From The Tribunal October 24th 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal


Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for Mt sake…

These men are undergoing repeated sentences of hard labour, for the one offence of refusing to relinquish their conscience and their ideals to the control of the State, and therefore become mere breathing automatons.

Their souls cry out for freedom for all the sons of men, and it is impossible for them to use any force towards a brother, but that of love.

A mighty force they hold, far stronger than puny hate, that, to live for long, even among so-called Christians of today, must be continually fed on war atrocities to keep it at high water mark. It is a force which, if allowed full sway, would crumble hate before it, as the snow melts beneath the kindly rays of the sunshine.

These men are trying to carry out Christ’s teaching embodied in the Sermon on the Mount. They, too, are despised and rejected of men. Brute force us used to try and make them surrender their souls to the demands of an earthly State, the whole ground-work of which is militarism. But they will not.

To me, the C.O.s are Christ’s Officers. They will shine out in radiant relief from this, the blackest picture of the world’s history, as having striven to guard that heritage for all Mankind, of peace. Love. Brotherhood and Liberty, that Christ left to us.

These men have striven, and are still striving, to show all with whom they come in contact that by true Christ-likeness only, can Christ’s kingdom come on earth. Although so little leaks out from our prisons, the little that does is more than sufficient to show any thinking person that brute force can crush and bruise and maim, but it is powerless to subdue the this greater force that dwells within these men.

We hear of repeated sentences of hard labour, of men released only on the point of death, of men dying in prison. Christ was hounded to His death in much the same way, by much the same people, for the very same reason. It was the High Priests and soldiers that crucified Him, because His Kingdom of Love was unthinkable. For then the poor would get their fair share and that would never do. The Kingdom of God might come after death, they had no use for it here. So they crucified Him. Now they persecute His followers.