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Manny C

Well, this very point is made by S. P. Huntington in "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order":
"The survival of the West depends on Americans reaffirming their Western identity and Westerners accepting their civilization as unique and not universal and uniting to renew and preserve it against challenges from non-Western societies. Avoidance of a global war of civilizations depends on world leaders accepting and cooperating to maintain the multicivilizational character of global politics".

Well known Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias points out that the West's moral bankruptcy not only leaves it defenseless against the moral force that Islam provides to its adherents, the West is willingly tearing down the walls of its own civilization.

Last, consider the excellent example of American weakness in defending its own civilization at FrontPageMag:
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=22645

Dan Trabue

So, I've read through the above essay but I'm still unclear on why I can't want to defend the US in a way different than what the Bush supporters are pushing. I want a safe homeland and think that Bush is doing thing in exactly the wrong way to make it thus.

Why can't I choose to disagree with Bush and the writer of this essay and still love my country?

Manny C

Dan,

You may be startled by the revelation that many a conservative disagree with how your President is defending his country. William Buckley, neo-con at large, was firmly opposed to the Iraq War. The paleo-conservative publication, Chronicles Magazine, continually publishes damning articles on the War in Iraq. Daniel Pipes is another who disagrees with the Bush doctrine of spreading democracy. They have all spent the time and effort describing how they would defend their country.

How would you defend your country, and ultimately, the broader Western world?

Dan Trabue

I would stop making us a target, to begin with. Team Bush believes that we can "stop the evil men" by continuing to kill people in Iraq and create conditions that contribute to the deaths of innocents there. But as soon as we kill innocent people (on purpose or not) we become the enemy.

There is the perception around the world that the US is a greater threat to world peace than even Saddam was (and how bad do you have to be to lose a popularity contest to Saddam?). There is the perception, an increasing perception, that we are a rogue nation. Wanting to impose rules on others that we will not follow ourselves.

Ultimately, I believe that Jesus' instructions to overcome evil with good and to Do unto Others work on a national level as well as the individual level.

Now, when I say they "work," I should clarify that I mean they work as well or better than war-as-solution. It may well be that following Jesus' teaching will get us crucified. But I just think the alternative (embracing evil means to try to conquer evil) is a self-defeating approach.

And so, when I talk about defending the US, I am talking about embracing Jesus' teaching (although not in a way that imposes religion upon others). I'm talking about Not Fight and Not Flight but the Third Way demonstrated and taught by Jesus (ie, don't strike back, nor cower in fear, but turn the other cheek. Stand up to evil and face it down with good.)

Here's an excellent source from the Quakers on what exactly non-violent resisters mean when we say we need a third way:

http://www.fcnl.org/ppdc/

Sorry for the long response.

Manny C

Dan,

Thanks for your reply.

You say: "...by continuing to kill people in Iraq and create conditions that contribute to the deaths of innocents there." You ambiguity with regards to "people" is astounding. Two problems with your argument:
1) "Team Bush" is not killing people: they are targeting jihadis. Unfortunately innocent people will also get killed. I challenge you to prove to me that "Team Bush" is deliberately and systematically targeting the innocent.
2) If "Team Bush" do not target the jihadis, the jihadis will target the Iraqis (as is being ignored and confused by our noble Mainstream Media).

You also state that Jesus gave "...instructions to overcome evil with good". What do you mean by evil and what do you mean by good?

You also state "...Do unto Others work on a national level as well as the individual level." I believe you are quite muddled here. Biblical truth teaches us that governments have been given authority by God to rule/govern over their people. A government that does not protect its people, militarily, intellectually and spiritually, is disobeying the voice and instruction of God. "Doing unto others" is a hard thing for a government to do.

"Now, when I say they "work," I should clarify that I mean they work as well or better than war-as-solution. It may well be that following Jesus' teaching will get us crucified. But I just think the alternative (embracing evil means to try to conquer evil) is a self-defeating approach."

You have just contradicted yourself. On the other hand, getting us crucified is most definitely self-defeating. Christ did not command us to become suicidal, he commanded and taught us to love with a sacrificial love.

Dan Trabue

I don't see getting crucified as self-defeating, I see it as the real possibility that comes with successfully following Jesus. Further, I believe war is as likely to get us killed as what I'll refer to as Just Peacemaking or Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA). The difference is, with NVDA, we have the added benefit of not embracing evil means to fight evil. No small benefit.

Some in the Peace Church tradition allow for the definition you have given gov't (ie, having the right/authority to "use the sword") but in so doing, they further specify that Christians can have no participation with violence within such a gov't. So, some say, it may be within the gov't's responsibility to sometimes wage defensive wars, but Christians can have no part in that war. WE are given a different and specific command: Do unto others, Love our enemies, overcome evil with good.

Now others, within the Peace Church tradition realize that in our setting today, the gov't IS the people. In either case, we recognize that we as individuals have the direct commands from Jesus as to how we're to conduct ourselves and THOSE are our rules for confronting and stopping evil.

How does one overcome evil with good? Well, I'll offer you a real life example that worked. In the 1980s, the Contras were terrorizing villages in Nicaragua, killing and raping. They were receiving funding to do so from the US/Reagan.

Witness for Peace (an NVDA organization) analyzed the situation and realized that the Contras were not likely to do anything to jeopardize their funding and so WFP sent US and European citizens as peace witnesses to the villages being attacked and the attacks stopped. The Contras, while not especially interested in peacemaking, would not take actions against their own interests and attacking US citizens would have been against their own interests.

THAT is how we overcome evil with good. Responsibly. Reasonably. Without embracing evil means to overcome evil.

That is what Just Peacemakers believe that Jesus is talking about when he tells us 1. Not to strike back, 2. Not to cower in fear, BUT 3. turn the other cheek.

You are correct in stating that usually the US isn't targeting civilians (although the people of Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and other places would remind us this is not always the case), but we do take actions that we know will result in the loss of innocent lives. When we kill innocent people, blowing off the arms of children and killing their parents in front of them, then we ARE committing evil.

We can tell the armless orphan that it was unintended, but that child would be wise enough to recognize an evil consequence when he sees it. We ought to, as well.

Thanks for the open-minded discussion thus far, Manny.

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