15 May 2008

What has the church had to say about the war in Iraq? - article at Episcopal Cafe

My most recent article was posted today over at the Episcopal Cafe. Let me know your thoughts.

"What has the church had to say about the war in Iraq?"

I was recently at a gathering of church leaders and the question arose, “what has the church had to say about the ongoing Iraq War?” While I realize that there may be churches that have taken on the issue of the war, for the most part, I believe we (and I include myself) have done a poor job to take on the issue of war in any kind of a helpful or constructive way. (If your church has engaged the question that is awesome; let me know what you’re doing!)

Of course, there are a variety of perspectives about war that emerge from the Christian tradition, and preachers and church leaders would do well to recognize that pacifists, veterans, active duty officers, as well as victims of war sit in our pews. But still, couldn’t we have the courage to examine the tradition of just war and the various forms of pacifism and do this in a way that could raise the tenor of discussion? Why haven’t our churches taken up the subject of the war in a more direct way? Are we fearful that any criticism of foreign policy will lead us to an I.R.S. audit (such as happened at All Saints Episcopal Church, Pasadena)? Or, are we worried that if we try to be prophetic someone might post it on Youtube and we would be labeled as “anti-American”?

Fear may be at the root of our reluctance, but there may also be deeper reasons for the church’s reluctance to take on war and violence. I believe that Western Christianity would receive a mixed verdict in terms of how it has addressed global issues of violence. All too often, the Church has become enmeshed in the power structures of society and has not offered alternatives to the dominant world-view.

Read it all HERE.

1 comment:

Jim Strader said...

Hi Peter+ - Here are my immediate thoughts.

Christian communities are reluctant to engage the war's ethical legitimacy for two reasons. First, on a pragmatic level, controversy and dialog generally lead to conflict and many parochial communities are classically conflict avoidant. Secondly, on a theological level, most Episcopalians are unfamiliar with Just War theory and/or uncomfortable with discussing their ethical and theological opinions relative to the War in Iraq.