Today in the Mission Yearbook

Exploring the tensions between faith and security


Expert panelists offer webinar on militarism

June 2,  2022

Photo by Jakob Owens via Unsplash

The Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Militarism Working Group recently scheduled a 90-minute webinar on Gun Violence & Militarism.

This was the second in a series of educational webinars called “Connecting the Dots.” Read a report on the first in the series here.

This webinar explored the tension between faith and security, and our relationships with each other on personal, local and international levels as they relate to guns, weapons, and militarism. Webinar organizers also suggested what Presbyterians can do to unmask the false narrative of “security through might” and take action for true peace.

In the general description, the working group writes, “We are taught in the United States that security must be enforced through might.”

“Weapons, and specifically guns, are marketed to us with the promise that they will bring security,” the working group said. “During the pandemic, gun sales and gun violence have soared. But the truth is that our security lies in Jesus Christ; weapons as security is merely a myth — a profitable myth — that brings about more violence. The U.S. intentionally exports these weapons of violence to other countries for gain, further practicing and perpetuating militarism even without waging war. This use of and profit from weapons is only one expression of militarism.

 “As people of God, we are called to love one another. Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, calls us to live in community with love, justice and mutual understanding.  How can we do this with a culture of guns and militarism that harms people in the U.S. and our siblings in other countries?”

Panelists included Shailly Gupta Barnes, policy director for the Kairos Center and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Her background is in law, economics and human rights. She has spent more than 15 years working with and for poor and dispossessed communities impacted by poverty, systemic racism, ecological devastation and militarism. She has worked with policy experts, impacted groups and lawmakers to develop reports, policy briefings, articles, fact sheets, testimonies and other resources. She’s helped organize hearings on Capitol Hill, including a hearing on poverty for the House Budget Committee.

John Lindsay-Poland is a writer, activist, researcher and analyst focused on human rights and demilitarization, especially in the Americas. He coordinates Stop U.S. Arms to Mexico, a bi-national project that seeks to make transparent and ultimately reduce U.S. legal gun sales to Mexico to what they were before the U.S.-sponsored war on drugs began in Mexico a decade ago. He is working to incorporate Mexico into the narratives and agendas of the U.S. gun violence prevention movement. He has worked with the PC(USA) Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy.

Jocabed Gallegos has been the Mexico coordinator for Frontera de Cristo since 2014. She first came to the border in 1990 when her father accepted the same position. She was born in Gómez Palacio, Durango, Mexico, and attended seminary in Mexico City (as one of only three women studying theology) graduating in 2002. She worked as youth counselor in her presbytery, served in a church in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and assisted with health ministry in South Carolina before becoming an intern at Frontera de Cristo in 2010 and later facilitator for mission delegations.

The militarism working group includes the Compassion, Peace & Justice and World Mission ministries and the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.

Kathy Melvin, Director of Mission Communications, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus: Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Militarism Working Group

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Tim Stepp, Associate Director, Internal Audit, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)
Angie Stevens, Communication Specialist, Office of the General Assembly

Let us pray

Gracious God, thank you that your children can receive hope for a better life. May your Holy Spirit guide and strengthen leaders to your glory and praise. In Jesus Christ. Amen.