Reconciling the Iraq War and Christianity

June 26, 2004 | 145 comments
By

Critics of the Iraq War are quick to argue that because Saddam hadn’t killed Americans and didn’t pose an immediate threat to Americans, the war wasn’t justified. I don’t know of anyone — Howard Dean, Al Gore, Michael Moore — who believes America would have been wrong to overthrow the Baathists had the Iraqi state gassed thousands of American women and children, thrown scores of Americans into plastic shredders, tortured American children in front of their parents, and tyrannically oppressed millions of Americans living in Iraq.

In other words, the critics think the Iraq War is immoral because Saddam’s victims were foolish enough to be born to Kurds and Shiites, and not born to Americans who lived in Iraq.

The only difference between the hypothetical war that critics say would be justified, and the real war they rage against, is that America has used its resources and strength on behalf of its Kurd, Shiite and Sunni brethren, rather than on itself.

Now, when the topic of conversation turns to Issues that are Difficult to Reconcile with Christianity, it would, it seems to me, be hard to top this premise of the war’s critics: it is moral to use our wealth and power for our own benefit, but immoral to use that wealth and power on behalf of our oppressed neighbors.

Tags:

145 Responses to Reconciling the Iraq War and Christianity

  1. Eric James Stone on June 26, 2004 at 11:32 am

    Well said.

    Of course, some people may agree that, under those circumstances, war would be justified — unless we overthrew Saddam’s government. According to some interpretations of David O. McKay, overthrowing a government makes a war unjust, apparently, no matter what other justification there might be.

  2. Kristen on June 26, 2004 at 11:34 am

    I think part of the problem is that the rhetoric of those supporting the war emphasizes the protection of Americans. Over and over we hear about the troops who are fighting to protect US. I don’t have a problem with them protecting the Iraqi women and children, but I do have a problem with them trying to convince me that it’s ME who’s being protected by this whole mess. Perhaps it needed to be phrased this way because many Republicans I know don’t think we should be the human rights police, but they do respond to a direct threat on themselves or their family. Forgive me if I’m generalizing, but I have yet to hear someone pray in sacrament meeting for the protection of the troops who are fighting for the Iraqui women and children. Every week I hear them pray for those fighting to protect _our_ families and _our_ rights.

  3. Russell Arben Fox on June 26, 2004 at 11:37 am

    “[I]t is moral to use our wealth and power for our own benefit, but immoral to use that wealth and power on behalf of our oppressed neighbors.”

    I would never make such a statement Matt, and while I’m sure there are many critics of the Iraq War who would, if the choice was put to them starkly, more or less agree to that statement, I am confident that the majority would not. Despite Nate’s very enlightening and interesting efforts to explore words that he put in my mouth, I never denied what I called the “moral truth,” or at least the kernel of such, in Wilsonian interventionism. I do believe in the (relative) rightness of (some) crusades, and the Iraq War should have been one of them. Unfortunately, the ignorance, mendacity, pride, irresponsibility, and plain old exploitation which has attended the argument for and execution of this war by the Bush administration has made me realize that, as a citizen in what is more or less a democratic polity, I wrongly put my voice in the service of a group of men who, while perhaps (or perhaps not) convinced of the necessity of fighting principled wars, apparently lack either the competence or the concern to plan and execute a reconstruction effort in accordance with said principles.

    Is using our power to liberate Iraqis immoral? Never. Is supporting this group of men and women in their effort to liberate Iraq in this particular way immoral? Again I say, perhaps it is.

  4. lyle on June 26, 2004 at 1:03 pm

    Kristen: You can thank the media for that. However, if you have been reading my comments, or Matts, or others in the bloggernacle & blogosphere, you would see that many folks support

    “Liberty & Justice for _ALL” not just white americans…

    but then again, as Kaimi points out re: loyalty & cussing…it is awfully hard in politics to be consistent.

    Where one would expect leftists to be _overjoyed_ that a western superpower finals does something against a human rights abuser & exerts its muscle resulting in the freedom & protection of the weak non-western civilians…

    It fails & exposes what is largely truth of both political sides…they are unwilling to be “loyal” & true to their principles…unless it is convenient to them.

    So…score a big “hypocrite” for liberals who oppose the protection of _all_ individuals; per Matt’s critique. However, they can also throw mudd back at conservatives…ad nauseum.

    The point is to be consistent: And I try to be…by supporting _principles_ & not _politics_.

  5. Rob on June 26, 2004 at 1:07 pm

    Obviously, many Americans feel justified in the Iraq invasion. However, if warfare cannot be reconciled with Christianity (as Pres. McKay, Pres. Kimball and Christ have taught), the title of this thread is not appropriate.

    The real question, then, is when is it appropriate to leave your Christianity aside and go off to war for your country? When is it better to be an American than a Christian?

    As for the justification that we are helping the Iraqi’s–I’m embarrassed for anyone who actually believes this was the motivation for this war. This war was a tool to promote neoconservative global political strategies. The humanitarian concerns were mere windowdressing to get otherwise moral people to support armed conflict.

    As latter day saints, we should be wiser than to allow ourselves to be suckered into leaving our religion behind and play with powers that glory in buying up armies and navies and ruling with blood and horror on this earth.

    This isn’t our fight. Why are we wasting our time? If we really care about the humanitarian problems in the world–can anyone say “Sudan”–we need to stop selling out the best thing we have (the gospel) and start living it. If you care about Iraqi’s, or Christian or Animist Sudanese–sell all you have, move there, and try to help out.

    It may be more convenient to send cruise missles and infantry troops to address the world’s problems…but it isn’t christian, it is unbecoming of LDS, and we need to do better. If we’re really as smart and inspired as we claim, we should be able to do better and come up with solutions that don’t involved organized mass murder.

    I apologize if this is too strong a statement. Just don’t any of us pretend we can kill in the name of Jesus. That should just make us all sick. I’m sorry to see so many of my fellow saints on the wrong side of this one.

  6. Rob on June 26, 2004 at 1:18 pm

    “it is moral to use our wealth and power for our own benefit, but immoral to use that wealth and power on behalf of our oppressed neighbors”

    This statement makes the simplistic mistake of assuming that warfare is the only way to use wealthe and power to help oppressed people. Does anyone doubt that if we really wanted to, we could have changed the equation for the people of Iraq with far less resources than a military invasion has taken? We stand doubly condemned because we a) didn’t use our resources to help the oppressed in Iraq, until b) we left our Christianity behind to invade Iraq. Again, surely we can do better. Yes, lets use our resources to help people–not bomb, home invade, and destroy them.

  7. lyle on June 26, 2004 at 1:22 pm

    Rob: You believe that war is never justified, right? You would _never_ participate in a war, right?

    So…please explain:
    1. Why you are not still in heaven OR a spirit cast out for siding with Satan.

    If I remember correctly, it seems like there was a “WAR” in Heaven. And…while the argument is weaker here, somewhat, if you didn’t “side with God” & presumably fight on his side [unless you think that the Lord of Hosts accepted consciencious objectors as chosing his plan], then…

    1. You would have stayed in heaven
    2. would have been cast out; or
    3. if you are here, you fought in that _war_, which apparently must have been justified, since it was Gods.

    Rob: This is our fight. If you don’t care about the lives & liberty of our sisters & brothers in other countries who are waiting to hear the plan of salvation; or at least be able to exercise their agency according to God’s plan…then I’m not sure what your fight is.

    I also apologize if this is strong. I’m not questioning your faith or anyone elses. I am, however, posing serious questions, as do you, as to whether we all really believe what we say we believe.

  8. lyle on June 26, 2004 at 1:24 pm

    If I killed Hitler, would it matter _why_ I killed him? What if I was being paid millions? What if I did it cuz he insulted my mother? What if I did it cuz I was gay & he was going to kill my gay lover?

    There seems to be an inordinate focus on _why_ and a complete lack of attention on what really matters:

    50 million people are free. If that isn’t the Plan of Salvation, and God’s hand at work, then I don’t know what is.

  9. Rob on June 26, 2004 at 1:38 pm

    Lyle: I am concerned about the freedom of all my spirit brothers and sisters. We disagree on 1) the methods we should use to address these concerns and 2) your seeming inability to see that there even ARE other ways to address these concerns…namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ who taught us to love our enemies and bless them. In the case of Iraq, you don’t think a huge trade mission, with say, 1/10 the budget of the war, wouldn’t have done more to improve the lives of Iraqis than our bombings, sanctions, home invasions, and civilian casualties?

    I do not think you can say that the 50 million Iraquis are now free. Free from…what exactly? The country was ruled with an armed fist before, it is now. It MIGHT someday not be the case, but that is still only one possible future. Meanwhile, instead of a loony evil crime family to deal with, the Iraqis have to deal with an occupying military force, armed militias, the threat of civil war…that’s not freedom.

    So I join you in hoping that the Iraqis will become free, I think Christ did not authorize this war. We would have been better off creating a nonviolent solution to this crisis.

    As for the war in heaven, you need to show us all what kind of “war” that actually was. Did it involve Michael and his angels committing atrocities in the name of freeagency? I think, whatever the “war in heaven” was, it wasn’t the kind of war waged in our mortal, imperfect, and corrupt political economy.

  10. Jeremy on June 26, 2004 at 1:40 pm

    Few people are arguing that it’s not a good thing that Saddam’s gone. What does bother critics of the war is that that wasn’t the justification given going in, and that the manner in which the war was engaged has drastically destabilized the region (the claims about Al Queda in Iraq, initially spurious, became self-fulfilling prophecies), dangerously alienated the United States from the rest of the world, and drawn resources away from more grave and immediate dangers–Afghanistan’s reconstruction is _severely_ underfunded; I’m sure Kim Jong Il will tell us exactly where his WMDs are).

    Lyle says “There seems to be an inordinate focus on _why_ and a complete lack of attention on what really matters.”

    This seems like another way of saying “the ends justify any means.” That doesn’t sit well with me.

  11. Bryan Warnick on June 26, 2004 at 1:42 pm

    First, in order for us claim that we are helping Kurds, Shittes, and so forth, we need to be able to say that the society we build will be better for them than the one under the brutal Saddam regime. Can we really promise that? Or are we just going to replace brutal tyranny with massive instability and civil war? Right now, it is hard to say. What we can say is that there was a massive insufficiency of post-war planning. I don’t know if this lack of planning was immoral, but it was certainly not wise.

    Second, in order for us to claim the moral high ground, we need to be able to say that the regime couldn’t have been changed through non-military means. I guess we will never know the answer to that question.

    Third, suppose we do manage to avoid massive instability, civil war, and so forth, and do indeed make Iraq a lovely place to live. Suppose also that military assault was the only way to achieve this goal. What if it makes United States citizens much more prone to attacks? What if it undermines American credibility and thus makes it harder for America to do good things elsewhere? If I went off to help another family while creating a more dangerous situation for my own, what would you think? These are difficult moral questions, and I’m not sure I have the answers. But even if we do help the Kurds, etc., that does not automatically place us on the moral high ground.

    Finally, we also need to look inside ourselves and realize that the United States government was giving aid to Saddam at the same time he was gassing people like the Kurds. If we are really concerned about justice for people like the Kurds, we should also be examining our own consciences to make sure this sort of thing does not happen in the future. If we are going to base the morality of the Iraq war on concern for others rather than national interest, we should also be trying to learn from our mistakes that hurt those others in the past.

  12. Steve Evans on June 26, 2004 at 1:49 pm

    “There seems to be an inordinate focus on _why_ and a complete lack of attention on what really matters:

    50 million people are free. If that isn’t the Plan of Salvation, and God’s hand at work, then I don’t know what is.”

    Then you don’t know what it is. You can’t seriously be suggesting that U.S. intervention in Iraq is God’s hand at work, are you? Do you think that we will be sending the missionaries to Iraq anytime soon, or that somehow Bush’s vendetta against Saddam Hussein is akin to the war in heaven? That’s a misinterpretation of scripture, and a mingling of doctrine and politics on levels I’ve never seen before.

    Look, no one liked Saddam or thought he was anything but a monster. But there’s a reason that almost the entire rest of the world refused to support the U.S. in Iraq, and I think a part of it may be the bizarre notions of doctrine and destiny that you’re drawing in to this.

  13. Eric James Stone on June 26, 2004 at 2:00 pm

    > As for the justification that we are helping
    > the Iraqi’s–I’m embarrassed for anyone who
    > actually believes this was the motivation for
    > this war. This war was a tool to promote
    > neoconservative global political strategies.

    No need to be embarrassed for me. I support the war fully knowing that helping the Iraqis was not the main motivation for this war, although I saw it as an important side effect. No, the reason I supported it was a neoconservative global political strategy — and I still support it for that reason.

    The only way to ultimately defeat the Islamofascist ideology is to transform the Middle East from being a region dominated by corrupt dictatorial regimes into a region that is relatively free and democratic.

  14. clarkgoble on June 26, 2004 at 2:21 pm

    Just to add one thought that keeps being forgotten. It seems wrong to criticize the justification for war based upon what we know now rather than what we knew then. The discussion seems to ignore these issues and assume some sort of omniscient view of things.

  15. lyle on June 26, 2004 at 2:38 pm

    Rob: Great points. I 100% support non-armed efforts to bring life & liberty to all. However, I support a “plural” approach, i.e. peaceful _&_ non-peaceful. Sometimes you need both a carrot & a stick…and both are justified & even righteous.

    Steve: You can consider my views bizaree. Fine. However, they are “holistic” & “internally consistent” & “principled.” These are three values I’m more than comfortable with…esp. when these three values are the “means” used to justify the end of life & liberty for _ALL_. How do you justify yourself for condeming your sisters & brothers to live in a tyranny and die? I guess you would prefer that Iraq wasn’t liberated? Or better yet…let’s do what American criminal law does: if the evidence is seized illegally, then let’s make the evidence inadmissible. The translation to Iraq is thus:

    Y’all who don’t support the armed liberation of your family members in Iraq…fine. Let’s let Saddam out of jail & set him out in the desert & withdraw our troops. Or better yet, let’s correct the ‘harm’ we did & put him back in power & apologize.

    What? You don’t want to? Well…until y’all move to 3rd world countries ruled over by dictators…I don’t think you have any room to speak for those that suffer daily.

    :)

  16. Kristen on June 26, 2004 at 2:42 pm

    Clark – Even when we knew “what we knew then”, many were suspicious of the justification for war.

    Lyle – would now be a good time to call on your wife to throw something?

  17. Rob on June 26, 2004 at 2:44 pm

    Clark–Millions of folks knew enough to not support the war before the invasion.

    Eric–Even if you supported the idea of “transform[ing] the Middle East from being a region dominated by corrupt dictatorial regimes into a region that is relatively free and democratic”, you still had to leave Christianity behind to impose that vision through military force. War is not Christ’s methodology. The gospel is.

    Saddam was surely evil, and evil we helped create, but so is organized mass killing. As my dear ol’ mother used to say, “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

    The real question right now is…isn’t there a better way to use our resources to support the liberty of people around the globe? Surely there are evil people out there, but isn’t there a way to neutralize their effects without taking up the sword?

    Why is it that the LDS people, with our teachings of a peaceful Zion, are more interested in following George Bush off to war, rather than follow Christ in building up the Kingdom of God on the earth and establishing Zion?

