God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: ‘Peace Cannot Simply Exist as an Ideal’

posted by God's Politics

Last week, in a little-noticed story, a group of Catholic members of Congress sent a letter to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, asking the bishops to help mobilize the church toward ending the war in Iraq.

The letter was sent to Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the USCCB and Bishop Thomas G. Wenski, International Justice and Peace Committee Chair, requesting a meeting with the USCCB. The members explained:


We have taken great comfort in the prophetic words of many Catholic leaders, relied on them for inspiration during our deliberations, and welcomed them in helping shape policy. If we understand the Catholic tradition correctly, thoughtful Church leaders around the world do not believe that the war in Iraq meets the strict conditions for a just war or the high moral standards for overriding the presumption against the use of force. We agree and seek an end to this injustice.
Our concerns are rooted in both the political realm and in our faith and manifest in our efforts to enact legislation that will bring an end to this war. Pope John Paul II framed the moral question well when he said: “When, as in Iraq in these days, war threatens the fate of humanity, it is even more urgent to proclaim with a strong and decisive voice that peace is the only path for building a society which is more just and marked by solidarity. Violence and weapons can never resolve the problems of man.”

Religion News Service reported:


Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the USCCB, said the bishops were considering the letter and that they have already made repeated statements about the war. “Certainly the bishops have made no secret about their concerns over the war in Iraq,” Walsh said.

As Congress begins this week to seriously debate legislative proposals to end the war, the continued voice of the church is critical. As the members of Congress concluded:


In our own education in the faith, we find the testimony of the scriptures compelling, and although we have no illusions about the complexities of our current situation in Iraq, we have come to believe that peace cannot simply exist as an ideal—our efforts must be accompanied by actions as we embrace the teachings of peace and justice.



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William Wallis

posted July 10, 2007 at 12:39 pm


The desire to end the war is well-intentioned. I think everyone wishes that the war would end. But will there really be peace once the troops are gone? Al Qaeda recently butchered a village, beheading children, then serving them to their parents. Wouldn’t the withdrawal of troops enable more of this behavior? Don’t the Iraqi people need protection?



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Wolverine

posted July 10, 2007 at 1:08 pm


While the stories about AQ operatives baking children and “serving” the corpse to the family cannot be confirmed, there is a lot of evidence of mass murders and beheadings, children included, by AQ in Iraq:
http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/bless-the-beasts-and-children.htm
I realize you want peace, but peace is more than the absence of US soldiers.
Wolverine



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Sarasotakid

posted July 10, 2007 at 1:19 pm


What you allude to in terms of atrocities in Iraq are much worse than under the previous regime. I can only hope that those responsbible for removing that regime and making the situation worse for the Iraqi people will be brought to justice.



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MadHatter07

posted July 10, 2007 at 1:23 pm


The sooner this war is over the better, but that day is not going to come until Al Qaeda and their friends stop murdering entire villages and baking the heads of little children.



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Wolverine

posted July 10, 2007 at 2:26 pm


Sarasotakid wrote:
What you allude to in terms of atrocities in Iraq are much worse than under the previous regime.
I dunno about that — ovens versus wood chippers is kind of a wash to me. I’d just as soon avoid both.
At any rate, the people who are doing the most to make matters worse — the folks who are actually beheading boys and (at least according to some reports) serving them to their families) serving them to their families are not US troops but Al Qaeda operatives.
I repeat: Peace is more than just the absence of US troops.
Wolverine



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Sarasotakid

posted July 10, 2007 at 2:39 pm


Wolverine wrote:
At any rate, the people who are doing the most to make matters worse — the folks who are actually beheading boys and (at least according to some reports) serving them to their families) serving them to their families are not US troops but Al Qaeda operatives.
Al Queda did not exist in Iraq until the ouster of Saddam Hussein. So at best, you’re telling me that we took a bad situation and did not make it one bit better. Again, I reiterate that those who ousted Saddam and did not make the situation any better should be brought to justice.
Wolverine wrote : I repeat: Peace is more than just the absence of US troops.
Fine. Neither is their presence bringing it. So you might as well get our guys out of harm’s way.



