Chapter 24 » 24.22

The dilemmas of the pacifist stand

Because of their personal experience and convictions, [early] Friends did not deny the reality of evil and of conflict. Nor did they equate conflict with evil. They were well aware of the suffering which a non-violent witness could bring in an imperfect world. This is in contrast to those who identify peace with the absence of conflict and value that above all things. It is the latter who have given modern pacifism its bad name and have led their critics to refer to them contemptuously as ‘passivists’. The failure to take evil and conflict into account as elements in our human condition and an obsession with the need for peace and harmony have led pacifists badly astray… Christian pacifists [are] not exempt from the temptation to sacrifice others for the sake of peace.

Wolf Mendl, 1974

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