"To question and rebel means to organize resistance. What we need now and what we will need in the coming years is a broad, comprehensive resistance movement against militarism, a movement that includes members of every political grouping from the center to the left. We have to take up the cause of peace, take sides with life, interfere nonviolently and illegally. I think we can learn the most for our purposes from the liberation struggles in the Third World. I have been given a leaflet from the resistance movement in Chile, a leaflet that can be distributed there only at the risk of one’s life. These Chileans are reflecting on their situation, on what it means to live under a dictatorship and what is happening to them as a result. I think we can adopt a great deal of what they say, for they say: ‘Rebel! Don’t cooperate with death! Choose life!’ They also say: ‘Don’t let them steal away your soul! Amen!’"
Dorothee Sölle ;
Of War and Love
"On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' And Vanity comes along and asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But Conscience asks the question 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. I believe today that there is a need for all people of good will to come together with a massive act of conscience and say in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'We ain't goin' study war no more.' This is the challenge facing modern man." -
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ;
Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution (March 31, 1968)
"I cannot enlist for I am a Christian. I cannot serve, I cannot do evil." -
Maximilian, the son of a Roman soldier in present-day Algeria, was required to join the army at the age of twenty-one. ;
Spoken before the court of the Roman proconsul. Because of his refusal he was beheaded. He was a follower of Jesus which meant he could not fight the wars of men. He insisted that we can die for Christ, but we cannot kill for him.
"God, in prohibiting killing, discountenances not only brigandage, which is contrary to human law, but also that which men regard as legal. Thus participation in war will not be legitimate to a just man; his 'military service' is justice itself. … What are the interests of our country, but the inconveniences of another state or nation? that is, to extend the boundaries which are violently taken from others, to increase the power of the state, to improve the revenues all which things are not virtues, but the overthrowing of virtues: for, in the first place, the union of human society is taken away, innocence is taken away, the abstaining from the property of another is taken away; lastly, justice itself is taken away, which is unable to bear the tearing asunder of the human race, and wherever arms have glittered, must be banished and exterminated from thence. … How can a man be just who injures, hates, despoils and puts to death? Yet they who strive to be serviceable to their country do all these things." -
[Tutor of Crispus, the son of St. Constantine the Great]
"This is intended as a call to resistance so that we can learn deliberate violation of the rules, nonviolent illegality, and civil disobedience together. It is possible to violate laws and regulations governing property without committing violence against human beings. Our imaginations in this area are underdeveloped. If we want to take part in liberation movements, then the militarism that dominates us is our main enemy."
Dorothee Sölle ;
Of War and Love
"In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast between poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of these countries, and say, ‘This is not just.’ It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say, ‘This is not just.’ A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war, ‘This way of settling differences is not just.’ This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ;
The Trumpet of Conscience
"If the great nations can shed the fear of destruction, if they disarm themselves, they will automatically help the rest to regain their sanity. But then these great powers will have to give up their imperialistic ambitions and their exploitation of the so-called uncivilized or semi-civilized nations of the earth and revise their mode of life. It means a complete revolution."
Mohandas Gandhi ;
Gandhi on Nonviolence, edited by Thomas Merton
"[Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] connected the dots between what he called the 'giant triplets' of racism, militarism, and poverty and then challenged us to take back the world from those 'who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.;" -
Ched Myers ;
Binding the Strong Man
"I would like to make an appeal in a special way to the men of the army, and in particular to the ranks of the National Guard, of the police, to those in the barracks. Brothers, you are part of our own people. You kill your own campesino brothers and sisters. And before an order to kill that a man may give, the law of God must prevail that says: Thou shalt not kill! No soldier is obliged to obey an order against the law of God. No one has to fulfill an immoral law. It is time to recover your consciences and to obey your consciences rather than the orders of sin. The church, defender of the rights of God, of the law of God, of human dignity, the dignity of the person, cannot remain silent before such abomination. We want the government to take seriously that reforms are worth nothing when they come about stained with so much blood. In the name of God, and in the name of this suffering people whose laments rise to heaven each day more tumultuous, I beg you, I ask you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression!"
Archbishop Oscar Romero ;
The Word Remains: A Life of Oscar Romero
"If thou hadst known in this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from thine eyes." -
Walter Rauschenbusch ;
Jesus quoted in A Theology for the Social Gospel, p. 255
"The women’s movement displays its real strength when it presents a vision of life that differs from the prevailing one. Women will become strong when they stop worshiping the golden calves that men worship: unlimited economic growth, national security, the balance of terror . . . We shall become free only when we beat our swords into plowshares, as Isaiah says, and when we learn to operate irrigation systems, not tanks. We shall be free and we shall be women only when we join forces with life against production for death and the ongoing preparation for murder. We shall not become free by retiring into the private sphere and saying, ‘Count me out,’ nor shall we become free by conforming to a society that holds its generals and millionaires in particularly high regard. We shall become free when we learn to work for peace actively, deliberately, and militantly."
Dorothee Sölle ;
Of War and Love
"Because we understand the present crisis of empire to have everything to do with the ordering of power, the distribution of wealth, and the global plague of militarism, radical discipleship necessarily approaches the Bible with social, political and economic questions in mind." -
Ched Myers ;
Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus
"...there are certain things in our nation and in the world which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all men of good-will will be maladjusted until the good societies realize. I say very honestly that I never intend to become adjusted to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism, to self-defeating effects of physical violence."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ;
18 December 1963; Western Michigan University
"If you really wish to defend human rights . . . guarantee that your government will not intervene directly or indirectly, by military, economic, diplomatic, or other pressures, in determining the destiny of the Salvadoran people. It would be unjust and deplorable for foreign powers to intervene and frustrate the Salvadoran people, to repress them and keep them from deciding autonomously the economic and political course that our nation should follow."
Archbishop Romero ;
Quoted by Brockman in The Word Remains: A Life of Oscar
“'Show mercy, that you may be shown mercy.' Roman rule in the eastern provinces was rarely merciful. When, after forty years of iron-fisted rule, Herod the Great finally perished from the earth, the Jews rose up and begged Caesar Augustus to spare them from more of the same from Herod’s sons, who were set to inherit his kingdom. In Galilee, a certain Judas (the son of a famous bandit whom Herod had executed) seized the moment to gather around himself a small following of bandit-rebels. Judas and his band stormed the royal palace in Sepphoris, raided its treasury, armed themselves with weapons from its armory, and began fomenting rebellion around the city. Jesus’s family lived in Nazareth, just a few kilometers from Sepphoris. They would have witnessed what happened next. The Roman governor, Varus, marched from Antioch with two legions to put things back in order. When he arrived at Sepphoris, he burned the city to the ground and sold its inhabitants into slavery. Later he rounded up two thousand of the rebels and crucified them. Jesus would have spent his youth and young adulthood rebuilding that ruined city from the ashes. If he was to imagine a new empire, it would be an empire of mercy." -
Stephen J. Patterson ;
The Lost Way: How Two Forgotten Gospels Are Rewriting the Story of Christian Origins