Wednesday, October 25, 2006

IWU and ROTC - Compatible?


This is a letter I'm submitting to my campus newspaper. It may have to be trimmed but any feedback would be welcomed.

A rather dramatic shift took place on campus this semester that many students never even felt. It was the initiation of the ROTC “Roaring Lambs” chapter on Indiana Wesleyan’s campus. This shift went unnoticed by many because we never questioned its ethical implications. The willingness of IWU to implement an ROTC program manifests the disconnect between Christian faith (theology) and Christian living (ethics) that has been established on campus. With the recent visitation of a Blackhawk Helicopter, which many students received jubilantly, this disconnect was further aggravated.

Within Christianity the spectrum of perspectives on war ranges from Just War theorists to Christological pacifists. Neither of these are extremist views but constitute a framework in which to discuss war. The presence of ROTC on campus ought to be difficult to justify from a Just War paradigm. The essence of Just War theory is reluctance towards military action, although when certain criteria are met war can be “justified.” Yet military action is never promoted in Just War thinking. It is instead considered a necessary evil to employ when all other avenues have been exhausted and all the established criteria are met. In this sense, Just War theorists support the military minimally and, again, reluctantly. The ROTC is by no means a reluctant acceptance of the military. Quite the contrary, it promotes military action. Considering the newly instituted Bush-doctrine of pre-emptive war, the military can hardly be said to function solely in self-defense. In this ethical paradigm the presence of ROTC is unjustifiable.

Yet even further, as Christians our ethics ought to be derivative of our theology. Our ethics are distinct from secular ethics because ours are informed by our theological convictions, primarily our Christology (understanding of the person of Christ). If we ought to imitate Christ, in what sense can we ever justify the use of violence? The primary arguments against non-violence tend to be based in what is considered the irrationality of pacifism. But Christological pacifism is not grounded in whether it “works” (as is liberal pacifism), but in the person of Christ. The bottom line is we are non-violent because Christ was. To predicate Christ as violent becomes incredibly difficult in face of the Sermon on the Mount. For what else can “turn the other cheek” mean but that we do not return violence for violence? Can we take Jesus seriously here? Why is it that Christ does not militaristically oppose Rome but instead submits to her? Why in the vast majority of the places in the New Testament where we are told to imitate Christ it is in his suffering and his submission? How can we reconcile “love your neighbor” with the slaughter of our neighbor, regardless of circumstance? It is the arguments against Christological pacifism that have pushed me closer to it. There is no justification for using the tools of the devil to accomplish Christian means. Cleary, in this paradigm the presence of the ROTC is in every way contrary to Christian ethics.

Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, Christian ethics do not allow for a unilateral support of military action. We are called to imitate Christ, and the ROTC is simply inconsistent with that imitation.

26 comments:

Jen Robinson said...

great article babe. i'm so proud of you!

Anonymous said...

As far as ROTC is concerned it may fall within the 3rd value of the IWU mission, leadership. Some views footnote the "changing the world" clause of the mission statement adding exceptions; we are here to change the world except for the following areas which we consider beyond hope, dance clubs, bars, and the military. I say that with a bit of hyperbole but the concept is there students often wish to change aspects and segments of the world which are to be left alone because of fear, lack of understanding, tradition, or holiness? Wouldn't it be easier too change the attitude of the military from the inside instead of voting for theology. Why not enact theology within structures which need a moral face lift, it takes more holiness to be a player instead of a voter. No, this doesn't answer the larger question of love your neighbor but I'm not sure ROTC is as simple as equating love your neighbor with the not serving in the army because my neighbor may be in the army. We need to be where the people are. Businesses (the army among them) need Chaplains and men and women of honor isn't IWU in the business of making people like that?

Tommy said...

Come on Ben, do you really oppose the ROTC or is this just a little springboard to get a jab in on the current Administration in an open forum?

When Christ was preaching “turn the other cheek…love thy neighbor…” was He preaching to individuals, Governments, both or was Christ merely correcting a misinterpretation of the O.T. by the scribes and Pharisees? In the O.T. God’s means of punishment was through civil magistrates, but the Pharisees were making it into an individual matter. The individual has NOT been given the right for revenge, for that’s in the hands of God. Therefore love your neighbor and turn the other cheek, but Christ wasn’t preaching that to Governments.

