Jens J Braun
NY, United States
Statement of Conscience
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice/righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
If I taught my children to unthinkingly follow orders rather than considering what is right or wrong, to follow the crowd, to depend on external symbols for their self-respect and self-worth, would you call me a good father?
If I approved of my daughter and sons going to distant places where they killed men, women and children whom they did not know and with whom they had no quarrel, because men and women of political power, with whose policies I strongly disagree, asked them to, would you call me patriotic?
If I helped finance unprovoked death and destruction here at home, would I not quickly be put away for life? Yet if I do not help finance unprovoked death and destruction abroad, why does the government then have a right to come take my money for these purposes without my consent?
If I know that non-violence has brought about more effective democracy and has proven to be a far superior agent of social change during the last half century than has any armed conflict during the period, why should I support war? And if it is said that a war will bring democracy and improve the welfare of peoples, why should I believe it when the evidence of history, and of the "War on Terror" too, is to the contrary?
If my heart tells me that Truth is being crushed by nationalism, flags and slogans, should I listen to the emotions of country or to the cry of my soul?
If I have traveled the world and seen the light of God in the souls of people everywhere I have been, why should I consider citizens of this country particularly favored by God? And if I have seen how pursuit of material wealth has nothing to do with those things I consider most important, how should I spend my time on Earth?
If I feel courage comes in the living of my faith, should I fear being called a coward for acting on my beliefs? If I support killing though I believe killing is wrong, and if I go as the crowd goes in a time of injustice and evil, though I feel the direction of the masses is repulsive and counter productive, would I not then truly be devoid of bravery?
If others think they are protecting my freedom, yet I am convinced they are merely perpetuating a world of injustice, increasing poverty and ignorance, supporting the power of the rich, and dying in wars that are justified with lies, should I help them feel noble or speak my understanding of the Truth?
If I do not share the fears of others, and do not wish to protect myself from the threats they feel, why should I imitate their defensive measures? If my experience is that I can never really be safe, but I can be at peace, why should I obsess about security? If I have observed how treating others with mercy and dignity makes friends of enemies, dissolves fears, and opens doors to peace, why should I favor the isolation that comes from tactics of defensiveness, distrust, and a reliance on the threat of coercion?
When the Beatitudes speak of the paradoxical blessings of meekness, poverty, mourning, hunger, mercy, a pure heart, peacemaking and persecution for the sake of justice, I recognize the beauty in the harsh yet wonderful condition of this world. I seek for my path to follow this way of blessing described by Jesus. My experience is that the Good, the Beautiful and the True are all possible, but for them to be part of my life I must focus on living a life of active peace.