Sojourners Magazine: July 2013
A YEAR AGO we began “Drone Watch” on the God’s Politics blog, reporting on various drone-related issues. It was a topic few were following at the time. This spring, drones finally broke into public awareness, with significant stories in the mainstream media. As we were going to press, President Obama delivered a major speech on counterterrorism, calling drone killings “effective” and “legal” while acknowledging the need for broader oversight.
In this issue, as the public debate continues, Steve Holt looks at the theological problems of drone warfare, David Swanson explains how Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University became a leader in training pilots for U.S. drone wars, and investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill puts drones in the context of a U.S. policy that is increasingly based on covert wars around the world.
Violence and instability continue to plague the Middle East. A Christian member of the Egyptian upper house of Parliament talks about pressure on Egypt’s Christian minority and the challenge of preventing the Arab Spring from descending into violence. Gregg Brekke, a U.S.-based journalist recently returned from Jordan, looks at the impact of refugees in that country and why Christian communities are declining throughout the region. And in Syria, an already devastating war threatens to become worse, with growing calls for U.S. military intervention.
As people of faith, all these situations underscore for us the necessity of spiritual grounding. Episcopal priest Linda Kaufman writes of rediscovering the importance and power of prayer and listening to the Spirit, a fundamental message for us all.
We also need signs of hope and encouragement. Lisa Sharon Harper tells of a ceremony in Birmingham, Ala., where leaders of Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A.—50 years after Martin Luther King’s famous jail letter —confessed the church’s complicity with racism and committed to the pursuit of justice. King’s daughter, Bernice, accepted the response from the church leaders, ending with the blessing, “May these words become flesh and live among us.” May that be our calling as well.