Gandhi, Jesus and Bush

I was reading the news tonight and it appears that President Bush will be laying a wreath at the Gandhi memorial in India. It’s ironic that the apostle of pre-emptive war is laying a wreath at the memorial to a man who symbolized non-violence. I was one of the many people who wrote tirelessly to our President in the days leading up to March 2003 and our invasion of Iraq. In many of those letters I appealed to our President’s love of Jesus and reminding him of the Sermon on the Mount and his command to “love one another as I have loved you.”

In April or May of 2003 I received a letter from the Whitehouse stating as I remember that the President appreciated hearing from me but that he knew best, Saddam had weapons of mass destruction etc. You’ve heard the litany ad nauseam by now. Mr. Bush said a pre-emptive war was justified. Those of us who counseled against such action were labeled by many of our country men as weak willed and un-patriotic. Now as Iraq spins closer and closer to civil war and over 2200 Americans are dead, 16,000 more grievously wounded, and probably 200,000 Iraqis dead, the wisdom of non-violent solutions is looking a little more realistic.

The opponents of non-violence always state that you can’t use non-violence against tyrants like Hitler and Saddam and therefore force is required. I guess these folks haven’t read about the spread of Christianity in the last 2000 years. There are regrettable cases of zealous missionaries who subjected native peoples to horrible crimes, but on balance the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been spread by people who were divinely inspired to turn the other cheek. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. both proved that Gospel non-violence can topple empires. Gandhi brought down the British control of India. King faced down terrorists in our country who were hell bent on his destruction and the subjugation of America’s black population.

Most of the opponents of non-violence have never really tried it. It doesn’t take much intellect to determine that if you throw a rock at someone there is a good chance that the rock will come back at you. There is also an excellent chance that if you return good for bad that your enemy will be converted and that the strife will end. I hope that when the President visits India and lays a wreath at the Gandhi memorial that his heart will be changed.