Fr. Dale Matson
“So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” (Romans 14:19, NASB).
Mad Magazine performed wonderful parodies of popular culture starting at ten cents an issue in the 1950s. I didn’t start collecting Mad Magazines until they were 25 cents an issue. During this time there was also a popular TV western in the late 1950s to the early 1960s called “The Rifleman” starring Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain with Johnny Crawford as his son Mark. It seemed like lots of people were killed by the custom rifle of Lukas McCain every week all in the name of justice and peace.
I am reminded of a Mad Magazine takeoff on The Rifleman called “The Rifle, Man”. Here Lucas went into town to be greeted by a fellow citizen. "Howdy Lucas, who you going to kill this time?" the man called. "You, you loud mouth troublemaker!" Lucas answered just before gunning the man down. "You shot him because you wanted things nice and peaceful, huh, Pa?" asked Mark. "Yeah, son," replied Lucas as he walked away. "Just look at him lying there. There isn’t anything more peaceful than a dead man."
Today, I read in the paper that the U.S. and NATO had bombed more targets in Libya to protect the rebels. Is this preemptive justice? In past weeks Muammar Gaddafi's youngest son and 3 grandchildren were killed in a NATO airstrike. I am saddened and bothered by this. How can we consider ourselves a humane country when we target civilians; when we murder children? I understand that we are conducting a war on terror and have no doubt that terrorists will attempt to strike here in the U.S. again. However, there is something very troubling about how quickly we seem to be drawn into new conflicts that have ill-defined goals and inevitable mission creep. We have been a nation of peace and even renamed our “Department of War” the “Department of Defense” following World War II.
Professional soldiers and drones distance us from what we are doing in other countries; to the killing of other human beings. I was a draftee and you can be certain, when draftees were killed in Viet Nam, it was reported every night on the news. Stop all of this killing. We are better than this.
“They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4).