Who is for peace?
For instantaneous and grandly choral response, consider the United Nations (UN): from the founding 51 in1945, to the last and 193rd joining member, South Sudan—Thursday, July 14, 2011—everybody everywhere is for peace. And with signatures to prove it.Its founding was “a victory against war itself” (U.S. president Harry Truman, laying out the common commitment of all “to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another”; also “to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest.”
I tremble with emotion watching film of the UN’s establishment, or simply thinking about how close discussion and planning came to breaking down over important issues.
Standing for peace and right and good, is a global nonissue.
But agreement came, and so did voting time, with Britain’s Lord Halifax, almost six and a half feet tall, presiding over the decisive session on an issue he said was “as important as any we shall ever vote in our lifetime.”San Francisco’s Opera House had never witnessed such an exhilarating flood of feelings—physical and mental exhaustion seasoned now with unprecedented hope. The flood lifted those 850 leaders to their feet as one: to vote “Aye” and “Yes,” in representation of their delegations and nations; in favor of an idea so long fantasized about and struggled over. They rose to vote in unison, after years of divisive international disruption ,after the chaos and destruction of two global conflicts, to vote “to end war and promote peace, justice and better living” for all humanity.1
Their climactic vote marked a major step. The organization would actually come into existence once the governments of the five veto-wielding powers, along with a majority of the signatory states, had ratified the June charter and deposited the necessary documentation at the U.S. State Department. October 24, 1945, four months after San Francisco, the UN organization became a fait accompli.
Neighbor nations India and Pakistan have fought each other in four wars and endless skirmishes since signing the charter. Iran and Iraq were both signatories when the latter invaded the former on September 22, 1980. Argentina was an original signatory. As was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland—two original members who have since fought each other over islands whose very name they cannot find peace about.
The United States has never declared war since the UN was established. Some late night TV wag may use this to prove that since the 1950s America has been at peace with North Korea and the Vietnamese, Afghanistan and Iraq, and now Syria in specific, and the world in general.
Standing for peace and right and good, is a global nonissue. The only bodies in the universe that don’t stand for peace and good may be some of the dead ones. And maybe one reason why sudden destruction will strike is that too many still don’t know what “peace” means (1 Thess. 5:3). There may be another way for the Halifaxes of all the world: the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6) wants to lead us all there.
Lael Caesar thrills at the prospect of following the Prince forever, a privilege that brings peace beyond understanding to heart and mind.