Friday, April 24, 2015

"What cursed, wicked abomination and traffic!"

Dutch Anabaptist Leader Menno Simons (1496-1561) minced no words in his opposition to military violence.

In Menno's day, warfare mostly involved bloody hand-to-hand carnage carried out with lance and spear, in which men clubbed, stabbed and lacerated one another to death in unimaginably horrific ways. With the later invention of gunpowder and ever more efficient and brutal means of killing, now including drone strikes, engaging in war would be even more unthinkable for a follower of Jesus like Simons.

Here are some quotes from The Complete Writings of Menno Simons:

Captains, knights, foot soldiers, and similar bloody men risk body and soul for the sake of gain, and swear with uplifted fingers that they are ready to destroy cities and countries, to take citizens and inhabitants, to kill them and take their possessions, although these have never harmed them nor given them so much as an evil word.

Since we are to be conformed to the image of Christ, how can we then fight our enemies with the sword? Spears and swords of iron we leave to those who, alas, consider human blood and swine's blood of well-nigh equal value.

O God, what cursed, wicked abomination and traffic! And they call that protecting the country and the people, and assisting in justice!
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