our government;
  2. that we unceasingly urge our government leaders to promote and use nonviolent methods and institutions such as the United Nations which are available for settling international tensions;
  3. that we urge government leaders to give greater attention to removing the causes of tension and conflict;
  4. that we give greater support to the positive nonmilitary aspects of our foreign policy, such as technical assistance and economic aid to underdeveloped areas; and
  5. that we as churches and churchmen also utilize these sharing techniques through church and nonchurch agencies in the name of Christ, the servant of all.

This approach we believe will be more effective than the creation of another office in the government which would be subject to the political pressures that are exerted upon all governmental offices.

Answer of 1958 Annual Conference: Report adopted.