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Bryan

posted July 10, 2007 at 2:46 pm


Sadly, I agree with Wolverine. While I don’t know much about Saddam historically, it seems like we are finding out just what it takes to impose law in Iraq. He was willing to do whatever was necessary to impose his law and his will. Most Americans do not have the same stomach for that level of violence.



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Ngchen

posted July 10, 2007 at 2:48 pm


Well, the foreign troops there are certainly not making things better. Rather, they serve as a magnet rightly or wrongly for nationalist sentiment. Reports have it that the Iraqi locals HATE the foreign terrorist jihadis and would love to kill them. They aren’t fond of foreign forces either though. This mess is something the locals will have to sort out, hopefully with some sense of justice and peace.



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kevin s.

posted July 10, 2007 at 2:49 pm


“Fine. Neither is their presence bringing it. So you might as well get our guys out of harm’s way.”
Which is a valid argument, but unrelated to peace.
If Christian congresspeople sent a letter to churches asking them to support the Iraq war, Wallis would be livid.



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CRP

posted July 10, 2007 at 2:51 pm


Our (USA) unilateral presence has become an occupation. We need to transition our forces out, and transition UN peacekeepers in. Our forces can still be available to assist. We just can’t be a unilateral presence.



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James Addis

posted July 10, 2007 at 3:10 pm


I think this whole debate is confused by the use of the word “peace”. Whether we support or oppose the presence of American troops in Iraq, I suspect we all desperately want peace. I would go further and suggest President Bush wants it more than anybody else.
The question then becomes how is peace best achieved? So far when US or British troops have left an area, the terrorists have been quick to fill the vaccum. My gut feeling is the withdrawal of US troops will lead to even more mayhem and killing.
It seems to me the onus is on those who favor withdrawal to establish this is not so.



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Sarasotakid

posted July 10, 2007 at 3:32 pm


Which is a valid argument, but unrelated to peace. Kevin S.
To the extent that it is no longer us waging war, it does have to do with peace.
If Christian congresspeople sent a letter to churches asking them to support the Iraq war, Wallis would be livid. Kevin S.
And rightfully so as the war was based on lies, deception and innuendo. I would see nothing inconsistent or wrong with Wallis becoming livid at such a move.
It seems to me the onus is on those who favor withdrawal to establish this is not so. James Adis
No. Wrong policies got us there in the first place. Our presence there is not improving the situation and caused Al Queda to come in- it certainly was not there before we came in. So the onus is on the supporters of the war to show that our presence is justified and that it will ultimately accomplish something good. So far it has only gone from bad to worse- But that was a pretty picture of the President declaring the end to hostilities on the battleship. Maybe somebody could get me a wallet size of one of those pictures.
The latest polls show fully 2/3 of the American people are against this war and how it is being handled. That doesn’t surprise me. What I marvel at is the stubborness of fully one third of the population that support this military action no matter what. Sad, truly sad.



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Larry Chouinard

posted July 10, 2007 at 4:09 pm


The pursuit of peace need not mean the abandonment of the Iraqi people. We assume matching Al Quida’s terror with force and might we will see a reduction of their astrocities. Haven’t we learned by now they only seem to intensify their efforts with every new military surge?
American military presence can never be the solution to real peace in Iraq. Serious efforts to bring the neighboring Islamic community together for solutions seems the only way forward. Tied to negotiations would be an clearly defined exit plan of American troops replaced by only rebuilding and humane projects. Is there any guarantee this will bring stability to Iraq? NO — but it does have the chance of taking the focus off American presence and enabling the Iraqi people to rally against the destructive cycle of the current civil war destroying their nation. Perhaps, even the true colors of insurgent terrorism will be seen for what it is, and defeated by the persuasion of all peace loving Iraqis.
Maybe too idealistic, but every major political change starts with a dream of what could be.



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 10, 2007 at 4:51 pm


What I marvel at is the stubborness of fully one third of the population that support this military action no matter what. Sad, truly sad.
Posted by: Sarasotakid
Well I agree with those who wish to pull out , in fact yesterday was not too soon for my views . But that is a far cry from considering the opinions of those who wish to stay as being sad .
For one , how can you be sure of what will happen if and when we leave,
Also you do realize that you are dealing with lesser of two evils , but the fact is we are actually dealing with evil . That is the sad part .
I am one however that will always promote a view that we should never put American boots in a Religious Terrosist Nation such as Iraq or Iran .
If they had the same techincal capability we had , that nation would be flat right now . If they could strap that flattening bomb on an orphange , they would not blink .
I feel bad for the Iraq citizens who supported democracy and wanted peace to exist and religious freedom to be honored . Nothing sad about your fellow citizens , what is sad is what happens to some of the one third who supported Democracy in Iraq and still live there after we leave .