Christ wasn’t all non-violent either; remember when He cleansed the Temple? Granted Christ didn’t kill anybody, but come on, why didn’t Christ just negotiate? what Christ done would be considered a violent act today and would be charged accordingly. Well, Christ knew who He was dealing with and He was pretty ticked off that they were making a mockery out of His Fathers house and therefore He decided not to negotiate and commenced to whipping some butt with a whip made out of rope. Also, this is theologically debated, but some believe that the ‘Angel of the Lord’ mentioned in the OT is Christ himself. If this is true, then a lot of blood was spilled by Him, doing the will of His Father.

If you truly have convictions about the ROTC on a Christian campus regardless of our current Administration or the situation in Iraq, then discuss your opinion on that and don’t use the ROTC as a springboard to criticize this Administrations efforts in Iraq. This Administration will fade away and others will follow and the ROTC will still be the same, answering the call when our Country is in need.

The ROTC on a Christian campus is an excellent way to recruit Chaplains to serve God in the Military, by ministering to its people. If it wasn’t for Chaplains in the US Navy, I would’ve never attended services at sea.

Blessings

Ben Robinson said...

Anon,

I'm not going to delete your comment but I do prefer you leave an actual name.

I'm not sure you gathered the gist of my argument. I am not saying we ought to "vote for theology." By all means, if you know me (and you very well may not) I am incredibly dissapointed with the exploitation of evangelials by Republicans. I am not a Republican and I am not the stereotypical evangelical Christian who chooses to support candidates based predominantly upon two or three "moral" issues.

There is a distinct line that has been blurred in American Christianity between secular American society and the Church as society. Is it possible it's not our position to legislate morality or Christian ethics? Indeed.

But that does not mean we sit by passively watching the world destroy itself. Yes, I am all for "enacting theology within structures" if by that you mean we are influencing our secular society, while realizing the Church's distinctness from it. We are attempting to spread our society (the Kingdom of God).

As it pertains to your comments near the end of your post, you should realize the difference between serving in the army as a chaplain and as a soldier. I'm not against army chaplains (although if you inform your officers you refuse to kill another regardless of circumstance they may not let you even become one; but someone with more knowledge of military standards would have to speak to that).

Businesses (the army among them) need Chaplains and men and women of honor isn't IWU in the business of making people like that?

True, but in what way does the ROTC accomplish this? And to be quite honest, I'm not so sure that IWU is the business of making people like that. We'd like to think we are, but the chasm between our theology and our ethics in the classroom (for many disciplines on campus) is quite vast. In that sense, we may not be properly equipping our students ethically.

Ben Robinson said...

Tommy,

Come on Ben, do you really oppose the ROTC or is this just a little springboard to get a jab in on the current Administration in an open forum?

This is by no means a springboard to attack the Bush administration. I'm not sure where you ascertained that...as it pertains to opposition to the ROTC, I am in FULL opposition to the ROTC on a supposed Christian campus. The two do not ethically coincide.

When Christ was preaching “turn the other cheek…love thy neighbor…” was He preaching to individuals, Governments, both or was Christ merely correcting a misinterpretation of the O.T. by the scribes and Pharisees?...The individual has NOT been given the right for revenge, for that’s in the hands of God. Therefore love your neighbor and turn the other cheek, but Christ wasn’t preaching that to Governments.

I'm not sure even if you accept this interpretation how you can justify violence by Christians...in order to do so you would have to predicate the "Christianness" of Governments. But that seems to fly in the face of the dramatic political shift employed by Jesus. The language of Jesus is incredibly political (king, kingdom, etc.). Jesus initiates an entirely new political society; the Kingdom of God on earth. This Kingdom is distinct from secular kingdoms (governments). In other words, even if it is the role of governments to appease justice, it is not something predicated of the Kingdom of God. As you seem to imply, it is not the role of the Christian to take vengeance.

