Guest / Limited Access /
John Paul Lederach was on his way home from Colombia on September 10. Instead, like thousands of others, he spent the next few days stranded at an airport, and reflecting on pacifism after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Lederach was due in class at Notre Dame, where he teaches international peacebuilding. Lederach has worked with Colombians for more than ten years, addressing that nation's bloody conflict. While stranded, Lederach pulled out his laptop computer and began to write.

A Mennonite and a pacifist, he drafted a wide-ranging proposal to treat the terrorists as criminals and to erode their networks from within their own cultures.

By the time Lederach arrived home, his piece had been posted online (www.mediate.com) and had gained wide readership among pacifists.

Global terrorism has provided a new challenge to the commitments of Lederach and other members of historic peace churches (mainly Quakers, Brethren, and Mennonites).

Lederach and others remain committed to pacifism. But many Christian pacifists have been shaken by the events of September 11.

Scott Simon, a National Public Radio reporter and a Quaker, said during a September 25 lecture that he had seen the "fatal flaw" of his former pacifism: "All the best people could be killed by all the worst ones."

In confronting terrorists, "the United States has no sane alternative but to wage war with. … unflinching resolution," he said. Simon repeated this declaration in a Wall Street Journal column.

Echoes of Simon's perspective rattled through many peace-church congregations. But in the weeks since, many activists have regained their footing. Largely drowned out by widespread support for the war on terrorism, they have begun carrying on an equally persistent alternative ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedTerrorists Kill Seven Missionaries in Burkina Faso
Terrorists Kill Seven Missionaries in Burkina Faso
(UPDATED) One of two kidnapped missionaries finally freed from al-Qaeda affiliate.
TrendingWheaton College, Larycia Hawkins to ‘Part Ways’
Wheaton College, Larycia Hawkins to ‘Part Ways’
Provost says he asked tenured professor for forgiveness, withdrew termination process.
Editor's Pick3 Reasons Election Season Is Good For You
3 Reasons Election Season Is Good For You
It’s easy to despair over candidates, but we have good reason to celebrate this time in our country’s life.
Christianity Today
Rethinking Pacifism
hide thisDecember 3 December 3

In the Magazine

December 3, 2001

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.