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Asinus Gravis

posted July 10, 2007 at 4:52 pm


Way too many of the prior commentators seem to assume that in order to secure peace regarding Iraq, the U. S. military must “win” in Iraq. That is precisely the basic cause of the rampant ABSENCE of peace in Iraq and in a number of other places in the world.
The notion that we must “win” in order to have peace, is akin the the problem with seeking revenge. As the Greeks learned centuries ago (see the “Agamemnon” trilogy by Aeschylus) there is absolutely no end to seeking revenge. And there is no end to the insistence on one side’s winning as the means to secure peace.



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Don

posted July 10, 2007 at 5:54 pm


Asinus Gravis:
I love your handle! But I don’t know whether to take it seriously or not. ;-)
Pax,



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neuro_nurse

posted July 10, 2007 at 6:24 pm


In case anyone is interested in reading what the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has already said about Iraq: http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/peace/churchleaders.shtml
“Basic benchmarks for a responsible transition in Iraq include: fostering adequate levels of security; curbing wanton killings, indefensible terrorist attacks and sectarian violence; strengthening the basic rule of law; promoting economic reconstruction to begin to create employment and economic opportunity for Iraqis; and supporting the further development of political structures and solutions that advance stability, political participation, and respect for religious freedom and basic human rights. Ultimately, this work must be done by Iraqis, but the United States and its coalition partners have a moral obligation to continue and intensify efforts with Iraqis, other countries in the region and the international community toward achieving these benchmarks. In particular, we urge Arab nations and the countries of Western Europe to take concrete steps against terror and to seek stability in the region. In addition, the future of Iraq and the whole region would be improved by our nation’s concerted leadership to resolve, in concert with the international community, other conflicts in the region, especially by pursuing a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Call For Dialogue and Action on Responsible Transition in Iraq, November 13, 2006
Seek peace and pursue it.



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 10, 2007 at 7:25 pm


This issue simply does not work out unless the innocents are considered. I have proposed volunteers evacuating them to the United States and assuming responsibility for helping them get started here. Most people dismiss this solution outright. They say it isn’t practical. It’s too expensive.
I say nonsense. Today the cost of the war stands at $442 billion according to costofwar.com. There are 27 million Iraqis. That’s $16,370 per Iraqi. Easily enough to move them here and provide some high density housing. And that’s if ALL of them move. I doubt it would take more than half of the population emigrating to communicate to powerseekers that the current mode was not working.
Fearmongers will gripe that the Muslims will murder us all if we do this. That the terrorists will come, too, and start blowing us up. Especially if volunteers demonstrate the love of Christ so compassionately as to welcome strangers into our homes…
Especially if we leave their homeland and stop trying to dictate their politics…
Especially if we stop financing their natural enemies…
Especially if we bring 200,000 well trained military personnel home to live among them…
We certainly ought to be afraid. We also ought to allow our fear to dictate what is feasible and even more so what is right.
I’m snarking now, so you’ll have to excuse me, but the fact is that Christians must assume the responsibility or else quit griping. We have to be risky. We have to be courageous. And we must not put our hope in the state. No wonder men hate church.
Nathanael Snow



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neuro_nurse

posted July 10, 2007 at 7:48 pm


Nathanael Snow
That’s a very interesting proposition, but isn’t the best way to destroy a culture or cause a people to disappear to assimilate them into the dominant culture? Would we really be doing them a favor by bringing them here, or would we be treating them as the spoils of war?



