Friday, April 29, 2016

Is it Wrong to Wish that Swords and Spears be made into Farming Tools?

A priest writing in the diocesan bulletin recalls the time he was with seminarians in their military reserve force training, required after discharged from the military. They were on the shooting range when one of the seminarians raised his hand and told the officer in charge: "I don't want to use the gun." The officer asked jokingly: "Did you have a  bad dream last  night?"  "I  was discharged as a soldier in the military chaplaincy," replied the seminarian, which got a laugh from the group.

Should it be a surprise for a soldier who was in the military chaplaincy to refuse a gun which is aimed at another human being to kill? Would it be strange for a Christian to refuse the use of a gun?

Recently, the conservative press with the doings in North Korea as they are, with the nuclear and rocket experimenting, there is movement to return tit for tat and expand the armament race. Seeing the response of Russia and China there has been a recent hesitancy on part of the conservative press.

The liberal press sees the power struggle between China and the United States as the problem and the build up of armaments. Talk about an anti-ballistic missile system will just increase the armament race and distance Korea from China. Lack of trust is a reason for the struggle in East Asia.

After presenting the conservative and liberal press response he gives us the  thinking of the bishops of Korea in an appeal by the president of the Korean Conference of Bishops.

The bishop was not happy with the returning to use of amplifying speakers for propaganda to the North and the withdrawal from the Kaesong Industrial Complex.(This was a joint venture in North Korea which was a source of income for the North) He also mentions the military maneuvers with the Americans that have brought more tension to the peninsular. 

The writer mentions in more detail what the military maneuvers entail, They were joint maneuvers with 20,000 American military and 30,000 Korea military lasting for almost 2 months with nuclear powered submarines, aircraft carriers,destroyers,and fighter aircraft. The only ones who will feel pleased are the militarists of Japan and the defense industry. China and Russia are not pleased and it makes for tension on the peninsular. Korea is one of the biggest importers of munitions and most of it from the defense industry of the United States.

The bishops would like both North and South to follow their previous declarations and agreements made together and to continue in that spirit.  Kaesong Industrial Project was a sign of working together and wants the closing to be reconsidered. They hope the six countries concerned will meet together for talks that will deal with the problems of the build up of armaments on the peninsular.

" He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They  shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks...." These words of Isaiah are the hope of the bishops and the Church of Korea.

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