Theological Editions - Indepth daily religious news, views, reviews & key theological resources

In-depth religious news, views, reviews, features & resources for the thinking person



Liturgy & Prayer

News & Magazines


Texts & Resources


Were the Christian hostages really idiots for peace?
by Graeme J. Davidson, 31 March 2006

Peace doesn’t happen by throwing a coin into a wishing well. It takes courageous people to work at it in faith in places where there is no peace.

....Were they heroes or idiots? The controversy started soon after The Swords of Righteousness Brigade kidnapped Christian Peace Team (CPT) members Norman Kember, Tom Fox, James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, in Baghdad on 26 November.
....After appealing unsuccessfully for the US to release Iraqi prisoners, Tom Fox was shot in the head – CPT says an examination of his body found no evidence of torture – and Coalition forces rescued the remaining three last week.
....There’s certainly plenty of anger and cynicism over the peace activists. In a letter published in The Dominion Post on Tuesday, E Pickering insisted, “Coalition troops in Iraq have far more important work to do than waste time putting their lives at risk locating and rescuing inconsiderate and irresponsible idiots desiring martyrdom, and who have been warned not to travel to that country.”
....Iraq’s certainly a dangerous place. Anyone’s fair game. On the day of the hostage rescue, 33 Iraqis died in bomb attacks. Over 1000 Iraqis are slaughtered each month and there have been about 19,000 US military casualties since the Coalition went in. Forty out of 250 abducted foreigners have been murdered. Ninety journalists have died. Most now report from hotels or are embedded with the military.
....Ironically, in contrast to the peace activists, these journalists are criticised for not getting out of their safety zones and telling it how it really is.
Rosemary McLeod proclaimed in her column in The Dominion Post yesterday, “What a tedious thing it is to go to foreign countries where you are not wanted, in order to impose your beliefs on people who have far more serious things to think about – like survival, for example”.
....Does that mean, then, that we leave the pursuit of a just peace in Iraq in the hands of Islamic extremists, criminals released from prison by the tyrannical Saddam Hussein, suicide bombers, insurgents, the Iraqi forces and the Coalition – there without the backing of the UN and on the false pretext that weapons of mass destruction threatened the US and the UK? At least CPT is trying to do something positive for peace, which is more than can be said for their armchair critics.
....Rosemary McLeod should have done her homework. CPT is not a fundamentalist Christian organisation out to convert Muslims. It has its roots in the peace advocacy and human rights traditions of the Quakers and Mennonites, who believe Jesus discouraged violence and encouraged his followers to pursue peace.
....Nor are CPT volunteers publicity-seekers endangering the lives of others in pursuit of martyrdom.
....CPT has had teams working in hot spots like Israel-Palestine and Colombia for many years. It was involved in peace work within Iraq well before the Coalition forces invaded. In fact, Iraqis, including human rights workers and Iraqi Christians, welcomed the team as a non-violent, independent presence. The ex-hostages certainly weren’t “determined pests”, as Rosemary McLeod suggests.
....Nor were they do-gooder placard-waving simpletons shouting Arabic peace slogans. They lived in a typical Baghdad flat and kept a low profile, identifying with and helping empower their neighbours. The huge number of Muslims, inside and outside Iraq, who joined the plea for their release testifies to their effectiveness.
....The CPT website says its volunteers provide “first-hand, independent reports from the region, working with detainees of both United States and Iraqi forces, and training others in non-violent intervention and human rights documentation”.
....That’s similar to what other international humanitarian and human rights groups do – without the criticism. Where too are letters to the editor lambasting the few intrepid foreign correspondents who investigate Iraqi human rights abuses? They, too, could be captured and endanger the lives of their rescuers? Or are the criticisms only valid when Christians are involved?
....CPT and its volunteers stated repeatedly that in the event of a kidnapping, they did not want any violence used to free them. They said it was unfair to accuse them of expecting others to risk their lives when they had no control over who mounted the rescue.
....Peace doesn’t happen by throwing a coin into a wishing well. It takes courageous people to work at it in faith in places where there is no peace.
....That degree of faith is often lacking in the very people who should know better. In 2003, all but one of the mainstream US churches were against the war. Yet, according to a Gallup poll at that time, those in the pews didn’t share the views of their leaders. Regular churchgoers were the most pro war.
....If they have done nothing else, the selfless heroism of the CPT hostages reminds Christians of their role as peacemakers.
....Were the ex-hostages idiots?
....Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr suffered from similar accusations when they started their peace activism. And look what they achieved.