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 10, 2007 at 9:04 pm


I’m not a big fan of diverse cultures. I’m no anglophile either, by any means. But I don’t place a high value on diversity for diversity’s sake. I enjoy different foods, different music, different books, and differences of dress, etc. I just don’t see voluntary assimilation as a bad thing.
My wife likes to say that, “Culture is the sin you are used to.” While the comment was made most often in response to the “ghetto love” culture arguments our inner-city students used to make, there’s an element of truth to what she says.
In the end, I don’t necessitate assimilation. They can come here and live among one another and continue to speak their own language, etc. I certainly don’t believe in the establishment of English as the official language. There ought to be little enough “official” business that it isn’t necessary.
I’m just interested in a feasible and ethical solution to dealing with the innocents in Iraq, who are currently the most likely to get hurt there.
Nathanael Snow



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Anonymous

posted July 10, 2007 at 9:41 pm


If Christian congresspeople sent a letter to churches asking them to support the Iraq war, Wallis would be livid.
Posted by: kevin s. | July 10, 2007 2:49 PM

Because his moral bearings on issues such as this are actually Christian, unlike yours.



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Kevin Wayne

posted July 10, 2007 at 9:42 pm


I was the poster above who called Kevin S. out on his lack of a Christian perspective on the war.



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Kevin Wayne

posted July 10, 2007 at 9:57 pm


And shouldI be challenged on my statement, here’s jsut a few words form Jesus himself regardign out discipleship.
“If anyone would save his life he must lose it”
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me”
“If anyone is to live a godly life in Christ Jesus, he will be persecuted”
“Blessed are you when men hate you and ostricize you and persecute you and revile you, for this is how they treated the prophets of God.”
“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for this is how they treated the false prophets.”
ALSO:
o regarding the historically documented pacifism of the early church
http://www.anabaptistchurch.org/pacifist.htm
http://mb-soft.com/believe/txn/pacifism.htm
http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=115 (Argues for a modified pacifist view. More of a thought-provoking essay, with some historical tidbits.)
***PACIFISM AND BIBLICAL NONRESISTANCE***
by J. C. Wenger
http://www.bibleviews.com/Biblicalnonresist.html
***Christian Attitudes Toward War and Peace***
by Roland H. Bainton
299 pp. New York, Abington Press, 1960. $4.75
http://theologytoday.ptsem.edu/apr1962/v19-1-bookreview8.htm
All of these should be more than enough to document that Chrisitanity was almost exclusively pacifist in it’s historical roots, prior to the Constantinian compromise. Soujouners in it’s earlier days talked a lot more about these kinds of things, but unfortunately for them they don’t articulate this rationale as well or as often since becoming more politicall visible.



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Kevin Wayne

posted July 10, 2007 at 10:00 pm


I posted some historical and biblical documentation of the pacifism of the early church, but it seems as if the moerators withold comments that have links in them, so if anyone wants thsoe, feel free to ask.



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neuro_nurse

posted July 10, 2007 at 11:27 pm


Kevin Wayne,
It seems to me that posts with multiple links are blocked – a post with a single link usually goes through for me.



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kevin s.

posted July 10, 2007 at 11:36 pm


“I was the poster above who called Kevin S. out on his lack of a Christian perspective on the war.”
Congratulations. Either way, my point was that Wallis would be livid (or at least pretend to be livid) that Republicans reached out to church leaders, not that they were saying the wrong things about the war.



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 10, 2007 at 11:44 pm


I was the poster above who called Kevin S. out on his lack of a Christian perspective on the war.
Posted by: Kevin Wayne
Be carefull Kevin , your treading on a judgemental spirit that in itself in “Un Christian”
My perspective has changed through out this conflict , and I have been a Christian throughouty my perspectives changing . By listening , not accusing may I add.



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james

posted July 11, 2007 at 2:22 am


What is sad is that there is no good solution to the Iraq problem. The problem we will face in the near future is that are military will be worn thin, and we will be forced to leave. The best we can hope for is that we can git the Iraqis military up to speed , and let them take control of there situation . The longer we stay the weaker our forces will become. and this is not good for our national security.



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 11, 2007 at 8:03 am


james,
What is not good about the solution I propose above?
There is a good solution. It might just be too difficult for some.



