Robertson: Iraq war fought with Christian principle - news from ekklesia on theology and politics from a christian perspective

Robertson: Iraq war fought with Christian principle - news from ekklesia on theology and politics from a christian perspective

By staff writers
15 Apr 2003

Robertson: Iraq war fought with Christian principle

-15/4/03

The decision to minimize civilian casualties in the war in Iraq shows that the conflict is being fought in accordance with Christian principles, supporters of the military campaign in the USA have claimed.

The Rev. Pat Robertson, the founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network and the Christian Coalition, said many Christians who support the war believe the biblical principles of loving one's enemy means that precautions must be taken to minimise civilian casualties.

Estimates suggest that deaths during the war have run into the thousands, with possibly 2,000 civilian casualties.

Robertson said that some Christians might be reluctant to embrace the war effort because of their opposition to the taking of human life.

"But as long as we continue the course we're on," Mr. Robertson said, referring to the overall concern for Iraqi civilians, "we're on solid ground, not only in terms of Christian, biblical concepts, but also in terms of public relations."

But opponents of the military campaign, such as Jesse L. Jackson Jr., Illinois Democrat are unconvinced reports the Washington Times. The overall reasons for the attack still make the war inappropriate, said Frank E. Watkins, a Jackson spokesman.

Mr. Jackson, who graduated from the Chicago Theological Seminary with a degree in theology, believes the war was initiated for impure reasons and, therefore, can never be reconciled with the Christian ideals of fair engagement, Mr. Watkins said.

"It does not meet the criteria of a just war," said the spokesman.

The "just war" doctrine states that the use of military force is legitimate only for defensive purposes to protect from unjust aggression. The Catholic Church historically has said war can be waged only with the intention of establishing a just peace, and that there must be no intentional killing of innocent civilians.

Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Centre, a District-based conservative think tank, said the campaign in Iraq fulfils the Catholic teachings of a just war.

He said the war was aimed at protecting Americans and others in the Middle East and that U.S. forces have sought to save Iraqi civilians.

His position is however at odds with the Vatican. The Pope made it clear on several occasions that he did not consider the war to fulfil the just war criteria.

US church leaders who met with the Prime Minister Tony Blair before the war began also made it clear that they didnít believe a war was a ìlast resortî ñ another principle that must be satisfied for a war to be considered ìjustî.

Robertson: Iraq war fought with Christian principle

-15/4/03

The decision to minimize civilian casualties in the war in Iraq shows that the conflict is being fought in accordance with Christian principles, supporters of the military campaign in the USA have claimed.

The Rev. Pat Robertson, the founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network and the Christian Coalition, said many Christians who support the war believe the biblical principles of loving one's enemy means that precautions must be taken to minimise civilian casualties.

Estimates suggest that deaths during the war have run into the thousands, with possibly 2,000 civilian casualties.

Robertson said that some Christians might be reluctant to embrace the war effort because of their opposition to the taking of human life.

"But as long as we continue the course we're on," Mr. Robertson said, referring to the overall concern for Iraqi civilians, "we're on solid ground, not only in terms of Christian, biblical concepts, but also in terms of public relations."

But opponents of the military campaign, such as Jesse L. Jackson Jr., Illinois Democrat are unconvinced reports the Washington Times. The overall reasons for the attack still make the war inappropriate, said Frank E. Watkins, a Jackson spokesman.

Mr. Jackson, who graduated from the Chicago Theological Seminary with a degree in theology, believes the war was initiated for impure reasons and, therefore, can never be reconciled with the Christian ideals of fair engagement, Mr. Watkins said.

"It does not meet the criteria of a just war," said the spokesman.

The "just war" doctrine states that the use of military force is legitimate only for defensive purposes to protect from unjust aggression. The Catholic Church historically has said war can be waged only with the intention of establishing a just peace, and that there must be no intentional killing of innocent civilians.

Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Centre, a District-based conservative think tank, said the campaign in Iraq fulfils the Catholic teachings of a just war.

He said the war was aimed at protecting Americans and others in the Middle East and that U.S. forces have sought to save Iraqi civilians.

His position is however at odds with the Vatican. The Pope made it clear on several occasions that he did not consider the war to fulfil the just war criteria.

US church leaders who met with the Prime Minister Tony Blair before the war began also made it clear that they didnít believe a war was a ìlast resortî ñ another principle that must be satisfied for a war to be considered ìjustî.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 England & Wales License. Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.