For much of the past 25 years, a small group of Catholic intellectuals has worked to inject its radical religious ideas into the nation's politics. The leader of this theoconservative movement is Father Richard John Neuhaus. In the pages of his monthly magazine First Things, Neuhaus and his ideological allies set the theocon agenda on a range of policies. Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute argues that the American founders were orthodox religious believers who thought of the United States as a Christian nation -- and that American-style capitalism perfectly conforms to Catholic social teaching. Robert P. George of Princeton University insists that abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, and same-sex marriage (and perhaps even contraception and masturbation) should be outlawed. And George Weigel of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center uses Catholic just-war reasoning to justify neoconservative foreign policy. As the U.S. began to prepare for war in Iraq in 2002, the theocons set out to provide theological justification for the coming conflagration.
Around the time of the January 2002 State of the Union speech -- when President Bush broadened the scope of the "war on terror" to include an "axis of evil" consisting of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea -- the mood on the American right began to grow fierce. What had been a uniform chorus of patriotic support for the president and the Afghanistan campaign quickly evolved into a frenzy of bellicosity. Some columnists denounced deterrence and stability in favor of unilateral preemptive war to overthrow hostile regimes. Others openly advocated American imperialism. Still others proposed that the United States act to topple the governments of a series of sovereign nations in the Muslim Middle East, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. And these were the intellectually respectable suggestions, published in mainstream newspapers and long-established journals of opinion. Farther down the media hierarchy, on cable news, Internet websites, and Web blogs, conservatives of all stripes closed ranks, unleashing a verbal barrage on any and all who dissented from a united front in favor of unapologetic American military muscle. The participants in this endless pep rally were insistent on open-ended war, overtly hostile to dissent, and thoroughly unforgiving of the slightest criticism of the United States abroad. They were dismissive of complication and analysis, defensive by default, worshipful of "manliness," admiring of swaggering bluntness, contemptuous of doubt and indecision, addicted to hyperbole, eager to expose "appeasement," and prone to paranoia. Self-congratulation and self-righteousness ruled the day.
The theocons contributed to this atmosphere of pro-war hysteria in several ways. Neuhaus established himself as the rare priest who would grant interviews to National Public Radio in order to defend the justice of invading Iraq. Weigel spoke on college campuses about the administration's firm grasp of the just war tradition. And Novak traveled to Rome to lecture Vatican bureaucrats on the importance of deposing Saddam Hussein and transforming Iraq into a democratic oasis in Middle East. But by far the most significant theocon statement on the invasion of Iraq was Weigel's "Moral Clarity in a Time of War," which he delivered as a lecture in the fall of 2002 at the Catholic University of America Law School before publishing it as a lengthy essay in the January 2003 issue of First Things. The essay was clearly written to provide moral and theological justification for the Bush administration's Iraq policy in every one of its details.
Weigel's case for war ran as follows. In the post-September 11 world, the "peace of order" among nations is fundamentally threatened by international terrorist organizations and rogue states that traffic in weapons of mass destruction. In an ideal world, the UN would possess the means and the will to deal with these threats through the use of coercive military force. But, alas, the UN is deficient in both means and will. Luckily, the United States possesses both in abundance, just as it recognizes the unique responsibility for maintaining global order that flows from its status as the world's preeminent military power. America thus has the solemn duty to act as the worldwide enforcer of international justice -- including the punishment of those who flout the peace of order -- regardless of whether the other nations of the world recognize the legitimacy of such action. In serving as providentially appointed prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner of international justice around the world, the United States furthers its own good (at home and abroad) as well as the good of all decent human beings on the planet. The unilateral overthrow of the government of Saddam Hussein is one example of such righteous American action, but it is hardly the only likely or defensible one to take place in the near future.
But if you want to lay the sins of the Bush Administration at Christianities door, than you have to contend with those Christians who oppose the Bush Administration. If you want to lay the sins of the Bush Administration at the feet of the Bush Administration, no such problem exists.
And of course it is possible to both support and oppose President Bush for non-religious reasons.
11. Bush claims to do what he does as a "Christian."
And many Christians believe that he was divinely tapped for the power of his position. Many, many of these same people support what he does without question, including mass murder, illegal war, torture and hate.
If other Christians don't believe in this and don't support this, then they need to engage those who are using their name to commit these acts.
Although a small minority have the courage to do so, by far the vast majority choose to look the other way or remain silent or become defensive.
That is why what is currently happening is mass murder, illegal war, torture and hate. If the majority of Christian Americans acted resolutely, this would not be taking place.
If Muslims really wanted to they could stop the terrorists who killed 3,000 of us on September 11th. Instead most Muslims looked the other way, and many seem to support the general thrust of Al-Qaeda if not their tactics. So killing Muslims is totally justified.
Oh wait, that's thinly disguised bigotry masquerading as thought. My apologies.
But it fails again. Muslims didn't elect the terrorists who killed 3,000 as their President.
They don't pray for them in Church on Sunday (or the day that would be their equivalent).
They don't vote for them, campaign for them, carry around pictures of them, put "W" symbols (or the equivalent) on their cars, claim that they represent Islam, or perpetuate a cult of personality for them.
"Christians" do all of these things.
That is why there are illegal wars going on where thousands are dying every day. Thousands of THEM, and scores of Americans, at the same time.
If the majority of Christians said no, all at once, and demanded it, it would cease almost immediately.
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