    Lets start some massive trade missions–or whatever gospel sufficient solutions we can come up with or be given through revelation–to Sudan, North Korea, Colombia, etc.

    For those employed by the military, or who can’t see another way, I remember a story once where an angel showed a minister that he had really been serving Satan. When challenged to leave Satan’s employ, he asked what would become of him. He was promissed that the gospel would be able to see him through. Sadly, the minister seemed to lack the faith to trust the Lord.

    Surely, we can do better than this minister. We can find the faith to solve the world’s problems his way…rather than the way of tyrants and false priests–Iraqi, Saudi, American, or whatever–who oppress and rule with blood and horror, or shock and awe, on this earth.

  18. lyle on June 26, 2004 at 2:45 pm

    Jeremy: As I wrote…you have a great point. However, while the ends do NOT justify the means…ends/means discussion is centered around a false dichotomy. Just as, if not more, false is trying to read the tea leaves to interpret, or declare in your opinion, the _why_ of a matter. You aren’t God, nor I, or any of the rest of us. _you_ can not judge _motivations_. The only thing you can look at is concrete actions & choices made in the material/visible world.

    Bush has always, _always_, said that this was about:
    1. WMDs; &
    2. Liberation.

    He may have been wrong re: #1, but he was right on re: #2.

    p.s. I’m still waiting for the Hitler answer. I answer others ridiculous hypos & counterfactuals.

  19. Rob on June 26, 2004 at 3:05 pm

    Lyle, last time I looked, the stick was Satan’s approach.

    As for the Hitler question…you’d be wrong to kill him in any of the situations you posed. If he hadn’t killed himself (or the Russians killed him, or whatever) he should have been tried as a war criminal.

    As for the War in Heaven, a couple people here keep coming back to that as a justification for war in general. I want to look at that more closely here at that war. So:

    Revelations 12:7-11

    7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

    8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in aheaven.

    9 And the great dragon was acast• out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

    10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser• of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

    11 And they overcame• him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

    OK…where is the justification for physical violence and warfare in the mortal world? Looks like this war was won through the atoning blood of the Lamb and by words of testimony. Not physical (whatever that means in a spirit world) violence. I don’t know what the “loved not their lives unto death” message is here, but I wonder if that isn’t another message about what a different kind of conflict this one was than the warfare we see in mortality, where we might fight to save our lives or the lives of others.

    So, the “war” in heaven may not be the kind of war we think about here. If it isn’t, it might be an apple to our oranges. And, it might also serve as a different model for conflict–where we win through faith in Christ, testimonies, and unselfishness that makes us willing to lose our lives–like Christ eventually did–instead of taking lives.

    So, I’m wondering what the word “war” in this scripture even means. According to online scriptural sources, the Greek word polemos used here could mean 1) a war, 2)a fight, a battle, or 3)a dispute, strife, quarrel. Since the verses say this polemos was waged with words, maybe we should better call it the Dispute or Strife in Heaven, rather than a war.

    So it was a polemos, a polemic dispute. Maybe like we’re having now. One side wanted to use force to impose their designs. The other wanted to respect agency and not use force. One side was sent down to earth, where they are allowed to rule with blood and horror. The other side, took the riskier path–the one that isn’t a clear path to power.

    It doesn’t matter what your cause is. When you take up the stick, you make it clear you’re chosing one side rather than the other. You are seeking “to exercise control or dominion• or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men” rather than follow Christ in “persuasion•, by long•-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge•, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy•, and without guile—Reproving betimes with sharpness•, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.”

    Let’s stop wasting our time trying to justify the compulsory force we rejected in heaven, and strengthen our bonds of fellowship in seeking a true Christian resolution to the world’s problems.

  20. Jeremy on June 26, 2004 at 3:22 pm

    Lyle,

    As tempted as I am to invoke Godwin’s Law and leave this thread, I’m going against my better judgement and responding to the Hitler bit. You say: “If I killed Hitler, would it matter _why_ I killed him? What if I was being paid millions? What if I did it cuz he insulted my mother? What if I did it cuz I was gay & he was going to kill my gay lover?”

    Yes it would matter. I’d be glad Hitler’s dead. I’d be glad that it was him who insulted your mother and not somebody else. And if I knew you had killed Hitler for less than noble reasons, I would be suspicious of your actions in the future–because you might later be in a situation where your “moral clarity,” to use someone else’s phrase in this thread, might not be as universally moral nor as clear as in the Hitler case.

    To put it another way: I think Bush went into Iraq for less than noble reasons, and even if his actions have a happy outcome (which is hardly an unproblematic assertion at this point!), I am worried that less than noble intentions might inform his actions in the future.

  21. Eric James Stone on June 26, 2004 at 4:43 pm

    > Eric–Even if you supported the idea
    > of “transform[ing] the Middle East from being a
    > region dominated by corrupt dictatorial regimes
    > into a region that is relatively free and
    > democratic”, you still had to leave
    > Christianity behind to impose that vision
    > through military force. War is not Christ’s
    > methodology. The gospel is.

    Just so we’re clear, Rob is saying that I, personally, am no longer Christian because of my support of the war.

  22. Kaimi on June 26, 2004 at 4:52 pm

    > Just so we’re clear, Rob is saying that I, personally, am no longer Christian because of my support of the war.

    But why is that a big deal — Mormons aren’t Christian anyway, right?

    :)

  23. Nate Oman on June 26, 2004 at 4:53 pm

    Rob wrote: “Clark–Millions of folks knew enough to not support the war before the invasion.”

    This doesn’t really respond to Clark’s point. Suppose that we agree that knowing what we know at time T2 that the war was not justified. Suppose, further that we agree that the morality of the decision to go to war should be judged by what we knew at T1.

    Now, as Rob points out even at T1 the war was contoversial. However, the fact that it is unjustified at T2 tells us nothing about who was right at T1. It may be that knowing what was known at T1, those who opposed the war were wrong, and it is only by dumb luck that they find themselves on the side justified at T2.

    I am not taking any position on the war here. Simply the validity of Rob’s argument.

  24. Rob on June 26, 2004 at 5:17 pm

    Nate: I think you read too much into what I argued, and I would take issue with your supposition. I’m not arguing that from T2 the war is unjustified, and then projecting that back to a T1. I’m saying that at T1 the prospect of war was already ruled out by Christ’s teachings.

    Even if the war turns out as Bush and Co plan…it will still ave been wrong in the sense that warfare is a tool of Satan, not Christ. We shouldn’t be using their standards to judge here. We should use the teachings of Christ.

    And Eric, I don’t want to sink to name-calling. It’s just pretty clear from the gospel that once anyone tries to maintain their position through coercive force, they are no longer following Christ.

  25. Heather Oman on June 26, 2004 at 5:24 pm

    Ok, nobody likes war. Sending men and women into danger is never a good idea, right?

    Nobody likes Saddam Hussein. Nobody is going to say, “Sure miss that guy.”

    So my question is, would it really have been possible to get rid of Saddam without going to war? This is a man who had a prison full of children of dissenters, a man who tortured these children not because of what they had done, but because what their parents had said about Saddam. Could such a man really be dealt with effectively with negotiation and peace talks? One would definitely hope so. But I’m not sure he could be.

    It’s been said that this isn’t our fight. Whose is it then? The people whose children are in prison? Sorry, if it was my two year old getting tortured, you can bet I’d do whatever it took to keep him safe, meaning I would keep my mouth shut and do nothing to further endanger my family. Saddam made it effectively impossible to fight against him. That’s what dictators do–feed the people a healthy dose of fear and intimidation to stay in power. It works, too.

    Elie Wiesel, a man who survived Auschwitz, talks in his book “Night” about how the prisoners would cheer every time they heard a bomb go off somewhere close. They knew it meant the whole prison could be destroyed, but he writes that they were not afraid of death, not that kind of death. And he has said since that he is always in favor of intervention when crimes against humanity are being committed.

  26. obi-wan on June 26, 2004 at 5:27 pm

    I assume that, under Matt’s rationale, we will shortly be invading mainland China, Cuba, North Korea, various African nations, and all the other countries where repressive, abusive dictatorships are in place.

    But we can’t you say — the American military has its hands full with Afghanistan and Iraq. It will take years to sort things out there. We don’t have the resources to fix things in all those places.

    Yes, and that’s the point — even if you think that we invaded Iraq in order to promote “liberty” (rather than some pet political theories of Paul Wolfowitz’s) it is the most ignorant, wasteful, and inefficient way we could possibly have gone about doing so. War always is.

  27. Nate Oman on June 26, 2004 at 5:34 pm

    But Rob I am willing to bet you that most of the people who opposed the war at T1 did not do so for the reasons that you gave. After all, Book of Mormon spouting LDS pacifists are regrettably few and far between…

  28. Eric James Stone on June 26, 2004 at 5:35 pm

    Rob,

    > It’s just pretty clear from the gospel that
    > once anyone tries to maintain their position
    > through coercive force, they are no longer
    > following Christ.

    Years ago, as Ward Sunday School President I had to deal with the problem of a Gospel Doctrine teacher who was teaching that it was clear to anyone who understood the scriptures that the Second Coming of Christ would be on April 6, A.D. 2000.

    Well, either I missed the news story of the millennium, or he was wrong about how clear the scriptures were on the subject.

    You realize that your position is an absolute one. In other words, a single counter-example in which someone follows Christ while maintaining their position through coercive force would invalidate your position.

    But, since you may not have worded it as carefully as you could, I will give you the opportunity to think about it and rephrase what you mean before I try to demonstrate why you are incorrect. Note that you must still phrase it as an absolute, because if it is not an absolute then it could not be clear that a violation of it meant I was no longer following Christ.

  29. Rob on June 26, 2004 at 5:40 pm

    Heather: Actually, “Sending men and women into danger” is probably a very good idea, and even sanctioned by the gospel. What isn’t sanctioned, is sending men and women out to endanger and threaten others. Christ clearly placed himself in danger, and bid us to follow. We may have to accept violence directed towards us, but in following Jesus, we aren’t authorized to return violence for violence.

    Instead, we are to love our enemies. Turn the other cheek. Do good to those that spitefully use us and persecute us.

    Many have argued that there wasn’t any other way to stop the oppression in Iraq. Those who argue that “there is no other way” should remember who first fed us that line.

    What if, as a nation, we had gone to the Lord in fasting and prayer for a peaceful resolution to this and other problems? Before dismissing this as an empty “what if” exerise, tell me, are you denying that the Lord could have given us an alternative to what we have now?

  30. Eric James Stone on June 26, 2004 at 5:50 pm

    > even if you think that we invaded Iraq in order
    > to promote “liberty” (rather than some pet
    > political theories of Paul Wolfowitz’s) it is
    > the most ignorant, wasteful, and inefficient
    > way we could possibly have gone about doing so.
    > War always is.

    What if we attempted to liberate the Iraqi people by building 150 million coffins made of jewel-encrusted gold, then cut the hearts out of 150 million Americans in sacrifice to some Aztec god, placed the corpses in the coffins, and dropped them into volcanoes or deep sea trenches.

    I think we can all agree that would clearly have been a more ignorant, wasteful, and inefficient method of trying to liberate Iraq than war. That means war is not always the most ignorant, wasteful, and inefficient way to do things.

  31. Rob on June 26, 2004 at 6:02 pm

    Eric–I’ve staked my claim, give us your best shot. I look forward to discussing the merits of anything you want to throw our way.

  32. Bob Caswell on June 26, 2004 at 6:12 pm

    I’m reading this with little passion “for war” or “against war” in Iraq, and I have to say that Rob needs to cool it down a bit. Eric James Stone has already done an excellent job of pointing out many of Rob’s inconsistencies. Saying “always” and “never” in these types of discussions rarely works.

    Also, Rob, when you say, “What if, as a nation, we had gone to the Lord in fasting and prayer for a peaceful resolution to this and other problems…are you denying that the Lord could have given us an alternative to what we have now?” I think that there are/were already millions who have/had fasted and prayed about this, asking the Lord for a peaceful resolution.

  33. Rob on June 26, 2004 at 6:28 pm

    Bob, you might not like it, but I’m not the one with the black/white rhetoric. I’m just echoing Christ’s teachings and modern prophets…For all who missed it, here’s Pres. McKay–it’s pretty black/white.

    “War is incompatible with Christ’s teachings. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of peace. War is its antithesis and produces hate. It is vain to attempt to reconcile war with true Christianity.”

    When nations or individuals go to war, they aren’t following Christ.

    As for the fasting…I think both our faith and works didn’t live up to Christ’s teachings here. Once the administration was decided to go to war, they didn’t try to not go to war. Many people opposed this decision, and worked against it, but not enough came through with real alternatives. Enough of us were itching for a fight that a fight is what we got. A majority of the country thought war in Iraq was the way to go. Not sure what that shows, except that they were listening to Bush rather than Jesus.

  34. Bob Caswell on June 26, 2004 at 6:35 pm

    So where does that leave Captain Moroni? As much as I love Pres. McKay, I think I have a stronger testimony of the BOM.

  35. Rob on June 26, 2004 at 7:03 pm

    According to the BOM, Moroni was tasked in his society with defending his people. That was his job, and he did it. It may have been a hereditary position, so he may not have had a choice. Regardless, the Nephites were not a Zion society, so they weren’t really following Celestial law.

    Clearly, the BOM also says that Moroni was an angry guy. Every time he saw a threat he got angry…one time he got so angry he tore his coat and put it on a pole…well, we all know the story. But clearly, he was contending in anger just like Christ warned against.

    Moroni claimed that the Lord told their people (but never claims to have the revelation personally) to defend themselves through bloodshed. While some might see this as a revelation authorizing force of arms, it isn’t entirely clear that this is so.

    Now, the real thing here, and maybe this might help Eric and others who want to see Moroni’s warfare as righteous, is that even if Moroni was authorized to use force, it is arguably not the highest or most desired course for Moroni to take. When the BOM says that if we were all like Moroni, Satan would be bound, that is an important clue. When will Satan be bound? During the Millennium. What kind of society will that be? Terrestrial. So, maybe Moroni was living a Terrestrial law.

    Eric and Bob don’t want it to be black and white. Either do most people. So, maybe we are given a choice. Follow Christ’s celestial law of nonviolence. Or, in very limited circumstances (outlined in D&C 98–read it, it priveledges losing your life above taking the life of another), accept a justifiable war defense and a Terrestrial level of glory. In the sense that Christ rules over the Terrestrial World, maybe you could argue that this means you are following Christ. Fine.

    You can have your cake and eat it too. You can be a Christian and under limited circumstances, have war. In the Terrestrial Kingdom.

    If that’s your goal. Go for it.

    Meanwhile, it is pretty clear that we are to renounce war and proclaim peace. You can’t renounce war and prepare for it, seek to justify it, etc.

    Does this make anyone feel better. Yes, by all means go to war. But admit you aren’t following the highest law. And while you are at it, be very, very careful. Of all the justifications I’ve seen for the Iraq war, I’ve yet to see an LDS justification based on D&C 98–so it looks dubious to be even a Terrestrially justifiable war.

    Of course, we can go ahead and leave D&C 98 aside as well, if we are willing to admit to a Telestial line of reasoning…which can easily find justification for killing, or any other act you might want to think of.

