On Sunday 26 January 2014, BBC1's ethics and beliefs discussion show, The Big Questions, features a special edition recorded at Oasis Academy MediaCityUK in Salford, where presenter Nicky Campbell will be asking just one Big Question: Is war ever just?
The videos and photos showing children suffering and dying in what appears to be a poison gas attack in a Damascus suburb shock the conscience and may serve as just cause for taking military action says Tobias L. Winright. However, when invoking the 'just war' tradition, as some have, directly and indirectly, other criteria must also be met for an intervention to be justified. They are not being so met.
Starting with a citation from a distinguished Mennonite scholar who constructively engaged Just War perspectives from a pacifist Christian one, Catholic theological ethicist Tobias Winright sets out the issues in relation to the current crisis over Syria. He does not see how military intervention can be morally justified on the full range of criteria.
Last week I recorded a radio interview with Vatican Radio's Susy Hodges focusing on issues around foreign military intervention in Libya: is it morally justified and what are its implications for the wider region? What is the end game and how is all this likely to impact on the often embattled Christian minorities in the Middle Eastern region?
Without seeking to draw explicit conclusions about the current conflict in and over Libya, Harry Hagopian offers some observations and questions about what is going on, and proposes a cautious hopefulness about the 'Arab spring', even in the midst of winter.
"Sex and violence" is a hot-button phrase that if often used without thinking. But what do sex and violence really have to do with one another? Christians should be untangling the connection between them, but instead we seem to be contributing to the confusion.
Some Christians throw around the word "sin" fairly unthinkingly, while others have become rather embarrassed by it. To talk about "sin" clearly and justly, we need to address the confusion of both society and churches around two major issues - sex and violence.
In his Nobel Peace Prize speech, President Obama deftly distanced himself and his office from pacifist traditions as a President with responsibilities consistent with empire must do, says Gene Stoltzfus. But the challenge of peacemaking goes deeper than political machinations.