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Is Religion a Moral Reason for Military Conflict

  • Category(s): Moral Essays
  • Created on : 25 January 2015
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  • Author: Richard Michael Lamb

Preface

This age old question has troubled Christians since the Crusades. Its resolution calls for determination not to be intimidated in the face of international lawlessness.

Angel Merkel, the German Chancellor, recently pronounced and insisted:

“There can be no justification to use violence in the name of religion”

The Tablet – 24th January 2015

If the German Chancellor means there can be no moral case for going to War based on the Christian religion, I disagree fundamentally with her stand. I firmly believe in the just military action thinking as thought out in the Christian approach to conflict. There should be no military engagement without Christian support.

2. The connection between Christianity and military action in the modern world.

If the Christian West, and in particular the Anglo-American alliance, have any meaning certain military engagements should be morally justifiable and morally required, or they have no proper foundation. We deploy our forces and put them into action to defend freedom of debate, protect international boundaries and to quell terrorism and tyranny. On this footing Iraq and Afghanistan were fully just and necessary conflicts.

If the Anglo-American alliance neglects its duty internationally, the World will be a poorer place and tyrants will thrive. I consider the foreign policy of the USA and the EU towards the annexation, unlawfully, of Crimea by Putin’s Russia to be a shameful dereliction of our responsibility to the Ukraine, and its people within its proper boundaries. Weakness in international politics breeds an impoverishment of our standing in the World. It will be difficult to reverse.

3.

Christianity involves the strong protecting the weak. That must be at the heart of the Just War theory. America has a lethal nuclear arsenal to deter aggressors Worldwide. She rightly poses the biggest obstacle, both nuclear and conventional, to States bent on unlawful invasions and terrorism. The USA in its foreign policy should defend the weak by the threat of military action and its actual use. Both the Great War and the Second World War were Just Wars for the allies. i.e. To defend Belgium and France in WWI and to defeat Nazi Germany in WWII. We may build on this past to justify military engagements since 1945. If Britain and the USA are not morally and religiously strong in the Christian sense, then the World will suffer immeasurably as this will weaken their military and diplomatic arm.

4. The link Christian to our military.

As I understand it the USA has Christian military chaplains, as do the British armed forces. These chaplains cannot do their job if they do not support the President (the C.in.C in the USA) and the Cabinet and Prime Minister and Crown in the UK. I argue Iraq was justified by regime change – Sadam was a brutal murderer himself who had started the Iran/Iraq war resulting in a million dead. Moreover, Sadam had chemicalised the Arabs in the Euphrates/Tigris delta and did the same to the Kurds in Northern Iraq. It took time to catch up with him and do justice (he was executed Judicially), but Bush Junior did not lack tenacity supported by Tony Blair quite rightly. Afghanistan was a campaign to quell terrorism at its roots also carried to its military conclusion: satisfactory. Both these campaigns were Christian inspired and directed. Bush Junior is no stranger to Christianity nor is Tony Blair now a Catholic.

Vietnam was a “show” in the 1960’s – 70’s the US lost, but she had to square up to the bared teeth of Communism in South East Asia during the Cold War in Europe. I argue Johnson was right morally, and thus on Christian grounds, correct to commit his forces to South Vietnam to defend democracy and oppose the Communist jackboot. Popularity at home in the USA and the UK was missing for the Vietnam War (we were non combatants) and Iraq and Afghanistan. A morally just war in accordance with Christianity, does not always enjoy public support as these three engagements demonstrate.

5. Conclusion

My case is that if the Anglo-American alliance sheltered behind the Merkel doctrine, there would be no gun fire or threat of gun fire. You do not fire your gun in anger as a US Marine or British Paratrooper does unless your officers have commanded that action, and our politicians in London and Washington have authorised it. There is no point having military forces if you will not commit them to action when there is a military and Christian case to do so.

What does Merkel want? She will never abolish tyranny and illegal annexations. Her policy is frankly spineless and immoral, as under her vacuous regime we will have to put up with untold repression and subjugation Worldwide. A World War is not likely I agree, but do not fall asleep or you will wake up in an anti-libertarian world. Military force is always the last resort, but it should never be ruled out where others seek to dominate and overcome our friends.

Do not be trigger happy, but always adhere to our Christian principles and, if our military advisors consider it feasible in the defence of life and liberty, then have the courage to not only deploy our military, but order them into action. It is a big decision, but the President of the USA and the Prime Minister of the UK are not in the habit of backing down before those who try to take liberties with our friends internationally.