    My main complaint is that as saints we are quick to rush off to accept the justifications of our leaders, we don’t even bother with D&C 98 to see if we might be justified under those terms, we don’t try to see what this justification might mean, and we fail to see that there is a higher way that Christ is calling us to.

    So, here it is from D&C 98:
    13 And whoso layeth• down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal.

    14 Therefore, be not afraid• of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove• you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even• unto death, that you may be found worthy.

    15 For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me.

    16 Therefore, renounce• war and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn• the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children;

    Are we being tried and failing? Is fear of our enemies causing us to “not abide” in our cevenants? How well do we feel we are doing in renouncing war and proclaiming peace? Are we even trying? Or are we more excited and interested in our societal addiction to war?

  36. Eric James Stone on June 26, 2004 at 7:10 pm

    Rob says (in response to me):

    > It’s just pretty clear from the gospel that
    > once anyone tries to maintain their position
    > through coercive force, they are no longer
    > following Christ.

    Rob also says (in response to Heather):

    > We may have to accept violence directed towards
    > us, but in following Jesus, we aren’t
    > authorized to return violence for violence.

    This is a complete pacifist position. The complete pacifist position is a consistent one; its very simplicity avoids the problems of where to draw the line between permissible and impermissible violence. There is scriptural support for holding this position, and there are several scriptural examples of people being willing to give up their lives and the lives of their families rather than to use violence to defend themselves. So I do not believe it to be un-Christian to hold this position. It might even be true that it is the position Christ prefers. Let’s look at what Doctrine & Covenants 98 has to say about it:

    23 Now, I speak unto you concerning your families—if men will smite you, or your families, once, and ye bear it patiently and revile not against them, neither seek revenge, ye shall be rewarded;

    24 But if ye bear it not patiently, it shall be accounted unto you as being meted out as a just measure unto you.

    25 And again, if your enemy shall smite you the second time, and you revile not against your enemy, and bear it patiently, your reward shall be an hundredfold.

    26 And again, if he shall smite you the third time, and ye bear it patiently, your reward shall be doubled unto you four-fold;

    27 And these three testimonies shall stand against your enemy if he repent not, and shall not be blotted out.

    28 And now, verily I say unto you, if that enemy shall escape my vengeance, that he be not brought into judgment before me, then ye shall see to it that ye warn him in my name, that he come no more upon you, neither upon your family, even your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.

    29 And then, if he shall come upon you or your children, or your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation, I have delivered thine enemy into thine hands;

    30 And then if thou wilt spare him, thou shalt be rewarded for thy righteousness; and also thy children and thy children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.

    From these verses, it seems we will be rewarded if we bear violence patiently, without returning violence — the complete pacifist position seems to be endorsed by these verses.

    However, that does not mean the complete pacifist position is the only position authorized by Christ. We continue to the next verses (the bold text is my emphasis):

    31 Nevertheless, thine enemy is in thine hands; and if thou rewardest him according to his works thou art justified; if he has sought thy life, and thy life is endangered by him, thine enemy is in thine hands and thou art justified.

    32 Behold, this is the law I gave unto my servant Nephi, and thy fathers, Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, and all mine ancient prophets and apostles.

    33 And again, this is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them.

    Note that clearly contemplates a situation in which Christ would actually command his followers to go out unto battle. If Christ commands it, is it un-Christian to follow that command?

    34 And if any nation, tongue, or people should proclaim war against them, they should first lift a standard of peace unto that people, nation, or tongue;

    35 And if that people did not accept the offering of peace, neither the second nor the third time, they should bring these testimonies before the Lord;

    36 Then I, the Lord, would give unto them a commandment, and justify them in going out to battle against that nation, tongue, or people.

    Again, it is clear that going out to battle is actually justified if the Lord commands it.

    Therefore, it is false to say that in following Jesus, we aren’t authorized to return violence for violence. Unless you do not believe Doctrine & Covenents 98 to be a revelation from the Lord, sometimes we are.

    And even David O. McKay’s oft-quoted statement on war includes the following:

    There are, however, two conditions which may justify a truly Christian man to enter—mind you, I say enter, not begin—-a war: (1) an attempt to dominate and to deprive another of his free agency, and (2) loyalty to his country. Possibly there is a third, viz., defense of a weak nation that is being unjustly crushed by a strong, ruthless one.

    A truly Christian man is justified in entering a war under those conditions. That means the complete pacifist position is not the only one a truly Christian man can hold.

    Now, I’ve shown that what you said in your reply to Heather is false, but you might try to distinguish what you said in reply to me. Let’s look at it again:

    > It’s just pretty clear from the gospel that
    > once anyone tries to maintain their position
    > through coercive force, they are no longer
    > following Christ.

    So, if someone holds the position that it’s wrong to turn the temple of God into a den of thieves, and then uses coercive force to maintain thier position, that person would no longer be following Christ? (Well, if he were Christ, he couldn’t follow himself, so I guess that’s technically true.)

    If someone holds the position that it’s right for a free people to defend their country against an attack by another country, and then uses coercive force to maintain that position, would that person no longer be following Christ? David O. McKay’s statement clearly allows that position to be justified, and several of our current apostles did exactly that during World War II. Were they not following Christ?

    Now, to be fair, you were responding to a specific position I had espoused, which is certainly not as clear-cut an issue. But you are the one who generalized the statement, and I even gave you an opportunity to rephrase it before I started arguing against it.

    And, if the criterion you stated is not a valid test of whether someone is following Christ, then my holding a position that violates that criterion does not mean I am not following Christ. (Logically, it does not mean that I am following Christ; it just means it is not clear that I am not.)

  37. lyle on June 26, 2004 at 7:16 pm

    Obi-wan said: I assume that, under Matt’s rationale, we will shortly be invading mainland China, Cuba, North Korea, various African nations, and all the other countries where repressive, abusive dictatorships are in place.

    Darth Lyle said: Exactly! We should be invading each & every other dictatorship! As Rob points out, diplomacy is to be used first…and perhaps we aren’t at the “last resort” phase yet…but it will come soon.

    Oh…and re: resources. Obi…if those who enjoy seeing their family members suffer in repression would lift their sorry buts…there would be plenty of resources. Hm, France…Germany…

  38. Rob on June 26, 2004 at 7:47 pm

    Eric: I appreciate your comments. First, the easy one…it isn’t clear that Christ used coercive force on anyone to clear the temple. The whip was to drive the animals. We don’t know how he overturned the tables or scattered their coins.

    As far as D&C 98 goes, thanks for your reading. I think within its entire context, we should read it as a warning…Don’t get violent with your enemies. If you do, you will no longer “abide” in the covenant. However, if you can’t stay in the higher covenant, here’s a lower one for you…after taking a whole bunch of abuses and giving warnings, I’ll let you off the hook, you will be justified, but you won’t be in the covenant. It’s a lower law. It’s a special dispensation, kind of like permission to show the 116 page manuscript of the BOM. It’s not what I would have you do, but if that’s the best you can do, well, there you go. Here’s a Terrestrial law so you won’t go to the Telestial Kingdom like most murderers.

    Now, if you take this justification route, are you “following” Christ, or getting let off the hook by Him? If I’m right, justification doesn’t make everything all right, doesn’t make it the best choice. It just keeps you from the fullest punishment that killing usually merits.

    In that light, sure, Pres. McKay can suggest times when someone _may_ be justified to enter a war. That doesn’t mean someone automatically_would_be justified.

    So, like I said. You can be one kind of Christian, and depending on what the definition of following is, you can “follow” the justification clause and claim to be following Jesus. I’ll give you that.

    So, the question then is…if you want to accept this lesser “justification” clause, can you show that the Iraq conflict is “justifiable” given the conditions in D&C 98?

    Since the position I’m trying to maintain is clearly the one taught by Jesus, and the “justification” doctrine is at best shaky, I’m not really interested in justifying war. So I’ll leave that one to the Christian Soldiers, marching off to war following the cross…though not sure why any LDS would want to abandon their covenants to follow a bunch of cross-bearing, non-prophet-guided Christians.

  39. Clark Goble on June 26, 2004 at 7:52 pm

    Rob – Millions of folks knew enough to not support the war before the invasion.

    That rather begs the question of why they didn’t support the war and whether those who supported it were wrong based upon the information available at the time.

    I think that at the time of the war the belief that Sadaam has WMDs, against a treaty, had been attacking US Forces for years (in the no-fly zones), had connections with Al-Queda who we were at war with, justified the war. Now some of those are now more questionable, especially the WMD. But as I said it seems unjust to view things in hindsight.

    Heather – So my question is, would it really have been possible to get rid of Saddam without going to war?

    To be fair Bush I and Clinton had been trying to do just that for more than 10 years. Further even if you got Sadaam there was no guarantee that what followed wouldn’t be worse. (i.e. his sons)

    Obi-wan – I assume that, under Matt’s rationale, we will shortly be invading mainland China, Cuba, North Korea, various African nations, and all the other countries where repressive, abusive dictatorships are in place.

    I think this ignores a lot of issues. Perhaps we’d be justified morally to attack such nations but would be unjustified for other reasons. (i.e. consequences on S. Korea of attacking N. Korea considering its ownership of nuclear weapons and the proximity of its troops to Seoul) I think even the most rabid neo-Conservatives have a strong dose of realism and argue that while overcoming tyrrany is a component of justification it isn’t a sufficient justification in and of itself.

    Note that this is my own belief – that Bush was justified in going to war when he did but that he would have been wiser to wait for more diplomacy and he should have done more to explain his position to Europe and Asia.

  40. Bob Caswell on June 26, 2004 at 8:00 pm

    “So I’ll leave that one to the Christian Soldiers, marching off to war following the cross…though not sure why any LDS would want to abandon their covenants to follow a bunch of cross-bearing, non-prophet-guided Christians.”

    Careful, Rob, you’re quickly moving from “anti-war” in Iraq to not even supporting the troops that are there. In my mind, there’s a difference. Every time a Christian soldier dies in Iraq, do you silently whisper, “I told you so, you non-prophet-guided Christian”? Pretty harsh, don’t you think, generalizing the intentions of all Christian soldiers…

  41. Eric James Stone on June 26, 2004 at 8:08 pm

    So, we have apostles and other General Authorities who served in combat during World War II, and according to you they were followers of a lesser law. How many General Authorities do we have who were the more righteous conscientious objectors, refusing to serve when drafted?

    Or even, now that they presumably know as much about Christ’s position on war as you do, how many General Authorities have renounced their service in the military as having been part of their life when they were not really following Christ?

    Since President Hickley’s personal position on the current war seems to be more approving than yours, do you consider yourself to be more Christ-like on this issue than he is? If your position is the one “clearly taught by Jesus,” does it bother you that it doesn’t seem quite as clear to President Hinckley?

    Look, I’m not trying to goad you into apostasy; I’m merely trying to make the point that maybe things aren’t quite as clear as you think they are.

  42. Rob on June 26, 2004 at 8:14 pm

    Bob–Of course I mourn the death of anyone in Iraq. I am not judging any soldier’s motives. That I don’t see this war as opposed to Christ’s teachings, let alone “justified” by D&C 98 just makes it all the more painful. But the point remains…this is Bush’s war. Not Christ’s. I can understand other Christian soldier’s being quick to sign up…but for those with the restored gospel, who have made other covenants, it’s not clear why we would want to break those.

    And Clark, I still see you trying to justify this war from outside the teachings of the restored gospel. Sorry if I don’t follow you out there, but my commitments are elsewhere. You are surely right in that there were many motivations for opposing the war before the invasion…and some may not have been gospel based. But surely many people were motivated by a desire to follow Christ’s teachings against war. I didn’t argue that everyone who opposed the war was right. Only that some who opposed it were. Those who did some kind of moral calculus and thought the costs didn’t justify the expense, may not have been “abiding” in the covenant either.

  43. Rob on June 26, 2004 at 8:23 pm

    Eric–we are supposed to try and be as perfect as Christ is. So I’ll try to follow him and his teachings on war, rather than try to justify myself based on the actions of anyone else. That keeps me from having to judge or canonize the actions of anyone else. Meanwhile, I’m trying to raise a discussion about Christ’s teachings and try to follow those, without burdening any of our church leaders with having to be as perfect as Christ.

  44. Kaimi on June 26, 2004 at 8:34 pm

    Rob,

    As you’re both the resident tree-hugger and the resident pacifist, let me push you in another direction with a hypothetical. Could war potentially be justified to save nature? If a dictator announced that he was going to bulldoze his rainforests to construct palaces or missile silos, would it be permissible to go to war and remove him to prevent that consequence? What if the rainforest was the only home of some number of endangered species? (What if it was the only home of the Purple Martin?)

  45. clarkgoble on June 26, 2004 at 8:45 pm

    Rob, my point was that justifications must take into consideration our ignorance. I didn’t repeat the relationship of this to the law of war from the D&C because some one else brought up the elements you excluded already. I may make the connection later tonight if no one else is discussing it.

  46. Rob on June 26, 2004 at 8:52 pm

    Kaimi, the teachings of Christ don’t seem to allow us to go to war to save nature. But, as with the other grave humanitarian concerns, I think we are called to do all we can to stop them short of warfare. I’m all for nonviolent protest…at least like that practiced by many Quakers, who are willing to place themselves in danger’s path to try and alter another’s violent or destructive course.

    I was turned off by many of the protests against the Iraq war, because the hostile tone seemed likewise counter to the gospel of peace. Not that all conflict is to be avoided–like our polemos here on this thread ;)

    Speaking of which, I value everyone’s comments here and I hope I haven’t gone beyond longsuffering and persuasion here. I’m sure I have a long way to persuade everyone here that Jesus would rather we spent our time trying to find alternatives to war rather than justifying those our civic leaders are interested in fighting (for whatever reason).

    If a dictator bulldozed the last habitat of an endangered species, I’d be upset. Especially if I could have done something about it.

    That said, each of us cannot individually fight all the good fights, but hopefully, as LDS with hopefully a divine agenda, we can all be anxiously engaged in building Zion in some way, rather than getting suckered into spending too much time in Babylon (perhaps not ironically anciently located in Iraq).

    So, brothers and sisters, what can we do if we would rather covenant all our time, energy, talents, etc. to building up the kingdom rather than fighting wars? Diplomatic service? Nonprofit work? Developing corporate responses to societal problems?

    If we are commanded to flee from Babylon, to create refuges from war, how do we do that in our society?

  47. Jeremiah J. on June 26, 2004 at 9:03 pm

    Matt: You should clarify what you mean by connecting the gassing of the Kurdish population with the current war. Are you characterizing the war as stopping of a campaign of genocide or the punishment of a single man who ordered it?

    Stopping genocide in progress, or genocide which is likely to occur in the future, qualifies as a cause for war under most contemporary understandings of just war. These same lines of just war reasoning which reject the Iraq war call (and did call) for action in situations like Kosovo, and even moreso in Rwanda. Inaction in Rwanda might have been the worst mistake of Clinton’s foreign policy, but you can be sure Bush would have done the same thing–he called Clinton’s foreign policy ‘ugly American’ for being overly interventionist. It is actually pretty embarrassing that the hawks seem to equate the anti-war position with a kind of pacifism which would simply tremble in its boots in the face of mass murder.

