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10 Questions To Ask When Orthodox Peace Fellowship Visits Your Parish

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In the document "A Plea for Peace," OPF posits a doctrine of moral equivalence when it states that, "Saddam Hussein is an enemy of the United States and of the people of Iraq, but we declare that there are better ways to respond to terrorism than to respond in kind." (http://incommunion.org/resources/iraq.asp)

  1. Is the US action in Iraq equivalent to terrorism?
  2. Are the US soldiers in Iraq terrorists?
  3. Is moral equivalence the governing moral doctrine in all OPF deliberations about warfare?
  4. If so, were the Allied forces during WWII no different than the Gestapo? If not, is the pacifism underlying the doctrine of moral equivalence conditionally applied? What are the conditions? Does conditional application imply that in some cases warfare is just?

In the same document, OPF asserts that the American populace is "is untroubled by the slaughter of non-combatant civilians" and thus suffers from a "wounded...psyche...and soul" that must be treated by "psychiatrists and priests."

  1. Does OPF believe that support of the Iraqi war reveals a destructive pathology in American culture? What are the nature and symptoms of this pathology? Why does it require therapy and confession?

In the article "The Mission of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship" featured prominently on the OPF website, the author states, "There should be a drive to recruit Orthodox teenagers into OPF. If we do not reduce the number of Orthodox entering the armed forces, how can we feel that we have made any real progress towards transforming the Orthodox Church into a true church of peace?" (http://www.incommunion.org/beach.htm)

  1. It is official policy of the OPF to keep young men from military service? If so, is this intention revealed when OPF activists visit Orthodox parishes? If not, why is this view promoted on the OPF website?
  2. Is it the intention of OPF to transform the Orthodox Church into an organization promoting pacifist ideals?

Fr. Alexander Webster argues in his book "The Virtue of War" that two parallel strands of thinking about war occur in the Orthodox tradition: 1) pacifism and 2) just war.

  1. Does OPF agree with this thesis? Would OPF ever grant the possibility that sometimes war is a tragic necessity? If not, how would OPF propose that a tyrant like Hitler be stopped?

OPF is a volunteer organization relying on the contributions of benefactors.

  1. Has OPF ever received funding from the National Council of Churches or the World Council of Churches or any other organization associated with the left-wing of Protestant Christianity?

Pacifism is internally coherent although trying to impose pacifism on others would violate the doctrine. Sometimes a soldier dies in battle fighting a destructive enemy. A police officer may die fighting an evil-doer in order to protect others.

  1. Does OPF believe the sacrifice of the soldier holds the same weight and value as the pacifist? What about the police officer?

In March, 2009 the Orthodox Peace Fellowship asked that I link to their response to the Ten Questions.

Posted: 10/26/04



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