Like many Americans, I decided in early 2003 that a war with Iraq was increasingly necessary. War seemed justifiable because of the intelligence reports concerning Iraq’s weapons programs and because Saddam Hussein, who had committed atrocities in the past, was likely to be highly dangerous if he acquired weapons of mass destruction.
Trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary have voted not to hire professors or administrators who promote charismatic Christian practices, such as speaking in tongues. The board overwhelmingly adopted a statement October 17, two months after a fellow trustee noted his personal use of tongues during a sermon in the chapel of the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary.
A newly estimated civilian death toll of more than 600,000 Iraqis since the U.S.-led invasion confirms the fears of churches that opposed the war in 2003 and dramatically belies Washington’s estimates, said Bob Edgar, the top executive of the National Council of Churches.
The Progressive National Baptist Convention continued its call for an end to the war in Iraq at its annual meeting in Cincinnati, saying resources spent on the conflict are needed to address the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The war in Iraq has begun to shatter the ranks of the neoconservatives—the faction that gave us this disaster. The most prominent turncoat is Francis Fukuyama, whose forecast played no small part in the neoconservative project of a war that was to make the Middle East safe for Halliburton and Republican political consultants. America at the Crossroads is Fukuyama's apologia for apostasy. He has much to regret.
When war causes us to suppress our deepest religious and moral convictions, we cave in to a “higher religion” called war. Yes, there is beauty in patriotism, in its unselfishness and love of country. But this beauty makes for what Reinhold Niebuhr called the “ethical paradox in patriotism”—a tendency to transmute individual unselfishness into national egoism. When this happens, the critical attitude of the individual is squelched, permitting the nation to use “power without moral constraint.”
In the 1950s, the CIA invented the term blowback as a marker for the ricochet effect of its covert actions. Since then the term has come to signify the backlash and other unintended consequences of intervening in foreign countries. For three years the U.S. has coped with a blowback nightmare in Iraq; now it is teetering on the edge of something even worse. Meanwhile the architects of the war still want to attack Iran and Syria, but find themselves enmeshed in the grim consequences of invading Iraq.
Leaders of the U.S. denominations belonging to the World Council of Churches created a small buzz at Porto Alegre by delivering a letter to the Ninth Assembly in which they confessed the complicity of the U.S. churches in actions and policies that are detrimental to the well-being of the world.