A new book to be published next week looks set to add weight to the move by the UK Government to drop references to the 'War on Terror'.
The book by theologian Jeremy Young will examine how, as Government minister Hilary Benn has claimed today, President George Bush's phrase ‘War on Terror’ strengthens small disaffected groups with widely differing aims by making them feel part of something “bigger”.
Young suggests that such language is “designed to demonise the enemies of America and to preserve the illusion of American innocence”.
In The Violence of God and the War on Terror, to be publishing on 23rd April 2007, Young argues that in addition, using the language of the war colludes with the claims of both sides, “firstly, that the Jihadists are engaged in a war rather than a brutal campaign of terror against innocent people; and, secondly, that America is at war, rather than engaged in a campaign against certain groups of terrorists, and that the government can, therefore, ride roughshod over civil liberties and the rule of law.”
Hilary Benn, the International Development Secretary, confirmed at a meeting in New
York today that British ministers and civil servants have decided to stop using the term
‘War on Terror’, in a move that is likely to anger White House officials.
Jeremy Young’s hard-hitting and provocative book examines how cycles of abusive and
violent behaviour are formative of both Christianity and contemporary American politics,
and how they engender conflict.
In particular Young, who is a pastoral theologian but also a family therapist, considers the ways in which historical and contemporary politics within the United States have been influenced by abusive images of God and the consequences of this influence upon the promotion of ‘the war on terror’.
In conclusion he describes the steps needed to escape from cycles of abuse and victimisation, and suggests how these may be applied constructively to a reform of Christian belief and within the contemporary political situation.