The following is a reflection on the potential use of military force by the United States on the current Syrian government by CRCDS M.Div. student Kathy Thiel.
What comes to my mind when I think about the US becoming forcefully involved in the situation in Syria are the words of Martin Luther King Jr. on non-violence. What comes to my heart is sadness. If the United States uses violence against Syria, we are ignoring faith of any kind that this situation will resolve itself without our intervention.
Sadness comes from knowing that, within the City of Rochester, many people struggle daily with drug addictions, peer pressure, domestic abuse, bullying and other violent acts. The money, time and energy that have already been spent by the United States on Syria’s civil war could make a difference in the life of a child here in our own city. Rochester is only one of the many cities in the United States with profound needs.
If we use our weapons against Syria we are not only ignoring the words of Dr. King, but we are also putting faith on the back burner when it does best in our breast pocket. Using weapons would also mean pouring fuel on the fire of a world that understands how to start wars and fight wars; a world that knows how to honor and mourn the dead; a world that cares for the families of the dead. But the world does not yet know how to refrain from starting wars. Perhaps it is time to start from the top. If the White House can be an example of non-violence, what kind of message might that relay to those who need a positive role model for non-violent solutions?
If we begin with non-violence and love, and if we have the faith to know it will make a positive difference in this world, we are that much closer to knowing peace in our time. The writer of Ecclesiastes said it is possible: “There is a time for everything…under the heavens….a time for peace.” The 1960s folk music icons the Byrds and Pete Seeger added, “I swear it’s not too late.”