Just Peace Council: Priorities for 2014
There are many avenues for our congregational engagement of local and international concerns. These priorities will form the core of our Council work and will help to keep us focused amidst a myriad of concerns for peace-making.
Militarism and Creation Care: Following Nekeisha’s challenging Peace Lecture on the enmeshment of militarism and treatment of non-human animals, Seattle Mennonite Church has been invited to consider signing a “Mennonite Resolution on Robotic Warfare”. (see below) Peter Lumsdaine, from Evergreen Mennonite Church, has been seeking Washington Mennonite Fellowship support for this resolution, with the intention of bringing it to the area conference and eventually to Mennonite Church USA. Peter has been invited to come to SMC in early April to present on the issues at stake for earth and all its inhabitants. Volunteers are invited to form a ministry team to facilitate SMC’s engagement of this resolution in April/May.
Radical Hospitality: In 2009??, Seattle Mennonite affirmed the gift and calling to be welcoming and hospitable. “We desire that all who enter here may be received as Christ. We celebrate and affirm the image of God in persons of every age, gender, race, ability, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, and strive to find common ground on which to build relationship with our neighbors near and far.” Volunteers are invited to form a ministry team to discern specific opportunities to help congregation to live into this calling in May/June.
Doctrine of Discovery (DoD): In 2013, Seattle Mennonite affirmed a statement which repudiated the ‘Doctrine of Discovery” and committed the congregation to ally itself with the experience of indigenous people. Seattle Mennonite can follow this commitment with opportunities to listen and learn from the experience of indigenous people, and volunteers are invited to form a ministry team to prepare opportunities for the church to deepen our understanding of the impact of the DoD on indigenous people and explore our identity as settlers in October/November.
Contact any member of the Just Peace Council to volunteer or ask questions: Lee Murray, Ken Kraybill, Ann Marchand, Rita Kowats, Guillermo Carvajal, Bob Kauffman, Ana Lena Melka (Spiritual Leadership Team Rep) or Jonathan Neufeld (Pastor)
Mennonite Resolution on Robotic Warfare
Whereas for nearly 500 years Mennonites have stood in faithful witness to Christ’s teachings of compassion and love of enemies, steadfastly opposing the terrible violence of war;
Whereas, in 20th and early 21st centuries, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has worked tirelessly, while opposing war in general, to expose and curb particularly terrible wars and weapons systems, including efforts to ban land mines and cluster munitions, as well as supporting international effort to outlaw chemical, biological and nuclear arms;
Whereas internationally renowned military scholars such as Dr. P.W. Singer (director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution) warn that “robots on and above the battlefield are bringing about the most profound transformation of warfare since the atom bomb” (July 2010 Scientific American);
Whereas the church has often played a key role in speaking as a prophetic voice on war, slavery, and other deep societal concerns:
Therefore we as Mennonites, as Christians, as people seeking to follow Jesus Christ, resolve:
(1) That the increasingly powerful and autonomous machines known as drones, robotic weapons and military robots should be viewed with profound concern;
(2) That the particularly worrisome threat which mechanized and increasingly powerful autonomous or semi-autonomous killing machines pose to humanity should place them in the same category as chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, along with land mines and cluster munitions;
(3) That in addition we view with profound spiritual concern and dismay efforts to manufacture multitudes of synthetic artificial “life forms” through the accelerating merger of robotics and biotechnology, posing incalculable risks to the integrity of God’s natural Creation, the natural life forms of the Earth, including humanity;
(4) we support conscientious efforts to bring these perilous developments into the light of public scrutiny, to nonviolently challenge them, and to declare that the key to real security lies not in robotic weapons but in God’s call to love our neighbors and even our enemies.