See also
Should we intervene to prevent suicide? >> more
Divorce risk indicator >> more
When you feel like you're sharing a bed with a stranger >> more
Surving the breakup >> more
Suicide terrorism as a desperate weapon of liberation >> more
Ned Flanders — popular face of Christianity >> more
Seven common myths about religion >> more
Moral divide between church leaders and laity >> more
Unholy silence over MPs hypocrisy and greed >> more
Anglican schism over gay clergy inevitable >> more
My agonising path to enlightenment >> more
More than ever, it's a time for generosity >> more
National's ethics smell of political expediency >> more
Pope's trip to Holy Land fraught with potholes >> more
The resurrection may have been superfluous >> more
Rasputin — from sinner and seducer to saint? >> more
Religious delusions and the Jerusalem syndrome >> more
Protest mild compared with Jesus' vandalism >> more
What Castro and Obama have in common >> more
Holidays can revive romance or widen cracks between couples >> more
Dubious scholarship reinterprets Jesus to fit secular creed >> more
Furore over gay marriage echoes the conflict over slavery >> more
If only politics were as certain as dear old granny >> more
You've got to have faith to win the White House >> more
The problem of evil >> more
TV Programmers let lose Roman circus >> more
Prostitutes welcome in the kingdom of God but not in Dannevirke >> more
Church too busy navel-gazing to take lead over crime >> more
Will the Anglican Church split over gay clergy and same-sex unions? >> more
Faith in secular western society >> more
The Vatican's pelvic theology >> more
Abuse and the Beijing Olympics >> more
Would the real Jesus stand up? >> more
Hypersensitivity perverts ethics >> more
God and presidential hopefuls >> more
A three-ghetto church based on politics >> more
Good and bad intentions >> more
Deliver us from exorcists who harm >> more
How effective is prayer? >> more
Masters of non-violence, resistance and kung fu >> more
Was Mother Teresa living a lie? >> more
Double standards over child sex abuse >> more
Soppy inspirational and pseudo-spiritual emails >> more
Caring organisations and pyschopathic bosses >> more
The new anti-religious evangelists >> more
Call for religious education could backfire >> more
Blessing creatures great & small — but what about blowflies? >> more
Does God exist only in the brain? >> more
The Prudes who crucify >> more
tomb raiders and the bones of Jesus and his family? >> more
Jesus loves Osama >> more
Is God more like a matchbox or a number? >> more
Confessions of a failed axe murderer >> more
Bacchanalian festivals and sentimentality >> more
Manners: insignificant social customs? >> more
The 109 fighting boys >> more
Trying to exhume the historical Jesus >> more
Is global violence really on the increase? >> more
Polygamy, circumcision, atheist journalists and religious diversity >> more
The Christian Right stands by Israel out of a misguided theology  >> more 
What a rat taught me >> more
The Church is becoming a retirement hobby for granny clergy >> more 
Is there an anti-Christian conspiracy in Hollywood? >> more
Have church schools sold out on Christianity? >> more
How good a Christian is President George W Bush? >> more

Hitler, Lawyers, Politicians SUV owners and life after death >> more

Were the Christian hostages really idiots for peace? >> more
Infidelity: in hot pursuit of a better organsm or better intimacy? >> more
Skulduggery and controversy over discovery of religious texts >> more
The cartoons aren't about secular freedoms versus intolerance >> more

Christian Zionists hinder justice and peace in the Middle East >> more

Should making more money be your New Year's resolution? >> more
My early life as a black sheep in a nativity scene >> more
Different types of suicide bomber: what makes them tick >> more
Cheating a short cut to sucess in winner-take-all society >> more
Life after death: Is it logically possible? >> more
Is it Anglican to practise apartheid? >> more
Da Vinci Code unlocks controversy>> more
Bishops' statement: pompous, pious, out of touch and verging on the heretical >> more 
Church leaders unconvincing over prostitution law reform >> more
Divorce risk factors >> more
How global are we?  A Christian's view of globalisation >> more
Victims of dirty tricks & friendly fire: Machiavellian tactics in the Church militant >> more
A redundant resurrection >> more
War, violence, ethics, religion and hypocrisy >> more
If St Peter was interviewed for ordination today >> more
13 ways to empty a church without really trying >> more
How tolerant is the Museum of Tolerance? >> more
A church comes out and reconciliation divides >> more
Micah's dream — too much to ask? >> more
Has the revised Anglican Church in New Zealand instigated a benign form of religious apartheid? >> more
The case for St Judas Iscariot >> more
Exorcism: the ministry of deliverance >> more