When it comes to the Islamic State, all we can do is stand against violence

I was at our Loretto Motherhouse for a meeting of the Committee for Peace and one of the sisters asked a couple of us what the U.S. should do about the Islamic State militant group. She hadn't signed any of the petitions to choose a nonviolent response because she wants the Islamic State stopped. But she knows when we drop bombs, innocents die. She wasn't sure she wanted the Islamic State killed.

Our peace committee did talk about the Islamic State. We talked for a long time. We all agree that more killing won't make things better. We agree that the Islamic State should be stopped. But how?

One more time, the peace activists are being asked for peace-keeping strategies years too late. We haven't been quiet over the years. We suggested a lot of different means to peace: clean water, roads, a malaria vaccine, girls' schools, fair trade, assistance in building a criminal court system and a codified law, assistance in building a police force, noncooperation with corruption. It is the lack of justice that makes for war. But supporting the foundations of a just system would take money and time -- too much money and time, say most of the people who ever hear us.

So here we are, once more, facing horrific behavior by armed men who are taunting us to come and kill them. And we are holding a stockpile of weapons worth billions -- worth more than clean water and a malaria vaccine and a justice system would cost for all of Africa and the Middle East.

Our committee's response to the Islamic State is to say no to using that weapons stockpile, no to bombing the Islamic State. The bombing has already begun, but we must stand against it.

People are standing against bombing the Islamic State across the United States -- literally standing on Second Street in Long Beach, Calif., from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday evenings; at 7 p.m. Sunday evenings in front of St. Francis Xavier Church in St. Louis; at noon Fridays by the border in El Paso, Texas.

What can we do for the people who are getting killed by the Islamic State? Will ignoring the group take the wind out of their sales? Will violence fail them, as it usually does? We don't know. All we can do is say no to our own use of bombs. All we can do is stand against violence.


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