Today I Am Skipping An Assembly

The following is a true story. It is an essay I wrote when I was 16. While it is tempting to edit it, I offer it here in all of its innocent teenaged glory. It illustrates my early pacifist formation and my struggles with how best to live that out in a public school setting. I hope it will serve as encouragement to any young person willing to take a tough stand for peace today.

Today I am skipping an assembly.

I don’t like doing anything against the rules of the school, but Jesus’ rules come first. In the assembly, John Marsh, Secretary of the Army, will give the Charter to the JROTC they are forming here at Meridian High. I hope everything goes well, but I’m not going to it. I can’t go to an assembly whose idea is totally military. The JROTC keeps prime material for the army. Then when those kids grow up they’ll probably join the Service.

Jesus loves everybody and He died for everybody, including the Communists and everyone else the American government terms “enemies.” Jesus said that we should love our enemies.

On most of our money we have a motto. It is “In God We Trust.” If we trust in God, why do we have Armed Forces? If we trusted in God and had faith in Him, we wouldn’t need Armed Forces. God would fight our battles for us. And by showing love instead of hate and contempt, we would know even if the countries or people didn’t change, that what we were doing was right and that the Lord was with us. America doesn’t trust in God. It trusts in guns.

Jesus also said we should pray for our enemies. How can we pray for our enemies in the morning and then go out and train to kill that same someone we prayed for? Christianity and the Armed Forces don’t mix. If we truly follow Jesus whose whole life was centered around peace and love, then we cannot participate in something that is totally opposite of what Jesus stood for. We as Christians should know that following Jesus as best we can does not mean that we should disobey the things he taught. If we are followers of Him then we should put everything aside.

Jesus died for you and me and everyone else and He is the only way. Jesus wouldn’t want a JROTC, or Army, Navy, etc. that kills people He loves and died for.

1983

Originally posted here November 2011

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