"Given that the United States is repeatedly said to be a religious country and that over 80 percent of its citizens are reported to be Christians, it is interesting how little has been made of the declarations by so many Christian leaders and ethicists that the Bush Administration's proposed war against Iraq is unjust and immoral," New York Times columnist Peter Steinfels wrote in his "Beliefs" column Saturday.
He spoke a bit too soon. The major newspapers seem to have all covered religious leaders' responses over the weekend.
For example, The Washington Post reported, "Thus far, the religious community has tended to be critical of Bush's war rhetoric. … But the president also has received support from leaders of the fastest-growing segment of religion in the United States — evangelical Christianity."
Most such articles echo our website's September 4 opinion roundup on Iraq, quoting the Southern Baptist Convention's very hawkish Richard Land and the National Association of Evangelicals' more reserved Rich Cizik. (Steinfels is the only one, however, to quote Christianity Today's editorial.)
Some voice is given to pacifists like Stanley Hauerwas, but the focus is on just war theory. See, for example, the Los Angeles Times's Saturday article on Christians' differences over how just war theory applies to Iraq. A Wall Street Journal editorial (subscription required) puts particular focus on just war theory's requirement that war must be waged "by a legitimate authority." "Maybe we missed the revelation, in Thomas Aquinas or elsewhere, that no war is just unless it is sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council," the paper says. "There are any number of legitimate arguments against a war in Iraq, prudential as well as principled. ...1