Are the only alternatives for pacifist Christians in America either to withdraw into separated communities that remain (relatively) free of violence or to bracket their pacifist convictions while engaging in the public arena? This article, “Anabaptist Faith and American Democracy,” makes the case for a third approach.
This third approach follows from the belief that Jesus’ peaceable social ethics are ultimately meant for the entire world and that the call he has given his followers is to witness to his way to the ends of the earth. One helpful insight that should encourage American pacifist Christians is an awareness that we live in two Americas, the American republic (which is compatible with pacifism) and the American empire (which is not). One may oppose the American empire while still embracing (nonviolently) the American republic.