A Pacifist Celebrating Those Who Fight in Wars?
As an Anabaptist, I am a pacifist. Pacifism is defined differently by many people. In the past year or so, I’ve struggled with defining exactly what it means for me. The World English Dictionary defines pacifism as “the belief that violence of any kind is unjustifiable and that one should not participate in war.” I don’t agree with war of any kind. I never have.
So it leaves me in a little bit of a predicament in celebrating a day celebrated here in Canada called “Remembrance Day.” This day is celebrated every year on November 11th. It is a day where we are supposed to remember those who have fought in wars. As someone who doesn’t support war, I don’t know what to do with this day.
Are We Really Free?
When I’ve started talking about not knowing what to do with Remembrance Day with my brothers, they make the comment that war is the reason we’re a free country. But I’ve started wondering, are we really “free?” And what do we gain from this so-called freedom?
A little over a week ago, my aunt passed away from her fourth bout of cancer and it has caused me once again to think of life in view of eternity. I feel like this “freedom” we are supposed to have is more just freedom to be more immoral. We aren’t really free from the threat of being bombed. We do seem to be free to flaunt our sexuality, though, with what sells and what is rampant in Hollywood and the entertainment industry.
In the past while, I’ve really doubted that we are free to believe what we want. One specific example is in regards to homosexuality. I don’t agree with homosexuality and I feel like I’m not allowed to have that opinion. Someone will probably call me homophobic just because I think homosexuality is a sin even though I’m not scared of it. Am I “free” to have this opinion? It depends on what your definition of “free” is.
In some ways, I think North America is worse off in view of eternity than a lot of other countries. In some countries that aren’t considered “free” according to North American standards, true Christianity is rising while true Christianity is declining rapidly in North America.
Remembering Those Who “Fought” For My Faith
All this thought about what I believe and wondering about whether we are actually free, has muddied the waters even more for me about what to do with Remembrance Day. So this year, I plan to celebrate it a little differently. I plan to remember those who “fought” for what I believe. (I use “fought” in quotations because they never used violence, although they were persecuted.)
During the Reformation, the Protestants split from the Catholics, which a lot of people know if they’ve heard about the Reformation. However, fewer people know about the Anabaptists who also rose up during this time. They initially were with the Protestants but felt the Protestants didn’t go far enough in their reformation of Christianity and split from them and became their own faction.
The Anabaptists were persecuted because they opposed the church which was together with the state. They were tortured, drowned, burned at the stake, had their tongues ripped out, etc. Despite all this persecution, they never resisted or fought back with violence. The church and state tried to snuff out the Anabaptist belief but they didn’t succeed and the persecution fueled the spread of it.
These Anabaptists are my forefathers and my ancestors. They endured a lot for what they believed and play a huge part in me believing what I do today. They have influenced my life immensely even though this happened over 400 years ago. This Remembrance Day, I plan to remember these forefathers that suffered for their faith and have played a huge part in my faith.