Emmitsburg Council of Churches


Do Peace Activists Hate
 Their Country?

When United States citizens demonstrate for a peaceful resolve in place of war and when citizens demand that their elected officials undertake a rational energy policy that does not include a long term dependence on a finite oil economy, should these citizens be accused of hating their country? I say absolutely not. The citizen activists who are speaking out against what they feel is an unjust basis for war against Iraq are not unpatriotic nor are they haters of America. To the contrary, they are living examples of what being an American citizen is all about. Throughout our history we have been a people who speak out when we become convicted by conscience and by reason that injustices are being proposed or practiced that will adversely affect the welfare of our own citizens or the welfare of other peoples throughout the world. It is the right and duty of citizens in a free democracy to protest and to make their grievances known when they perceive that their views are not being represented by the elected leadership.  

Those who express their disagreement with the Bush administration's plans should be appreciated for their willingness to speak out for what they feel is the right course for the country and for the world at this critical juncture in history. Even the President, although disagreeing with peace activists, declared that "democracy is a beautiful thing, and that people are allowed to express their opinion." People who speak out for the good of humanity and for the good of their country ought not be persecuted nor sneered at. On the contrary, they ought to be shown respect as they publicly offer the light of their deepest human and spiritual convictions.

Consider for a moment why anyone who "hates their country" would take the time and effort to plead with their nation's elected officials to exercise peaceful diplomacy rather than reckless militarism. Persons who are willing to speak on behalf of peace for their nation are indeed practicing loyalty to all that the nation stands for -- "freedom and liberty for all." Why would anyone who "hates their country" open themselves up to public ridicule by openly demonstrating for what they feel is going to be the best course of action for their country. Maintaining and bolstering the United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq seems like a far more logical step toward insuring our nation's and the world's security than the option of a preemptive strike.

When America's citizens assemble for the purpose of speaking out peacefully against their nation's policy of "going it alone" against Iraq, we do not hate our country, we are expressing our love and concern for this nation's standing before God and before billions of witnesses from the nations of the world who are watching to see if America will become what it has always sought to deter -- an aggressor nation. May the peace vigils continue and may our nation be peace loving rather than war provoking.

Read more writings of Pastor Jon