The Case For Peace

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Adam Thayer

I imagine this will be quite unpopular this morning, as I'm seeing cries for war and violence from many of my friends and brothers who should know better, but I believe that it is important in times of trouble to make the case for peace and nonviolence. When our hearts are broken and our spirits crushed, it can be very comforting to seek retribution and vengeance, and so terribly difficult to find the path of love and compassion.

In the days to come, there will be beautiful political rhetoric coming from all quarters, shouting that France should use the recent attacks as a justification to invade Middle-Eastern countries, seeking out the terrorists who chose to give their lives in pursuit of creating chaos. Already, President Hollande stating that French retribution will be “swift and merciless,” and later says “We will lead the fight. It will be ruthless.” As the machines of war begin their horrible grinding anew, those of us who are the raw materials for the machines wait in fear to see the inevitable result. Must it only be this way, and no other?

It is often thought that seeking peace is a path of cowardice, of appeasement, and of taking the easiest solution, but I tell you that there is nothing more difficult than to rail against your natural inclination to meet violence with violence. To fight against our own nature requires us to not only be aware of our reactions and prejudices, but to actively seek to overcome them.

Still, some will say, we cannot let an attack go unanswered, since it would be a sign of our weakness. We must make a show of our strength, by the sheer power of our military forces, so that none will dare attack us again. Instead, I say to you, let your compassion be your strength. Turn your other cheek while it is still an option; show your enemies that you will not be bullied into responding with violence, but are enlightened by the ways of peace and love.

Many great men have said many great words about peace. One quote that should resonate with Freemasons is found in the words of Dr. King: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” As Freemasons, we are called to be the light in the world, by our very presence to improve our surroundings, and to leave the world a better place than it was when came into it. We cannot do this by carrying around the darkness of hatred in our hearts.

It will be said that we must fight for our peace. The only way we can feel truly safe is to destroy those who would destroy us. Instead, I would tell you what The Doctor told a town who had turned to a mob: “Violence doesn’t end violence, it extends it.” You cannot hope to remove a quantity by adding to it; add water to a bucket, and you’ll have a full bucket. Continue to add water and you’ll overflow the bucket, but you will still not succeed at having less water in the bucket. The same holds true for violence; you cannot hope to remove violence from the world by adding to it; rather, you will reach a point where you have filled the world with it while forcing out those good qualities we should be building towards. As George Carlin says, fighting for peace is like (euphemism for making love) for virginity.

To play Devil’s Advocate, however, let us assume for one moment that you are somehow able to destroy every single one of your enemies. Have you attained real peace? If so, how will you be expected to keep it? Anything won by force must be kept by force; once you have established that you are willing to turn to violence, then violence is what will be expected from you.

I understand what the French citizens are feeling right now; I, like many of my countrymen, turned to retribution in the days following September 11th, and was seduced by the promise of finding peace through murder. When the leader of the terrorists who had attacked us had been killed, I should have found peace, but in the years since I’ve found that we are not any safer than I did on the day we were attacked, and that if anything we have only found more enemies to fight.

We don’t often talk about the fear that our Brother Hiram must have faced in his final moments. Seeing the trap set for him, he attempted to flee in fear, but instead found himself in progressively worse danger until, finally facing his inevitable demise, he found courage and peace at the last. He displayed a courage that is sadly undervalued in today’s society: the courage to stay true to one’s convictions in the face of adversity.

The world, right now, is a terrifying place. We see enemies lurking in every bush, hiding around every corner, and in the faces of strangers who look different than us. As Freemasons, we are called to shine our light in every place, even when we’re afraid, and to greet the stranger on the level. We may be hurt for it, we may even meet with death, however we are called to face it bravely, and not give in to our fears. In this, we can set the example for generations to come.

My brothers, I have often ended my writings by turning to Fred Rogers for wisdom, and if you will bear with me, I will do so again. When faced with world-changing events such as the attacks on Paris, he would remember the words of his mother: “Always look for the helpers, there’s always someone who is trying to help.” We are surrounded by good people who are ready to rush in to aid and assist us, and more importantly, we have the power to BE the helpers. I hope that, when you feel the urge to turn to hatred because of your fear, you will instead turn to compassion because of your love.


Bro. Adam Thayer is the Junior Warden of Lancaster Lodge No 54 in Lincoln (NE) and the Worshipful Master of Oliver Lodge No. 38 in Seward (NE). He’s an active member of the Scottish Rite, and Knight Master of the Lincoln Valley Knights of Saint Andrew. Adam serves on the Education Committee of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska. You can contact him at


  1. Brother Adam, if we are ever out together and you are called to shine our Masonic light in every place, even when we’re afraid, and you walk out to greet the ISSIS soldiers who have been taught from birth that it’s their duty to kill Christians, I will remember my bible that says in Proverbs 13:20. “He that walks with the wise will be wise, and he that walks with a fool will harm himself... But the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
    I think I’ll wish you well and walk pretty fast in a different direction,

  2. Worshipful Brother Adam - I am glad to try and walk along side your wisdom. Thank you. These are the hardest of times. What you talk about is the hardest lesson to learn, but I believe it's true.
    During this crisis I've got a big question: Men, bullets and bombs take alot of money to build. Daesh (ISIS) gets money from selling oil. Who is buying that oil? Sure it's first sale it to shadowy black market types, but then is there a Shell, Exxon, or BP buyer who knows where it comes from? Are our giant trucks and SUV's propelled in some part by blood?
    Then, who is selling military supplies to Daesh? Are military complex companies who I've I work with my whole career (engineer here) complicit, do they not know where there products are going?

  3. Dearest Readers,
    Since this article went live, I have had a significant amount of feedback, both in support and in disagreement, and have noticed a few recurring items that seem to be points of disagreement. I've been granted the opportunity to respond to these en masse, for which I am very grateful.
    First and foremost, to everyone who sent me feedback: thank you! I have been presented with challenging new ideas, new arguments for old ideas, and have found (for the most part) everyone to be incredibly kind regardless of their views.
    I am not, as some have insinuated, a leftist communist hippie. I was born into a family of Democrats, so of course I grew up to be a Republican. I'm a firm supporter in democracy, and have accomplished much in my lifetime due to it. I cannot speak to being a hippie, since the definition changes depending on who you ask.
    At no point have I ever, or will I ever, recommend tolerating terrorists killing our families. I believe that we can put a halt to terrorism in a non-violent manner. Consider a child who hits another child: as adults, instead of hitting the child in retribution, we punish them in ways that will teach them that hitting is wrong. In the same way, I consider these terrorists to be children; dangerous children, certainly, who are capable of causing significant damage, however they are children all the same who need those of us who know better to teach them the ways of civilized adults.
    I am not ignoring the reality of the situation, nor suggesting we hide in cowardice. I recognize that this is a sufficiently complicated situation that any simple solution cannot possibly be realistic, which is what spurred me to write this in the first place. Violence is a very simple solution, it requires no imagination or intelligence to perform, and I believe that as a society we are better than that.
    I have had a few people say that I would feel differently if I had children to protect, and that murdering these terrorists now will ensure a safer future for them. Although I rarely talk about her online I have a 9 month old daughter, and in all things I do, I'm looking to leave the world better for her than it is today. I want her to feel safe, to love, to make stupid mistakes, and to be able to live without being in constant fear of people who are different. Please don't misunderstand me: if I truly believed that killing would make the world safe for her, I would be the first in line to murder each and every one of these people, and would do it with my bare hands if I had to.

  4. One of my close friends and brothers has told me that if I knew the history of the situation better, I would feel different. I freely admit that I'm not completely informed, so I did a bit of research and learned that Christianity has been at war with Islam since (as best I can tell) the 600s. We have been killing each other for over nearly 1400 years, and we continue to do so. It has been said (possibly by Albert Einstein, possibly not) that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results; after 1400 years of doing the same thing, is it so insane of me to suggest that perhaps we try something different?
    Finally, one person (I'm not trying to shame this person, so I'll give no further details) stated that the only compassionate way to deal with a rabid dog is to put it down. I wanted to speak to this specifically, because it kept me up all night thinking. That sort of rhetoric is the way of the terrorist, not the way of the intelligent individual. They compare us to dogs, or to pigs, so that they can kill us without emotion. We're better than that; they are human beings, not animals, and we should treat them accordingly. To bring us down to their level is what they want; to show that we're no better than them is one of the best recruiting tools they have in their arsenal. Be better than that.
    If you have stuck with me this long, I thank you. I know this is not an easy topic for any of us, and the fact that we're able to discuss it like intelligent adults shows that we're ALREADY winning. I love you all, and wish nothing but happiness for you and your families.
    Keep searching for more light,