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modreratelad

posted July 11, 2007 at 10:27 am


Yes we can leave Iraq – withdraw our millitary and try to make changes so that Iraq can be a free soceity. But how are we going to protect the people that are there in their attemps to gain a ‘non-millitary solution’ to the issues that are faced by the leadership in Iraq? The radicals have been killing their own in order to achieve their goal(s). They are blowing up trains and busses all over the world to keep us on edge. They are loading cars and putting them into public places in order to murder innocent people. Oh – this one is good. They are murdering children and then cooking them like a stuffed pig and serving them to the parents and family of the dead child. They are killing now when the allied forces are making progress – can you imagine what they will do if there was nothing attemping to eliminate their ability. The world is a safer place and will be a much safer place when the radicals have their ability to cause mayhem clipped. The world has done it in the past and they can do it again and we must.
Sorry Wallis – ending the conflict in Iraq the way you purpose will only embolden the Radicals. Interested – there is no Sojo in the Islamic world that I can find. If there has been – it did not last too long for any number of reasons.
Blessings on all!
.



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Kevin Wayne

posted July 11, 2007 at 2:23 pm


Be carefull Kevin , your treading on a judgemental spirit that in itself in “Un Christian”
My perspective has changed through out this conflict , and I have been a Christian throughouty my perspectives changing . By listening , not accusing may I add.

Good for you. I got mine from the Sermon on the Mount, but oh well.
Btw just as a general comment, I think Sojouners has neglected it’s duty to explain more of the historical-biblical progression that the church went though in changing from Pacifist to the Just War theory. There’s plenty of historical raw data to talk about, just in the fact the Early Church saw the Sermon on the Mount/Plain as normative in proscribing Christian ethics, as opposed to the Old Testament.
It also would be good if we would talk about why the Church is Israel, but I don’t think that’s a Sojouners bag so much.



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james

posted July 11, 2007 at 4:22 pm


posted by jurisnaturalist your solution is good , but how can we do this. give more facts



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 11, 2007 at 4:40 pm


James,
I’d like to find some groups who take in refugees, learn about what works and what doesn’t, and expand the model. Right now it is difficult because there are such strong anti-immigration laws. There are only 3 Darfuri refugees in the entire United States. Why haven’t more been rescued?
I think we can bargain with tyrannical regimes to buy their people out of bondage. If abolitionists had adopted this methodology in earnest there would have been no need for a civil war, and the states might have retained a great deal of their freedom.
I wonder if there are other countries with more open immigration policies and with economic opportunity. We must keep the minimum wage folks at bay while establishing this work, lest they cast the baby out with the bath water.
There’s a lot of potential here, and all of it can be accomplished without state funds or application of force.
If you are honestly interested send me an email and we can think more about potential.
ndsnow@ncsu.edu
Nathanael Snow



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neuro_nurse

posted July 11, 2007 at 5:19 pm


Nathanael Snow,
I agree with your philosophy in principle, and I’m sure you’ve heard many times some variation of what I’m about to say, but what you describe sounds like a utopian society which, as history shows us, is contrary to human nature (flesh).
You advocate for a reduction of government intrusion in our lives and an increased role of the churches in social welfare (this is probably badly worded).
I don’t have that much faith in the human race.
I think that in general, “the church” is a human institution that does not have Christ as its head. There are too many divisions. There is little agreement about what we believe, even within individual denominations – and little tolerance for people who believe differently from us.
I think people not only need to be governed, they want to be governed. There are too many followers, and the people who establish themselves as leaders are far too frequently motivated by self-interest.
I’m not saying this as a criticism.
Seek peace and pursue it.



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 11, 2007 at 5:37 pm


I think that in general, “the church” is a human institution that does not have Christ as its head.
Ouch , truth hurts sometimes . But I agree.



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 11, 2007 at 5:43 pm


My perspective has changed through out this conflict , and I have been a Christian throughouty my perspectives changing . By listening , not accusing may I add.
“Good for you. I got mine from the Sermon on the Mount, but oh well.”
Oh I must have an outdated edition ?
1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 11, 2007 at 7:38 pm


