The Church and the Independent Peace Movement in Eastern Europe

Publication Date01 June 1986
Date01 June 1986
AuthorB. Welling Hall
DOI10.1177/002234338602300209
SubjectArticles
The
Church
and
the
Independent
Peace
Movement
in
Eastern
Europe*
B.
WELLING
HALL
The
Mershon
Center,
The
Ohio
State
University
This
article
examines
the
propositions
that
the
rise
of
new
peace
movements
in
Eastern
Europe,
inde-
pendent
from
and
in
some
cases
opposed
to
the
work
of
official
peace
councils,
is
a
function
of
some
li-
mited
degree
of
church
autonomy
in
those
countries,
and
that
communication
with
Western
peace
mo-
vements
or
sentiments
through
Church-related
bodies
is
a
necessary
but
not
sufficient
condition
for
in-
dependent
peace
efforts
in
Eastern
Europe.
Czechoslovakia,
Hungary,
and
East
Germany
are
examined
case
by
case
(in
order
from
least
to
most
Church
involvement
in
an
independent
peace
move-
ment
in
the
1980s).
In
terms
of
transnational
alignment,
it
appears
that
if
there
were
no
independent
peace
movement
in
the
West,
and
no
ecumenical
bodies,
religious
NGOs
or
international
church
organi-
zations
assisting
East-West
communication
and
exchange,
the
work
of
independent
peace
activists
in
Eastern
Europe
would
be
even
more
difficult.
1.
Introduction
Peace
is
a
catchword
of
both
Christianity
and
Communism,
yet
there
are
numerous
examples
of
Christians
and
Communists
not
practicing
what
they
preach.
When
Chris-
tians
and
Communists
collaborate
as
they
do
occasionally
in
Eastern
European
countries,
skepticism
concerning
the
peaceful
inten-
tions
of
both
often
appears
to
be
well-
founded.
The
Church
is
known
to
be
strictly
controlled
by
the
State
in
Eastern
Europe,
and
thus
when
church
leaders
in
organiza-
tions
such
as
the
Christian
Peace
Confe-
rence
endorse
disarmament
proposals,
both
the
proposals
themselves
and
the
sincerity
of
those
endorsing
them
are
questionable.
This
article
is
an
examination
of
a
recent
and
little-studied
phenomenon:
the
rise
of
independent
peace
movements
in
Eastern
Europe
which
have
expressed
their
indepen-
dence
from
the
State
by
opposing
the de-
ployment
of
Soviet
troops
and
nuclear
weapons
as
well
as
to
NATO
missile
deploy-
ments
and,
in
some
cases,
by
endorsement
of
actual
pacifism.’
The
independence
of
the
new
peace
movement
in
Eastern
Europe
is
not,
however,
primarily
a
question
of
the
targets
of
protest.
Far
more
important
is
the
manner
of
protest
or
the
concept
of
personal
empowerment
that
has
become
central
in
Western
peace
movements -
the idea
that
individuals
or
groups
outside
the
govern-
ment
have
a
right,
if
not
a
duty,
to
par-
ticipate
actively
and
critically,
in
making
life
and
death
decisions
concerning
their
own
se-
curity.
The
leading
question
of this
analysis
is
the
extent
to
which
Church-State
relations,
or
perhaps
more
accurately
Church-Party
rela-
tions,
shape
the
Church’s
willingness
or
abil-
ity
in
three
countries
-
Czechoslovakia,
Hungary,
and
East
Germany -
to
act
as
an
instigator
or
protector
of
this
kind
of
inde-
pendent
peace
movement.
It
is
worthwhile
to
remember
in
passing
that
the
separation
of
Church
and
State
is
rather
exceptional
in
world
history:
far
more
frequently,
one
has
dominated
the
other.
East
Germany,
Hungary,
and
Czechoslova-
kia
were
deeply
affected
by
the
shifting
con-
flicts
and
alignments
of
Church
and
State
during
the
Protestant
Reformation
as
early
as
the
fifteenth
century.
These
countries
are
unique
among
the
Soviet-bloc
countries
of
Eastern
Europe
in
having
a
significant
Prot-
*
Research
on
the
original
draft
of
this
paper
was
sup-
ported
by
the
Ford
Foundation’s
Dual
Competence
Program
in
Soviet/East
European
Studies
and
Inter-
national
Security.
My
thanks
to
Barbara
Green,
Goldie
Shabad,
Jerry
Pankhurst,
Evan
Young,
Nigel
Young,
and
anonymous
reviewers
for
their
com-
ments
on
earlier
drafts.
