I am forced by death and destruction to say there should be war

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 8 months ago

Via Instapundit, the bravest man on earth.

White reopened St George’s church after the invasion of Iraq even though civil war raged and the diplomats and ex-pats who had once made up the congregation no longer dared to go there.

Iraqis came instead, and the congregation reached a peak of 6,500. They built a school, a clinic and food bank. White pledged to stay even as the sound of bombs grew louder. “We had Isis on the doorstep of Baghdad last year. I said to my people, ‘I will not leave you; don’t leave me.’ But many did leave me and they went to Nineveh and Mosul. Isis were there too. There was total mayhem.”

More than 1,200 men, women and children who worshipped with him have been killed in recent years, he says. Four boys he knew were beheaded because they refused to swear allegiance to Islam. The church caretaker was forced to watch as his five-year-old boy was cut in half.

There used to be 1.5 million Christians in Iraq but now there are only 260,000, he says. Some are calling it genocide. Surely he no longer believes that negotiations with Isis could work? White stares at me from behind owlish spectacles. “Can I be honest? You are absolutely right. You can’t negotiate with them. I have never said that about another group of people. These are really so different, so extreme, so radical, so evil. . . .

But surely there is only one logical conclusion to be drawn? He sighs, and answers slowly. “You are asking me how we can deal radically with Isis. The only answer is to radically destroy them. I don’t think we can do it by dropping bombs. We have got to bring about real change. It is a terrible thing to say as a priest.

“You’re probably thinking, ‘So you’re telling me there should be war?’ Yes!”

I am shocked by his answer, because this is a man who has risked his life many times to bring peace.

“It really hurts. I have tried so hard. I will do anything to save life and bring about tranquillity, and here I am forced by death and destruction to say there should be war.”

“It is a terrible thing to say as a priest.”  Well, not it’s not.  He needs to study Good Wars by Professor Darrell Cole.  And he also needs to think of this in terms of defending the image of God in himself and those over whom he has been given charge, including the children.

I am afraid there have been too many centuries of bad teaching endured by the church, but it makes sense to keep trying.  As I’ve explained before, the simplest and most compelling case for self defense lies in the decalogue.  Thou shall not murder means thou shall protect life.

God’s law requires [us] to be able to defend the children and helpless.  “Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids.”  I’ve tried to put this in the most visceral terms I can find.

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers. Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

And concerning John Calvin’s comments on this subject:

We do not need to prove that when a good thing is commanded, the evil thing that conflicts with it is forbidden.  There is no one who doesn’t concede this.  That the opposite duties are enjoined when evil things are forbidden will also be willingly admitted in common judgment.  Indeed, it is commonplace that when virtues are commended, their opposing vices are condemned.  But we demand something more than what these phrases commonly signify.  For by the virtue of contrary to the vice, men usually mean abstinence from that vice.  We say that the virtue goes beyond this to contrary duties and deeds.  Therefore in this commandment, “You shall not kill,” men’s common sense will see only that we must abstain from wronging anyone or desiring to do so.  Besides this, it contains, I say, the requirement that we give our neighbor’s life all the help we can … the purpose of the commandment always discloses to us whatever it there enjoins or forbids us to do” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 1, Book 2, Chapter viii, Part 9).

He is a brave man doing what he believes is his duty.  But it is his duty to prosecute war, for the sake of the little ones.

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Comments

  1. On November 2, 2015 at 6:08 am, DAN III said:

    No more American blood and treasure in foreign lands, especially the Middle East.
    Our southern border is wide open. Soetoro-obama brings more and more Muslim “refugees” into this declining, imperial empire.

    The war is here. Not elsewhere.

  2. On November 2, 2015 at 10:56 am, Herschel Smith said:

    But why would anyone assume I’m talking about our own involvement? I am not referring to American blood and treasure. I’m speaking to my brother in Christ in Iraq, who is responsible to either defend his people, or leave.

  3. On November 2, 2015 at 7:45 am, Frank Clarke said:

    There are good people on both sides of this issue, but there are none who assert we should arm those who seek our destruction. Sending arms to ANYONE in the Middle East is a suicidal move, since those arms (some of them, anyway) will wind up in the hand of enemies — whether declared or undeclared.

