I am a pacifist because I can’t sit by and do nothing while people suffer September 28, 2012 | 07:57 pm

I am a pacifist. I am a pacifist because it means actively opposing the cycle of violence instead of passively participating within it. I am a pacifist because the moral high ground is not just a nice place to be, but is a weapon against misery and self-hatred and self-destruction.

I am a pacifist because Jesus said to be one. Peter echoed him. I am a pacifist because they were pretty clear about what they were saying, and I take scripture seriously.

I am a pacifist because nineteen hundred years after Jesus ended his life dedicated to his pacifism, Gandhi proved that returning love for evil can conquer evil empires. I am a pacifist because there was a man who suffered for glory through Gandhi’s pacifism and who loved Jesus’ teachings, and he created a new way of thinking about economics which is more sustainable than our system that needs endless consumption and malignant growth.

I am a pacifist because groups like the Nonviolent Peaceforce and movements like Arab Spring demonstrably do more for the long-term welfare of a region than any amount of arming rebels.

I am a pacifist because, like General Eisenhower, I recognize that every bomb or missile or battleship that is built is ultimately a theft from the welfare of our nation. I am a pacifist because, like General Smedley Butler, I understand that the armies follow the dollars of the corporations, not the heart of the nation. I am a pacifist because I believe in freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and forcing citizens to give up money to illegal and unjust wars against their conscience is an immoral and unconstitutional act. I am a pacifist because I do not want to be a part of any group that coerces and compels other people to damage their bodies and souls and to kill innocents on our command—even if that group calls itself a government.

I am a pacifist because it is time that we recognize that compassion is not a just sentiment: it is the basis of a very real and proven spiritual technology. I am a pacifist because studies in mirror neurons, meditation, and interconnected sustainability are scientifically validating the pacifist claims of centuries of mystics and philosophers, and I take both science and mysticism seriously. I am a pacifist because the more we discover about our world on all fronts, the more we discover that active, loving responses to those around us work out for the best for all of us.

For more information, I’d encourage you to read The Search for a Nonviolent Future.