Two presidential election cycles ago (2004), I published an essay reflecting on how committed Christian pacifists in the Anabaptist tradition might function as citizens of the United States.
I understand my main argument to be that we have to work within three stories: (1) the Anabaptist story of costly commitment to witness to Jesus’ way, (2) the democracy story that reflects a commitment in our country to participation in the social order by all people in a society, and (3) the empire story that all too often has characterized the United States and our way in the world.
I suggest that those committed to story #1 who live in a society that at least to some extent retains a commitment to story #2, should exert all the energy they can to critique and try to counter story #3.
Given present day debates among peace advocates in the United States around our current presidential election, I thought I might take the chance to post this article on this website.
Ted Grimsrud. “Anabaptist Faith and American Democracy.” Mennonite Quarterly Review 78.3 (July 2004), 341-62.
Here also is a post I put up on my Thinking Pacifism blog on September 30, 2012, that explains why I will vote (ambivalently) for Barack Obama this time.
Try reading John Howard Yoder’s Politics of Jesus, chapters 8 and 10 for an argument for how this can be done—though he, like me, would deny the use of “delegate” for recognizing what it means to live as a pacifist in a non-pacifist world nonetheless governed by God, in part through the fallen Powers.
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