In 1997, I was living in South Korea.
The world was on the verge of signing a ban on landmines. Princess Diana had brought enormous attention to the problem, and Jody Williams had co-won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on landmines.
Princess Diana's death brought even greater attention to the problem. The world was watching.
And 162 countries signed a total ban on landmines, which have no ability to distinguish enemies from children, villagers, or anyone else. And they remain decades after the powers that be have concluded that conflict is past.
President Bill Clinton had agreed that the U.S. should join the treaty. Until he disagreed. He cited the Korean Peninsula as the reason.
I was shocked and disillusioned with my country.
Landmines showed up in a South Korean river when I was there, posing danger to civilians.
Military officials at the time said we didn't need landmines in Korea. But the U.S. pulled out.
The rest of the world stuck with the treaty, which is still in effect today.
The Obama administration has implemented most of the tenets of the treaty, but without signing, citing the Korean exception.
It's time for the U.S. to recognize what most of the world does: The biggest military on earth (by a long shot) doesn't need weapons that do so much harm to the innocent.
Human Rights Watch is encouraging the U.S. to sign, and you can join them.
What does this have to do with Jesus?
Jesus is the one who said those who live by the sword will die by the sword.
Oddly enough, I found that people think that means what goes around comes around.
But Jesus didn't say this as a proverb while staring at clouds. He said it when Peter was trying to defend him by cutting a man's ear off. Jesus healed the man and told Peter to put away his sword.
I understand that questions of national security and the military are thorny, but landmines aren't a complicated issue. We can simply stop using them and stockpiling them.
The story of Peter putting away his sword always reminds me of this song by Rich Mullins. I know Caedmon's Call remade it, but I like the raw quality of this one: