Monday, October 05, 2009
Give Peace a Chance (2)
Walking around the town I thought I had glimpsed dawning light against the darkness of warring madness. As well as the castle, churches and old coaching inns I’d seen the Abbey, the Grammar School and the statue of Thomas Paine, Thetford’s most famous son.
The monks who built the, now ruined, Abbey had pioneered the Peace of God movement. It urged barons to use force as a last resort and insisted on protection for non-combatants as a Christian duty. In post-Reformation times their concern for education found expression in the Grammar School that lists Paine among its old boys. His words inspired the American Constitution and the emancipation of slaves. The publication of his Rights of Man marked a huge step in the recognition of human rights. While his creed, “The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.” still has the ability to challenge.
The birds of war still flew in and out of USAF Mildenhall nearby I sensed the brooding dove of peace!