This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

No space for force

The flaming, flying wheel came out of the sky to whisk Ezekiel off on a grand journey. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal. The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning. The “rims were full of eyes all around.” Some posit Ezekiel’s autobiography begins with a description of UFOs and extraterrestrials.

Whether a close encounter of the third kind or a brush with the Alpha and Omega, Ezekiel’s genial exchange with his guests instructs us that the heavens are a place for peace, not conflict.

But Scripture isn’t necessary to judge a “Space Force” a wasteful distraction. It seems the White House has learned how hard it is to build a wall on the ground, so now it will try to do so in outer space. Vice President Mike Pence on Aug. 9 outlined the need for growing the military still bigger with a sixth branch for operations in space.

“We must have American dominance in space, and so we will,” he said at the Pentagon.

Ignoring the gravity of such a posture, his words were tinged with astronomical saber-rattling. Citing nefarious foes orbiting the globe, Pence asserted the leader in militarizing space was interested only in the opposite.

“America will always seek peace in space as on the Earth,” he claimed. “But history proves that peace only comes through strength.”

Too often, the focus of U.S. space programs has been on weapons rather than science, on conflict rather than cooperation. From the first rockets launched into space by the Air Force and early satellites designed to peek behind the Iron Curtain, resources that could have fueled discovery of God’s creation were driven by a desire to assert military power.

One can always find a new enemy waiting in the wings to justify arming for the next conflict. It would be more productive to cultivate the next ally. As challenges encountered by the International Space Station reveal, the final frontier is daunting enough when approached with a spirit of collaboration. (In February, the White House proposed a budget that would end federal funding of the station.) Rather than preparing to fight for military superiority in the expanse above the atmosphere, we could cooperate toward grander goals.

“When it comes to defending our nation and protecting our way of life, the only thing we can’t afford is inaction,” Pence said. Peacemakers know nonviolence should never be equated with inaction. We can protect “our way of life” by refraining from making enemies and just plain being nicer to other countries. A more peaceful way of life would benefit everyone.

Ezekiel didn’t shoot that flying wheel down for invading his airspace or demean the illegal aliens onboard. He climbed aboard and had a talk.

Tim Huber

Tim Huber is associate editor at Anabaptist World. He worked at Mennonite World Review since 2011. A graduate of Tabor College, Read More

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