    Of course, since genocide is of general human concern more than the concern of one country, and since establishing that genocide is in fact taking place is a difficult question, genocide is not a justification that is simply lying around for any country to take up on their own interpretation. This is one purpose for international institutions.

    Of course, this justification simply doesn’t work since at the time of the most recent Iraq war, Saddam had only nominal control over the only terrirtory on which he has actually conducted anything resembling genocide (Kurdish Iraq, where the alledged Al-Qaida camp was). He has been brutal in the South, but mainly with an end to putting down rebellions, not for ethinic cleansing or genocide. As for the Sunni triangle, Saddam’s regime still wasn’t law-governed and liberal, but it was mild enough for the Sunnis to give him a higher approval rating *after* he was captured than Bush gets currently from Americans.

    The point is not that Saddam wasn’t a very bad dictator–the point is that the chance of him committing genocide were slim to nil because of the measures that were taken between the beginning of the first Gulf War and the second.

    If on the other hand the justification for invasion and occupation was punishing one man, you run into a gross violation of both just war doctrine and good military strategy, which is proportionality. Killing thousands of Iraqis, losing hundreds of American lives, and inciting new kinds of terrorism in the Middle East is surely not proprtional to the goal of punishing one war criminal. But there was little discussion of these costs–the Bush administration stubbornly refused to talk about them and where they did make predictions they were monumentally wrong.

    Unfortunately, because the country was debating the presence and threat posed by Iraqi WMDs, it never really discussed whether and how the horrible gassings in the 1980s justfied the current war. So now all we see of a debate on these issues is a few waves of the hand in the direction of “mass graves” and “gassed his own people”.

    The idea that bad or failed regimes, even without any antagonism toward another country, justify war against them by any country at all that wants to decide which regime happens to be bad or failed, seems at once very old (and until recently dead) but also of recent vintage. In the first place, it resembles the old colonial idea that civilizated nations have a continual right to rule over barbaric peoples. This version of the argument is very much out of vogue, but at least it recognizes the fact that political development is a long and arduous process, not easily forced upon any people, and that the acceptability of a regime is to some degree relative to the political conditions that exist in a given country.

    But those who recognize that some countries are presently more suited to modern democracy than others have been called racist by president Bush (“there are some who think that if you have a different color skin that we do, you can’t have a democracy”). The present Bush doctrine denys any significant difference in political conditions for democratic institutions. But this seems to mean that the present version of the “open season on all dictatorships” argument is based less on the colonialist argument than on ignorance of democratic theory and practice.

    If one argues not only that all dictatorships are wholly illegitimate regimes, but also that they they create conditions so bad that any country at all is justified in declaring war against them and occuping the country, one seems to be stuck with two notions: that there is no dictatorship which could not be otherwise (e.g. China or Pakistan could be open societies soon if the government so decided, or if Americans were suddenly in charge), and that there is no dictatorship which is preferable to an invasion and occupation. These seem very tough notions to have to defend at the very time when the most sophisticated military and intelligence organization in the world, led by people with the best of intentions (if insufficient competence), is having trouble keeping a former dictatorship from falling into civil war.

  48. Heather Oman on June 26, 2004 at 10:51 pm

    Rob said, “What if, as a nation, we had gone to the Lord in fasting and prayer for a peaceful resolution to this and other problems?”

    I’m not sure you can assume Bush didn’t do just that.

    “Before dismissing this as an empty “what if” exerise, tell me, are you denying that the Lord could have given us an alternative to what we have now?”

    Of course not. I’m not going to deny that the Lord can do anything. But I’m just not sure what loving alternatives you can use with a man like Saddam Hussein.

  49. Eric James Stone on June 27, 2004 at 1:30 am

    > That keeps me from having to judge or canonize
    > the actions of anyone else.

    Oh, well, as long as you weren’t judging me when you said I’d left Christianity behind, I guess that’s OK then.

  50. lyle on June 27, 2004 at 2:57 am

    I nominate Rob to go to N. Korea, or the dictatorship of his choice, with a hand-picked group of all those that support his 100% pacificism (sp?). There, y’all will say “Mr. Dictator, we are your friends. We are here to help you have a better life. We are here to help you better oppress your people.” You might even try the Ammon/Sons of Mosiah approach.

    Volunteers?

    1. Rob
    2. Jeremiah
    3. ???
    4. X???

    Words in the face of atrocities are cheap. Action speaks louder & more truly than words.

  51. Roy W. Wright on June 27, 2004 at 3:09 am

    It is truly frightening to me that someone as misguided as Rob apparently attends the temple often enough to quote the endowment in the promotion of his borederline apostate views.

  52. lyle on June 27, 2004 at 4:08 am

    Roy: Your comments step over the line. Rob’s might…but that is for the T&S rulers to decide. Please see the comment policy. Calling another apostate/their question into faith is bad form.

  53. Aaron on June 27, 2004 at 4:16 am

    You guys are a hoot. No one has mentioned Nephi yet when he was commanded to slay Laban. Not sure how clearer you want to see this.

    Here is how is is from someone who has served in the military. There is good and evil. Any leader who kills and rapes his people is evil. Having an evil leader is not legal justification to attack another country. The arguments with the no fly zone are valid. As part of the treaty, they continuously ignored what they agreed to. We should have not allowed that but personally, I do not feel that is justification for the level of effort we have there now but should have been countered with a similiar level of agression.

    Which brings me to the next point. If you are in a bank and the guy next to you has his hands in his jacket pocket, says he has a gun and this is a hold up- it is logical to assume that he has a gun and is willing to use it. Depending on how you feel at the time you can respond by complying or attacking.

    If Saddam postured like he had WMD then we should treat him as such. To do otherwise is maddness akin to not arresting a teen at school who says he has a gun.

    Also folks tend to forget that the World Trade Centers were not taken out by WMD but by radicals that just wanted to change our way of life. Would the peace at any cost crowd like to say that we should not have security in our airspace and let them crash as many planes into our population as they wish? That also is a bit far out, particularly if it would affect your family.

    I would also like to point out that if you don’t prepare for war, you will never have peace. I believe that the Saints on their way west established a miltia also led by a prophet.

  54. lyle on June 27, 2004 at 9:38 am

    My review of “Saints at War” latter today…

  55. Davis Bell on June 27, 2004 at 5:53 pm

    I can see how one can take strong issue with Rob’s comments; how on earth, though, can his views be construed as apostate?

    Besides, um, I’m not sure why being able to quote one line from the ceremony indicates that one attends the temple often.

  56. Erika on June 27, 2004 at 7:22 pm

    Aaron: “I would also like to point out that if you don’t prepare for war, you will never have peace.”

    Whoa. Please, please tell me you were being ironic. You didn’t seriously just lift the idea behind the WAR IS PEACE slogan from 1984 and use it as a an actual argument…did you?

  57. Erika on June 27, 2004 at 7:23 pm

    Aaron: “I would also like to point out that if you don’t prepare for war, you will never have peace.”

    Whoa. Please, please tell me you were being ironic. You didn’t seriously just lift the idea behind the WAR IS PEACE slogan from 1984 and use it as a an actual argument…did you?

  58. Aaron on June 27, 2004 at 7:40 pm

    I guess I did. Nephi made swords to protect his family. To not be prepared to defend yourself is a bit lazy. My understanding is that the Lord helps those who help themselves. Do you disagree?

    Do you leave your keys in the ignition of your car and your doors unlocked? That is a sensible precaution. Just like having a military. Unless you don’t think that we should have one.

  59. Eric James Stone on June 27, 2004 at 8:16 pm

    Erika, the idea goes back a litte bit before George Orwell (if, in fact, it was the idea behind the “War is peace” slogan. It’s been 20 years since I read 1984, and the slogan seems quite different in meaning.)

    “Let him who desires peace prepare for war.” — Vegetius (c. 4th century), Roman military strategist.

    In a world with no aggressors, peaceful nations would have little need to prepare for war. But that is not the world we live in.

    Being prepared to counter aggression helps prevent aggression.

  60. laurie burk on June 27, 2004 at 9:03 pm

    “In a world with no aggressors, peaceful nations would have little need to prepare for war. But that is not the world we live in.

    Being prepared to counter aggression helps prevent aggression.”

    Maybe it’s time to quote President Kimball again:

    “We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching:

    “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

    “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:44-45.)

    We forget that if we are righteous the Lord will either not suffer our enemies to come upon us—and this is the special promise to the inhabitants of the land of the Americas (see 2 Ne. 1:7)—or he will fight our battles for us (Ex. 14:14; D&C 98:37, to name only two references of many) . . .

    What are we to fear when the Lord is with us? Can we not take the Lord at his word and exercise a particle of faith in him? Our assignment is affirmative: to forsake the things of the world as ends in themselves; to leave off idolatry and press forward in faith; to carry the gospel to our enemies, that they might no longer be our enemies.”

  61. Eric James Stone on June 27, 2004 at 10:22 pm

    OK, Laurie, if you really believe that what President Kimball is to be taken as practical advice on what to do about our enemies, I challenge you to follw his advice “to carry the gospel to our enemies, that they might no longer be our enemies.”

    Go, take the gospel to Osama bin Laden and the other members of al-Quaeda and see how they react.

    I think President Kimball’s advice is more about our attitude toward war and enemies than practical advice about how to avoid war.

    For comparison, see Alma 48:20-25:

    20 And thus they went forth, and the people did humble themselves because of their words, insomuch that they were highly favored of the Lord, and thus they were free from wars and contentions among themselves, yea, even for the space of four years.

    [These are, therefore, a righteous people.]

    21 But, as I have said, in the latter end of the nineteenth year, yea, notwithstanding their peace amongst themselves, they were compelled reluctantly to contend with their brethren, the Lamanites.

    22 Yea, and in fine, their wars never did cease for the space of many years with the Lamanites, notwithstanding their much reluctance.

    [Despite their righteousness, they had to fight wars. But notice their attitude is reluctant.]

    23 Now, they were sorry to take up arms against the Lamanites, because they did not delight in the shedding of blood; yea, and this was not all—they were sorry to be the means of sending so many of their brethren out of this world into an eternal world, unprepared to meet their God.

    24 Nevertheless, they could not suffer to lay down their lives, that their wives and their children should be massacred by the barbarous cruelty of those who were once their brethren, yea, and had dissented from their church, and had left them and had gone to destroy them by joining the Lamanites.

    25 Yea, they could not bear that their brethren should rejoice over the blood of the Nephites, so long as there were any who should keep the commandments of God, for the promise of the Lord was, if they should keep his commandments they should prosper in the land.

    [God promised that they should prosper in the land, and yet they still had to fight wars.]

  62. lyle on June 27, 2004 at 10:36 pm

    Eric: I already tried that…suggesting that Rob, Erica, et al. live what they preach. However, I haven’t seen any volunteers as of yet. In contrast, I am in the military & am willing to lay my life down for others…

  63. Bob Caswell on June 27, 2004 at 10:42 pm

    First we had had a Pres. Mckay quote, now we have a Pres. Kimball quote… Slightly unrelated but possibly pertinent question: Does anyone know the context of these quotes? I’m not saying this to “disprove” anyone. I’m just curious why these prophets had HUGE issues with war. What were the circumstances surrounding their talks? And why the boldness?

    Oh, and last question… All the prophet quoting seems to be coming from the anti-War people. For me, at least, their position would be strengthened if they could quote some words of wisdom of from our current prophet, as quotes from dead prophets on current events aren’t quite as useful. That’s why I love modern revelation. Generally speaking, the current prophet tells us what we need to hear for the current time.

  64. lyle on June 27, 2004 at 11:02 pm

    Bob the context of both are full length talks addressing the subject; of which more lengthier versions & cites are in the “three statements” thread. That will answer your querries above…and why you haven’t seen what you ask the anti-s to write.

  65. Bob Caswell on June 27, 2004 at 11:40 pm

    “…and why you haven’t seen what you ask the anti-s to write.”

    Lyle, fill me in, Readers’ Digest style. I don’t feel like wading through a hundred comments to find out.

  66. Bob Caswell on June 27, 2004 at 11:49 pm

    Lyle, nevermind, I took the jump (for better or for worse) and decided to read that thread… I think I’ll refrain from commenting…

  67. laurie burk on June 27, 2004 at 11:52 pm

    “if you really believe that what President Kimball is to be taken as practical advice on what to do about our enemies, I challenge you to follw his advice “to carry the gospel to our enemies, that they might no longer be our enemies.”

    Go, take the gospel to Osama bin Laden and the other members of al-Quaeda and see how they react.”

    And

    “I already tried that…suggesting that Rob, Erica, et al. live what they preach. However, I haven’t seen any volunteers as of yet.”

    What a completely inappropriate suggestion. In case you hadn’t noticed we are a church of order. We don’t send ourselves off on special missions in the name of the church. We don’t abandon our current posts/callings/responsiblities or our families and go off as some self-appointed representative of the Lord. Even when goaded by the sabre-rattlers in our midst.

    Someday the people in the Mideast will get their chance to hear the gospel but before that can happen a lot has to change with us [as church members and partakers of Western Civilization]. Dropping bombs on innocent Iraqis did nothing but confirm the fears of some and play into the hands of others who view all Christians through the lense of another incident of historical violence — as Crusader thugs. The war certainly hasn’t improved the chances of the missionaries anywhere in the Mideast. [Even if we now could legally get into the Mideastern countries how many would be inclined to listen?]

    In the Mideast, America is still viewed as a Christian nation. In most of the world the LDS church is still viewed as an American church, and the violence of the Iraq war is seen as American instigated violence. And violence does not advance the cause of Christ.

  68. Eric James Stone on June 28, 2004 at 2:46 am

    > Someday the people in the Mideast will get
    > their chance to hear the gospel but before that
    > can happen a lot has to change with us [as
    > church members and partakers of Western
    > Civilization].

    Oh, yes, it’s all our fault there aren’t missionaries in the Middle East.

    We must change, before any country in the Middle East will allow missionaries in.

    Oh, wait — there used to be an Iran Tehran Mission. But then Islamic radicals destabilized the country and eventually took it over.

    But it wouldn’t be nice to blame radical Islam for our inability to do missionary work there, so let’s blame ourselves and Western Civilization instead.

  69. Dan Burk on June 28, 2004 at 3:16 am

    Having lived in Iran during the brief existence of the Tehran mission, I can say that blaming ourselves and, if not Western Civilization, at least U.S. foreign policy, would be a pretty accurate assessment as to why it’s no longer there.

    And putting our own house in order is typically a very good start toward convincing the Lord to provide us with new missionary opportunities.

  70. Eric James Stone on June 28, 2004 at 6:02 am

    Dan, you almost sound like a parody of liberal thinking. You couldn’t even assign a token amount of blame to the Islamic radicals.

    I’m willing to admit that the U.S. and Western Civilization aren’t perfect. But somehow, liberals seem to ignore problems that may lie elsewhere, and focus only on the West, and the U.S. in particular.

    If you flip the situation around, you ought to see how ridiculous it sounds:

    Islamic liberals insist that the U.S. is not to blame for invading Iraq. The fault, they say, lies with Islamic Civilization and Arab foreign policy. Iranian intellectuals point to the hostage-taking incident in 1979 as one of the root causes of American hostility towards Islam. Americans, unfortunately, tend to see Islam as a violent religion, so it’s only natural that they react by bombing and invading Islamic countries. “We need to make more of an effort to understand the Americans,” said one scholar. “And maybe we need to get our own house in order.”