As it pertains to the "supposed" violence of Christ in the temple, I think this represents a misunderstanding of what is violent. Being non-violent or pacifistic does not make one cathartic and devoid of emotion. We still are emotional beings and act so! Yet what is important to note is that Christ did not enact that emotion onto the individuals present there. In fact, contextually we can't tell if Christ drove out the animals only, or the persons as well. The Greek can be translated either way, so to base an argument for the "violence" of Christ on this passage is not only mere speculation, but is contrary to the vast perspicuous points in Scripture where Christ is clearly not violent.

And again, I am not criticizing this current American administration (I'm not sure where this came through...). I am criticizing the move my campus' administration has made by allowing the ROTC to take residence here.

The ROTC on a Christian campus is an excellent way to recruit Chaplains to serve God in the Military, by ministering to its people. If it wasn’t for Chaplains in the US Navy, I would’ve never attended services at sea.

If this were true, I may have an easier time putting up with the ROTC. But the ROTC is not about recruiting chaplains. It's about recruiting officers. The ROTC website says this about itself: "Military science is a leadership and management development program for those interested in earning a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army. It prepares IWU students to manage officer responsibilities in the Active Army, Army Reserve or Army National Guard following graduation."

That's a pretty clear statement of purpose. And it's not compatible with Christian ethics; neither from Just War theory nor Christological pacifism.

Kurt A Beard said...

Does this mean if Indiana passes a law by which Pharmacists must dispense the morning after pill IWU shouldn’t train pharmacists (I do realize they don’t have a pharmacology department I ask for the rhetorical value). What about training teachers to work in public schools as corrupt as they are? Or nurses working in hospitals that might have to help with an abortion or follow a DNR order? What about IWU training business students who may build a factory that pollutes the earth?

If IWU allows these students to exercise their consciences and their choices shouldn’t they also allow students to join the ROTC? If we boil things down to a sin is a sin is a sin then what makes the possibility of sinning through some other profession. As you argue violence is a sin but so are the categories I listed above, what makes ROTC different. Wouldn’t it be best to offer a ROTC companion course on ethics in military service like IWU does with many majors?
It would seem to me (and to you from what your responses say) that if ROTC made ethical Christ focused officers then it would be a different situation but as it stands right now it’s main goal is destruction, which is why it differs from the above examples. A shift in focuses to being Christ centered leaders would make a large difference, and I have to rhetorically ask how much of a difference would ethical leaders have made in some of the current situations. I don’t think Christians should abandon the military and write it off as an immoral cesspool but I also don’t think churches should be promoting it. As far as IWU it has the potential to be a great opportunity but like many opportunities I fear it will be squandered.

Ben Robinson said...

Kurt,

Good to hear from you! It seems forever ago that Kevin was forcing Ryan to dance to the muppet song as we discussed our commonality based (ironically) on our theological heritages.

Your rhetoric has a punch, and notably may be persuasive. However, I believe logically it doesn't pan out.

You say,

Does this mean if Indiana passes a law by which Pharmacists must dispense the morning after pill IWU shouldn’t train pharmacists (I do realize they don’t have a pharmacology department I ask for the rhetorical value). What about training teachers to work in public schools as corrupt as they are? Or nurses working in hospitals that might have to help with an abortion or follow a DNR order? What about IWU training business students who may build a factory that pollutes the earth?

The problem with creating a connection between these professions and the ROTC (or a profession in the military), is that these professions have a much wider basis of application. The purpose of pharmacology is not only to distribute morning after pills, but it is much more broad. If as Christians we are convicted that we ought not to do this, I would hope we would not to it! If this means we have to quit, or get fired, so be it. We ought to be willing to sacrifice our profession for ethical reasons (as long as our ethics are Christian ethics).

But pharmacists are not by definition carrying out their profession through un-Christian means. The majority of pharmacology would be consistent with Christian ethics. Where it is not, a Christian ought not to participate.

A teacher may be entering a "corrupt" atmosphere, but they are not being forced to do anything contrary to Christian ethics. If they are, they ought to quit.

A nurse's profession is so multiplicitous and is not confined by performing abortions. A Christian nurse ought to make clear that he/she will not participate in such acts and if that means he/she is fired or unhired, so be it.

I would hope that if IWU truly is training Christian business persons, they would not leave this school and build factories that do pollute the earth! This is why teaching Christian ethics is so monumental!

But think about the general purpose of these professions: pharmacologists seek to heal, teachers seek to properly instruct the mind, nurses seek to facilitate healing. These ought to be carried out through ethical means.

