By Alexander Carpenter
Jim Coffin, a Florida Adventist pastor, joined with his community faith leaders to push for peace.
As they write in the Orlando Sentinel:
Despite a rapid increase in knowledge and astounding advances in
technology, humans are already engaged in or teeter on the brink of
all-out war in various regions throughout the world. Taking or
threatening human life and destruction of property are used routinely
as a means to achieve the goals of nations and other groups.
While our weapons have become increasingly sophisticated, our moral
sensitivity concerning the sacredness of human life has lagged
appallingly. Therefore, the Interfaith Council of Central Florida calls
upon spiritual people of all persuasions to refocus attention and
strengthen efforts to work for peace.
Although the sacred
writings of the world's great religions are not typically pacifistic,
they consistently call for a higher level of moral responsibility in
the resolution of conflict. Further, these writings point to peace as
the ideal. Peace is portrayed as the prime characteristic of "paradise."
Johnny likes it, too.
Now, I'm only in my twenties so I know my place in church
decision-making - near the bottom - just barely above women. But I've
got an idea: wouldn't it be great if all NAD pastors had the
opportunity to sign onto a statement calling for "a higher level of moral responsibility in
the resolution of conflict?" Both the US-backed IDF and Hezbollah seem more concerned with the rightness of their fight than the morality of their methods. And since both sides are dominated by their religious right, the larger faith community could put aside their sectarian differences and unite over a larger shared concern - not politics, but God-given life.
This isn't a
right/left issue, it's about progress toward peace versus continuing
cycles of violence. Adventists in Lebanon are suffering, or as Dr. Kjell Aune, the leader of the Adventist church in the Middle East, says:
. . .church members "are fearful with anxiety, experiencing the reality
of shortages, have limited freedom of movement, and first and foremost,
are coming to terms with the paralyzing realization that the hope which
they had built up for their future has now gradually shattered."
It's an interfaith war - Jews, Christians and
Muslims support it and are causalities - interfaith pressure against
both Israel and Hezbollah can only save lives.
If our faith communities
acted strongly - maybe the thousands of times the phrase "a personal
relationship with Jesus" will be repeated this Sabbath might not sound so