    If you’re going to blame the U.S. for the things you think it does wrong, you could have the decency to acknowledge that our enemies deserve at least a share of the blame.

  71. Richard on June 28, 2004 at 7:53 am

    As an insomniac (sp?) I have been reading this thread for the last couple of hours. I’ve been impressed with Rob’s consistancy about the imperative to totally avoid killing others if one is to be Christ-like. Rob, how would you mesh that idea with Christ (the God of the O.T.) bringing on the flood?

  72. lyle on June 28, 2004 at 9:47 am

    Richard: Rob’s answer is in the 3 Statements thread. However, IMO he fails to reconcile these & instead has a one-sided Christ that “can’t recollect” his OT acts.

    Eric: Ouch. Nice hit. [friendly, of course ;)]

    Laurie: Ok. Well, re: that church of order thing. Something about being commanded in all things comes to mind…oh, and just remember that the next time you want to whine about the institutional church. Some By Common Consent comments come to mind…

  73. Matt Evans on June 28, 2004 at 11:17 am

    Hi Russell,

    From your comment it appears that you felt I was directing this post at you. I wasn’t. I haven’t even ventured into the thread you mention. My post simply exposes the hollow premise accepted by nearly all of the war’s critics: the war would be just had the Baathists brutalized and killed thousands of Americans.

    As for your second point, on the inadequacies of the reconstruction, I agree that mistakes are apparent with the benefit of hindsight. But contrasted with the tragedies that the administration avoided, including all of the ominous consequences forecast by the war’s opponents: massive casualties; Iraq bombing Israel, and luring Israel into the war; Turkey warring with the Kurds; and millions of displaced refugees; the administration’s errors have been comparatively minor. In any event, I don’t accept the idea that our missteps would strip the justice from our cause had the Baathists killed and tortured thousands of Americans. And because I reject the moral distinction between killing Kurds and Americans, as explained above, I don’t accept that our missteps have stripped the justness of our actual cause, either.

  74. Scott on June 28, 2004 at 11:48 am

    Could Mormons have stopped the war?

    What if President Hinckley had, in General Conference, reaffirmed the Lord’s command that we renounce war and proclaim peace? What if he had followed that up with vigorous encouragement that the Saints support candidates who share our commitment to renounce war and proclaim peace and oppose those who do not? Could the threat of losing 5 (UT), 9 (UT & ID), 19 (UT, ID, & AZ), or more electoral votes by way of LDS collective political action change the calculus in DC?

    Republican partisanism is so ingrained in Mormon culture that we may be missing opportunities–especially on the closely divided national political stage–to really shape this and other debates.

    Scott

  75. Russell Arben Fox on June 28, 2004 at 12:43 pm

    Matt,

    My apologies for overreacting.

    “In any event, I don’t accept the idea that our missteps would strip the justice from our cause had the Baathists killed and tortured thousands of Americans. And because I reject the moral distinction between killing Kurds and Americans, as explained above, I don’t accept that our missteps have stripped the justness of our actual cause, either.”

    I think, to the extent that I want to view the argument over the war as one having to do with morality (and I do, but perhaps not as much as Nate’s post implied), that a great deal of care must be used in how we speak of “our missteps.” They are, of course, our own–but the consequences of those missteps will not be, at least not mostly. Hundreds of American and coalition troops have been killed and wounded, yes. But thousands of Iraqis have been killed and wounded…many of whom, of course, were enemy soldiers and militants of one sort of another, but every one of which had families, possibly children, and perhaps jobs and numerous other connections to the life of other human beings in their neighborhoods, etc…. Moreover, millions of Iraqis now live in a transformed world, one that is clearly–at least very likely–better than the one they used to live in, as far as the long-term is concerned. But our transformation of Iraq through war has also led to great stress, violence, chaos, crime and chaos in the short-term. I guess my move from war-supporter to war-opponent can be summed up as the realization that, for me at least, I was wrong to believe the war and the whole ideological project it was implicated in to be justified on the basis of long-term expectations (empowering the formation of democratic communities through intervention, etc.); my neo-Wilsonianism did not give enough credit to the imperative that any moral intervention worth the name be attuned to the immediate and the short-term as well as long, since fundamentally it is the targets of our intervention, not ourselves, who will be obliged to pay the costs and endure the distance to that far-away end we conceived on their behalf. Does that make sense?

    War is an evil. I don’t think we can, or even necessarily should, avoid it. Some of us liberal hawks called the war “moral” because we were convinced of the theory behind it. I still think it’s a good theory, even a perhaps morally justifying one. But if the execution of the theory is slovenly, thus multiplying rather than containing the evils inherent within, that the morality of the whole project (and its supporters) is, I think, put into question.

    The hard-nosed realist, who thinks the whole point was simply to get rid of, by hook or crook, a tyrant who may have sponsored terrorism and in any case threatened our oil supply, of course doesn’t have any of these issues.

  76. Matt Evans on June 28, 2004 at 12:48 pm

    Rob,

    If Presidents McKay and Kimball thought wars are contrary to the gospel, especially when they aren’t done in self-defense, then they would have been outraged by the actions of the patriots in the American Revolution — rebels who fought to change the form of government because of the imposition of a 3% tax. The prophets would be exceptionally offended by the war-mongering Lincoln who plunged the Union into a devastating war with the Confederates, who simply wanted to be left alone.

    If you you and I search the public statements of Presidents McKay and Kimble regarding the American Revolution, the Civil War, and their respective generals and leaders, how many condemnatory statements do you think we’ll find toward these Wars of Choice?

    How frequently do the prophets urge us to mourn the Fourth of July because of its roots in “the ways of Satan, not Christ”?

    How frequently do the prophets discourage members from joining the military?

    If the prophets don’t do these things, then by your analysis our prophets are leading us straight into the Terrestial Kingdom.

    I’m curious to learn the value you place on prophets who lead people away from God’s presence.

  77. Rob on June 28, 2004 at 1:03 pm

    Matt–
    I’m not at home with my Journal of Discourses, but if you go back and read what the bretheren were saying during the Civil War, they often portrayed it as the wicked destroying the wicked and many saw the Americans as having brought it upon themselves because of their treatment of the Saints in Missouri and Illinois.

    And I would never claim that the prophets are leading us to the Terrestrial Kingdom. I think the statements of Pres. McKay and Pres. Kimball are trying to lead us to a higher place…a place that, guessing from many of the comments on this blog and at church, many members aren’t willing to go.

    I’ll admit my bias. I want to help build Zion. I’m looking for ways to use all my time, energy, talents, etc. to create a sustainable and peaceful society. I see the prophets trying to get us there. I see Christ waiting for us to follow his teachings. I also see many people in the Church with other ideas…who seem more interested in following their elected leaders than those called of God.

  78. Russell Arben Fox on June 28, 2004 at 1:05 pm

    I think Scott’s question is an excellent one; it puts Rob’s pacifist warnings into about as “practical” a context as one can imagine, without going over to wholesale attacks on the modern American state. What would the real outcome of a serious, committed, dissident Mormon minority be today, especially in terms of presidential politics (i.e., nation-wide contests?). Supposedly I’m a political scientist as well as a theorist, but I really don’t know. It would be interesting to run some of simulations of this dynamic.

    Scott’s questions also presumes something pretty significant: can the prophet deliver Utah? If President Hinckley said, “Thus saith the Lord: Write in John McCain!”…would it happen? Would it happen enough to carry the state? And would it happen anywhere besides Utah? Can the Mormons guarantee Idaho? Arizona? I honestly don’t know…but it would be cool to find out.

  79. laurie burk on June 28, 2004 at 1:21 pm

    Lyle wrote: “Laurie: Ok. Well, re: that church of order thing. Something about being commanded in all things comes to mind…oh, and just remember that the next time you want to whine about the institutional church. Some By Common Consent comments come to mind…”

    We certainly should use our own initiative in the sphere where the Lord has placed us. But not being commanded in all things is not the same as usurping church authority, or the right to act in the name of the church, or the priesthood authorization required for such things as callings and missionary assignments.

    And funny, but I never posted on the ‘By Common Consent’ thread . . . I don’t even *remember* that thread. Must have been before I started reading T&S, let alone posting here.

    Perhaps you should do your homework next time.

  80. lyle on June 28, 2004 at 1:22 pm

    Russell: Actually, at least one candidate believes that LDS voters are the key to winning WA, OR, NV & NM. That candidate has expended consdiderable resources in reaching out to the LDS voter. So…you will likely have your answer come November; albeit not in the way that Scott would like to see it.

    Matt: Reasoning to the Revolutionary War doesn’t seem to phase Rob, Scott, et al. I asked re: whether the Founding Fathers were only raised up to write the document & if they prior/latter actions in war were all apostate actions. No reply. Of course, your quesions were just as facily brushed away.

  81. Rob on June 28, 2004 at 1:28 pm

    Russell and Scott: Wouldn’t there be huge protests from members if Pres. Hinckley told them how to vote? I think the bretheren want to stay out of the war issue and national presidential politics as much as possible. They seem to have their eyes on other political battles.

    Lyle: Are you kidding me…?
    >>”I nominate Rob to go to N. Korea, or the dictatorship of his choice, with a hand-picked group of all those that support his 100% pacificism (sp?). There, y’all will say “Mr. Dictator, we are your friends. We are here to help you have a better life. We are here to help you better oppress your people.”

    First off, give me the budget of the current war, and my choice of delegates, and I think we could get something done. Of course, I don’t mean me personally, since I don’t have the national and global reach that would be needed. I’d be a staffer at this point, not the negotiator. That’s not an excuse for not doing anything, it’s just a fair appraisal of my political capital right now…get me elected to Congress and I’ll change that ;)

    I’m most troubled by the words you seem to put in my mouth on this hypothetical mission. Where, in anything I’ve said, do you claim that I would support Saddam’s criminal activities? You seem to be either confused or willfully misrepresenting my position.

    To be clear…I don’t support civil rights violations and oppression. By anybody. Lyle, you might not think anyone could persuade someone like Saddam…you might be right. He might have been cerfiably insane. But we could have worked for reforms that could have built foundations for a new Iraq without having to bomb everything first.

  82. Bob Caswell on June 28, 2004 at 1:33 pm

    “I think the statements of Pres. McKay and Pres. Kimball are trying to lead us to a higher place…a place that, guessing from many of the comments on this blog and at church, many members aren’t willing to go.”

    But Rob, Matt has a really good point. Two statements by dead prophets just isn’t enough to convince all Mormons that war is “always” bad. If the intent of these statements had much to do with leading us to “a higher place”, then why don’t we hear similiar statements at General Conference? Why isn’t it as common place as the Word of Wisdom or No-Sex-Before-Marriage?

    Quite frankly, I probably would have never come across your statements / anything similiar had you not pointed them out to me; and I’m a faithful, active Mormon listening intently.

    I’m with Matt. I don’t like your implications that many – if not the majority – of all Apostles and Prophets are leading us to the Terrestial Kingdom.

  83. Steve Evans on June 28, 2004 at 1:33 pm

    Lyle: “oh, and just remember that the next time you want to whine about the institutional church. Some By Common Consent comments come to mind… ”

    Lyle at times fails to distinguish between the insightful and the insulting. Laurie, Lyle was trying to slight another LDS group blog, one for liberal-minded mormons. Pay him little mind.

  84. Scott on June 28, 2004 at 1:43 pm

    Russell,

    Check out the following stats:

    Mormons as percentage of population (in 1990)/Margin in 2000 Presidential Election

    UT: 71.76%/41% (Bush over Gore)
    ID: 26.63%/41% (Bush over Gore)
    WY: 10.10%/41% (Bush over Gore)
    NV: 7.41%/3% (Bush over Gore)
    AZ: 5.45%/6% (Bush over Gore)
    MT: 3.58%/24% (Bush over Gore)
    HI: 3.46%/18% (Gore over Bush)
    OR: 3.15%/.44% (Gore over Bush)
    WA: 3.10%/5% (Gore over Bush)
    AK: 2.86%/31% (Bush over Gore)

    Since the 2000 Presidential Election was decided by 5 electoral votes, Utah alone could have changed the result. But, as you can see above, it might have been possible for Mormons to swing Nevada’s 4 electoral votes and Oregon’s 7. The gaps are also narrow enough for Mormons to make a squeaker of Arizona (8) and Washington (11).

    Those stats aren’t perfect. The Mormon population numbers are a bit old and don’t tell us anything about Mormons as a percentage of eligible or likely voters. And 2000 was a singular political event. But, nonetheless, if the Church were willing to do so, it could become the Sandra Day O’Conner of the electoral college, throwing elections this way and that. Would America tolerate us after something like that?

    Scott

  85. Russell Arben Fox on June 28, 2004 at 1:45 pm

    Lyle,

    “That candidate has expended considerable resources in reaching out to the LDS voter.”

    I take it you mean Bush. Has he really? The Medel of Freedom going to President Hinckley, ok, that one I’ll grant you. And…what else? I mean this sincerely; I really don’t know. I live in Arkansas, so perhaps I haven’t been paying attention. If you just mean that President Bush has backed a socially conservative agenda which presumably appeals to Mormons, I suppose you’re right, but only by default; it means that Bush and his people assume that by endorsing Roman Catholic, evangelical Christian, and conservative Christian social views generally, he’s also clean up on the Mormons. He may be right, but that doesn’t mean he is actively seeking Mormon votes, anymore than John Kerry is actively seeking African-American votes (despite claims to African-American leaders to the contrary). In both cases, a base of support is being taken for granted…which was essentially, as I read it, Scott’s point.

    Rob,

    “Wouldn’t there be huge protests from members if Pres. Hinckley told them how to vote?”

    I don’t know. Perhaps. Coming up with an answer to that question is part of what is necessary in order to respond to Scott’s suggestion regarding the potential of a united, pacifist Mormon voting bloc. Obviously, if the church membership would rise up in anger if the prophet actually specifically instructed Mormons how to vote in an upcoming election, then one probably couldn’t count on Mormons forming an influential electoral “rump.”

    Incidentally Rob, for what’s worth, I’d be interested to hear your response Bob’s and Matt’s query regarding prophetic statements which, so far as I have ever heard, have been unanimous in praising the Revolutionary War. I’m not saying this to be critical of your views; I just think they’re (rightly) pushing you to explore one aspect of things that I’m not sure you’ve explored yet.

  86. Nathan Tolman on June 28, 2004 at 1:58 pm

    How about the Democrats missiong an opportunity by not appealing to Mormons? Then again, most members feel unconfortable with certian issues in the Democrat platform, but this is an issue for another thread.

    On blaiming Western Culture:

    Most that use the “Blame America” arguement use logic simular to someone that blames a Rape Victem for a rape, “She wore tight clothes,” “She was provocative,” etc. If you really want to see why Al-Qaeda attacked the US, you should read Bin Laden’s letter to the American People. The first half of it is a rant aganst American Policy in the Middle Elast. The second half is his slam at us because of our culture.

    Here are some quotes:

    You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire.

    So we deserve to be attacked because we do not follow Islamic law.

    You are the nation that permits Usury, which has been forbidden by all the religions. Yet you build your economy and investments on Usury. As a result of this, in all its different forms and guises, the Jews have taken control of your economy

    We deserve to be attacked becuse we charge intrest on loans.