While the purpose of the military may be "good" (to protect, defend, serve) the means are inherently evil. The primary means by which the military accomplishes its goal is violence. In order to be an ethical Christian in the military you'd have to refuse to use these means. But in what sense then would you even be allowed into the military!

Wouldn’t it be best to offer a ROTC companion course on ethics in military service like IWU does with many majors?

It wouldn't help because, as mentioned above, the ROTC by definition employs means contrary to Christian ethics. Military service (if it involves the use of violence) is always contrary to Christian ethics. And from what I've heard from students, the other ethics courses at IWU are hardly based on Christian ethics. Sure, maybe throw in a few weeks drawing principles from Balaam's donkey (this actually has happened), but there is no strong grounding in the person of Christ.

It would seem to me (and to you from what your responses say) that if ROTC made ethical Christ focused officers then it would be a different situation but as it stands right now it’s main goal is destruction, which is why it differs from the above examples.

Again, Christ focused officers would not be able to kill another human being, so to what extent can we make Christ focused officers? And I don't think the ROTC's main goal is destruction, but it is to recruit persons for active military service; service that I can't see commensurate with Christianity.

Scott David Hendricks said...

Ben, great article. I hope they'll give you more than 300 words. As I see it, you'll need to adjust this sentence somehow; it could be clearer, as could your reason for including it (I understand the topic of the sentence, but not what it means or how it fits exactly into context . . . it's almost even hard to know what you're asking):

"Why in the vast majority of the places in the New Testament where we are told to imitate Christ it is in his suffering and his submission?"

Kevin K. Wright said...

As usual, Kurt brought out some great questions in response to this post. Indeed, his comments do an excellent job of uncovering what is truly at stake in this conversation. At the root of this entire discussion is the question, "What is the purpose, role, and identity of a Christian college?" What makes a college inherantly Christian? Some might say that IWU accepts college credit from other schools in areas like art, math and science, so why not accept credit in military science? This is a very good question that must be answered if your position is to be seen as valid, Ben. However, I think that in the question itself lies the answer. The very problem of a Christian College accepting credit from other schools is the fact that the Christian College then sees no difference in the curriculum they present and that of the secular school. Do our businessmen and women look exactly like those who would come out of a school that denies any religious affiliation. Do our Scientists think about their work the same way as those from non religious universities. Therefore, only when we answer this question of what a Christian college truly is, may we then be allowed to ask if there are certain classes, credits, and degrees that a Christian college cannot offer.

Octorfunk said...

I like all the questions/comments being brought up. However, unless I missed it, I don't think anyone has mentioned Jesus telling us "love our enemies." I've heard of a bumper sticker that reads "When Jesus said 'love your enemies,' I don't think He meant to kill them.'"

I am at a critical point in my life, my brother has just received his commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and will most likely be serving in Iraq/Afghanistan sometime soon.

From my 4 years in the Religion department at IWU, I got the general impression (regardless of the official position of Wesleyans/IWU/the quadrilateral) that personal experience ranks extremely low when determining theology. I probably would have agreed with that, until I see my brother's life being slowly transformed spiritually. For the first time in his life, he is actually seeking God's will in his life, and is making decisions after much prayer and seeking. It was through this process that he felt called into the military. This turns my views of violence/war upside down.

I am not expecting to sway anyone's opinions based on my personal knowledge of my brother, all I am saying is that who am I to say that he is being mislead or going astray when he tells me that he feels a genuine call to leadership in the military?

Just so you know where I stand, I don't by the Just-war theory, and I don't think that any attempts to separate Jesus' sayings concerning war/love into government/political and personal categories are valid or Biblical. He said flat-out, love your enemies. I've to take Him at His word.

So where does this leave me? Very confused. IWU and ROTC? Probably a poor decision, and probably not a very thought-out decision. I think that the generations of Christians before us have long believed in the Just War theory as if it was straight from Scripture, and many of them think that all Christians should vote Republican. Honestly, I think they had no idea that this would even be an issue: Christians support the military (right?). Most of them probably have no idea that this question is even being raised.

Randy said...

