“When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you – pull your beard, flick your face – to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor.” ~John Lennon
I can’t find a credible source for this, so maybe John Lennon said it and maybe he didn’t. If someone with better Google skills than me can find the original source, please share it in the comments.
Either way, I believe the words are true.
“Please stop! I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please! Brothers and sisters, never war, never war! I am thinking above all of children, who are deprived of the hope of a worthwhile life, of a future; dead children, injured children, mutilated children, orphaned children, children whose toys are things left over from war, children who can’t smile any more.” ~Pope Francis (source)
I’m calling “shenanigans” on this.
Every pope in my lifetime has at some point made the statement- with a tear in his eye and a crack in his voice- “War is bad.”
What they are very careful never to do is to be specific. I have never heard a pope say, “Catholics may not participate in this one.” They have never limited the carnage their membership may inflict, so long as they are wearing a hat and uniform.
Until they do, I’m going to call this what it is: papal theater.
For a very long time, our peace plan (and everybody else’s) has been to kill all the bad guys- every single one of them- thinking that once they’re all dead, then we’ll have peace.
That hasn’t worked so far.
But we keep trying.
It’s hard to find much information on Corbett Bishop (1906-1961), which is a shame because I think we would have gotten along famously.
This story is copied from a website devoted to documenting the Civilian Public Service (CPS), which administered the Conscientious Objector program during WWII:
“Corbett Bishop was a totally unorthodox CPSer. Eventually he walked out of CPS camp and became a thorn in the flesh of the Bureau of Prisons (finally released absolutely unconditionally). Colonel Kosch, in charge of all CPS camps for the Selective Service System, and another government official were inspecting Corbett’s camp. Corbett rose at meal time and requested permission to read something to all present. What he read stressed that it was imperative to give unquestioning obedience to the state. He then asked for Colonel Kosch’s reaction, and the colonel said he certainly agreed with what Corbett had read. To which Corbett replied: ‘I rather thought you would. I have just read a passage from Mein Kampf.‘”
A conversation with Michael R. Ziglar, excerpted from We Have Just Begun to Not Fight, An Oral History of Conscientious Objectors in Civilian Public Service During World War II, by Heather Frazer and John O’Sullivan ©1996:
You base your pacifism on the Sermon on the Mount. Is that correct?
Well, “Thou shalt not kill” comes first, then the Crucifixion. I mean, they come and get you and crucify you and take you. That’s all. Just two things.
What do you say to people who attack your position as being too idealistic?
I go back to when I was talking to this general of the Marines. Get the churches to agree that they won’t kill each other. Just that simple. To pin it down, I went to the one pope, and I said, “You fight against abortion and birth control, buy you get up to 18 or 19 and it’s all right to kill people. How you get that now?” I went to the head Lutheran man, Franklin Fry. I said, “You have Lutherans in America, you have Lutherans in Germany, enough to sway the life of both nations, and you killed each other. How did you justify that and you fight against abortion and birth control and things like that? How do you justify that?” And the pope and Franklin Frye answered exactly the same way. Either one of those two organizations could have prevented two world wars if the Catholics wouldn’t have killed Catholics. I got that from a Marine general, I didn’t get that out of the bible, except that “Thou shalt not kill.”