Sunday, March 16, 2008

Just War Theory

I recently received my Disciples Peace Fellowship newsletter and found an interesting article. In light of the 5 year anniversary of the war in Iraq, we are reminded of the Just War Theory, which received so much face while "we" were all deciding whether or not to enter into this war. But I'm in agreement with this article, in that many people don't understand Just War Theory, and many people don't understand that NOT supporting a war does not mean I do not support individuals who choose to serve their country in that particular capacity.

"If the church is serious about either the Just War Theory or pacifism, it must recognize that there are times when war must be condemned as unjust and wrong. If there are times when war is unjust and wrong the, likewise, there are times when the church must be willing to call for esistance and then stand in solidarity with the resisters."

More than anything this article reminds me of the churches role as a radical. Jesus was a radical. Jesus did not come and simply talk about doing things outside of "the law" - but he broke the laws in order to do the work of God. Granted - I'm not condoning those who break civil laws in the name of God - because there is definitely something about Jesus that made it ok for Jesus to go against the teachings of the day. That being that Jesus was/is God - so its not as if its possible that Jesus go the message mixed up, or let his personal ideas get in the way of God's voice. So those people we hear about that kill others in the name of God need to prove themselves as the Messiah before I'll believe its ok to kill others in the name of God.

"Fear of loneliness more than fear of punishment can inhibit people from doing what they believe to be right."

And I think that many people would probably agree - that the fear of being alone in their opinion, or in their belief surpasses any fear that they will be punished or admonished. It's one thing to be punished or admonished while others stand with you in solidarity. It's a completely other thing to stand there alone - especially when others who share that opinion stand there in silence because of their fear. How many of us stand alone in our opinions - when in reality we only feel alone because we are uncertain? How many of us think we stand alone in our opposition to war, when really we all just stand quietly for fear of being admonished ALONE? It's a tough thing to say that "you" are against the war in Iraq. Instantly people think you don't support the troops. Granted, I don't support what the troops are doing, but I admire someone who chooses to serve. They may choose to SERVE differently than I have - but don't we at least have some sort of connection because we both have chosen to serve in some capacity? I stand in opposition to this war because I don't believe there was enough evidence for us to go into Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction. If the United Nations did not think there was enough reason to go into Iraq, I think it is arrogant of us to say that we are more capable of making such a decision. It's similar to saying that you are Pro-Choice - that does not mean I am pro-abortion - it simply means I don't believe the government has a right to determine what a woman is allowed to do to her body. I don't hope for abortion - EVER - and I most certainly think it is ABSURD for women to use abortion as a form of birth control - but because I say one thing, does not necessarily mean I say something else. Because I say I do not support the administration which keeps our troops in Iraq, does not mean I am against troops who have chosen to serve their country.

More than anything though - the church needs to speak up. Christianity began as a religion in opposition to the "norm," in opposition to the state - and like I said - Jesus was a radical. It's about time - we started acting like we really were following his teachings.

"It is not a monologue of resistance that is needed in an unjust war but a discourse that gives rise to action which stands opposed to wars that are unjust. The church has an obligation to make it clear to its members who are in the military as well as to the state that Christians who refuse to fight in wars that the church has condemned as unjust are not just acting on their own but they are acting as faithful members of the church."

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