Blessed are the Peacemakers

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Christmas is upon us this week, and for Christians, we not only celebrate with family, trees, and gifts. The birth of our Savior is the true reason we celebrate, and during this season, my family and I reflect on Christ’s teachings and their impact on our lives and our world.

I bring my faith into the public sphere – we all do if it is a part of who we are. That doesn’t mean we turn religious rules into laws.  Rather, it means that what informs our conscience informs our worldview. We should not be ashamed of this or think it improper. In fact, we should proclaim it so, that they may know us by our words and fruits.

The birth of our Christ was foretold by the prophet Isaiah, who declared him “the Prince of Peace.” Christ himself extolled the virtue of working for peace in the Beatitudes as he declared, “Blessed are the Peacemakers.”

Nowhere does he declare himself the Prince of War, or extol the virtues of those eager for war.

I bring this up because I believe too many of our leaders are too eager for war—too eager to sacrifice the lives of our sons and daughters on the altar of their nation-building worldview, one that has proved to be so wrong and so destructive.

The last century was the century of World Wars. There was WWI, the war to end all wars. Then there was the one after that, and the one after that.

I read All Quiet on the Western Front years ago, which told the horrors of trench warfare, in which millions of young men were led to their slaughter. Then I read Silent Night, the story of the Christmas Armistice, in which opposing troops came out of their trenches, exchanged gifts, and played soccer together. The dichotomy is quite striking.

For a brief moment in the middle of war, humanity won, and God’s light of peace broke through. It was short-lived, but it is repeatable if we seek it.

Ronald Reagan is regarded as a great conservative leader on foreign policy, and often rightly so. Reagan believes, as I do, in Peace through Strength. What too many Republicans have forgotten today is that peace was Reagan’s goal and it should be ours.

He responded to terror attacks by punishing the perpetrators, and even re-assessing a forward deployment of U.S. troops. He didn’t start nation building and policing the world. He didn’t seek to repeal chunks of the Bill of Rights. He didn’t get us involved in every civil war, and he didn’t bellicosely threaten to start World War III by shooting down Russian planes over Syria.

The rush to war, the bluster, and the posturing of my fellow candidates for President alarms me, and it should alarm every voter. Any leader who shows glee or eagerness for war should be disqualified from holding the office of Commander-in-Chief.

Those from both sides of the aisle favor enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria by shooting down Russian jets. They so desperately want to take sides in a civil war and topple another secular dictator in the Middle East, that they are willing to publicly and foolishly risk engaging in WWIII to do it.

Foolish bravado and campaign posturing should not be confused for strength.

Loudmouth bullying should never be confused for leadership.

I urge them to pause, to reflect, and to read.

Let’s study our recent history, which shows how our policies in the Middle East led to the rise of ISIS, cost us trillions of dollars and thousands of lives, and have left us less safe.

But let’s also study further back in history—back to the time we are celebrating this week. We can be strong and secure, while seeking Peace. And Peace is what we are commanded to seek as we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace.