Military, War, Armed Conflict

Thinking the Unthinkable: Just Deliberation on War

[1] During the Civil War, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman marched through Georgia. In his wake he left ruined fields, pillaged plantations, looted businesses, and casualties in the thousands. “War is hell,” he shrugged. With these words he situated war outside the realm of moral experience. The judgment justified the carnage. [2] “War is hell.” […]

Further Reflections on the “War Against Terrorism”

[1] In my initial article written just a few weeks following the terrorist attack on September 11, I expressed a concern that our heritage of just war thinking might help us to “grasp the underlying causes for the belligerence of the enemy” and “pursue every avenue that might contribute to understanding between the two sides.” […]

Reflections on U.S. foreign policy from a British conservative pacifist living in Columbus, Ohio

[1] Here in Columbus I often see flags for Ohio State, especially on game days. There are very few flags for other teams. Football unites Columbus. People who have never attended O.S.U. talk about the O.S.U. team as “us” and the opposing team as “them.” Refereeing decisions unfavorable to O.S.U. are often condemned. Supporters usually […]

Should We Invade Iraq?

[1] In recent months, the President and other members of his administration have openly declared their desire and intent to achieve “regime change” in Iraq. And since previous methods of ousting Saddam Hussein-economic sanctions and coup d’etat-have obviously failed, the President is seriously considering even more dramatic options, including full-scale military invasion (Shanker). How should […]

On Keeping Our Word and Upholding the Rule of Law

[1] The recent controversy concerning the status of treatment of Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees at the Guantanamo base in Cuba offers an occasion for reflection about the seriousness with which our government undertakes its legal obligations. [2] When the U.S. signed the Geneva Conventions in 1949 which govern, among other things, the treatment of persons […]

Should We Forgive Osama bin Laden and Members of Al-Qaida?

Originally published in The Dispatch, Moline, Illinois, January 20, 2002. Used with permission. [1] In Mere Christianity, a widely-read book published shortly after World War II, C.S. Lewis suggests that we should forgive everyone, even the Gestapo, Hitler’s hated secret police viewed by many as the most wicked of the wicked. [2] For many today, […]

Bin Laden & Co. and Jerry Falwell & Co.

[1] Osama bin Laden and his mentor Sayyid Qutb are fundamentalists. So are Jerry Falwell and, in a slightly more complicated (because also pentecostalist), Pat Robertson. [2] Bin Laden & Co. are Muslims, who would rather kill you than let you connect them in any way with Protestant fundamentalists. Jerry Falwell & Co. are Christians, […]

Getting Back to Normal

Preached in Christ Chapel, Gustavus Adolphus College on November 9, 2001 Exodus 3:13-20 [1] Well, the Federal Reserve has cut the prime rate by another half-percent. . . . Things are looking up for the New York Stock Exchange; a few days ago, I heard, it closed at its highest level since September 11. Inflation […]

War and Peace: A Review of Relevant Statements by Church Bodies Which Preceded the Founding of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

[1] In the wake of the September 11, 2001 tragedies in New York City and Washington, D.C., and the subsequent “new kind of war” being waged by the United States and its coalition partners, it may be useful to review the statements relating to war and peace from the antecedent Lutheran church bodies of the […]

Implications of Luther’s Theological Ethic for the U.S. War on Terrorism

The World’s Two Kingdoms (God or Satan; grace or sin) 1. God’s Kingdom. “God created humankind in his image.” (Gen. 1:27) [1] Insights from Christian Tradition. All persons made in their Creator’s holy and loving image are commanded to live in love as a universal human family in peace, justice and freedom under God. They […]