But I say to you that hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you (Luke 6:27-28).

With these words, Jesus placed an eternal obstacle in the way of war. This obstacle has been repeatedly pushed aside by the nations as they have found endless justifications for hating and making war with one another.

All the wars to end war have failed to keep their promise. They have not brought peace but have instead only entrenched war itself as the characteristic way nations deal with their deepest conflicts. . . .

Reviving our capacity to love has become an urgent political necessity as the superpowers come to regard millions of their neighbors as nothing more than expendable enemy populations in a nuclear exchange. We face unimaginable destruction unless our hearts are enlarged to recognize a neighbor in the face of our enemy. The possibility of nuclear annihilation shows Jesus' simple but long-ignored exhortation to love our enemies to be a politically relevant and necessary position. . . .

Refusing the call to arms is based on the fundamental moral reality that there is no longer any threat greater than war itself. . . .

The members of Sojourners Fellowship have determined to refuse the call to arms at every point, including registration for the draft. Further, we advocate that others likewise refuse. Specifically, we encourage young men and women to refuse to register for the draft and support them in that position. We regard this as our pastoral responsibility, and would invite others who have specific pastoral care for young people to consider it their responsibility as well. For those above draft age, the present situation should occasion a fresh look at the contradiction of paying for war with our tax dollars and at the risks we are taking for peace.

In the past, the church has told its pacifists that their position was important but politically irrelevant. Now the very real prospect of nuclear war shows Jesus' words to be supremely relevant. All complicated arguments and theological distinctions between "just" and "unjust" war must give way to the reality of nuclear war.

In ignoring Jesus' words, we in the church have sacrificed our vocation of being an obstacle to war. We must reclaim that vocation now.

(From "Refusing The Call to Arms," by Jim Wallis, March 1980)
For further information, contact: Sojourners, 2401 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009;

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