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Katrina Trask: A dialogue on God and war

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Women writers on peace and war

Katrina Trask: The Statue of Peace

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Katrina Trask
From In the Vanguard

RECTOR
Good morning, Mr. Greart – Good morning! Glad to see you home again. I hope you are well, Sir – quite well?

MR. GREART
Thank you , Doctor, I am very ill.

THE RECTOR
Ill, Sir? – Ill? – You don’t tell me; I am sorry to hear that. Nothing serious, I hope – nothing serious.

MR. GREART
The most serious thing in civilization – War.

THE RECTOR
Puzzled.
I don’t think I follow you, Sir, I don’t think I follow you.

MR. GREART
This accursed war has made me bilious.

THE RECTOR
Accursed war, Sir? Why, this is God’s holy war.

MR. GREART
Laughing.
That is the kind of God you worship? No wonder the churches are empty!

****

MR. GREART
The last Sunday I was at Church, before I went away, you talked most eloquently about the God
of Battles, and ended with an invocation to the God of Peace; how can a logical God possibly be
a God of Battles and a God of Peace at the same time?

THE RECTOR
Peace after battle, Mr. Greart, Peace after battle.

MR. GREART
That is not Peace, that is merely the cessation of hostilities, merely a negation. Peace is a positive – a great constructive, conclusive, abiding force – an altitude of the soul – the soul of a person or the soul of a nation.

THE RECTOR
My dear Sir, if you read history –

MR. GREART
Interrupting.
I have read history, that’s what’s the matter. I find that all the wars in the world have never stopped war. The clever philosopher, Christ, who had a way of seeing all around a subject, was quite right when He said, “They that take the sword shall perish with the sword” – they always do – it has been the final nemesis, sooner or later, of all warlike nations.

THE RECTOR
In a reproachful and solemn tone.
Our blessed Lord, Who is not a philosopher but Who is “Very God of Very God” said, “I come
not to bring Peace but a sword.”

MR. GREART
A trifle sharply.
I cannot hear Christ’s words so misinterpreted; I admire Him too profoundly.

****
MR. GREART
I can understand a man defending war on pagan grounds, but I protest in the name of Justice against making Christ an apologist for war; he is the Apostle of Peace, and it irritates me to have perfectly manifest meanings twisted to suit the belligerent spirit of humanity. In this instance, at least, which is the one most often quoted, it is quite ridiculous to believe that the word sword is not used as an illustration of separation. There is always a sharp sword of separation dividing two persons of diametrically opposite views of life – dividing you and me, for example.

THE RECTOR
With an assumption of dignity.
I fear we are very definitely divided.

MR. GREART
Goodnaturedly.
Certainly; I believe in Peace; you believe in War; the sword of the spirit separates us completely.

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