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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Christianity and Ron Paul - The Just War Theory

Travis Jackson, CC


Being a Christian man, I am amazed at the number of other Christians and Christian leaders that refuse to support Ron Paul's campaign. Countless times I have heard men and women say that Ron Paul has good ideas but his foreign policy is crazy, or insane, or isolationist. I believe the failure to recognize the merits of his foreign policy is dangerous and that blindly going into war is completely incompatible with Christian doctrine. It is becoming apparent to me that fewer and fewer Christians actually understand the lessons that Jesus taught while on this earth.

The idea of pre-emptive war is not, in any way, compatible with what I believe to be the heart of the message of Christ. To deny this is folly and will only sink us deeper into the mess we are in economically, and further diminish the respect that we once maintained around the world. It is interesting to me that the biggest proponents of war are Christians themselves. Although most claim to be conservative, they are willing to spend this country into oblivion to "defend freedom." Economically, many understand that continued domestic spending poses a threat to the health of our nation, but readily support printing and borrowing money to keep America "safe" through the barrel of a gun. Some applaud at the thought of bombing our unnamed enemies. Some will even agree that the unintended consequence of killing innocent Iraqis, Afghans, or Iranians is simply a consequence of war and can be excused. I say, the biggest threat to our freedom is the continuation of a flawed foreign policy that will only result in the loss of the heart and soul of America.

Once upon a time we believed in the "Just War Theory." Ron Paul brings this up time and time again in his arguments of why we should have a sane foreign policy. His stance on war comes from his convictions. His convictions are born of his belief in Christian principles. Yet, these convictions are marginalized and questioned by some of the most ardent of "Christians."

For those of you who do not understand what Dr. Paul is talking about, the main points of the Just War Theory are as follows:

-A just war can only be waged as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified.

-A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority. Even just causes cannot be served by actions taken by individuals or groups who do not constitute an authority sanctioned by whatever the society and outsiders to the society deem legitimate.

-A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered. For example, self-defense against an armed attack is always considered to be a just cause (although the justice of the cause is not sufficient--see point #4). Further, a just war can only be fought with "right" intentions: the only permissible objective of a just war is to redress the injury.

-A war can only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success. Deaths and injury incurred in a hopeless cause are not morally justifiable.

-The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish peace. More specifically, the peace established after the war must be preferable to the peace that would have prevailed if the war had not been fought.

-The violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury suffered. States are prohibited from using force not necessary to attain the limited objective of addressing the injury suffered.

-The weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants. Civilians are never permissible targets of war, and every effort must be taken to avoid killing civilians. The deaths of civilians are justified only if they are unavoidable victims of a deliberate attack on a military target.

Jesus did not come to this earth to force people to follow him; it was his example and his message that attracted people to him. It should be easy to understand that force is the least effective way to lead. It creates in the subjugate resentment and anger. This is why using force of arms to achieve peace is unnecessary and ignoble, and why ultimately, it will fail. However, the United States' foreign policy is built upon this very premise and it has created "unintended consequences," which Ron Paul and our own CIA has cited as blowback. It is our insistence on meddling in the affairs of other nations that stirs up resentment and hatred of our country. It is irrational to believe that these so called "terrorists" attack us because we are free and prosperous. If this were so, why are they not attacking other free nations? As Ron Paul has stated on numerous occasions, maybe we should take time to listen to our enemies' lists of grievances as to why they attack us. Perhaps we can learn something from them. Perhaps we can achieve peace through diplomacy and compromise. Perhaps we can come up with a solution that doesn't lead to war unnecessarily.

The truth of the matter is that wars of aggression will always create more enemies than are destroyed. With our current foreign policy, these new enemies will only be used as an excuse for more war. It is a never-ending cycle which will lead to never-ending war, with peace being unattainable. Such a foreign policy will only serve to erode the very foundation of freedom and liberty, not only for the world, but for us here at home. It should also be noted that economically it is unsustainable. Before long, much like Rome before us, our corrupt empire will fail from within.