Neuro-nurse,
Yeah, I know its not practical.
But it is important for those of us who are a part of the Church with Christ as our head to articulate and live by principle. I also think it is unethical for Christians to utilize force except in defense of innocents. So, if I reject the state and its means for helping innocents, I have to search for and apply other methods.
Many allow the need to dictate their response. “Because there are so many suffering something must be done, and if it must be done by force, so be it…” I think this precise mentality is what Christ had in mind when He said, “The poor will always be with you.” He meant that we ought not allow the need to dictate our response, and He emulated this for us, He didn’t heal them all.
You say you have little faith in the human race. Me, too. But where is human nature more likely to play a negative role: in voluntary action, or where force is a factor?
I just question the prevalent attitude towards the state that it somehow has a sanction on it which makes it good.
Now, the fact is, people DO want to be governed. We should expect this, from pagans, but not from believers. If we have Christ we should be responsive to the prompting of His Spirit, making us otherwise self-directed and willing to stand out. The desire to be ruled over is to desire absolution of responsibility. Those who desire to rule over others have something malicious about them already.
There’s a new book out, currently getting a lot of big reviews, called The Myth of the Rational Voter by Bryan Caplan who I think will get a Nobel someday. He says most people want policies that will do them harm in the long run, citing especially protectionist policies. But politicians want to get re-elected, so they don’t give voters all that they want because if they did things would fall apart and the politician would get blamed. We generally get a better set of policies than we deserve!
Nathanael Snow



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Doug7504

posted July 11, 2007 at 7:51 pm


Isn’t it more than ironic that the same Catholic leadership who endorsed President Bush for re-election AFTER he had started his war, now want to call it quits? That now, they are “concerned” about the war? Illegally and immorally attacking another nation in order to build an empire isn’t cause enough to be “concerned”? What a load of rubbish!
Bankrupt leadership isn’t confined to Washington…it abounds in the halls of the Papacy as well.
“Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” Sun Tzu
The same hypocrites would be cheering Bush on if his war had succeeded.
Wonder how the Catholic bishops feel about the coming war with Iran?
Please pray for Peace!



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neuro_nurse

posted July 11, 2007 at 9:13 pm


“Isn’t it more than ironic that the same Catholic leadership who endorsed President Bush for re-election AFTER he had started his war, now want to call it quits? ”
In the first place, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops did NOT endorse bush – or anyone else for that matter. There are several of other Catholic organizations that may have given a nod to bush, so maybe you are confusing them with the actual Catholic leadership in this country.
In the second place, go back and read the quote I posted above (July 10, 2007 6:24 PM) from the USCCB website regarding how the U.S. should proceed now that we are in Iraq – it is anything but “calling it quits.”
“Wonder how the Catholic bishops feel about the coming war with Iran?”
If you’re really curious you can look it up on the USCCB website. I haven’t bothered to look it up because I know what the Church teaches about war – and there is no way a war against Iran would meet the just war criteria – just as the invasion of Iraq did not.
Given your repeated disparaging remarks about the Catholic Church, I doubt you’ll go to the trouble to look at either of the thing that I suggested – it just might contradict your anti-Catholic bigotry.
Nathanael Snow,
I agree with many of the things you wrote. Our spiritual gifts are different, but I can see where your heart is and you have my admiration and blessing.
Seek peace and pursue it.
Happily Catholic,
neuro_nurse



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Isa

posted July 12, 2007 at 8:04 am


Do we all agree to the definitions of peace, terrorism and invasion? Has the Church always promoted peace? or have Christ at its Head?
1)Peace= state of non-war.Many have lived in peace and oppression at the same time;There was no war in the countries undergoing Inquisition by the Church leaders, torturing people and confiscating their property; it lasted until the 19th Century.
2) How does anyone resist invasion and oppression without being labelled terrorist, nowadays?
3) “Why is the murder of one individual by another punishable while a nation can kill millions of citizens”-Dostoievsky
Isa



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Beevo

posted July 12, 2007 at 10:50 am


How do we know that some of this violence is not happening just because we have occupied the country? the one thing that has not yet been tried, is leaving. It seems that al quida may have flourished there in response to our presence.
I am afraid that Bush sees “winning” in terms of securing the oil, and not in making the Iraqis more safe and secure. He has other goals, but this is not our war to win or lose. the idea of this becoming a democratic country is a farce as long as we attempt to be in control. Clearly we are not protecting these people.



