How much does your congregation spend on peace education? It’s probably difficult to calculate, but it likely doesn’t equal the $26,000 the U.S. Army averages per recruit. This includes the recruiter’s salary, enlistment bonuses and advertising. If you have a youth group of ten, that’s $260,000 the Army is willing to spend just to enlist your youth. Caution: discussion on ethics, morals and spiritual impact will cost extra!
Peace education in our environment requires a serious investment in time, relationships, modeling and practice. It is a commitment the entire church must make if we want to take Jesus’ call to discipleship seriously.
One of the most effective ways to help youth struggle with questions of conscience that surround war is to share the experiences of Iraq War veterans who are now committed to peace. Veterans’ testimonies are available at co.mcc.org and conscienceinwar.org. Also at co.mcc.org is “A primer on military enlistment for pastors, youth counselors and mentors.”
Military regulations regarding enlistment are online at girightshotline.org. You can also call the GI Rights Hotline at (877) 447-4487 or contact Titus Peachey of MCC U.S. at (717) 859-1151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Titus Peachey is peace education coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee U.S.