194
cstant
tradition
(East
Germany
is
the
only
Communist
country
with
a
Protestant
ma-
jority) ;
this
and
Roman
Catholicism
(reim-
posed
during
the
Counter-Reformation)
provides
a
link
to
the
West
not
shared
by
other
Soviet-bloc
countries
which,
with
the
exception
of
Catholic
Poland,
are
predomi-
nantly
Eastern
Orthodox .2
Attempts
to
rec-
oncile
the
Church
in
the
East
and
the
Church
in
the
West
began
originally
as
an
at-
tempt
to
bridge
another
schism
that
has
ex-
isted
in
Christianity
since
the
Byzantine
era.
As
seen
below,
religious
schism
is
also
a
fac-
tor
that
affects
Church-State
relations
within
the
countries
examined.
The
activity
of
the
Vatican
and
ecumen-
ical
organizations
that
bring
together
church
leaders
from
East
and
West
poses
the
sec-
ond
major
question
for
this
study
concern-
ing
peace
movements:
to
what
extent
are
international
church
bodies
and
religious
NGO.s
significant
transnational
actors
that
rnove
people
as
well
as
intangible
items,
in
thi.s
case
ideas
and
patterns
of
protest,
across
state
boundaries?B
This
question
is
set
against
the
assumption
that
organizations
such
as
the
World
Council
of
Churches,
not
to
mention
the
Christian
Peace
Conference,
are
primarily
one-way
channels
for
the
Sovi-
ets
acting
through
Eastern
European
repre-
sentatives
to
manipulate
gullible
Christians
in
the
West.~
1.1
1 studying
peace
movements
There
are
problems
inherent
in
studying
peace
movements
in
general,
let
alone
unof-
ficial
peace
movements
in
closed
political
systems.
The
difficulties
stem
from
the
fact
that
many
peace
activists
are
not
members
of
formal
organizations.
There
is
no
secre-
tary-general
of
the
global
peace
movement,
no
secretariat.
For
this
reason,
it
makes
sense
to
think
of
the
peace
movement
as
a
transnational
interaction
network
(TIN)
rather
than
an
international
nongovernmen-
tal
organization
(INGO)
with
directors,
a
staff,
and
a
formal
membership.
Peace
movement
activity
can
be
transnational
in
one
of
two
ways
-
either
through
communi-
cation
and
exchange
among
peace
move-
ment
activists
or
in
the
non-state-centric
na-
ture
of
activists’
goals.
The
independent
peace
movement
in
Eastern
Europe
is
trans-
national
in
both
senses.
Network
is
a
more
suitable
label
than
organization,
given
the
decentralized
character
of
a
movement
that
is
based
on
personal
ties,
newsletters,
trav-
eling
speakers,
and
common
participation
in
mass
events.
There
are
organized
elements
within
the
peace
movement.
INGOs
like
International
Physicians
for
the
Prevention
of
Nuclear
War
and
NGOs
like
the
Dutch
Interchurch
Peace
Council
(IKV)
are
important
peace
movement
actors.
Conceptually,
we
may
think
of
INGO,
NGO,
and
TIN
elements
coexisting
uneasily
within
the
global
peace
movement
TIN.
There
is
no
unambiguous
indication
that
East
European
activists
pre-
fer
the
unstructured
movement
style
of
TINs,
or
that
they
would
choose
to
retain
their
amorphous
structure
if
legal
organiza-
tion
were
permitted.’
On
the
one
hand,
East
German
church
leaders
have
spoken
of
’in-
dependent
peace
efforts’
and
carefully
avoided
talking
about
an
’independent
peace
movement’
lest
’they
risk
being
branded
as
representatives
of
illegal
political
opposition’
(Asmus
1983,
p.
325).
On
the
other
hand,
before
being
jailed,
independ-
ent
activists
in
the Soviet
Union
attempted
to
register
The
Group
to
Establish
Trust
Be-
tween
the
USSR
and
the
USA
with
Moscow
City
Council.
Debates
about
whether
it
is
better
to
be
an
amorphous
network
or
a
public
legal
entity
have
taken
place
in
Church
basements
in
the
West
and
on
the
pages
of Soviet
samizdat.‘’
The
argument
that
some
of
the
problems
of
studying
an
independent
peace
move-
ment
in
Eastern
Europe
are
similar
to
prob-
lems
of
studying
Western
peace
movements
is
meant
in
no
way
to
detract
from
the
es-
pecially
painful
and
difficult
obstacles
that
stand
in
the
path
of
Eastern
European
activ-
ists.
The
following
discussion
does
not
dwell
on
the
repression
of
believers
in
socialist
countries.
The
fact
of
censorship
(prior
or

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