    You are a nation that permits acts of immorality, and you consider them to be pillars of personal freedom. You have continued to sink down this abyss from level to level until incest has spread amongst you, in the face of which neither your sense of honour nor your laws object.

    While I would say sexual immorality is a problem, but incest? Perhaps what he conciders incest is differnt from what we do.

  87. lyle on June 28, 2004 at 2:09 pm

    Rob: my apology. I was taking a causal relationship for granted. i support sanctions. others oppose sanctions. those that like sanctions say that lifting sanctions & “trading with the enemy” amounts to de facto support of the disliked regime. it’s a tough call.

    Russell: Only the Bush campaign has an actual “Mormon” coordinator. True, Bush could just be turning to a “natural” constituency, but…as conservatives like to point out re: blacks & liberal mormons re: the lds vote…there is nothing ‘natural’ about either. My point…is that contra Scott, Bush isn’t taking the LDS for granted…and is in fact inviting them to go “uber-Bush” by leaving Utah (we are hoping for about 1,000 or more) to vote absentee from Utah & then go do GOTV for 7-10 days in swing states. As per Kerry…he just writes off the LDS vote & figures that he “can’t” win; which Nathan Tolman points out (as well as PJ at politicaljuice.com), is a missed opportunity.

    Scott: Would America tolerate us after something like that?

    Hm. do you have to ask a question like that in a supposedly “liberal” democracy? if America _would not_, then there is something fundamentally wrong about America. I don’t buy it…and think that _America_ would buy it. What…they are going to stop coming to Utah to ski? Or not give the Mormon missionaries lemonade?

  88. Scott on June 28, 2004 at 2:09 pm

    Lyle,

    I didn’t say that the Church should use its ability to mobilize votes in any particular way (e.g., for a less aggressive foreign policy). In fact, I haven’t weighed in on the war issue at all. So hold off on branding me a peacenik. I was merely observing that the Church could, perhaps, be more of a political force if the Mormon vote remained in play, rather than being solidly one way or the other. There are precedents in our history.

    Rob,

    Would the members revolt? Some might. But even with some drop-off, the Church should be able to deliver five electoral votes to any candidate of its choosing. (Morning headline: “Natural Law Party’s John Hagelin takes Utah in a Landslide!”) I would be more concerned about the reaction from non-Mormons. Fear of Mormon political power and block voting has caused us problems in the past; and I doubt America is so enlightened that we could avoid such struggles if we were to make another go of it. In the meantime, I agree that the leadership seems to be picking its political battles. Probably wise. Still, it’s fun to fantasize about a more politically muscular Mormonism.

    Scott

  89. Nathan Tolman on June 28, 2004 at 2:12 pm

    Sorry, I should have proofed this before I posted.

  90. Nate Oman on June 28, 2004 at 2:14 pm

    Historically, it turns out that attempts of Church Presidents to deliver the Mormon vote for a particular presidential candidate have not been successful. Heber J. Grant came out strongly against FDR, who carried Utah by wide margins anyway. You see the same pattern in Mormon responses to overt political involvement by the Brethren. The fact of the matter is that the Church has a great deal of political influence among members because it seldom tries to use that influence. In the past when it has tried to regularlly use that influence (at least in the post-political-Manifesto period) it has not been particularly successful.

  91. lyle on June 28, 2004 at 2:15 pm

    Scott: Sorry…not intended to label you a peacnik; but to dispute your “in play” analysis of LDS votes. They are very much “in play” in the sense of _activism_ & _turn-out_, even if the Utah electoral votes are not “in play.”

    However…asperions on America that it couldn’t deal with Mormon block voting…are I think anachronistic. This isn’t the 1800s.

    Steve/Laurie: Actually, that was my bad. I mistook Laurie for another BCC commentator. However, one man’s slight is another woman’s factual description.

  92. Nathan Tolman on June 28, 2004 at 2:31 pm

    On fear of a Mormon voting block:

    Many in this country (including myself) are apprehensive of the Evangelical/born again voting block. I can just imagine what would happen if Mormons came on the scene as powerfully as they have.

    Pummeled from the Left for being religious and socially conservative and hit from the Evangelicals on the Right for our wicked ways.

  93. Rob on June 28, 2004 at 2:37 pm

    Russell–you’re right in that I have yet to put much energy into looking at the Revolutionary War.

    Matt & Bob–I’m not the person to really ask why the prophets emphasize the things the things they do, or what long term political strategy they might have, if any. I agree, that if they talked about it more, it _might_ get the members attention. However, I think the message is there…just not being heard. Think Elder Nelson’s talk on renouncing war and proclaiming peace a few conferences back.

    I wonder, sometimes, if the Church is still reacting very cautiously to all the abuse it got in the 19th Century. That isn’t really that long ago–especially in the minds of our older Apostles, who are only one or two generations removed from those who went through these crisis.

    As for Pres. Hinckley’s personal comments at conference after the invasion of Afghanistan…I think he was hesitant to take any stand that might make the Church look like it wasn’t supportive of the American leadership in a time of war–most of his justification for his personal views seemed to come from his reading of the 12th Article of Faith.

  94. Matt Evans on June 28, 2004 at 2:38 pm

    “I think the statements of Pres. McKay and Pres. Kimball are trying to lead us to a higher place…a place that, guessing from many of the comments on this blog and at church, many members aren’t willing to go.”

    I completely agree. That’s why I invited you to search the statements of Presidents McKay and Kimball to see the principles they actually teach. If you read them, you will see that, far from condemning the leaders who waged the wars of choice for independence or to preserve the union, Presidents McKay and Kimball spoke highly of those who wisely decided to wage those wars of choice.

  95. danithew on June 28, 2004 at 2:54 pm

    Jeremy, thanks for posting that link to the Gibson’s Law definition. That was hilarious and yet had a good point to make about how some of these discussions tend to go.

    This thread is pretty LONG. I left some thoughts on the Anti-Nephi-Lehi Puzzle post that might be of interest to some of these matters … basically I argue that neither Jesus Christ nor the Anti-Nephi-Lehis are pacifists and that the Book of Mormon does not actually provide an account of any pacifist/pacifism at all.

  96. lyle on June 28, 2004 at 3:13 pm

    Rob, you said that Pres. Hinckley’s “personal views seemed to come from his reading of the 12th Article of Faith”. However, that doesn’t square with his statement that the troops are in Iraq “in the cause of freedom.”

  97. Rob on June 28, 2004 at 3:34 pm

    Lyle, I’m sure there was more than _just_ AF 12 on Pres. Hinckley’s mind. However, a large part of his talk was couched in a discussion of following leaders, etc.

    My real question, Lyle, is why you are so anxious to find justification for this war rather than explore alternatives to war? Is it just that you are a soldier and soldiers fight wars rather than work to prevent them? I’m not attacking you or any other soldier here, I’m just wondering if there is anything short of Christ tapping you on the shoulder and asking you to “renounce war and proclaim peace” that would get you to change your mind about war in general, and this war in particular. We all know anyone can find justification for almost anything in the scriptures and probably the statements of Church leaders. You seem committed to war. What would it take to swing you? A personal email from the prophet? Your stake president? Your bishop? What keeps you from seeing Christ’s teachings in the New Testament and BOM and D&C as a clear message that killing and war is wrong? I’m sorry if this gets too personal, don’t feel like you have to answer if it does…but is this more about the teachings of Christ or your own personal commitments?

    I’m not judging my position by who will accept it, but I am trying to use my time most effectively! If you don’t want to join a discussion seeking alternatives to war, I’ll have that discussion with someone else.

  98. lyle on June 28, 2004 at 3:43 pm

    Rob: I’ll admit to being personally biased. :)
    Also, the Pres. Hinckley statement re: our troops being in Iraq “in the cause of freedom” was made in the context of Iraq; not AF12 (you are thinking of his comments in conference, I refer to his statements when he got the Medal of _Freedom_.).

    I’ve tried to make clear that what you wrote, I could just as easily write back & reverse the querry: Will “the Lord of Hosts” have to tap you on the shoulder to get you to “proclaim liberty” & stand up for the plan of salvation that we fought for (not just with words btw, your revelations comment was rather cramped)?

    In the end, I think we agree that:
    1. War should be a last resort

    We disagree:
    1. When the “last resort” is reached; &
    2. whether Christ supports using force/murder/war in his efforts to bring to pass the eternal life of man. I say yea, you say nay. Somehow…we must both be write if we can both quote scripture & prophets to that effect.

    Where is our both/and “pluralistic” instead of a black/white either/or solution?

  99. Mark on June 28, 2004 at 3:48 pm

    Rob, how would you mesh that idea with Christ (the God of the O.T.) bringing on the flood?

    I’d look at it pretty much the same way D&C 64:10 is written: “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.”

    If Christ decides that the slate needs to be wiped nearly clean in order to start over, that’s Christ’s business; of me it is required “thou shalt not kill”.

  100. jeremobi on June 28, 2004 at 3:56 pm

    The suggestion that Iraq and Iraqis now experience freedom or are otherwise liberated reminds me of a personal experience some years ago.

    In 1997 I visited Haiti on a couple weeks of business and had the chance to attend church there, speak with several members, and to ask about the changes in-country since the fall of the Duvallier regime.

    Without exception, average Haitians told me that they were happy to see Baby Doc leave, proud to be a “democracy”, and supportive of their newfound political pluralism. Under Duvallier, political mobilization in opposition to the regime was crushed and there were precious few political liberties for the masses. While not a one of my contacts was actively involved in party politics, all were glad they had the new opportunity to join up if they wished.

    Funny thing was, the regime change only exchanged one type of freedom for another. The brutal and gluttonous tyrant and his feared tonton macoutes were gone. Free speech was mostly free, and the power to criticize political leaders was growing. Haitians were optimistic. But there were costs.

    The new democratic regime didn’t exactly mean liberation. Time and again I was told that “at least under Baby Doc we could afford to buy rice and water” and R.S. sisters explained to me that under the dictatorship they felt (and were) safe walking home after nightfall. All that freedom from street crime and violence, and the opportunity to feed their families ended in the chaos of transition.

    Finding a political voice didn’t mean a whole lot when the real struggle became finding potable water and fear of random violence.

  101. Matt Evans on June 28, 2004 at 4:11 pm

    “I wonder, sometimes, if the Church is still reacting very cautiously to all the abuse it got in the 19th Century.”

    Rob,

    Are you saying that while God condemns the American Revolution, the war against the Confederacy, the liberation of Europe from the Nazis, of the Pacific islands from the Japanese, of Kuwait and Iraq from the Baathists, etc., God’s prophets haven’t condemned these wars of choice for fear of offending their American neighbors?

  102. Rob on June 28, 2004 at 4:21 pm

    Matt Evans–I think the prophets have condemned war in general. They teach us correct principles and we are left to govern ourselves. I wasn’t making any claim at all about what our leaders do, I was just wondering if there are other reasons that keep them from taking more political stand about specifics. Just like they (and I’m going to violate all the rules here and sink this thread) have in the gay marriage issue, where leaders urge us to support state level DOMA legislation, but not in the name of the Church. Some have suggested that the tax status of the Church is one of its assets that has to be guarded, and that affects the strategies the Church can take.

    I’m not a spokesman for the Church. I’m just trying to understand the teachings of Christ and the prophets so that I can help build Zion. I don’t know why the leaders do all that they do, but I do ask questions to try and figure out both the big picture and my own place in it.

  103. Jordan Fowles on June 28, 2004 at 4:32 pm

    Jeremobi-

    interesting about your experience in Haiti. I heard the same sort of sentiments from the people among whom I served my mission in the former East Germany- they were grateful for their democracy but they also had a nostalgic yearning for the “security” of communism.

    “In the DDR (East Germany)”, they would say, “we always had enough to eat. We didn’t have to worry about getting mugged going from here to there, and nobody knocked on our doors to sell us anything.” There are definitely trade-offs.

    As far as reconciling the war with Christianity- after reading all that has been written here, it seems that it does not take that much creativity to reconcile the two.

    At one extreme, we have complete pacifism, which I suppose has its merits (and I have real trouble seeing how the Lord would fault any pacifists who refused to take up arms for the right reasons).

    At the other extreme, we have a crusade-like unbridled right to war in the name of Christianity, so long as the cause is “just” (which I suppose leaves a lot of “wiggle-room” for justifying war.)

    I personally believe that anyone who goes to wat in any cause certainly needs to carefully and prayerfully examine his/her motives, and seek revelation to see if the Lord desires that it not happen.

    Either way, regardless of whether or not the two could be reconciled in any instance, I think we all agree that war is evil. I think it is sad that the nations choose to fight each other, all reconciliation aside.

    I think Satan is laughing at the destruction of so many people in the name of war, and I think this is true regardless of whether or not a certain war is justified.

  104. lyle on June 28, 2004 at 4:38 pm

    Jeremobi: Interesting experience in Haiti. However, until you have been to Iraq, and in many different places, from the Kurdish areas to the Sunni & Shia areas…you are way off base. 1000s of soldiers have returned home saying that the places where they served were safe. Probably safer than when you drive your vehicle to the grocery store. Of course, at least in Haiti the criminal/terrorist types had the common sense not to plant car bombs that would kill civilians.

  105. Nathan Tolman on June 28, 2004 at 4:43 pm

    Rob – Leaders in other faiths have condemed war with no results from the state. I find it difficult to believe that the Church leaders would not condem it if that was their view.

  106. Nathan Tolman on June 28, 2004 at 4:44 pm

    Rob – Leaders in other faiths have condemed war with no results from the state. I find it difficult to believe that the Church leaders would not condem it if that was their view.

  107. jeremobi on June 28, 2004 at 4:47 pm

    “Are you saying that [while] God condemns the…war against the Confederacy…”

    How could this be? Are we to understand that the Lord was opposed to those clean-living, church-going, constant-praying, God-fearing generals who fought to protect their families, homes and property from aggression?

    Our president is the first southern conservative to be elected since Polk and his political ancestors (come to Texas and we can walk through the history) are the southern conservative oligarchy—the leadership of the Confederacy. Jeff Davis and Co. are the good guys down here.

    If you don’t buy the Southern conservative worldview, as you say the president’s of the Church do not, then it’s tough to be supportive of a Southern conservative war of choice.

  108. Frank McIntyre on June 28, 2004 at 5:00 pm

    Jeremobi,

    So don’t support the war in Iraq because:

    1. Bush has ancestors who led the fight against the Union and,

    2. Some people from the same state as Bush are racists or thought the Civil War should have gone differently or both?

    I am willing to bet you have some low-life’s in somewhere in your ancestry (although I hope saying that doesn’t violate the rules of discussion) and, no matter what state you come from, I’m sure we can find sleazy people there with repulsive views. And yet I probably shouldn’t base my response to your arguments on these facts. That would be sort of dumb.

  109. jeremobi on June 28, 2004 at 5:14 pm

    “until you have been to Iraq, and in many different places, from the Kurdish areas to the Sunni & Shia areas…you are way off base.”

    I’m way off base, huh? Maybe.

    Just how much do you know about Iraq and Iraqis? Do tell me more about their daily lives. Spent anytime in Detroit or Windsor interviewing the expats?

