by Joan Chittister, osb in NCR
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

It’s all very ironic.

It’s very difficult to talk about peace in the United States without starting a fight. There’s at least one in every crowd who hail the strongman need for keepers of the peace who are willing to fight in order to keep it. 

Those types were there at the beginning. They were the ones who were in favor of suppressing Native Americans by moving them off their own land now that we were here and declared that land ours. Then, astonishingly, called themselves “peacekeepers” when Indigenous people fought back.

And they were still here 350 years later when we dropped two planet-splitting bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki — despite the fact that the end of the war was already in sight — in order to see which bomb could do the most damage. In case we needed to use it again … to keep the peace, of course.

It all comes down to a view of the world that teaches “take what you want and threaten what you must” to “keep the peace.” Then everyone will all be happy — as the beatitude says.


Unless, of course, being peaceful is not about squashing disagreement and obliterating whomever stands in our way. Unless it’s about not fighting, or destroying life and traditions and whole swaths of people who are simply different than we are.

The problem is that the Jesus who died on a cross and would not fight to descend it leaves us looking for ways to keep the peace without suppressing and destroying the rest of society to get it…

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