    We must stop — immediately — arming our potential enemies. If war is coming, let us not make it worse than it has to be.

  4. On November 2, 2015 at 10:56 am, Herschel Smith said:

    See above. I agree with everything you said.

  5. On November 2, 2015 at 5:34 pm, Louis Chapman said:

    I’m inclined to agree. Recently, there was talk about sending more tanks to the Iraqi army. Why not just send them to Isis and cut out the middle man? I’m not saying we should be involved, but if we’re going to send tanks, we need to send American crews to operate them.

  6. On November 3, 2015 at 9:12 am, DAN III said:

    “….if we’re going to send tanks, we need to send American crews to operate them.” Perhaps YOUR loved ones need to be the ones crewing those armored vehicles you would most likely endorse sending.
    WHY ? Why in the good Lord’s name continue to spend American blood and what left of our treasure, to that sewer one knows as the Middle East ?

    Aaahhh but Mr. Chapman….why send ANYTHING of value to the Middle East, especially American citizens ?

    Perhaps you disregarded my remarks at the top of the comments ? “No more American blood and treasure in foreign lands, especially the Middle East.”
    Also, the invasion that has been and continues to occur across what once was our southern border, continues unabated. However, that seems not to be a concern to you and many other Americans.

    You only prove to me that Americans continue to be fools.

  7. On November 2, 2015 at 5:31 pm, VonZorch Imperial Researcher said:

    this commandment, “You shall not kill,”
    I suspect the original Hebrew or Aramaic actually translates more like ‘don’t bushwhack your fellow tribesman’.

  8. On November 4, 2015 at 2:14 pm, Paul X said:

    I thought the correct translation was “thou shalt not murder”…

  9. On November 5, 2015 at 10:01 am, Anonymous said:

    It is… God recognizes that sometimes there’s a reason some folk need killing, murder is when they don’t. Murder is, of course, non-justifiable homicide.

  10. On November 5, 2015 at 1:43 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    See above.

  11. On November 5, 2015 at 1:43 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    It doesn’t matter how the Hebrew reads. For our purposes the KJV English will do just fine. A bit of hermeneutics here. The ten commandments are constitutional law, or what in Biblical theology is called “moral law.” How then are we to understand the moral law and how it is to be applied in our lives? Answer: the case law. Numb, Lev and Deut are not simply boring books to be overlooked. The case law therein explains how to apply the moral law, every one of them.

    Thus do we know that murder, or lying in wait for someone to kill them, is unacceptable, while self defense is acceptable – because that’s how the law was applied. Any other interpretation or translation is wrong because that would make the moral law and case law incompatible.

  12. On November 4, 2015 at 2:13 pm, Paul X said:

    Let’s see. The genocide was triggered by war, and now war is the thing that will stop the genocide? Yeah, that ought to work.

    Stop invading and occupying other peoples’ countries. It pisses ’em off, then bad things (“blowback”) happen. This is not difficult.

  13. On November 16, 2015 at 8:56 pm, John Shore said:

    Naturally, that would imply that our invasion and occupation of Japan and Germany ‘pissed ’em off,’ and bad things happened.
    As I recall, the Allies laid waste to those two enemy nations, utterly defeated them, and then ruled them for years with an iron fist. Oddly enough, we have seen few Japanese and German terrorist strikes on the US since 1945, or have I

  14. On November 16, 2015 at 11:57 pm, Paul X said:

    Not every war is identical. Clearly the religious difference matters here, where it was not important in Germany. Some people take defeat differently than others. I once asked an older German woman what she thought of the firebombing of Dresden. She said something to the effect, “That’s what happens when you start a war.”

    Anyway, what are you saying? That Muslims in these occupied countries are not capable of attacking us because defeated Germans did not attack us? That is clearly wrong. The Muslim world is very large, and there is a lot of oil money there.

    The Muslims are fighting the most effective way they can. Blowback exists; even the CIA says so.
    https://lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/long-history-french-military-intervention-middle-east-africa/

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This article is filed under the category(s) Religion and was published November 1st, 2015 by Herschel Smith.

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