by Fr. John Dear, SJ
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
If you looked carefully at the news last week, you might have heard a report from Afghanistan about how the U.S./NATO forces bombed and killed eight Afghan women who were out walking in the mountains early in the morning before dawn to collect wood. Eight other women were seriously injured.
But you probably didn’t hear that story. Who cares about the death of eight Afghan women from our bombs?
So a few women were killed in our nation’s longest war in a remote mountainous region on the other side of the world. That’s the cost of war. That’s what we call “collateral damage.” There’s nothing that can be done. It was probably their fault anyway. They were probably Taliban rebels. Don’t give it another thought. What about poor Lindsay Lohan, Kate Middleton, or Katie Holmes? Now there’s a real story.
That’s what the culture of war would tell us.
The Gospel of peace suggests otherwise. Jesus always, always, always sides with those most marginalized, threatened and hurt by the culture of war, beginning with women and children. If we Christians take the Gospel seriously, then we know the nonviolent Jesus grieves for these women, welcomes them into paradise, and holds in contempt the forces of death that killed them. In other words, the nonviolent Jesus cares — and so should we who claim to follow him.
I know this sounds harsh and judgmental, but what is our response to our nation’s massacre of these eight women and the hundreds of other women and children we’ve killed in Afghanistan?…