Former anti-war activist now pro-war?

By Dr. David PenceBY ED FELIEN

David Pence, in almost two full pages of the Sunday Star Tribune editorial pages on Aug. 31, wrote a piece, “The influence of religion,” that almost screams for a Crusade against Muslims.  According to Pence, it is not so much the oil in Iraq or the opium or mineral wealth in Afghanistan that is the mechanism of war as much as “the deep communal loyalties of religion and nation.”  And, if you accept the fixed determinants of religion, then he seems to be advocating for a Judeo-Christian Jihad in determining “Who can [emphasis in the original] be our allies?  Who must [emphasis in the original] be our foes?”
It was particularly sad for me to read this because I knew David almost 50 years ago when he was an earnest Catholic conscientious objector to the war in Vietnam.  He went to prison for those beliefs.  I have always respected and admired him for that commitment.
His experience as a Catholic should have taught him that the assertion of religious conservatism (whether Christian, Jewish or Islamic fundamentalism) is really just a last ditch reaction against the inevitability of progress.  The Right to Life movement and the unconstitutional bans on gay marriages were at one time majority Catholic values, but they gave way eventually to the recognition that women should have the right to control their own reproductive systems and people should be allowed to love whomever they choose.
Likewise, it seems inevitable that Islamic fundamentalists will have to eventually accommodate a more modern view of the rights of women and a more balanced view of the world.
Faith is a comfort for those locked in darkness, but its strictures are loosened with the introduction of light.

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