Well, I don'thave the time and may lack adequate knowledge to respond. I recently enlarged my awareness of the pacifist approach by 'taking on' your friend over at ReclinerRamblings. The discussion was helpful to me and I found this post from a link on his site.
You make some good arguments, and I find myself mystified. I have never been a 'hawk', and I was even a pacifist of sorts for awhile.
I will not attempt to refute your claims, but would like to note this sentence:
"The willingness of IWU to implement an ROTC program manifests the disconnect between Christian faith (theology) and Christian living (ethics) that has been established on campus."
I assume you consider this as a thesis statement that you support with your following paragraphs. I just find it to be an enormous statement, far to broad to be much more than a statement of opinion, unless you give a BOOK in its support. In other words, this appears to say that establishing an ROTC virtually denies true Christian theology. This is such a large statement as to be very near question begging. That is, if you can so easily trump Christian theology, why even try to argue the point? It ought to be obvious.
I can't go there so easily, which is why I am mystified.
Blessings,
RH

Ben Robinson said...

Randy,

Nice to see you stop by! I did actually follow some of the previous conversation had on your blog, but was too busy at the time to meaningfully engage.

You say, In other words, this appears to say that establishing an ROTC virtually denies true Christian theology.

Let me try to further clarify what I meant by the sentence you here comment on, and then perhaps you can help me refine it by suggesting ways to make it more intelligible.

I say, "The willingness of IWU to implement an ROTC program manifests the disconnect between Christian faith (theology) and Christian living (ethics) that has been on campus."

The point I'm attempting to get across is that in many ways the attitude of both students and faculty on campus represents the division that has been created between our theology and our ethics (granted, that is a huge generalization and is not true for each individual on campus, but as a majority principle I think it true). In other words, we are not allowing our belief in God to intersect with how we actually live. Granted, there may be some superficial connections or even some very meaningful ones, but we have not allowed our faith (what I here designated as theology) to truly penetrate our ethical core. We don't think through the full ethical ramifications of this Christian faith we hold to.

For example, Kevin (in a previous comment) points out that IWU accepts credit from other (secular) schools in art, math, science, etc. Kevin points out the problem poignantly, "The very problem of a Christian College accepting credit from other schools is the fact that the Christian College then sees no difference in the curriculum they present and that of the secular school."

All of this is a component of what I was intending to convey as the disconnect between our actual belief in God and how that impacts how we live (or teach in the case of my university).

Comments?

::athada:: said...

Oh, dearie me. I think perhaps what irks me most is that we are celebrating these weapons of war - making cool posters ala Band of Brothers, taking pictures for the school and community paper with leaves a-flyin', etc. If violence is to be "necessary", it should be somber and reluctant.

We're so drunk with this military might that we have to the audacity to call ourselves "roaring LAMBS". Christ have mercy...

Randy said...

Thanks for the thoughtful response, Ben and major kudos on your profile. Celebrating marriage is a great foundation for life and I applaud you for doing so at the tender age :) of 21.
The comment from Kurt was thought-provoking and surely needs to be heard. How Christian do we really think our education is, anyway?! Not something I've considered very much at all -- the idea of denying transfer credit, etc.

As to your gracious invitation to suggest ways to clarify, I'll give it a try. You said:
"We don't think through the full ethical ramifications of this Christian faith we hold to." -- your concluding response to the establishment of ROTC on campus.
All I am trying to say is that this seems to assume what it claims to prove. That is, it assumes that establishing an ROTC IS defacto evidence of not thinking through the implications of our faith. I can see how you would think that. But I might respond by asking if defense is a viable role of government. If it is not, our beginning assumptions are too far apart for helpful conversation. If defense IS a viable role of government then how is it that establishing an ROTC as a matter of fact demonstrates a disconnect between ethics and theology? Again, to say so, I think, is to assume what you are trying to claim. You assume that the ethic of ROTC is not consistent with Christian theology and state the same thing. I know you work at substantiating the claim, but as I said above, I'm not sure the substantiation can be made short of a lengthy treatise. Which means, again, that the reader must assume what you assume in order to arrive at your conclusion; and your assumption semes to be already made -- that ROTC ethic is not consistent with true christian theology.

