Peace through what?

On my way to babysit my nephew this morning, I saw a Jeep in front of me with a bumper sticker. I could see the word “Peace” from far away, and was happy to see someone shamelessly plugging a foreign concept. But as I got closer, I saw, that in fact it was a bumper sticker that looked like this:

Suffice it to say, I was miffed at the (what I see as) contradictory terms, Peace and Superior Firepower. I thought maybe it was a joke, a jab at the NRA or the Bush Administration. But I looked at other bumper stickers on the car, and nothing about them suggested that this was an anomaly. 

While the bumper sticker is pretty ridiculous, it follows in a Stalin-esque line of logic: that you have to break eggs to make an omlette. If you demonstrate your power over others, even if it costs lives, eventually you will have a certain type of peace and stability. In other words, the ends justify the means. 

But we learn from Gandhi and MLK that we can never look at ends as separate from their means. That means are an end unto themselves. Peace through violent means is no peace at all. And from a Christian perspective, Christ’s example on the cross is one that accepts violence, not inflicts it. 

This bumper sticker sums up in a cute expression the problem of government peacemaking. Followers of Jesus have been called to be peacemakers, and when we are not fulfilling our call, this is what happens. More broken eggs.


One comment

  1. ric booth · August 26, 2008

    Peace through Intimidation… hmmm… doesn’t seem to be actually working now does it. Oddly enough the bumper sticker is wrong from a historical perspective as well. The limited peace the world knows of is only achieved when there is a balance of power. Great post Brian.

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