If peace through force creates enemies, should not the opposite be true? If Christ is our example, should we not look to scripture to guide us? John 3:16 says that "for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son..." The question remains, did God save the world through force or through something quite different? It is love that saves us, and it is love that creates peace in all men's hearts. If we are truly concerned for others, would we needlessly bomb them? If we truly desired peace would we still cling to this idea of pre-emptive war? Why is Ron Paul mocked because he desires peace? Does scripture not teach us the following?:

Matthew 5:5 - "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth."

Matthew 5:7 - "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy."

Matthew 5:9 - "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall shall be called Sons of God."

When did we forget that we should be representing these basic tenets of The Law? Is gentleness, mercy, and striving for peace weak? Is it outdated? Is our love and mercy merely reserved to ourselves and fellow Christians? Is it only to be applied to Americans?

Matthew 5:43-48 - "You have heard that it was said, 'You should love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father who is in heaven, for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Ignoring such simple teachings has transformed us into a nation of Pharisees. Now, as we vote to elect the next leader of our once great nation, many Christians are ignoring the only candidate that represents the very ideals that Christ taught!

Tonight, in South Carolina during a debate, Ron Paul stated that we should apply the Golden Rule to how we deal with other nations and was booed by the audience! When is "doing unto others as you would have them do unto you" or "loving your neighbor as yourself" unpopular among Christians? Have we sunk so far that we cannot recognize the evils of pre-emptive war? Jesus was especially critical of the Pharisees in his time for ignoring "the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness...." (Mt 23:23) and it makes me wonder, what he would say today. Would he support Americans blindly following a policy of aggressive war and reprisal without considering the consequences? In Iraq, over 100,000 innocent people were killed based on the lie of weapons of mass destruction. Would Christ agree with our irrational fear of a helpless nation like Iran trying to defend itself from a meddling superpower? Iran has not attacked us in any way, and are incapable of doing so, yet, we want to drop bombs on them and start a war over possibilities? Is this just? Is this merciful? Is Iran worthy of our fear? Are you willing to risk killing another 100,000 innocent people to make a point? In Matthew 10:28 Jesus says, "Do not fear those that kill the body but unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Ask yourself, who should fear who?

I think it is time we re-think our position on foreign policy. I think it is time that we consider Matthew 5:14-16 where it says "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden...it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."

Christians who do not stand with Ron Paul should be ashamed. Those who ridicule his positions without giving them proper thought are as guilty as our leaders and corporations that profit off of war and death. Even Solomon, the wisest of men said "When a man's ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him." (Proverbs 16:7)

Ron Paul, in 30 years of public service, has consistently warned of the dangers facing this nation. He has consistently stood for the American people and defended the Constitution. He predicted the economic collapse that we are currently facing and he was right when he warned Congress about overreacting in respect to Iraq. Despite this, he has been smeared and ridiculed, lied about, and ignored. Have we forgotten that Christ said we will be blessed "when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me...?" (Mt 5:11)

It is time to take a stand. Thomas Jefferson said, "Every country has the government it deserves." For too long, the people of this nation have elected leaders that were not worthy of being leaders. A vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil. Do not be fooled into thinking that this election does not matter. We deserve better and should demand better. The drums of war are sounding once again and we need to ask ourselves, can we really afford to be wrong again? Should we elect a leader who will mindlessly lead us into more war? Did Jesus not say in respect to Jerusalem "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes." (Luke 19:42) Would he not say these very words to us today?

To men of all faiths I make this plea. Open your eyes! Do not be like the Pharisees who Jesus considered to be "...whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness." (Mt 23:27) It is time to repent as individuals and as a nation. It is time to once again, through peace and example, become a city on a hill for the whole world to see. Jesus taught this, and our Founding fathers understood this. Ron Paul is the only candidate that has shown he believes it.

