Tuesday, September 10, 2013

All Around the Web - September 10, 2013


John Stonestreet - Would an Attack on Syria be a 'Just War'?

Let’s look at each of these in regards to Syria. And folks, I think you’ll see with me that there are no easy answers here.

First, is the cause just? The Obama administration is making the case that it must act to stop the Assad regime from using chemical weapons. That certainly does seem like a just cause.

However, as Gerard Powers at the Institute for Peace Studies at Notre Dame writes, just cause is “generally limited to defense against aggression.” In Syria, as in most civil wars, both sides are aggressors. In Syria, we would be taking sides, not acting against aggression.

That brings us to the question of intention. Sen. John McCain added language to a Senate resolution that would commit the U.S. to changing the momentum on the battlefield in favor of the rebels, which is highly problematic from a just war perspective.

Legitimate authority poses another tricky question. The administration points to the 1925 Geneva Protocol against chemical weapons and the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention signed by 189 countries. However, as the Washington Post points out, there is no enforcement mechanism in these documents. And many countries, friend and foe alike, are questioning the legality of a U.S. attack without U.N. approval. (Of course, if the U.S. were acting in self-defense—which we aren’t—the U.N. wouldn’t be an issue.)

Now proportionality: According to Gerard Powers, “the overall destruction expected from war must be proportionate to the good to be achieved.” In that sense, launching missiles to destroy the Syrian military’s ability to launch chemical attacks seems reasonable. However, it also appears that the Syrians have begun hiding military assets in the midst of civilian populations. Aiming for those assets would put many civilian lives at risk.

And it’s possible that a U.S. “intervention” could lead to more chemical attacks, a regional war, or a jihadist takeover of Syria. As Rabbi Michael Broyde wrote in the Huffington Post, “In the real world, just war theory has to actually work, and not just theoretically work. Doing nothing is a moral option when doing anything makes a bad situation worse.

Baptist Press - SBC ethicists: Criteria for 'just war' not met | Dr. Russell Moore says that Syria is not a just war.

The use of chemical weapons against civilians is a human tragedy with moral urgency, but the United States should not intervene in Syria because the conditions for a "just war" have not been met, according to two Southern Baptist ethicists.

Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said in an article on Religion News Service Sept. 3 that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad is "lawless and tyrannical," and the first principle of just war -- a just cause -- has been met.

"That said, there are other principles missing here, both to justify action morally and to justify it prudentially," Moore stated.

Daniel Heimbach, senior professor of Christian ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, offered a slightly different take on Syria, stating that the United States lacks a basis for intervening "in the internal affairs of a distinctly sovereign and separate state."

"I see here no legitimately interpreted just cause sufficient to justify the United States going to war with Syria merely because parties in a civil war are doing bad things to each other," Heimbach said in comments provided to Baptist Press

Koinoinia - Why Study Church History? John Woodbridge Gives an Answer

Real Clear Politics - Reggie Love: Obama Played Cards On Day Bin Laden Was Killed

WORLD Magazine - Public Bible reading still legal in California

A judge on Tuesday acquitted two men charged with unlawful protest for reading the Bible outside a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office in Hemet, Calif.

Riverside Court Superior Judge Timothy Freer ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to prove Pastor Bret Coronado of Reconciled Christian Fellowship and church elder Mark Mackey needed to obtain a permit before reading the Bible.

Police arrested the men more than a year ago after Coronado started reading the Bible out loud to the people standing in line waiting for the DMV to open. A California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer grabbed the Bible from Coronado and handcuffed him, saying he was not allowed to preach to a captive audience.

The penal code does not forbid preaching to a captive audience, so the officer claimed they were “obstructing or intimidating those attempting to carry on business.” But that code also did not apply because the men were standing 40 feet from the building on public property and the DMV had not opened yet

Martyrs read Joel Osteen tweets.

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