To most Americans since World War II, "pacifist" has been a
dirty name and "pacifism" at best a well-intended, unrealistic
ideal, and at worst an unintelligible position in face of armed
aggression. Understandably, during the past year a grieving nation
has not relied on such crude, impractical or meaningless language
to come to terms with the enormity of September 11, 2001.
 It is true political leaders, including the President,
throughout the year have alluded to "it" [i.e., pacifism]
repeatedly, but always in code ["appeasement" or "inaction"].
Yet after 9/11, the most
hawkish politicians have not taken on pacifism as forthrightly or
caustically as was common in World War II or the Cold War.
Even--please excuse my language--pacifists themselves have not
wasted their breath to promote pacifism as a principled
philosophical or theological stance, morally superior to conducting
a relatively limited War on Terrorism. In fact, such per-se
pacifist "chatter," I would wager, has not warranted mention in
President Bush's morning threat matrix report since 9/11, nor has
it caused a blip on the public's collective consciousness.
 In order to reflect on the meaning of pacifism's
inaudibility in public discourse during wounded America's year of
living fearfully, this essay will do three things: first, double
check bellwethers of the public record to verify the extent of
pacifism's absence from public discourse, and point to pacifists'
preferred forms of counter-cultural public discourse; second,
suggest why pacifist speechlessness in traditional public discourse
might be expected at a such a nationally defining moment; and,
third, propose what theological ethics--Christian, Jewish and
Islamic--might learn for the global common good from pacifism's
peculiar public discourse this year.
I. Pacifism's nonverbal discourse
 Unlike "terrorism," "weaponized anthrax," and "Afghanistan,"
"pacifism" did not become a household word this past year. A search
of the New York Times' archives in all sections for one year
following the tragedies finds "pacifism" in a headline only
once-"Quakers' Balance of Patriotism and Pacifism" (9/30/01). While
"pacifism" was used in thirty Times articles in the period, fewer
than half related to 9/11; and only one, a "Beliefs" column
(11/10/01), raised pacifism's ethical arguments as a resource for
 The ATLA Religion Index also yielded only three
scholarly citations on pacifism in the period. None of these dealt
with 9/11. Likewise from tens of thousands of books published in
the first year post-9/11, Books in Print database
identified only one relevant pacifist text: The War on
Terrorism and the Terror of God by Lee Griffith [Eerdmans,
1/2002]. "[W]hen counter terrorists adopt the tactics and
good-versus-evil mentality of terrorists, there is no moral
difference between them," Griffith declares. Tellingly, the
publisher added a disclaimer, warning this book "may anger some
readers." Griffith's book is the exception that proves this essay's
claim: Pacifism has been virtually absent from traditional public
discourse since 9/11.
 Nonetheless, pacifists have engaged in public "discourse"
about 9/11 this first year in quite striking, relentless and at
times effective ways. American pacifists have engaged in nonverbal
public discourse. They seem to have intuitively adapted, for
promoting pacifism, Francis of Assisi's dictum for preaching the
gospel. "Preach the Gospel constantly," Francis urged, "and use
words sometimes." Pacifists' preferred public discourse since 9/11
has consisted of strategic justice-seeking and peacebuilding
actions. The nation's premiere pacifist organizations, the American
Friends Service Committee, Fellowship of Reconciliation, and
Mennonite Central Committee have engaged in public discourse
primarily by letting their actions speak louder than their words.
After making clear how reprehensible the terrorists' acts were and
how deeply as Americans they shared the nation's sorrow, pacifists
moved into immediate action.
 Below the radar of traditional public discourse pacifists
have been mobilizing Americans and people worldwide: to prevent
military response on Afghanistan (and now Iraq); to guard human
rights, especially of Arabs and Muslims in this country; and to
rush relief to victims of domestic terror and increasingly to the
War on Terrorism's victims. Pacifist public discourse has been a
language of praxis, which has employed: large-scale petitioning,
nonviolent demonstrations and civil disobedience; coalition
building among nonprofits and religions; training in conflict
resolution skills; peace-maker teams to Iraq, Afghanistan, the
region; and multilateral Track II quiet diplomacy throughout the
international community, including at the United Nations.
 As a new twist, pacifist organizations have reinforced this
preferred discourse with mass media and proactive Internet
organizing. The American Friends Service Committee's 30-second spot
aired on NBC affiliates during the first anniversary Concert for
America, bespoke a pacifism, more accessible to a post-9/11 mass
American audience than Griffith's: "Today, we remember all the
victims of September 11. We grieve with those who lost loved ones
and we share their sadness. We know that violence breeds more
violence and solves nothing. There is no way to peace. Peace is the
way." Pacifist organizations homepages hint that Internet
organizing may be the channel for pacifism to become a respectable
household word. Of course, even online, marketable public pacifism
still carries lots of baggage for Americans and Christians.
II. Why pacifism's speechlessness?
 The historical moral evaluation of pacifism and pacifism's
idiosyncrasies help explain pacifist speechlessness since 9/11. The
second-century church began to slowly make what would be a long
paradigmatic shift from universal Christian pacifism to normative
justice war reasoning. From
Augustine to Thomas Aquinas through the Spanish scholastics of the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, various theories of the
justifiability of warfare arose and by the high Middle Ages had
displaced pacifism to minority status within Christendom. The
transition produced a deep rift over scriptural interpretation
still visible in this century:
 Authors who are most insistent on the inbreaking presence
of the kingdom-such as Tertullian, Origen, Menno Simons, George
Fox, John Howard Yoder, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton-tend to be
pacifists in their dedication to kingdom faithfulness. Authors who
defend the just war-including Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin
and the Methodist and Roman Catholic bishops-do not deny the New
Testament mandate to disciples to life a transformed life, but they
give that mandate less practical force through a process of
translation that gives great weight to the social context and more
freedom to the biblical and ethical interpreter. That interpreter
then develops more complex lines of relation-ship between the New
Testament's depiction of kingdom life and the community's
embodiment ofit in history.
