Thursday, March 24, 2011

Biblical Preaching Can Get You Killed

Despite manifold witnesses to the contrary, just war theorists--that is, people who believe that war can be justifiable, whether by the classic Just War Theory criteria or otherwise--continually insist that pacifism--that is, the refusal to kill even in defense of justice--is an abdication from political responsibility.

Consider this excerpt from the penultimate sermon preached by Archbishop Oscar Romero:
Brothers, you come from our own people. You are killing your own brother peasants when any human order to kill must be subordinate to the law of God which says ‘Thou shalt not kill’. No soldier is obliged to obey an order contrary to the law of God. No one has to obey an immoral law. It is high time you recovered your consciences and obeyed your consciences rather than a sinful order. The church, the defender of the rights of God, of human dignity, of the person, cannot remain silent before such an abomination. We want the government to face the fact that reforms are valueless if they are to be carried out at the cost of so much blood. In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression.
Does his call to lay down arms sound like an abdication from politics to you?

No, it didn't sound like it to the ones who depended on those arms to perpetuate their political power, either.

That's why they killed him. The very next day.

Consider joining with the Salvadoran poor in commemorating the life of Oscar Romero.

And if you're a church in search of a pastor, consider exactly what you mean by "biblical preaching."

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