Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Separation of Church and War

(Orignally Posted 8/15/05 at 7:22 AM PDT)

While the comments section on my own Blog remains a fairly tame place with few dissenters, let alone trolls, my daily surfing takes me to some Blogs where the discussions can get somewhat heated, shall we say. For this reason, I’ve become fairly familiar with some of the arguments proposed by those whose political views differ from my own in defense of their own beliefs or in rebuttal to mine.

When the discussion turns to the issue of the War in Iraq, or even of war in general, it’s not uncommon to encounter an appeal to my religion, an argument that goes along the lines of “How can you call yourself a Christian and support war? Didn’t Jesus teach you to turn the other cheek?” Often this argument will be coined as a reproach of hypocrisy – “How can you, as a Christian, support/oppose X position, and not oppose war? You hypocrite!”

For the moment I shall actually avoid getting into the details of Christian Pacifism vs. Just War Theology – that’s another post, and one I’m working on. I shall also refrain from an in depth discussion on the differences in kind between the issues raised in comparison and the one at hand. What I wish to explore in this post is another interesting dichotomy posed by this type of discussion, one of which I’m sure my opposites are unaware.

I’ve noted with bemusement that, more often than not, the individuals who, in discussion, will try to convince you that Christians should oppose war on a theological basis are the same individuals who, if a Christian Blogger tries to base their position on any one of a number of other political issues – Abortion, Evolution vs. ID, Gay Marriage, Drugs, Education, etc. – will immediately cry “Separation!” and loose the dogs….

So let me get this straight. When it comes to the issue of war, you are suggesting that I should let my faith (or at least, your interpretation of it) inform my politics. But when it comes to any other issue, if I let my faith inform my politics, I’m suddenly posing some grave threat to the constitution, and must be stopped at all cost? What’s the difference? Does the fact that war is a foreign policy decision somehow exempt it from the same uber-interpretation of the First Amendment that you apply to domestic issues? Or is it, as I suspect, that you apply a different set of rules to each situation in order to give your own position the advantage?

Seriously, if there’s anyone reading this that has made both those arguments to a righty: Oppose war because your faith says you should; Keep your faith out of politics because it’s a personal matter; I’d love to hear from you. Please explain to me why it’s ok to apply my religious beliefs to one issue, but not to the others. I’m sure the explanation’s a good one.

UPDATE:

LaShawn Barber yesterday asked her readers an equally intriguing question. And I think the questions have a point in common -- what do you do when two values you hold highly conflict with each other? Which do you really believe in more than the other?

I'm just jealous because she actually has people who are willing to give answering the question a shot.

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