In March, 1983, speaking to the members of the National Association of Evangelists in Orlando, Florida, President Reagan labeled the Soviet Union “The Evil Empire.”
I sincerely believe that the president maligned a nation of freedom-loving people.
Furthermore, it is one of my deepest beliefs that there are no ‘evil empires’. The People who make up a nation…and empire…are not evil; it is their leaders’ ambitions and greed that lead to aggression and war. Their names are many. Down through history we have read of the evil czars, and czarinas, and evil kings and queens, Sultans, and emperors. Yes, there are even evil presidents and vice presidents – but the people, in general, are like you and me – law abiding, peace loving, praying to live the number of days we have been allotted, free of oppression and fear.
I lived in the Soviet Union for thirteen years, but never discovered that empire Reagan spoke of. I did find hard-working men and women, who strived to create a better life for themselves and their families, who wanted peace not only in their time, but for their children. They too sought happiness and prosperity and hatred war for what it was – massive murder of the innocent and destruction of what took lifetimes to create and build.
War does not have to be eternal.
The Russian people had had its fill of the Romanovs. In 1917, US President Woodrow Wilson, would note in his Declaration of War against Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany:
“Does not every American feel that assurance has been added to our hope for the future peace of the world by the wonderful and heartening things that have happened within the last few weeks in Russia…The autocracy that crowned the summit of her political structure, long as it had stood and terrible as was the reality of its power….now has been shaken off and the great, generous Russian people have been added in all their majesty and might to the forces that are fighting for freedom in the world, for justice, and for peace. Here is a fit partner in the League of Honor…”
Few today remember that the last czar of Russia, Nicholas II, was known to the world as “Bloody Nicholas”.
If one man named Adolph Hitler had not given the orders to exterminate all of the Jews in Europe, would the SS have dared carried out the policy?
If Enver Pasha had not ordered the extermination of all Christian Armenians in Turkey, would the Turkish Army dare carry out the mass murders of 1.5 million Armenians?
Children play together in playgrounds, swim together in pools, until they are taught not to.
War, be it religious or military in nature, offends the conscience of all who respect life.
When will we make peace eternal?