by Jonny Rashid, pastor of Circle of Hope in Fishtown
Hi, I’m Jonny, I use he/him pronouns, and I want to share a message with you that I hope encourages you, convicts you, and inspires you. We’ve been witnessing this terrible invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and seeing the damage and the horror that war brings, and we join much of the rest of the world in condemning this invasion, in condemning war of all kinds. It is encouraging to see so much unity across the board in response to this conflict. It is good when we are united against aggression like this. But I remember a time when the United States did its own invasion of sovereign countries – Afghanistan, yes, but more notably Iraq – and I remember the U.S. being united about invading those countries. I remember what it felt like to experience that as an Arab-American, and in contrast, I can’t tell you how painful it is to see a unified front opposing the invasion of a white country vs. a unified front supporting the invasion of a brown one. It makes me feel like my life matters less. It makes me feel like those countries should be invaded and are less civilized, and it is a sad, sad thing to experience. I am naming that as white supremacy, and I am naming that hypocrisy as evil, and I’m calling all of us, for the sake of the gospel, and for the sake of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to oppose military intervention and war as Christians. I’m not even discussing the politics of it, geopolitics are complicated. This isn’t a message about policy it’s a message about our convictions, it’s a message about peace. We protest the war so that the war machine doesn’t change us. We can’t justify it if we don’t like the country, we need to oppose it and not let things like white supremacy inform what countries are worthy to be invaded or not. So join me in prayer as we call to a end to this, and an end to armed conflict. Lord, hear our prayer.