As the longest war in US history enters its 11th year on October 6, it’s time to say “Enough!” War, as Martin Luther King Jr said, is “an enemy of the poor” and has brought us to the worst economic decline in nearly 100 years. As I’ve said earlier, “We’re scheduled to spend $113 Billion in Afghanistan in 2011 alone, good money we don’t have that could easily be used for good causes here at home. We’ve also lost over 1500 service men and women, with 10,000 wounded.”  Military Spending in Context pointed out that “the United States will spend more on the war in Afghanistan this year, adjusting for inflation, than we spent on the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War combined.” When it comes to war I say: Enough!

But the war, the deaths, the occupation and exploitation, all come marching home again. Martin Luther King Jr. went out of his way to connect poverty with war. On April 4, 1967 he said in his speech From Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence :

There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

War is not just an enemy of the poor, but a catalyst of poverty, both at home and abroad. Republican President Eisenhower famously said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.” By those standards, there is an ever-growing number of folks we’re stealing from every day. The corporate greed which has seen skyrocketing salaries for the uber-rich while resources are cut from our most vulnerable is a catastrophic moral failure. The outrageous waste of money, resources, fuel and human work hours on the arms race is an industrial and creative crisis. And the channeling of poor families into the military to fight wars they do not support and did not have a say in is wrong. When it comes to neglect, demonization, and creation of the poor I say: Enough!

In his article about the World Council of Church’s efforts to wage a just peace in place of the obsolete Just War theory, Andre Gingerich Stoner urges “Christians to stop building, training with or paying for these weapons.” Sunday was “World Communion Sunday,” a day Christians orient ourselves to the global body of Christ which demands a higher allegiance than we give to any nation state. Christ’s church has no walls, no borders, and no military. And her members live radically different lives than those whose concepts of “sovereignty” are limited to governments. As one Protestant Reformer said, ““The Prince of Peace is Jesus Christ. We who were formerly no people at all, and who knew of no peace, are now called to be a church of peace. True Christians do not know vengeance. They are the children of peace. Their hearts overflow with peace. Their mouths speak peace, and they walk in the way of peace.” When it comes to Christian support of Obama’s “Good War,” I say: Enough!

Enough of war; enough of poverty; enough militaristic christianity.

This is not the only possible way to live. It’s how we’re choosing to live today. Will we choose it for another 10 years?

We certainly don’t have to. Join me in waging peace, not war, and share in following:

  • We will repent for ways we have contributed to this war
  • We will pray for peace, justice and reconciliation
  • We will renew our commitment to teach peace to every generation and to provide youth with meaningful alternatives to military service
  • We will encourage and call people from our congregations to serve on Christian Peacemaker Team delegations around the world
  • We will offer our support to local military personnel and their families as they deal with the trauma of this war
  • We will reach out in friendship to local Muslims
  • We will join our voices with many other people of faith who are calling for our national leaders to end the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, recognizing that such visibility is fueling a growing insurgency movement and adding to the daily suffering of ordinary Afghani’s.

Enough of war! It’s time to wage peace.