US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Does the United States need a Department of Peacebuilding?

By Elizabeth Lefebvre | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God, and will be employed by the United States government.”

Well, Jesus didn’t say that last part, but if new legislation introduced by Representative Barbara Lee of California is passed, the U.S. will see its newest federal agency: The Department of Peacebuilding.

"The culture of violence that we live in is unacceptable” said Lee. “We invest hundreds of billions each year in the Pentagon, in war colleges, military academies, and our national defense universities all to develop war tactics and strategies. Now we need that kind of investment in peace and nonviolence here at home."

The timing certainly seems long overdue and especially urgent in the face of our country’s mass shootings, gang violence, and other incidents of violent crime. The department would serve problems such as these domestically, while also searching for ways to peacefully end international global conflicts. I especially love the proposed idea of a "peace academy" that would be modeled after our service academies.

People often scoff at the idea of stable, lasting peace as a realistically attainable goal. In my mind, it's definitely at least worth trying for, and it’s worth putting in a concentrated effort—including some of the federal budget—to increase peace at home and abroad. We have a Department of Homeland Security and a Department of Defense, but working for peace can certainly help make our country more secure by defending ourselves from divisiveness, hatred, and violence. 

Flickr photo cc by jcolman