    I’m eager for better information so please offer up some reliable statistics on crime in present-day Iraq.

    1000s of soldiers returning home saying it’s safe? I have no doubt they do, but these aren’t the guys with missing arms and legs, right?

    I should really follow those traffic accident reports in Killeen, TX (Ft. Hood) more closely for a good point of comparison on casualty rates, civilian and military.

  110. jeremobi on June 28, 2004 at 5:48 pm

    Frank:

    Indeed, that would be dumb. ;>) I have my low-life heritage, you have yours.

    Note, please, that my entry was in response to Matt’s claim that God and the prophets were barracking for the Union and may, in fact, now support a Confederacy-inspired (Southern conservative) war against Iraq. This would lend itself to the argument that the Lord uses the wicked to destroy the wicked.

    My claim is that Bush’s political (key word you seem to have missed the first time) ancestors are the Southern oligarchs. That is, his contemporary foreign policy agenda promotes the archaic worldview of plantation owners and the fundamentalist religion of our hillbillies. It’s his ancestry of choice. People with these views historically are not friendly to the saints.

    My understanding is Bush’s biological family roots run deepest in New England, among puritans and not cavaliers.

  111. Frank McIntyre on June 28, 2004 at 6:07 pm

    Jeremobi,

    I understand better now, thanks. I don’t find your argument convincing, but we’ll leave that argument for another day.

  112. Kingsley on June 28, 2004 at 6:55 pm

    “> Just so we’re clear, Rob is saying that I, personally, am no longer Christian because of my support of the war.

    But why is that a big deal — Mormons aren’t Christian anyway, right?”

    Kaimi: This is a far cry from the reaction Geoff B got (on another thread) when he criticized some who were criticizing Pres. Packer. “Please don’t question anybody’s loyalty to the Church,” etc. Why is it that Rob & his ilk can summarily dismiss (e.g.) soldiers as unchristian & disloyal to Zion with nary a peep from T&S’s watchdogs? I believe Rob wrote elsewhere that the idea of a Christian soldier is an oxymoron & that a truer description would be a wicked person fighting another wicked person. Surely if the same thing had been seriously said about lawyers we’d have seen swarms of righteously wrathful responses. But no: nary a peep. Apparently, it is O.K. for one T&Ser to write of another T&Ser that he is wicked & disloyal to the Church just so long as it’s within certain P.C. boundaries. After all, “the stick [is] Satan’s approach” (unless it’s Jesus’s, in the temple), & you can’t be too nasty when it comes to Satan.

    Rob: As you have not yet even approached a coherent interpretation of Moroni et al. as BoM antiheroes (still waitin’ for your deconstruction of Alma 43:47!), it’s probably the better part of humility not flick your wrist & cast all warriors & war-supporters into Outer Darkness with Satan & his minions! It’s very easy to assign a person sheep or goat status based on one or two of his opinions, I know, & very relieving & cozy to snuggle down in all that white wool, but questions like who’s a Christian & who’s not are generally (as Kaimi humorously noted above) more complicated than that. It’s interesting how often pacifists resort to totalitarian-style argumentation. There must be a way to acknowledge the rightness of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies burying their weapons, & the rightness of the Nephites rallying round Moroni’s Standard waving theirs, simultaneously. Perhaps the BoM (like all good literature) presents both in a positive light for a reason?

  113. Kingsley on June 28, 2004 at 7:05 pm

    “Perhaps the BoM (like all good literature) presents both in a positive light for a reason?”

    Perhaps I should explain: I have read an immense amount of war literature, & have never come across a first-rate writer who depicted soldiers or soldiering as heaven or hell. Even Robert Graves, Ford Maddox Ford, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc., don’t do this. Often, in fact, the most moving tributes come from the most antagonistic writers.

  114. Erika on June 28, 2004 at 7:50 pm

    Eric, thanks for the info. I figured the idea was older than Orwell, but wouldn’t have known it’s origin. And you’re partly right that there’s a different idea at work in 1984. The society of 1984 is engaged in constant and all-consuming preparation for war in order to preserve peace, so in a way “preparation for war is peace” would be a more precise but much less striking slogan. Orwell takes the older philosophy or Aaron’s instincive stance and spins it out to its extreme. But the situation is not all that far-fetched. Exaggerating a present or potential crisis, and even fabricating one entirely (as happened in Rwanda, and just recently in Sri Lanka), is a reliable ploy in instrumental politics. One has to be suspicious at how much the nebulous “war on terror” resembles the endless (by definition!) war on an mysterious, ever-threating, amorphous enemy in 1984. And I think statements like Aaron’s should be more carefully examined. How far are you willing to take that stance…making swords, owning a rifle, carrying a concealed handgun, voting for more defense spending, building more tanks, more nuclear weapons, tactical nukes…preemptive war…???

  115. Kingsley on June 28, 2004 at 8:41 pm

    It’s just too easy to use 1984 as a club to beat your opponent, whatever side you’re on. I’ve heard really compelling interpretations from both the right & the left. That isn’t to say that no interpretation can then be valid, only that caution is called for (& also perhaps that the right & left are equally guilty of 1984-like tactics).

  116. Aaron on June 28, 2004 at 11:59 pm

    A lot of the posts here mention many if America’s wars but few mention WWII. I think that it’s worth exploring somewhat since it is two very interesting situations.

    First, we had friends in Europe that were being attacked. We also had Hilter murdering the Jews. I believe that it was very Christian to help them in the plight. Easy to prove because it would be very unChristian to not help. Can you imagine what would have happened in the story about the Good Samaritian if he would have happened along during the attack? Would he have passed by then?

    Second, Pearl Harbor was attacked. Would it have been a good idea to not fight back?

    I believe that if I personally was attacked, if I choose not not fight back, that is my right. However, I don’t think that the Lord is against fighting to protect others. In fact, I may even go so far as to say that likely we will be held accountable for not helping our fellow man.

    One of the great things about the gospel is that it is about helping and serving others. To fight for personal reasons, ie to get gain, for unrighteous pride, etc is obviously evil. It’s a lot easier to justify (if that is what it is) fighting to help others.

    As to the comment previously to Lyle concerning if he felt like he had to support the war because he was a solider, I can say from personal experience that they are some in the military unwilling to fight, that are there for the security of the job, educational benefits etc. Being in the service involves long, tiring, dirty hours, and being away from your family. It is certainly not glamerous 98% of the time. That being said, there are many that look at military service as just that, SERVICE. It has to be service to do some of the aweful things that they have to go through. Thus ends my lecture on why fighting when needed is a Christian thing to do. I think that most of the debate is about where the line is for when it is appropriate.

  117. Matt Evans on June 29, 2004 at 11:24 am

    Wondering around the bloggernacle, I ran into Orson Scott Card’s response to Rob’s theory that the Book of Mormon teaches pacifism.
    http://www.nauvoo.com/response.html

  118. Rob on July 6, 2004 at 3:11 pm

    Glad to see this thread is almost dead, and I don’t have a lot of time for this thread this week, but quickly…

    I wasn’t surprised that Card wasn’t moved by my questions and argument, but I was sad to see that he didn’t bother questioning his own assumptions about BOM stories and warfare. Any Primary kid can use the BOM to support war, but perhaps there is more there then we think.

    I had first approached Card on this because he is a prominent warmongering member of the Church and had hoped to give him something to think about. Clearly, he would rather engage his faculties in defending war rather than renouncing it.

    While admitting that the BOM never says “war is good”, but does claim the opposite, Card claims that as bad as it is, the BOM shows that sometimes it is “unavoidable”. Of course, Card then goes on to show how we shouldn’t actually avoid war, but actively seek out venues for the U.S. to exert its military strength “for righteousness”.

    While such actions and justifications are as Christian as the crusades, I was hoping Christ’s commands to renounce war and proclaim peace would get farther with someone so publicly LDS. At least he posted my questions on his website for those with ears to hear…

    As for Kingsley’s anticipated “deconstruction of Alma 43:47″…Let’s take verses 46 and 47:

    46 And they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God; for the Lord had said unto them, and also unto their fathers, that: Inasmuch• as ye are not guilty of the first• offense, neither the second, ye shall not suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies.

    47 And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend• your families even unto bloodshed•. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion.

    Does the Lord commanding “ye shall not suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies” constitute a command to kill people to fulfill that injunction? Couldn’t they flee into the wilderness or exercise faith to defeat their enemy without bloodshed? Clearly, the Nephites interpreted this injunction as instructions to engage their enemies in battle. And just because they were inspired by a “better” cause than the Lamanites (vs. 45) doesn’t mean they were inspired by the best cause (Zion).

    As for vs. 47–that claim that the Lord actually did tell them to defend their families unto bloodshed–where is this claim substantiated? Where’s the second witness to this claim by Mormon (the assumed editor of this section)? How is this not a possible later justification by Mormon for the actions of his hero (he named his son after him) Moroni?

    Again…I don’t think there is enough info here to fully support the idea that Christ truly commands people to go to war. There are too many assumptions that have to be made in order to use this as a proof text for war. And as I’ve stated before, even if war is justified, that doesn’t make it right, best, or a noble activity for saints who have made other covenants.

    In D&C 98 the Lord teaches us that we are given enemies to test us, to see how we will react to them. While in very narrow circumstances we might be “justified” in going to war to defend ourselves, we are clearly taught that it would be better if we didn’t, and that even if we do, we should have faith that the Lord will actually fight the battles for us. D&C 98 does not sanction bloodshed. Even if it _may_ let us off the hook if we choose to kill our enemies, it never says that’s the way the Lord would have us act–let alone command us to do so.

    Black and white only works from a stated position. From the position of trying to follow Christ’s teachings and our covenants to build Zion, warfare is wrong–it can’t be reconciled. You have to give up one for the other. You can renounce war and proclaim peace, or you can go to war and leave Christ’s teachings behind.

    From a position of trying to defend yourself, if that is a higher good to you than the teachings of Jesus about how to build Zion and love your enemies, Christ _may_ let you engage your enemies in battle–you can be justified. But you still placed your own defense above Christ’s teachings. Uou saved your life, and you might lose it. You lived by the sword, and you may die by the sword. Zion is left off as unfinished business.

    Of course it is “better” to fight in your own defense than for power and riches. However, nowhere do the scriptures or teachings of Christ or the propehts indicate that this is the best choice. In fact, we are told it is a horrible choice. To those, like Brother Card, who think that sometimes we have to make the terrible choice and leave our best teachings aside to fight a war because there is no other way, I would ask them to re-examine that assumption and its source from the Father of all lies.

    Now, so to not be accused of endlessly pounding one chord on the gospel keyboard, I’ll desist from further comment on the subject here and hope for more pleasing threads to develop. Maybe one where we can discuss how to build Zion through blogging? If I can’t get everyone to accept the command to renounce war and proclaim peace, maybe we could at least talk about some more peaceful and productive actions for us to take as individuals.

  119. danithew on July 6, 2004 at 3:37 pm

    Glad to see this thread is almost dead

    Rob, it’s hard to believe you are very sincere about wanting this thread to die. This thread wasn’t almost dead. It was completely dead. I went back and looked at the last (most recent) 200 comments and the title of this post didn’t show up in any of them until this comment from you.

    I can only conclude that you want this argument to continue.

  120. Kingsley on July 6, 2004 at 3:55 pm

    “If I can’t get everyone to accept the command to renounce war and proclaim peace, maybe we could at least talk about some more peaceful and productive actions for us to take as individuals.”

    It’s lonely at the top.

  121. clarkgoble on July 6, 2004 at 4:13 pm

    Rob, I’ve been meaning to write up my thoughts on war for some time but simply haven’t had time to. I still have a stack of email backlogged to answer.

    Anyway, it seems to me that your fundamental error is confusing the good and the necessary. It may well be, for example, that war is always evil. However it may be necessary.

    The other problem is that if we can, for any problematic passage, simply discount it as the mistake of Moroni or some other author, where does that leave us? We remove any real appeal to the text at all. At what point does it cease to be finding a position in the Book of Mormon and become reconciling the Book of Mormon with a preconceived position?

  122. clarkgoble on July 6, 2004 at 4:22 pm

    BTW – it seems to me that the most interesting passage on war in the BoM is Alma 48. Especially the end as well as v. 15. This chapter was quoted earlier in the thread, but the most significant passages were not quoted. It clearly seems to say that the Lord would warn them to flee or prepare for war. The indication is, given the context, that the Lord prepared them for war.

    Now I also think these passages put strict limits on war. How to apply them to Iraq is difficult as it really depends upon whether you feel Iraq was a threat and whether God inspired you to feel them a threat. I think good cases can be made on either side of that.

    In either case Moroni appears to be presented as a prophetic figure preparing his people for war. While I think we can discount some elements as emendmations, I think discounting the entire presentation as being significant is problematic. Now I can see taking a view in which attacking other nations is never allowed. How that applies in a modern war on terrorism isn’t clear. After all there are no front lines in this war. Perhaps the Gadianton wars are more relevant there. But I don’t see clear indications from the Book of Mormon on how to deal with terrorism. I do see the cry of passificm as kind of difficult to take away.

  123. Nate Oman on July 6, 2004 at 4:27 pm

    “Now, so to not be accused of endlessly pounding one chord on the gospel keyboard.”

    Rob: Given your numerous denuciations of agri-business on this blog, I don’t think that anyone would accuse you of pounding just one key. ;->

  124. Kaimi on July 6, 2004 at 4:41 pm

    Well, he said on chord, Nate, so he’s got room for three keys. (Unless he’s a diminished 7th — or most any other 7th for that matter — with four keys; or possibly a fifth or tri-tone with two keys (Rob as tri-tone — hmm); or a few others, but generally piano chords are viewed as three-key things). So, agri-business, war, and the environment? Sounds like an interesting chord to me.

  125. danithew on July 6, 2004 at 4:41 pm

    It’s lonely at the top.

    Rofl. Kingsley, you’re my hero.

  126. Nate Oman on July 6, 2004 at 4:46 pm

    Kaimi: But your reading denies precisely what Rob asserts, namely that he has more than one chord. At least my musically ignorant response tried to rescue the truth of his assertion…:->

  127. Nate Oman on July 6, 2004 at 4:59 pm

    Kaimi: It also seems to me that no chord is interesting in an of itself. Chords become interesting only in relation to other chords. There is no doubt some deep point about metaphysical identity in there some place…

  128. Lew on July 6, 2004 at 5:07 pm

    Even if Iraq can be made into a pluralistic democracy, the United States cannot ask its own young men and women to die in a foreign land, unless that land invaded or posed an immediate invasion threat to the United States. That’s why the administration went through the whole WMD song and dance, which they knew was bogus (by their own admission).

  129. Lew on July 6, 2004 at 5:08 pm

    Even if Iraq can be made into a pluralistic democracy, the United States cannot ask its own young men and women to die in a foreign land, unless that land invaded or posed an immediate invasion threat to the United States. That’s why the administration went through the whole WMD song and dance, which they knew was bogus (by their own admission).

  130. Curious on July 6, 2004 at 5:14 pm

    Can someone explain the use of underscore symbols to _emphasize_ a word rather than quotation marks, italics, etc.? Is this something unique to blogging?

  131. danithew on July 6, 2004 at 5:14 pm

    It also seems to me that no chord is interesting in an of itself.

