In 1539, a fugitive former-priest-turned-Anabaptist, in his seminal work “The Foundation,” penned the following words:
“Christ is our fortress; patience our weapon of defense; the Word of God our sword. …Iron and metal spears and swords we leave to those who, alas, regard human blood and swine’s blood of well-nigh equal value.”
So said Menno Simons, principal leader of the Protestant sect which then became known as the Mennonites.
Almost 500 years later, his words still resound with a mighty truth.
At the risk of sounding morbid, it has to do with blood.
While Menno specifically refers to the difference between human blood and that of an animal, his larger point is the “value” we place on the blood of another.
My point is quite simple.
Killing will not end through education, conflict resolution, or disarmament, though all of these are important and can help. Killing will end only when there is a fundamental shift in the mind and heart of those who kill.
For how can you kill someone if you believe that their blood is just as valuable as your own?
Let’s call it – for lack of a better term – bloodism. The other, their humanity, life, blood, is somehow less than I, and therefore, their humanity, life, blood, is not as valuable as my own. It becomes quite easy then to justify killing the other, ie. spilling his/her blood.
The directors of death throughout history from every nation, tribe and religion have understood and disseminated this concept quite well. A person (and those like him/her) is described as having the wrong beliefs, the wrong skin color, the wrong gender, the wrong age, the wrong station in life, the wrong land, the wrong possessions, the wrong clothing, the wrong language —- the wrong blood. These others are not as valued as you are, the leaders of the macabre scream, though they couch their speech in terms such as vigilance, freedom, history, security, and truth. Then the killing begins.
The Nazis did it to the Jews. Israelis do it to the Palestinians. Hutus did it to the Tutsis. Shiite do it to the Sunni. Palestinians do it to the Israelis. Sunni do it to the Shiite. Muslims do it to the Christians. Christians do it to the Muslims. This country does it to that country. That neighborhood does it to this neighborhood. This race does it to that race. That religion does it to this religion.
And any one of a million other combinations.
Do not allow your mind and heart to be filled with bloodism.
We are made in the image of God.
ALL of us.
And that divine DNA resides in the very marrow of our bones and flows through our veins.
It’s in the blood.