11 comments:

  1. I watched the debate last night with great dismay and sadness. However I just finished reading this article and it has given me great encouragement. Christ's message to the world was rejected by the pharisees and it seems to me that Ron Paul's message of a foreign policy based on the Golden Rule is being rejected by the self proclaimed religious leaders in the United States in much the same manner. I will do my best to share this article with others so that hearts and minds may be changed by the Golden Rule message of Jesus Christ as communicated by Ron Paul. Along these same lines, I wrote an article after Ron Paul was mocked and criticized during and after a mid-December Republican Party presidential debate. I am linking to it here not to bring attention to me, but in the hope that it may also help God's message, through Jesus Christ - of the Golden Rule - change the hearts and minds of those who hear it. God Bless. Here is the link: http://www.apmgoldbulliondealers.com/the-republican-debate-the-golden-rule-and-the-towel-and-the-water-basin

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  2. The republicans will not win without Paul.No Paul supporter will vote for the lesser of two evils.We will write him in whether he runs third party or not,guaranteeing an Obama victory.The Republicans just don't get it.

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  3. Oh WOW man...thank you for this. I am going to share your words far and wide. This message needs to be shouted from the housetops.

    As a 46-year old native South Carolinian and a life-long Republican who always voted the 'establishment" ticket for president, I have made an about face in the last few months and will vote for NO ONE EXCEPT Dr. Paul.

    I was ashamed of my home state, my party, and my Christian faith last night amidst the boos and jeers but you are again spot on to pointing out where the modern Pharisees are: They were largely up on stage, in the "moderator" booth, and in the audience.

    Dr. Paul has great courage and it is obvious why so many troops are behind him. Because of his high principles and call for restraint and reason, they see him as the ONLY one fit to be Commander in Chief, the only one who will not recklessly put them in harm's way.

    I never said this before for any president or presidential candidate but I would take a BULLET for that guy...no questions asked!!

    ~Christopher M.
    Norfolk, VA

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  4. Christians have blatantly ignored the words of Christ for too long and it has brought this nation to financial and spiritual bankruptcy. If these people chose to deny the New Testament, then they should stop pretending to be Christians and convert to Judaism. I honestly believe Evangelicals deny Christ because he was not violent and greedy enough for them.

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  5. Thank you all for your comments. I have several close friends who cannot make the connection on the Golden Rule and our foreign policy. It makes me sad as well, but I have not given up hope. Hope is one of our greatest weapons when fighting an uphill battle. I have often wondered how Ron Paul must of felt standing alone in Congress all those years fighting for us! That lone voice has become so many! Now that OUR eyes have come open, it is our turn to continue the fight with him, putting up with those who cannot yet see clearly. Thanks again, I am really enjoying your comments!

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  6. I read a quote one time that said something to the effect: "If you're a Christian who believes what was said about the life of a Christian being hard (Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated - the world was not worthy of them), and all of a sudden you find yourself on the WINNING TEAM (persecuting others and looking down on them), then you'd better take a closer look at who is leading you!" That about sums up what I think about people who consider themselves Christian in this day and age. I submit to you that their VALUES HAVE BEEN HIJACKED and they are not lead by Christ. He was not a warmonger.

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  7. Refreshing article. Thank you! A friend shared with me, after reading I don't feel so alone. My biggest argument over Ron Paul with Christians is usually about Israel. We have been taught by our media that Israel "needs" us and they sell us this deception that we actually care about Israel. A walk through history will prove otherwise. Bush Sr. is known in the prophetic world as one of the most ungodly presidents because of his implementation of the "Land for Peace" program, forcing Israel to divide up covnant land for so called Middle East peace. He even bullied the Israeli president into agreement, and every president since has followed along. This one event, marks a big turning point with the US - God clearly states He will judge anyone who tries to divide that land, and here the Israel-loving "Christian" republican president forced that ungodly, unscriptural program into place, and every "Christian" republican since supports it - and Christians say nothing. Continued...

