About John Lilburne
Teachings on War
I am impressed with the Statement on Iraq by the United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops. They explain the Catholic Church
teaching and give their perspective. But are restricted in what
"... We offer not definitive conclusions, but rather
our serious concerns and questions in the hope of helping all
of us to reach sound moral judgments. ..."
Terry Lane begins with the challenging question: "What
do we do when the intolerant take advantage of our tolerance?"
I have difficulty with his answer: "keep cool, it will all
work out in the end." He concludes the article: "Muslims
do say the darnedest things that can get us wound up, and all
religion is dangerous. But we can live with it."
To say "all religion is dangerous" is simplistic.
According to the biography (from Monash Biographical Dictionary
of 20th Century Australia) on Terry Lane's website:
"... After studying for the ministry at the Churches
of Christ College of the Bible in Melbourne, Lane was a minister
for six years before working in the Methodist Department of Christian
Education and the ABC's religious department. ..."
So he seems to have had diverse views on the value of religion
throughout his life.
I don't know what Winston Churchill would say in this situation.
But this is what he said in 1934:
"... What shall we do? Many people think that the best
way to escape war is to dwell upon its horrors and to imprint
them vividly upon the minds of the younger generation. They flaunt
the grisly photograph before their eyes. They fill their ears
with tales of carnage. They dilate upon the ineptitude of generals
and admirals. They denounce the crime as insensate folly of human
strife. Now, all this teaching ought to be very useful in preventing
us from attacking or invading any other country, if anyone outside
a madhouse wished to do so, but how would it help us if we were
attacked or invaded ourselves that is the question we have to
Would the invaders consent to hear Lord Beaverbrook's exposition,
or listen to the impassioned appeals of Mr. Lloyd George? Would
they agree to meet that famous South African, General Smuts,
and have their inferiority complex removed in friendly, reasonable
debate? I doubt it. I have borne responsibility for the safety
of this country in grievous times. I gravely doubt it.
But even if they did, I am not so sure we should convince
them, and persuade them to go back quietly home. They might say,
it seems to me, "you are rich; we are poor. You seem well
fed; we are hungry. You have been victorious; we have been defeated.
You have valuable colonies; we have none. You have your navy;
where is ours? You have had the past; let us have the future."
Above all, I fear they would say, "you are weak and we are
By J.R. Lilburne, 18 November 2002. I give what I have
written on this page to the public domain.
on Iraq by USCCB of 13 November 2002
Lane, Cooling it and they will come around, of 17 November 2002
Causes of War, 16 November 1934