WikiLeaks has been one of the political issues dominating our news and radio in the last couple of weeks. Almost daily, I hear this issue being discussed in my casual car rides while I listen to NPR. Interestingly, there are two basic opinions about the cables that are being released. There is one side of the spectrum that wants to call out the sins of the government. One voice in this conversation is author and activist, Julie Clawson, who wrote a great article for Sojourners called “WikiLeaks and Government Responsibility.” She rightly points to the need for governments to be held accountable to the people they claim to represent. My natural position on this issue, as an Anabaptist who is quite suspicious of all things empire, is to applaud when the sins of a nation are brought into the light. Only when truth is revealed can we rightly judge what is truly just.
On the other side of the spectrum is the group who desires to silence these “leaks” because they might leak gasoline on the fire of the many peoples throughout the world who wish harm on the United States; thus possibly leading to escalated violence. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton stated: “I firmly believe that we must condemn in no uncertain terms the dissemination of any information, whether by individuals or organizations, posing a risk to the lives of soldiers and civilians of the United States and their allies.” Now again, as one who is not trusting of empire, I could see how the cables could compromise politicians’ integrity. Therefore, it is no surprise that Clinton and many others in the political world would have an interest in silencing the “leaks.”
But, I have to ask: what if these folks are actually correct? What if the release of this information leads to the loss of more life in the combat zones throughout the world? As a firm believer in Jesus’ teachings on nonviolence, it would be easy to shrug my shoulders and say: “that’s what those soldiers had coming to them by choosing to live by the sword.” And even if we do not verbalize such a statement, the temptation for folks like me is to implicitly believe some version of this distorted view of human value.
Jim Wallis is known for speaking of pro-life being a conviction that life issues matter “from the womb to the tomb.” This means that true pro-lifers are against abortion, the death penalty, and war; and are for human rights and the uplift of the poor. Perhaps, we need to resurrect the pro-life conversation as we wrestle with the implications of WikiLeaks? There is no guarantee that the “leaks” will actually lead to worse violence, but it seems that the possibility of such should cause every Christian to evaluate our honest belief in the sanctity of all human life. Our integrity and witness may be at stake.