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  8. The media would like us to believe that Iran is this huge superpower, and Israel this weak tiny spec on a map. Not so - Israel has enough nucular power to take out the entire Middle East, more than enough to protect themselves. They have the best Air Force in the world, and a navy, not to mention all of their boots on the ground. Iran has none of that. Nothing - no Navy, no nucs, maybe some boots and some lunatics, but that's it. Why would Israel NEED us to fight that war? Common sense kicked in one day and said, that doesn't add up. The US unfortunately has other motives in Iran and sadly, Christians fall for it because they "think" we do things to protect Israel. I should also mention that God Himself is the only one who will protect Israel, He says so in Ezekiel during the Gog/Magog war which seems to be lining up. Then there's the foreign aid issue - many Christians are against socialism because they know it's evil. But, it's ok to use it and steal from the poor people of a rich country to give it to the rich people of a poor country if Israel is invoved. This is insane hypocracy. We give 3 times as much aid to Israels enemies, and Israel has even said they don't need it. Yet, talk about cutting off "aid" to Israel and Christians run without even looking at the truth. Do you hate socialism or don't you? Is it rooted and grounded in violence and evil or isn't it? We have enabled Israel, forced their covnant land from them over to their enemies, demanded they not defend themselves when they clearly should have, and made them a complete slave to the US. "The borrower is slave to the lender." They do what we say, and what we say isn't usually in their best interest, but in that of the elite. The state of deception Christians are in regarding this election tells me where we are as a nation. Continued...

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  9. I repent daily for our actions, our attitudes, our turning from our Christian principles. We seem to only follow what the media says, and what our ungodly leaders have told us is truth. If you don't love war, hate muslims, and want to "protect" Israel, you're not a Christian or a patriot. Why would we follow man instead of God, and believe such things when God has clearly warned us about false prophets, deception, and the ungodliness of the last days? Why do so many Christians care more about going to war than they do about having wisdom and discernment? Our "Christian" republican representation has done nothing but try to sell us that we are in danger and need to be protected from Muslims for the last 10 years, even though our borders are wide open. (Again, just applying common sense here) Even tea party candidates have signed legislation giving up liberties in the name of safety and protection. I don't know about any other Christians out there, but I for one am more fearful about what my government is going to do to us once they have the full power to do so, than I am about getting blown up by a terriorist. I'll have my liberty and freedom, and take my chances with the extremeists anyday. Our founders knew we would not always be governed by angels, and that evil men could rule our country one day. Our constitution primarily protects us from them. Republicans are slowly chipping that away, while Democrats are bankrupting us from within. We don't have that much more to go after the NDAA passed with a "surprising" majority of republicans supporting it. Wow! Are we that deceived? I also notice Ron Paul doesn't exploit his Christianty either to gain the evangelical vote like all of the others, past and present. You shouldn't have to, your life and actions should be enough to speak volumes, and his does - only Christians are blind, deaf and deceived by others who constatly try to "prove" it and sell us on social issues. Sad indeed! Gracious Lord have mercy on our country this year, and open the eyes of my brothers and sisters to see that they are living Romans 1, calling that which is evil good, and what is good, evil.

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  10. And, just for the record, Germany, WWII, was the last "constitutional" war we fought, probably why the outcome was different/positive. We were defending a personal strike, against an identified enemy/country, with a plan to go in, win, and leave. Very different from today's wars. Either we uphold the constitution or we don't. We have checks and balances for a reason. Our constitution is not a grey document to be changed and modified as the current power sees fit. Educate yourself on the US and Iran! In 1953, we took out a democratically elected president that the Iranian people ELECTED and loved, because Iran did not want to give oil to our friends the Brits, instead they wanted to keep it for themselves and their own country. We stepped in to "help", took him out, and an evil dictator that the US befriended and supported took his place, he tortured and killed many Iranians for 20+ years after.

    "In 1953, Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq was overthrown by a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-organized coup, in what has been called "a crucial turning point both in Iran's modern history and in U.S. Iran relations." Many Iranians argue that "the 1953 coup and the extensive U.S. support for the shah in subsequent years were largely responsible for the shah's arbitrary rule," which led to the "deeply anti-American character" of the 1979 revolution."

    Do you think those mothers, fathers, and grandmothers that were alive then, who lived through that, passed down warm fuzzies about who/what the US is and what we stand for? Why wouldn't they, and their childrens children hate us?! I hate what we did FOR OIL, who wouldn't? Only those who have no clue of how it began.

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  11. Ron Paul is in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trqgT0jhw08

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