I hope you can believe I really enjoy the brightness of your thinking and the well-written post. I enjoy most of all interacting and honing my own thinking, in spite of my own pesky prejudices. As I've said, I want to hear the arguments you and Michael and others are making. Horrors...I just might be wrong.
Glad for your response to the above as time allows. Feel free to point out what I am missing or gently clue me in on points of error. :)
RH

PS I love your Christology discussion though I'd enjoy further discussion on it in this context. Some hermeneutical questions going on and etc., but in time maybe.

Randy said...

This may be more helpful and I'll give it a rest.
From another, hopefully more clear angle.
If defense is viable as a government duty ROTC and the like had better be in great earnest about their duties. This does not deny reluctance about war. Indeed, being reluctant about war should make one want to be maximally prepared so that if war comes it can be dispensed with post haste. I know it sounds like the big stick argument -- so it may be in the end. But my point is to say that ROTC in no way instrinsically denies the idea of just war. Again, if defense is important, I want my officers to be well-trained, and I might like it if they had christian values in their soul. But if Christian values preclude military service this whole discussion seems moot and that assumption would of course make your position irrefutable.
Hope this helps in some way.
RH

David Drury said...

Great letter. Well played, sir!

I think you ought to pull only one word out of it: Bush.

If you say that name then people will think it's purely political. But if you pull it out people won't be able to pidgeon-hole you.

Make it an ethics thing... a timeless thing... not a political thing.

This MATTERS for the future of IWU... (even 20 years from now) not just the next 2 years.

Anonymous said...

I've been typing back and forth with Randy and a few others over the last few months on the ethics of war and violence. It's been a good time had by all, at least I think so. I wanted to give it a rest for a few weeks, but once again, here I am. Why can't I just let this stuff drop? I really wish I could. I hate being obsessive about it...but ethics have captured me in a way that no other field has in the last few years.

Let the heresy begin...

I've been toying around with an idea in my head about WWJD as it applies to Christian ethics. WWJD has been the formula for most Christians over the last few decades, and I am beginning to think it has watered down this debate and made too many easy holes to escape out of in order to use violence or promote institutions that embrace violence (aka The U.S., most governments in the world, and all branches of our Armed Forces, which includes the ROTC program, "Roaring Lambs" or not).

What would Jesus do? Should that really be our question. Jesus is perfectly human, our example in life and action...but he happens to be perfectly divine, which places his actions and life on a level that we can truly not replicate until glorification. I'm wondering more and more if it should not be "What did Jesus tell us to do?" Jesus can "get away with a bit more" than we can...after all, his motivation is pure and his life is pure truth. Time and time again I have heard "But what about Jesus in the temple? That seemed violent to me!" But as Ben has pointed out, the reading in the greek is vague, and a serious discussion of what "violence" is defined as has to be taken into account in order to go down that path.

But let's say Jesus was "violent" here. Does that mean we can be? Sure, if we take WWJD to be our absolute mantra. But here's the problem with that--we can't act as a divine agent...he did, and still does. Our actions are not pure. Our intentions are hardly unbiased. We do not do everything towards truth, but often times towards self-gain. Jesus was the absolute reflection, the "image of the invisible" God. WWJD falls short. Instead, it should be What DiD Jesus, and Paul, and the rest of the NT, tell us to do? And I think we'll find that it is overwhelmingly (if not absolutely) bent towards being meek, humble, loving, forgiving, non-violent, and even self-giving to the point of dying a martyr's death.

Stop with the WWJD and start realizing that his justice is not ours. We fall short, and we always will when we use violence and then point at one passage and say "See, Jesus was violent, so I can be to."

Randy said...

Hey Michael, good to see you on hear. I said I didn't have time...whose kidding who.
Just this quick comment. You said: "See, Jesus was violent, so I can be to."
For what it's worth, that approach has never entered my mind, at least not so that I saw it that way. I am not looking for permission to be violent.
I am coming from the sort of 'this-is the-way-the-world-is''if-defending-our-families-is-Christian humanness' then some kind of violence is unavoidable.
As I say, brief, a couple of cents. what do you think?
RH
Thanks Ben for the venue!

Ben Robinson said...

Randy,

Okay, I see now what you were saying. And your point is well taken. I actually considered writing the article soley objecting to the ROTC from a Just War perspective, but the Christological pacifist itch in me drove me to include that portion as well.

