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Leftist hardliner Miguel De La Torre of Methodism’s Iliff School of Theology in Colorado still seemed to cleave to oldline Liberation Theology. He decried U.S. interventionism in Latin America and bemoaned that America’s “church of privilege” hypocritically urges peace while the U.S. holds the world captive economically. De La Torre complained that only “once the Pax Americana is established, once we have the vast majority of world’s resources flowing to the U.S., at that point we can then begin to talk about [how] nobody else should do violence.” He wondered: “Is all this talk about nonviolence a way to keep certain people in check?’” And he provocatively asked: “Is our interest in nonviolence a way of making sure ‘they,’ from whom we have taken so much, don’t rebel against us?” An advocate of open borders immigration, De La Torre sees illegal immigration as a neat way for exploited people simply to take back what the U.S. ostensibly has stolen from their native nations.
Evangelical Left ethicist Glen Stassen of Fuller Seminary in California tried to argue that neither pacifism nor Just War teachings were sufficient to prevent war. He dreamily urged strengthening the United Nations and abolishing all nuclear weapons.
Almost alone in arguing for Christian realism, Methodist ethicist J. Philip Wogaman surmised that pacifism was ultimately unrealistic. Most remembered as pastor to the Clintons during their White House years, and especially as a counselor to President Clinton post Monicagate, Wogaman is a steadfast liberal but realizes nations cannot function without some level of force. Citing the threat of genocide as one justification for war, Wogaman argued: “If sin is real, and it must occasionally be resisted forcibly, then it must be by people – especially people who are responsive to God’s purposes.”
It seems like an obvious point, and one that Christianity has nearly always taught, that civil authorities are divinely ordained to protect the innocent from aggressors. But the mostly utopian Religious Left, amplified by anti-Americanism, is loath to admit that any evil exists outside of the U.S., much less bless forceful resistance to America’s enemies.
Like any chief magistrate, George W. Bush waged war in defense of his nation. His SMU critics were so outraged that they opposed even a presidential library on their campus. Religious Left pacifists will continue to vent and tout their fantasies. But most Methodists and most Christians choose to live in the real world.
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