Why I Am a Pacifist

This column is dedicated to my dad, Michael Moreland, who introduced me to the writing of Wendell Berry and who gave me the essay that inspired this piece. This essay also ran on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum

Until very recently, if you had asked me to describe my spiritual and intellectual leanings on the matter of warfare, I would not have described myself as a pacifist. In fact, I have distanced myself from pacifism in conversations with various friends and intellectual sparing partners, choosing instead to be counted among the students of the Christian just-war tradition; to my mind this provided a tidy loophole that allowed me to be in favor of violence that prevents greater violence, establishes justice, or wins a greater, longer-lasting peace.

I’ve changed my mind. Now I am a pacifist.
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Justin’s Bones

This column was published on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on January 8, 2007

“My God, is there any sin worse than indifference?”–from Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen

Last month, while hiking in the woods along Big River, near my hometown of Mendocino on California’s North Coast, my ten-year-old nephew Justin found the skeletal remains of a young man who had been missing for twenty seven years. Continue reading