Faithfulness First (Hauerwas, 2002)

“I can enter into just war considerations. And it’s not clear to me at all that the war in Afghanistan has been begun or fought on just war grounds. Particularly, it’s not clear who the war is against. Who’s your enemy? Under what conditions do they know that they can surrender? I just think all of that has remained completely ambiguous.”

Sept 11th: A Pacifist Response (Hauerwas, 2002)

“But what does a pacifist have to say in the face of the terror September 11, 2001, names? I vaguely knew when I first declared I was a pacifist that there might be some serious consequences. To be nonviolent might even change my life. But I do not really think I understood what that change might entail until September 11”.

Terrorist Enemies and Just War (Cavanaugh, 2004)

Terrorists don’t fight fair. To Christians who are accustomed to approaching matters of organized violence through the just war tradition, terrorist tactics are a source of frustration. Within the tradition are criteria for deciding when and how violence can be used legitimately in a limited fashion for the correction of injustice, but for the last few centuries at least, the tradition primarily has been applied to conflicts between states. What happens when major acts of violence are perpetrated by nonstate actors who don’t even pretend to play by the rules?

An Act of Judgment? (O’Donovan, 2011)

Why do the Christian ethics of war and the law founded on it prohibit assassinations? Because assassination cannot be a true act of judgment. The logic of armed conflict is a logic of collective judgment on collective responsibility for wrong. War enacts justice between nations, taking over judgment, as the old saying had it,ubi iudicia cessant,where the courts run out. Its justice is attributive, denying the facility to do wrong, rather than vindicative, setting right old wrongs. As judgment it is pretty rough, lacking the detailed discernment to attribute personal responsibility.

“No Pleasure in the Death of the Wicked” (Neal, 2011)

The Christian answer to violence is that violence must be met with love. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:44). And Paul instructs the Christians in Rome to “never avenge yourself, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord.’ No, ‘if your enemies are hungry feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:19-21).
But the truth of the matter is that we find it difficult to love our enemy. It is highly unlikely that any of us would have invited bin Laden in for dinner if he had showed up at our door.