 For pacifist Christians during the late Middle Ages and the
Reformation, being on the wrong side of this hermeneutical fault
line could mean death or persecution by the Christian majority.
Although by the twentieth century such physical dangers for
pacifists from other Christians had vanished, suppression by
America's most brilliant Christian theologians had not. Reinhold
Niebuhr's conversion from pacifism to Christian realism in the
mid-1930s sparked his virulent efforts to stop pacifism's
ascendancy in liberal Protestantism. Niebuhr's stature, combined
with World War II social and political narratives of suspicion
toward pacifism, lay the groundwork for near total discrediting of
pacifism in American thought.
 Paul Ramsey, also a former pacifist, and Jesuit John
Courtney Murray masterfully reinterpreted just war thinking into
post-Hiroshima and Cold War categories for Protestants and
Catholics. These theological luminaries followed Niebuhr in
deriding pacifism at every turn as unrealistic, otherworldly and
irresponsible. After Niebuhr, Ramsey and Murray, what had started
as a hermeneutical rift hardened by the 1970s into an ecclesial
polarization, verging on enmity, between just war thinking as the
norm, and pacifism as suspect.
 Reasons for pacifism's speechlessness are also intrinsic to
pacifism. The late John H. Yoder, a pacifist theologian, admitted
there is still no single pacifism definition, acceptable to all
pacifists. His 1990s typology lists
twenty-nine religious pacifisms. Because Christian pacifist
traditions are numerically tiny, some "have not been articulated in
'mainstream' terms which interlocutors outside of their community
can understand fairly," Yoder adds. This disastrous imprecision
helps pacifism to be ignored, and confused with nonviolence
III. Learnings from pacifist 'discourse'
 Ethicists ought to hear at least one lesson and three tasks in
the public "discourse" of pacifists since 9/11.
 The Lesson: Simply, the pacifist-just war
polarization has outlived its usefulness.
 Conceding to Niebuhr that the church is not pacifist,
Christian ethicists should work with the two other normatively
nonpacifist Abrahamic religions, each with its own pacifist
minority, to articulate how Judaism, Islam and Christianity are
simultaneously: normatively nonpacifist, prophetically pacifist,
and constitutively nonviolent. To rephrase Niebuhr: The temple,
mosque and church are not pacifist, but they are nonviolent.
 Task 1: Craft an interfaith, just peacebuilding
ethic that is a non-pacifist, and pacifist nonviolent theory of
conflict engagement that synergizes pacifism, nonviolence, and just
war reasoning into a multi-faceted ethic. Such an ethic would
build, make and keep peace by fighting for justice nonviolently, or
by using military force asa true last resort. Undo polarization by
rehabilitating pacifism into prime theologico-ethical categories
and by updating just war theory to meet new world realities-eroding
sovereignty, failed states, terrorism, emerging international
society and one superpower.
Integrate pacifism, non-violence and just war reasoning within the
U.S. bishops' 1983 peace pastoral's assertions that nonviolence and
just war theory are interdependent, and pacifism is distinct from
nonviolence. Task 2: Train masses in integrated strategic
nonviolent conflict and just war reasoning to strengthen global
institutions; secure human rights, assure sustainable development,
restrain nationalism, and build cooperative
security. Task 3: Build
global interfaith infrastructures to deploy strategic just
peacebuilding intervention teams to prevent and end religious
 God help the President when he opens the threat matrix
report to see mainstream Jews, Muslims and Christians have joined
pacifists to urge the same moral reservations in public discourse
about next steps in the War on Terror.
 For many, widespread pre-World War
II pacifism culminated with appeasement of Hitler. President
from Ellis Island on Sept. 10, 2002: "We have no intention of
ignoring or appeasing history's latest gang of fanatics trying to
murder their way to power"; and when he insisted at the United
Nations on Sept. 19 in speaking of Iraq, "We cannot stand by and do
nothing while dangers gather." [ Underlining mine.] Quotes from the
New York Times, dates cited.
 P. Ramsey, War and the Christian
Conscience: How Shall Modern War Be Conducted Justly? Durham: Duke
University, 1961, 15.
 L S. Cahill, Love Your Enemies:
Discipleship, Pacifism ,and Just War Theory, Minneapolis: Fortress
Press, 1994, 12.
 John H. Yoder, Nevertheless:
Varieties and Shortcomings of Religious Pacifism, Scottdale, PA:
Herald Press, 1992, 11-12
 D. R. Smock, Perspectives on
Pacifism: Christian, Jewish and Muslim Views on the Uses of
Nonviolence and International Conflict, Washington, DC: U.S.
Institute of Peace, 1992.
 G. Powers, Peacemaking: Moral and
Policy Challenges for a New World, Washington, DC: U.S. Catholic
 J. Bryan Hehir, "Just War Theory in
a Post-Cold War World," Journal of Religious Ethics, 20:02,
 The Harvest of Justice is Sown in
Peace, Washington, DC: U.S. Catholic Conference, 1993.