[Content Note: the author cites the late John Howard Yoder who victimized a number of his students who were women, – signed the author 12/26/17]
UPDATE: The Mormon Worker says that President Obama needs to read John Howard Yoder
HT: Antony Solomon
UPDATE II: Glenn Greenwald on The Obama Doctrine
I was half-awake/half-asleep at 7:00am yesterday morning when I had left my television on Fox News Channel. As I was barely wiping my eyes, I was hearing a strange speech, and it almost sounded like Reinhold Niebuhr himself was talking to me, but I looked onto the t.v. screen, and low and behold, it was President Barack Obama giving his Nobel Peace Prize speech and defending his escalation of the war in Afghanistan.
Christian Realism rejects the polly-anna outlook of the early 20th century Social Gospel, which was liberal Protestantism bringing the kingdom of God here on Earth. Only God can accomplish the impossible task of bringing heaven to earth, therefore Christians must work with the world as it is. Enter: Barack Obama, a politician who attracts the most politically progressive factions of the Democratic Party (the ones who advocate peace and diplomacy among other policy preferences). In his speech, Obama argued that sometimes war is necessary, because it is the lesser of two evils. Reinhold Niebuhr even argued that there are empires of good, and empire of evil, and that it was up to the empires of good to distribute wealth and technology to their subservient colonies.
According to R.S. Sugitharajah, for Niebuhr, “imperialism was not in itself immoral. Each empire must be considered individually. He also made a distinction between older and modern empires. The earlier empires were marked by nationalistic imperialism, where the stronger dominate the weaker. These were considered morally inferior to modern empires. The new empires are merely servants of the universal community [see Reinhold Niebuhr’s Nations and Empires, page 59].” (R.S. Sugitharajah, Postcolonial Reconfigurations, 146).
This is exactly what we are trying to do in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the end, Obama’s realist ideology blurs lines of difference between him and the politics of George W Bush, who I would argue was a socially conservative Social Gospeller in the mold of Woodrow Wilson.
I am glad I was not the only one who noticed Obama’s Realist perspective.
Ben Witherington III adds,
“And I quite agree with President Obama that only a warped view of Biblical religion could lead to a belief in a doctrine of holy war as carried out by fallible sinful human beings. Fallen human beings are incapable of carrying out a holy war, incapable of making the necessary moral distinctions so that right is always done in any given situation, or at least so that there are more rescued victims of injustices than newly created victims in the course of a war.
But I must confess to being doubtful even when we talk about a justifiable struggle that it ever becomes a just war. For what the President has admitted in this speech is that war is not merely hell, it is one of the ultimate expressions of human sin on earth, one of the greatest expressions of a violation of love of neighbor and even love of enemy imaginable.”
For the rest of his analysis of Obama’s speech, see here.
Truth and Peace,