The former Motown singing great Marvin Gaye often referred to as the prince of Motown during his life composed a song around 1970 to 1971 entitled, “What’s Happening Brother?”
Of particular interest to this listener is one of the stanzas in the song where Gaye sings:
“Are things really getting better as the newspaper said?” “War is Hell when will it end; when will people start getting together again.”
Marvin Gaye’s statement that war is hell expresses a truth that men and women have been grappling with since mankind’s fall from grace in The Garden of Eden.
Man’s inhumanity to man is more than a truism.
As a matter of fact, James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist Papers: “that “if Men Were Angels, There Would Be No Need For Government!”
Governments are divinely ordered (please see both Genesis 9:1-7 and Romans 13:1-7) to keep peace and to allow human beings to function in harmonious relationships.
The noted Political Philosopher Dr. Russell Kirk wrote a book called The Roots of American Order (1974) and in this monumental work, Dr. Kirk proclaimed that before there can be a stable economic, political, or social environment that there must first be a safe and secure political / societal structure in which people feel a sense of peace and well-being.
Dr. Kirk would subscribe to the belief that a safe and stable “Order” precedes a society’s or a nation’s ability to grow, expand, or to produce cultural innovation.
How do we maintain and promote domestic and international order?
Unfortunately, much of the world is mired in tyranny and despotic rule.
Do the United States and the democracies in Europe have an obligation to aid and assist people who are struggling to survive – let alone pursue the Universal Freedoms of Life and Liberty?
These are not theoretical questions.
At this present moment there are some 100,000 Christians in North Korea who are suffering at the hands of a brutal totalitarian regime. Furthermore, roughly 1/3 of those 100,000 Christians in North Korea are being tortured in indescribable suffering and oppression simply because they are “prisoners of conscience” (Amnesty International’s designation); these Christian believers do not agree with their country’s intolerance to religious and political minorities.
In Iraq and Syria, the terroristic group called “The Islamic States of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) has told all non-Islamic people in their region to leave, convert to Islam, or be killed for their blasphemy.
President Barrack Obama recently ordered military action to help save the religious minorities of Yazi and Christian people in Iraq from possible genocide. The only crime that these people possessed is that they were not Islamic.
Historically, the people of the United States react to military action in one of two ways:
(1.) Super Patriotism: We unquestionably support the country’s military campaign until things being to go awry (Korea in 1952; Vietnam 1968; and Iraq in 2006) or (2.) Take a pacifistic stance until world events dictate otherwise (the United States from 1920 to 1941 attempted to withdraw from the world scene after World War I until the events at Pearl Harbor dictated otherwise).
Perhaps there is another alternative to these two positions.
More than 1600 years ago, Saint Augustine put forth principles known as “The Just War Theory” Jus Bellum Iustum.
Augustine put forth that there are certain conditions that must take place before the doctrine of “Just War” could be sanctioned.
- Just Cause
- Right Authority
- Right Intentions
- Proportionate Means
- Last Resort
- Noncombat Immunity
This journalist wants to commend President Barack Obama for providing the world with an excellent example of the proper execution – whether intentional or unintentional – of Augustine’s articulation of “The Just War Doctrine.”
President Obama’s action to militarily intervene saved Christians and the religious minority of Yazidis from being ruthlessly killed by ISIS.
The President was correct when he said that The United States could not intervene in every humanitarian crisis, but that now and then The United States does have the power and the authority to aid and assist people from suffering “gratuitous evil and/or genocide.”
In the midst of World War II, the great German Protestant Theologian Martin Niemöller remarked with sorrow over his failure to speak up sooner against the Nazi’ persecution of German Jews:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
It is imperative, that those of us who are free remember that freedom is a gift from GOD and that those of us who are free have a responsibility to speak and at times act for those who cannot speak or act for themselves.
GOD bless you!