Last week, Vice President Mike Pence, who asserts that he is a faithful Christian, claimed that we need a military force in space because space “is a warfighting domain just like land and air and sea.” Apparently, no place in God’s creation is safe from human violence. Pence went on to say that “it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space … America will always seek peace, in space and on the earth. But history proves that peace only comes through strength.” Of course, by strength he means the force of violence.*
Vice President Pence should read his Bible. He should also read history books. If he did, he would know that strength, dominance, and violence never lead to peace.
What Pence said was anti-Christian. It was literally anti-Christ, for Jesus said, “Those who live by the sword die by the sword.”
But Trump and Pence want to be the heroes who use violence to dominate and protect us from some “enemy.” So, you know what they have to do? They have to make up an enemy. Whether it’s China, Iran, Russia, immigrants, Muslims, the media, brown people, black people, gay people, poor people – to them the scapegoat of the day doesn’t matter. As long as they have a villain to be against they can claim to be the heroes who bring peace through strength, dominance, and violence. But human history shows that that strategy has never led to peace. It only leads to an escalation of violence that threatens the world.
Fortunately, Jesus offers another way. Instead of multiplying swords and weapons of war, Jesus multiplies bread to feed the hungry. Instead of claiming to be a heroically violent messiah who defeats the bad guys, Jesus claims to be the bread of life who feeds all people – especially the poor, the immigrant, the marginalized, and those in need of healthcare. The Spirit of Christ is the love that pulsates throughout space and time and you and me and all of creation.
Our greatest hope for true peace is not in heroes of violence who lust for domination and power over others. Our greatest hope is in Christ’s nonviolent force of love that seeks justice and mercy for all.
*This reflection is adapted from a sermon that you can watch here.