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Any Problems with Just Peacemaking?

April 17, 2013

While Just Peacemaking is a great concept, there are some issues which can obstruct peacemaking or create a different problem. Not all of these are solvable. If a practitioner of just peacemaking keeps the shortcomings in mind as an identified weakness, they will be better able to address it in their process. One must be objective about the process of strengths and weaknesses of the just peacemaking process.

One of the weaknesses of just peacemaking is the concept of a redistribution of wealth. Many who hold to just peacemaking believe a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor would make a larger middle ground, a fairness one might say. This concept applies not only to individuals, but also to nations. Some would espouse a graduated method to redistribute wealth starting at appeals to coercion and ending at a forced redistribution. While this is an interesting concept, the blind spot in this idea is it disenfranchises one class (upper or rich) to enfranchise a different class (lower or poor), or in the case of nations to remove from the rich ones to give to the poor.

How could this idea be wrong? It sounds like a great idea on many levels, but misses a major thing. This is going to disenfranchise someone. To take from one and give to another is not a solution. It is a Band-Aid best. A forced redistribution will only create a new disenfranchised. A better method would be to offer radical tax incentives to people who donate to critical area charities. This would force a government to reduce spending since there would be less income, and provide a positive coercion to donate to those charities providing critical service needs.

Another downfall with this process is it can be mistaken to replace pacifism and the just war theory. It cannot replace them, but change the paradigm by providing the framework to bring about lasting peace, and open doors for communication between nations. Once these open dialogues have been established it should slow the march to war. Regardless, this method will not eliminate war.

Despite these shortfalls, as few as they are, this is the best place for Christians to hang their hat. It is a march toward peace. It could be considered an anchor slowing a ship that is drifting towards war. Matthew 5:9 states, Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” (ESV) This methodology is a proactive measure which reflects this scripture.

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