    Nate,

    You’re right. Even a good punk song would require at least three chords and, in the words of Bono, “the truth.”

  132. Curious on July 6, 2004 at 5:16 pm

    Can someone explain the use of underscore symbols to _emphasize_ a word rather than quotation marks, italics, etc.? Is this something unique to blogging?

  133. Jeremy on July 6, 2004 at 5:41 pm

    “It also seems to me that no chord is interesting in an of itself. Chords become interesting only in relation to other chords. There is no doubt some deep point about metaphysical identity in there some place…”

    Depends on the chord. One of my personal favorites has been going on without change for eleven years now. And you can scroll down to the bottom of the linked article to see what the author thinks the composer’s “deep point about metaphysical identity” is. :)

  134. clarkgoble on July 6, 2004 at 5:49 pm

    Folks, don’t hit post twice. Even if it hangs and looks like it didn’t reach the machine it did. I just assume after I hit post that the text did reach the cgi script.

    With regards to underscores, that simulates underlines. In straight text messages as with much email, you do it to underline titles . i.e. _War and Peace_. To make text bold you’d do *this*. Since the standard is that you underline when you can’t do italics, a lot of people do that.

    Lew, I’m not sure what you mean by “they knew was bogus (by their own admission).” What admission are you speaking of? It appears from the Woodward and other sources that they believed what they said. They may have been naive or insufficiently critical. But the claim they knew it was bogus seems difficult to make.

  135. john fowles on July 6, 2004 at 7:45 pm

    Lew,

    I am also confused by your assertion that the administration had admitted that they knew the WMD “song and dance” was bogus. See today’s New York Times for an article speculating that the CIA withheld information and in so doing left Bush believing that Iraq really had WMD and posed an imminent threat. http://www.nytimes.com/pages/world/index.html

    In essence, this all but exhonerates Bush on his decision to invade Iraq because he genuinely thought he was protecting American from WMD by doing so.

  136. Clark Goble on July 6, 2004 at 8:06 pm

    John, one must admit though that the NYT article is odd as most had the pentagon and the CIA at logger heads over this with the pentagon ignoring the CIA. I’m not quite sure what to make of it all. Beyond losing a lot of respect for the NYT (and the LAT) the past year. Lots, and lots of errors and confusing inconsistencies.

  137. Jeremy on July 6, 2004 at 9:11 pm

    Josh Marshall, over at Talking Points, voicing suspicious RE the NYT article:

    “You might say that it turns out that the CIA was doing to President Bush what many of us were under the impression President Bush and his advisors were doing to the country… Somehow I thought that our best reporters had learned a lesson about peddling self-interested government leaks without applying common sense, context or critical, dissenting voices. But apparently not.”

  138. Dennis on July 18, 2004 at 6:20 pm

    This thread is quite interesting; I am however missing a point in the whole discussion which involves a teaching from the Book of Mormon.

    Both in Helaman and in Mormon we find it stated very clearly that the Lord blessed and prospered the Nephites in making preparations for war and defending themselves as long as they were doing just that – defending themselves in their own country. He specifically forbade them from invading other countries, for whatever reason.

    I also had long and hard debates a year ago with my wife’s family in Utah over whether or not Iraq had WMD. From the little research I was able to do back then and since I have come upon plenty of material indicating that key players in the Bush administration (though perhaps not he himself) have been planing and advocating and looking for reason to invade Iraq since as far back as 1998.

    It is one thing to go to war because you see people being tortured and surpressed. I live in germany and am tremendously grateful that Americans were willing to sacrifice their lifes in behalf of my ancestors.

    It is quite another thing though to support dictators who are useful to you and then, when they become bothersome, to turn them into a “threat to national security” while continuing to support others who are just as bad but haven’t upset in the same style .

  139. Ryan on July 29, 2004 at 1:52 pm

    Here are what our Prophets say. anxiously engaged” But not in WAR. One great Prophet said this “We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel –ships, planes, missiles, fortifications — and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching”: We forget that if we are righteous the Lord will either not suffer our enemies to come upon us — and this is the special promise to the inhabitants of the land of the Americas (see 2 Ne. 1:7) — or he will fight our battles for us (Exod. 14:14; D&C 98:37, to name only two references of many). This he is able to do, for as he said at the time of his betrayal. The False Gods We Worship
    by President Spencer W. Kimball
    The ENSIGN, June 1976, pp. 3-6

    Here is a great parallel For you. First Presidency of the LDS Church in 1940 SAID Youth of the Church! With these God-given promises and prophecies before you, do not let yourselves be stampeded into this panic of fear that is now sweeping over the country, deliberately propagated by those who wish to get us into the war on any pretext–this fear that if we do not enter this war we face subjugation by a foreign foe. If subjugation shall come, it will come because we have reached a “fulness of iniquity,” and not because we fail to take on the horrors of this war. It is righteousness, not the hates of human slaughter, of which this nation stands now in need.” (James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, Vol.6, p.103)t Presidency. Can it be anymore clear? The lord works through his prophets and they speak for him. How can we NOT UNDERSTAND what they say? Unless we are “antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of god”.

  140. jonathan on August 22, 2004 at 8:02 pm

    This thread has been dead a while, but I was reading again in Alma 43 and it occurred to me that the Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq could as easily quote verse 45 to the Americans as the Americans could quote it back at them:

    Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church.

    (Book of Mormon | Alma 43:45)

    The Iraqi people are resisting the incursion of Christianity and immorality that they see America stand for, so they are literally fighting for their rites of worship and their church, as well as for their families. They see the Americans building military bases throughout the country, replacing domestic industry with foreign-owned businesses and foreign workers, foreign forms of government, media, and so forth.

  141. Ryan on September 10, 2004 at 12:29 pm

    You are 100% correct. In addition there is something much bigger going on Via secret combinations, and yet the stone is rolling forth. If you wish to have a better understanding of the big picture Buy “Hiding in plain sight” by ken bowers at the lds book store and read all but see pages 56-62.

  142. Ron Madson on November 22, 2004 at 12:22 am

    President David O McKay stated: “war is not justified in an attempt to enforce a new order of government however the better the government or enternally true the principles of the enforced religion be.”
    During the first two centuries of early christianity true saints forsook all military service even if it meant martyrdom. Then slowly the church had become corrupted and then ultimately sold out wholesale to Constantine in an effort to become “mainstream.” The sell out was so complete that with each decade more and more “christians” found justification for military service to the point that nearly all christians saw military duty as an extension of their “christian” duty. The words of Leo Tolstoy says it best:
    “in 416 AD an order was decreed with the result that pagans were not admitted to the army. All the soldiers had become Christians; or in other words, all the christians had, with few exceptions, denied Christ.”

  143. Steve Benard on January 14, 2005 at 10:54 am

    At the time that the US invaded Iraq, I was troubled by the doctrine of pre-emptive wars, since it superficially appeared to violate the doctrine of fighting only to defend ourselves. I had read comments by J. Rueben Clark, Jr. in which he said that each nation must pay the price for their own freedom, and that God would help them at the right time. Nevertheless, I was supportive of the idea of disarming Saddam and the apparent threat.
    Since that time, I have spent considerable time studying the subject of “just war” as elucidated by God through his prophets, both ancient and modern. I recently purhcased the new LDS Collector’s Library 2005 and started an intense study of what God constitutes a “just war”. I am now completely certain that the U.S. invasion of Iraq does NOT constitute a just war. Invasion of a sovereign nation to liberate it’s people is undeniably a noble and godly cause. BUT … it does NOT justify a WAR per the Lord’s prophets. Sorry, but it doesn’t. And that’s the Lord’s word through his prophets, not mine. It does, however, justify using peaceful means to bring about that noble cause. It just doesn’t justify war and in the invasion of a sovereign nation.
    In Helaman 11:27, when the Nehpites were battling the terrorists (robbers) of their day, we are told that “these robbers did make great havoc, yea, even great destruction among the people”. If there was ever a people justified in going on the offensive against their persecutors, it was them. It says in vs. 28 that “it was expedient that there should be a stop put to this work of destruction;” Certainly they were at least, and almost certainly MORE justified in attacking their enemies that we are today in invading another nation.
    And what did they do? “…they sent an army of strong men into the wilderness and upon the mountains to search out this band of /terrorists/, and to destroy them.”
    And what was the result? “…they were driven backc even into their own lands.”(v. 29)
    They didn’t learn their lesson, and in the following year “they did go forth again against this band of /terrorists/, and did destroy many;’ Were they somewhat successful? Yes, they did destroy MANY. But the scripture also says that “they /the Nephites/ were also visited with much destruction.” Apparently, the Nephites had not yet learned their lesson because “they were again obliged to return out of the wilderness and out of the mountains unto their own lands…”(v. 31)
    And what was the result? “…the /terrorists/ did INCREASE and wax strong, insomuch that they did defy the whole armies of the Nephites…” Note the correlation between the Nephites going on the offensive against their enemies and the GROWTH of the threat. The Book of Mormon suggests a perfect direct correlation between fighting offensively against justifiable enemies and the threat increasing rather than decreasing. In a moment, we shall see that the Nephite people did not learn their lesson, but fortunately, the Nephite LEADERS did.
    Approximately 30-35 years later (about the same period of time separating us presently from the Vietnam era), the Gadiaton Robbers (terrorists) had become so numerous and powerful that they now threatened the very existence of the Nephite people. They sent a letter to the Chief Judge, Lachoneus, of the Nephites and threatened complete annihilation/genocide of the Nephite people if they didn’t give up. Is that sufficient justification for destroying your enemy? Is that justification for going on the offensive against your enemies? I would think so, personally. But lets look at what happened:
    Their chief military officer was named Gidgidonni. In 3 Ne. 3:19, it specifically states that “it was the custom among all the Nephite to appoint for their chief captains (save it were in ttheir times of wickedness) some on that had the spirit of revelation and also prophecy; therefore, this Gidgiddoni was a great prophet among the, as also was the chief judge.” Interesting, isn’t it, that the Lord specifically lays the groundwork to His answer to the Nephite people by telling us that BOTH Gidgiddoni and Lachoneus were “great prophets” with the “spirit of revelation and prophecy”. He categorically wants us to know that their response to the Nephites was HIS WILL.
    Then, the people said to Gidgidonni: “Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands.” (v. 20) Does this line of reasoning sound familliar? It should! It was the same justification that the Nephites used in their failed attempts to destroy the Gadianton terrorists 30+ years before. and to US, it should be doubly familiar because it is almost verbatim the same argument that our leaders are giving us today: “We want to destroy the terrorists in THEIR lands so they can’t destroy us in OUR lands.” (There are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world of which approximately 10% are radicals. Even if we destroy a few thousand of them there, that does NOT stop them from sending a few million of them over the US-Mexican border to destroy us here. Very poor logic.)
    Returning to our Nephite story–
    This is where things really get interesting. First, what was the Lord’s response to the Nephite’s desire to take the offensive against the terrorists? and Second, how did they eventually defeat the terrorists of their day?
    v. 21: “But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid…” Is that clear enough? The Lord FORBIDS it! Then Gidgiddoni told them WHY and what would be the consequences: “for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands:” Wow! If WE go to war against them in their own lands, the “the Lord would deliver US into THEIR hands.” This will be confirmed later in another passage of the Book of Mormon, but no one who studies the scriptural record can ignore the almost perfect parallel between our day and the Nephite era.
    Fortunately, Gidgiddoni also gave them a better solution:
    vs. 21: “therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us.” Then, he made the people a promise using the most powerful oath known to the Nephites–as the Lord liveth. He promised them that, “therefore as the Lord Liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands.” He will deliver THEM into OUR hands.
    Interestingly, military strategists understand that the more powerful position to be in is a defensive one, NOT offensive. Che Guevarra and Mao Tse Tung knew this and wrote books on the subject. In my studied in the LDS Collector’s Library, one author on the subject of the Book of Mormon and War also mentioned it. He also mentioned that every offensive war begins as a rationalization that we are really just fighting to defend ourselves.
    In Mormon 3, the prophet/general Mormon had previously refused to lead the Nephites because they had become so wicked, but when they were fighting defensively to protect their own families and homes, he began to lead them again. However, something happened that he refused once again to lead them. They had a few military victories, and the Nephites “began to boast in their own strength, adn began to swear before the heavens that they woudl avenge themselves…”(v.9) They declared that they would “go up to battle against their enemies, and would cut them off from the face of the land.”(v.10) In other words, they would destroy their enemies so that they, the Nephites, wouldn’t be destroyed. And what was Mormon’s response?
    His next words are (v. 11): “And it came to pass that I, Mormon, did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people, because of their wickedness and abomination.” Note that they were already a wicked people, as Mormon had alread told us in previous chapters. He even repeat that in vs. 12 when he says that “I had lead them, nowithstanding their wickedness.” But the difference was that they decided to go on the offensive and destroy their enemies “from the face of the land.” When they decided to go on the offensive, Mormon could no longer support or defend them.
    As if that wasn’t clear enough, not that a few verses later, in Mormon 4:4, Mormon tells us that it was BECAUSE the Nephites went on the offensive against their enemies that they began to be destroyed:
    “And it was because the armies of the Nephites wnet up unto the Lamanites tha they began to be smitten; for were it not for that, the Lamanites could have had no power over them.” This Nephite prophet is telling US in our day that as long as we are fighting to defend our own homes and families and liberties in our own lands, God will help us, even if we are a wicked people. However, when we go on the offensive against our enemies, even when our enemies are determined to destroy us, HE will deliver US into THEIR hands.

    This is only a small portion of what I’ve studied over the past few months. I had read the statements of the First Presidency, and other prophets an apostles of dispensation regarding what contitutes just war. Since the organization of the Church in 1830, the U.S. had been in severla wars, including the Civil War, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The Lord’s prophets HAVE spoken on the subject. One Apostle, Widtsoe, even wrote a book on the subject of “just wars”. Nothing I’ve read leads me to believe that the Iraq War is justified in the Lord’s eyes, and everything I’ve read leads me to the certain conclusion that the Iraq War is NOT justified. There were no Iraqies on those airplanes that destroyed the World Trade Center, and neither Saddam nor the Iraqi people had attacked the United States. This war simply does NOT meet the criteria the Lord has given for being a “just war.”

  144. David on January 14, 2005 at 11:43 am

    Steve,

    Amen and amen.

  145. Jack on January 14, 2005 at 12:57 pm

    Steve,

    I think you’re making the HUGE mistake of relating the specific to the general. You cannot possibly believe that conditions today so closely parallel conditions in the BoM that one can derive an adequate solution (specifically) for todays problems by following the Nephites’ example on every count. Certainly the book was compiled for our day, but does that mean we should punish every liar or put to death adulterers or forbid inter-racial marraige or bring those that preach against Christ before our political leaders or yadda, yadda, yadda.

    Furthermore, do you know for a fact that it was wrong for the Nephites to seek out the robbers in there own lands? No where does Mormon tell us that they where in the wrong for doing so – and Mormon never fails to tell the reader when the Nephites are acting wrongfully. And besides, were the robbers considered a sovereign nation?

    Also, How do fight a supranation of terrorists? Invading a “sovereign” nation might be considered incidental to the act of fighting an ideology that knows no sovereign bounderies. (not that I whole-heartedly agree with this, but still, a case can be made for misapplying examples from the BoM)