The reason I mention this is because I don't think that even from a Just War perspective the ROTC should legitimately be established on a Christian campus. Perhaps the question underlying your comments (and mine as well) are to what degree a Christian can participate in secular governments. NOW, that is a huge question and by all means I don't intend to pursue it in this venue. But even if defense is a governmental role, I don't know if we as Christians can participate in that role. We can seek to justify the wars waged by certain governments if they meet criteria, but that doesn't mean we participate in those wars.

The problem I have with the ROTC on a Christian campus is that it recruits persons to serve in the military. How can our campus justify this act when we are placing students where they may be making unethical decisions regarding violence or at least very questionable ethical decisions? At the very least, I think all in this discussion would say it is unethical for a Christian to kill another. BUT, where we disagree is whether there are times where this unethical act can be justified. It seems to me that even if we are unsure whether killing can at times be justified, we ought to do all we can to avoid military service where we are assured we will be using means that at least normatively are unethical for Christians (normatively being key there if you accept the justification of killing under certain circumstances).

Anyway, your comments are helpful and I appreciate them. By all means continue the discussion!

Dave,

Great point! That thought didn't even cross my mind. Your exactly right, I wouldn't want anyone to miss the content of the argument by getting hung up on political banter. I didn't mean it as a political jab, hence, it would do well to remove it. Would you recommend removing the line altother or altering it to read "American doctrine" rather than "Bush doctrine"?

Anonymous said...

Randy,

I am certainly not aiming my comments soely at you or anyone one person in particular. I know you are not trying to use Christ to justify violence. Tommy is an example in this line of thinking, however, but he is just the archtype of the group I am concerned with. I'm just a little tired of hearing that line of argumentation.

Your argument is much more constructed and concrete. Do we have the right to defend (even if using violence) in order to promote other agendas that are Christ-like, mainly justice, love, etc...

That is a whole nother concept. One at which I'd love to go after, but not today as I have to get to work now and make money, to give to the government to wage war on my behalf. Why can't I be paid for blogging?

Randy said...

Hey Michael,
Thanks for response and I didn't think you were aiming it at me -- glad you don't think I'm the archtype! :) I'd get weary of thatline as well.
As to 'using violence' to defend other agendas -- interesting question. I guess I've just tried to see the home as microcosm and work out from there. But I, like you, need to get to work so I'll leave that undeveloped.
Glad to continue the dicsussion.
RH

Anonymous said...

Agreed, "archtype" is a little rough. I'll scale that down to "example of." How's that?

David Drury said...

Pre-emptive Attack Doctrine would perhaps be close, Ben.

However, I fully aggree that technically it is the Bush Doctrine... and history will likely call it that.

That will be his legacy.

However,--I was mostly just hoping for the effect of your piece to not be pidgeon-holed. Glad you caught that.

Did it run?

Anonymous said...

Ben, well-written article. Of course, I must respectively disagree. I felt my response to yours and others thoughts would be too long so instead addressed this on my own blog. Consider it a compliment.

My warmest regards and a gentlemanly bow to a worthy foe.

David Drury said...

Well, I hear the helicopters landed with all their gusto and triumph.

(Did anyone jump off of it and declare victory in the the war, by the way?)

I wonder if your generation of students should have considered peaceful protest... all dressed as John Wesley and carrying placards or something.

Seems like the campus protest thing has passed away.

-David

Ben Robinson said...

Dave,

It did run. As expected someone promptly sent in a rebuttal. I've received very polarized feedback. :o) Which again, was expected. But this issue is too pressing for me to have ignored it.

The helicopter did land in all its "gusto and triumph." Students roamed about it like ants on a hill, totally oblivious to the ramifications of its presence on our campus. Nobody jumped off asserting victory, but I think the ROTC big-wigs were somewhere laughing to themselves about how easy it was to get IWU to welcome them with open arms.

The thought of a protest did enter my mind the day of the copter's landing. I decided against it because I had a class and wasn't sure if I could rally any other student's to protest with me. I found out afterwards a number of students would have been willing to stage some type of protest. But alas!

But I wouldn't be surprised if we get another chance; after all, we haven't had an army Hum-V visit yet.