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Lena

posted July 12, 2007 at 12:54 pm


Isa,
I’m probably missing your intended sarcasm, but I thought I’d try to define peace differently. I’m not sure that I completely agree with your definition of “peace.” While it is technically correct, I don’t think that it is complete. When I think of what people of faith want when they struggle for “peace,” they are struggling for “shalom,” which is the Hebrew word for peace that also means wholeness, wellness, joy, justice, etc. In the Tanakh (aka the Old Testament) people ask if it is “shalom” with someone else. Clearly, this gives a far deeper sense of the word than simply being in a state of non-war.
I agree with you that people of faith have long been rather ambivalent about violence—often times allowing their faith to be misused to perpetuate the violence of the state. I think, however, that it is probably time to stand up and stop allowing that to happen. If we remain silent about violence now because of violence perpetuated in our name in the past, are we not simply guilty of the same sin? Guilt about the past is a poor reason to be silent, in fact, it seems a good reason to speak out all the louder.
I believe the church, the true body of Christ, has always supported and struggled for peace. I think, however, that sometimes their voices have been silenced by political expediency and guilt for not speaking out sooner.
As for the politics, being subversive in any system is likely to get you killed. Note, Christ. I don’t think we are any different today, we just think we live in a “Christian Nation” rather than recognizing that “Pax Americana” isn’t going to look any different than any other Empire’s…not to say that we shouldn’t be promoting peace by all politically viable (and perhaps not so politically viable) methods, but that we should not be surprised when our government clearly chooses violence first.



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james

posted July 12, 2007 at 2:47 pm


Nathanael Snow I don,t know if this would bring peace or solve the problems in Iraq . Also I don,t think we can move a whole nation. But I do think that we should try to git as many people out of Iraq as possible. I can do very little , but what I can do I will do. I don,t see Iraq as a place people can live in now or in the future . I think it will take organizations like SOJOURNERS and other groups around the world to do this . so every one that cares contact any person .organization, that you think that could help. SOJOURNERS if you see this blog we need your HELP.



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Pat

posted July 12, 2007 at 3:32 pm


This morning I listened to servicemen who have served in Iraq, speak out against this war on Democracy Now.The inhumane acts committed by American servicemen is an unfortunate reminder of similar acts committed in Vietnam years ago. What is forgotten is that other person is a child of God. I think that God’s teachings through Jesus and numerous other messengers is lost. WE human beings need to have a different attitude, how can we get a long with others, respect their culture, be less greedy, etc. Churches and their leaders must take a big responsibility. I don’t think the basic teachings of respect are observed. So could we please focus on changing our thoughts?



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 12, 2007 at 5:28 pm


Now, the fact is, people DO want to be governed. We should expect this, from pagans, but not from believers. If we have Christ we should be responsive to the prompting of His Spirit, making us otherwise self-directed and willing to stand out.
This is, frankly, theological error — because, in fact, the Scriptures do tell us to be in subject to governing authorities whoever they be. And at the birth of the church Christians were literally required to do so, so when Paul gave his directives — he knew Christ, but he also knew law — he was basically telling his audience, “Obey Roman law … but here’s how you can get around that and glorify God.” The early church worked on a general principle of subversion, reinterpreting the law to display its injustice, which is one reason it eventually fell under persecution. Anyway, if what you said were the case children would not have to be told to obey their parents because they would do so automatically — but, as any parent knows, it doesn’t happen that way.
Anyway, the problem with the basic ideology you promote is that it’s at odds with both Scripture and human nature. Individualism is actually a form of idolatry; the idea that “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul” and thus need no one or nothing — that’s pervasive in the West and especially in America — is total nonsense, because human beings are built for community, first with God and then with others. This is why we’re told to “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God,” none of which you can do without intimate relationship.



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James D Feely

posted July 12, 2007 at 5:39 pm


To these people who begin beheading sheep at the age of 2 years, it seems that what we call atrocities, is a walk in the park for these animals. Before we undertook the Iraq battles, these same tactics were prevalent in Afghanistan by the Taliban and Al Qaeda. They were used in Iran,Pakistan and the Saudi’s. This is what they undrstand as the rule of law.



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neuro_nurse

posted July 12, 2007 at 6:49 pm


James D Feely,
“To these people who begin beheading sheep at the age of 2 years… This is what they undrstand as the rule of law.” (sic)
Is this your opinion or, if it is fact, do you have a source you can cite?
I lived in Iran for a year (1978), and I spent several months in North Africa. I can tell you that the way you seem to think of “these people” is completely inaccurate.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I’d trust the average Muslim a lot sooner than I’d trust the average American. The Muslims I have known are much more pious than most Christians I know.
Seek peace and pursue it.



