Just War Illusions: Shrouding Brutalities with Theological Euphemisms

Ron Osborn (Advent Peace Fellowship Executive Director) published an article earlier this month inCommonweal, “Just-War Illusions: Shrouding Brutalities with Theological Euphemisms.” Osborn calls readers to reflect on “just-war pacifism.”


Finally, just-war pacifists in the Christian tradition remember that in a world of violence and war, the church’s primary calling remains that of modeling a radically different kind of action, and of community. Inevitably in the discussion of how to respond to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons and its other crimes against humanity, the question arises: “What should we do if not strikes?” Such questions assume a very particular “we”—a “we” that possesses all the tools of violence and must decide when and how to use them. They invite us to imagine ourselves equipped with missiles and drones, and to work out our ethics from the position of the state’s monopoly on violence. Yet to ask “What should we drone operators do?” or “What should Obama do?”—or even “What should we Americans do?”—is not the same as asking “What should we members of the Body of Christ do?” The irony of “Christian realism” is the tragedy of misplaced pronouns.

View the entire article here.