Author: H. David Baer

Helmut David Baer is an Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Texas Lutheran University.

The War on Terrorism and the Problem of Military Intervention: Using Just War Theory to Frame Foreign Policy Debate

[1] The “war on terrorism” designates a fundamentally new framework for U.S. foreign policy. The new foreign policy framework is shaped by two countervailing political impulses. On the one hand, responding to terrorism is an act of self-defense. On the other hand, responding to terrorism requires military interventions and even overturning governments. These two impulses, […]

The Rule of Distinction and the Military Response to Global Terrorism

[1] A military response to global terrorism raises challenges to the existing moral and legal framework for conduct of war. Indeed, some might argue that the so-called war on terror requires adopting an altogether new framework for thinking about the conduct of war. The older framework, anchored in the 1949 Geneva Conventions, presupposes an antiquated […]

Some Reflections on the Problem of Natural Law: Comments on the Papers

I’d like to begin by thanking all contributors to this symposium on natural law for their thoughtful papers. One thing those papers illustrate quite nicely, I think, is that “natural law” is not so much a position, but a group of positions. The term “natural law theory” designates a set of intellectual commitments together with […]

Review of Gary P. Simpson’s War, Peace, and God: Rethinking the Just War Tradition

[1] Like other books in the Lutheran Voices series, Gary Simpson’s War, Peace, and God: Rethinking the Just War Tradition appears intended for use in classroom and congregation. It aims to stimulate broader discussion on the morality of war. To that end the book certainly succeeds, and I would like to contribute to the discussion […]

A Few Remarks about Pious Politicians and What Christians Should Think about Them

[1] The editors of JLE asked me to think about what Christians should think about pious politicians who say they believe in God and talk about their prayer life on national television. The editors want us to ponder the question: how should Christians evaluate public displays of religiosity from political candidates seeking to win public […]

Some Thoughts on U.S. Responsibility in Iraq

[1] The issue addressed to the symposium concerns the nature of U.S. obligations to Iraq. The language of obligation suggests the editors of JLE have in mind a moral question, and, indeed, there is a moral question here, although it is of a certain sort. More precisely, the question of U.S. obligation to Iraq is […]

A Few Thoughts on Temporal Authority and Why it Should be Obeyed or Mark Noll Needs to Vote!

[1] What’s a Lutheran to say about Mark Noll’s essay “None of the Above: Why I’m not Voting for President”? Noll says he’s not voting. In fact, he hasn’t voted in years — not because he’s too lazy to go to the polls or because he doesn’t care about the issues, but because American politics […]

The Just War Theory of Peacemaking

[1] Peacemaking is a part of politics. God wills peace for his creation, and God’s will for peace expresses itself partly through government’s work of preservation. This, anyway, is the view of Article XVI of the Augsburg Confession. Earthly peace depends upon political power, and, therefore, in the service of peace government may “punish evildoers […]

Comments on Vulnerability and Security and The National Security Strategy of the United States

[1] I have two sets of disparate comments on the two documents we are considering, which I will try in some way to relate to each other. [2] The question I want to raise about Vulnerability and Security is this: By placing the question about the proper use of political force within the larger framework […]

Alms and Advocacy: Lutheran Ministry with the Poor

[1] It is a pleasure to be a part of this convocation dealing with “The Church and Public Witness.” This has long been an issue for Lutherans, stemming from its history in Europe and, to a lesser degree, in the United States. [2] Today I want to tell part of that history in the hope […]