Twenty-eight years a columnist for the Washington Post, Colman McCarthy now directs the Center for Teaching Peace, a nonprofit organization that helps schools establish peace studies programs. This inspirational and prophetic work consists of journals the author kept during one semester of teaching peace education in six schools from Georgetown University Law Center to a juvenile prison.
It boogles the mind that there are so few courses on peace offered in America's high schools and colleges. But, then, as the zealous McCarthy reminds us, we live in a culture where violence reigns. The following statistics make the point: The U. S. Congress gives $700 million a day to the Pentagon (that comes out to $8000 a second), three times the Peace Corps budget for a year. The U.S. spends 13.7 billion a year ($52 for each taxpayer) in foreign aid to help the world and 30.9 billion ($1,600 a year for each taxpayer) to fight it.
McCarthy has had to struggle to find places to teach. Those who peddle violence as a solution to problems are "long-tenured cultural faculty," including political leaders, judges and juries who dispatch prisoners to death row, media purveyors of war, and gun manufacturers. Alternatives to violence do exist and McCarthy salutes such exemplars of the faith as Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, and others. Or as Albert Einstein once put it: "We must begin to inoculate our children against militarism by educating them in the spirit of pacifism...I would teach peace rather than war, love rather than hate."
Anyone who reads this subversive and very spiritual book will be compelled to lend his or her voice, time, and financial support to organizations working for the noble causes of nonviolence, pacifism, and peaceful conflict resolution. McCarthy's own center along with several others mentioned in the book are good places to begin. Another followup step is to set up a peace library in your home, school, or religious center. McCarthy provides a good bibliography.