Class 11: War and Peace

Faith Confronts War, Peace and Terrorism (with Jim Wallis)

Instructor: Jim Wallis

The Christian tradition has yield two different perspective on the ethics of war: pacifism and the “just war theory.” Many Christians have ignored both of these perspectives when it comes to the “war on terror,” considering it a distinctly different type of combat, confronting a decentralized and transnational enemy unconstrained by the rules of war between nation states. But as Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, professor of theology at Chicago Theological Seminary, warns, “There are too many questions—concerning the continuing authority for a ‘war on terror,’ the protection of civilians, the lack of transparency about the [drone] program—to call this just war. … Drones are particularly dangerous as they tempt us, as well as other nations, to consider war ‘easy’ and ‘cheap.’ The age of drones, unless checked, will be an age of permanent war.” How do we bring a truly Christian ethic to our current international struggles?

Readings:

Bell, Daniel M., Jr. “Discriminating Force: Just War and Counterinsurgency.” Christian Century 7 Aug. 2013: n. pag. Christiancentury.org. Christian Century, 24 July 2013. Web.

Holt, Steve. “Hellfire from Above.” Sojourners July 2013: n. pag. sojo.net. Sojourners, June 2013. Web.

Wallis, Jim. “Chapter 10: Blessed Are the Peacemakers – Winning Without War.” God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2005. 159-71. Print.

Wallis, Jim. “Chapter 10: Nonviolent Realism.” The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-religious Right America. New York, NY: HarperOne, 2008. 235-265. Print.

Wallis, Jim. “Chapter 7: Surprising Our Enemies.” On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned about Serving the Common Good. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2013. 129-56. Print.

Wallis, Jim. “A Convert to Peace.” Sojourners Sept.-Oct. 2011: 28-31. sojo.net. Sojourners, July 2011. Web.

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