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Anonymous

posted July 12, 2007 at 6:52 pm


“To these people who begin beheading sheep at the age of 2 years, it seems that what we call atrocities, is a walk in the park for these animals.”
Oh, this is such a loving Christian response! Whatever happened to loving one’s enemies? I know it’s a hard thing to do, but Christ tells us it’s a necessary thing to do.
And the first step is to remember that these are human beings we’re talking about–made in God’s image and all that–and not “animals.”
Peace,



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Don

posted July 12, 2007 at 6:54 pm


The last post was mine.
It’s hard to remember to put the ID info in each time, which this newer blog setup makes me do.
D



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 12, 2007 at 10:19 pm


Anyway, the problem with the basic ideology you promote is that it’s at odds with both Scripture and human nature. Individualism is actually a form of idolatry;
Posted by: Rick Nowlin
Rick the problem I have with this is individualism in the way I see it is how God sees us , not how we are to act towards others in the world . Also I see particpating in the church different then participating in what is suppose to be a secular government .
The First Chruch in Acts is close to communism , but our government reflects a view that we have individual rights that the government supposedly can’t take away . Speech , being able to defend your self with arms , religion , etc .
You are putting your religious view , which I actually share I think , with a governmental view . If we were all Christians , I would agree it may be possible if we had our act together , but I don’t even think you or many people on this web can barely tolerate me , alone consider me a Christian .



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 12, 2007 at 10:20 pm


“I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I’d trust the average Muslim a lot sooner than I’d trust the average American. The Muslims I have known are much more pious than most Christians I know.”
This is a strange statement . Explain .



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 12, 2007 at 11:01 pm


Rick the problem I have with this is individualism in the way I see it is how God sees us, not how we are to act towards others in the world. Also I see particpating in the church different then participating in what is suppose to be a secular government.
The thing is, we in the Church are here in part to model what God always had in mind when He created this world but was sabotaged by sin. Granted, without Him secular government can do only so much, but there’s nothing wrong with acting as He would were we to have some authority in that way — that is, if our goal is to serve, not to dominate the way some Christians expect and demand. Part of the problem is that in evangelical parlance we are taught to receive Jesus as our “personal Savior,” which is a poor choice of words because He saves us ultimately into His Body.
If we were all Christians, I would agree it may be possible if we had our act together, but I don’t even think you or many people on this web can barely tolerate me, [let] alone consider me a Christian.
I won’t speak for others, but that has nothing to do with it. If Jesus has truly saved you, as far as I’m concerned you’re family. That said, as part of such family I have the responsibility to tell you where I think you have it wrong, and in many cases those on the political right have missed God’s intent for His people (but don’t want to hear that). In my experience, over the past several decades too many people who identify themselves as “conservatives” have consistently disparaged those who disagree with them, which of course does wonders for Christian unity, and it’s why this blog exists.



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canucklehead

posted July 13, 2007 at 12:44 am


>>”I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I’d trust the average Muslim a lot sooner than I’d trust the average American. The Muslims I have known are much more pious than most Christians I know.” Neuro-nurse
>>This is a strange statement . Explain .
Posted by: Mick Sheldon | July 12, 2007 10:20 PM
>>I lived in Iran for a year (1978), and I spent several months in North Africa. I can tell you that the way you seem to think of “these people” is completely inaccurate. Neuro
Mick – he did, and in the same post.



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neuro_nurse

posted July 13, 2007 at 1:28 pm


“This is a strange statement . Explain .” Mick Sheldon
I don’t see what’s “strange” about that statement. It has to do with talking the talk or walking the walk. I have been treated with much greater hospitality and kindness in Muslim countries than in my own – and I’ve been taken advantage of by more “Christians” than Muslims.
I hitch hiked around North Africa and well into Sub-Saharan Africa. I would never hitch hike in this country for fear of my safety.
Contrary to popular belief, the average Muslim has nothing to do with Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda, the average American Christian elected gw bush to a second term.
Seek peace and pursue it.



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