I am not positive at all toward Jim Wallis’s left-leaning positions on government intervention in the economy and social issues. Nonetheless, he is completely correct in his criticism of John McCain and Vietnam/Iraq:

Let me state some clear convictions from many of us in faith community. The war in Vietnam was morally wrong. The war in Iraq was morally wrong. And John McCain has been morally wrong on both of them. Christian judgments of war should always run a narrow spectrum — from the peacemaking ethic of Jesus which rejects war to the just war theology of Augustine and Aquinas. But even in the just war tradition, conflicts have to pass a number of moral tests and be the option of “last resort.” The burden of proof is always on those who support war to justify the taking of life.

Well said, Mr. Wallis. However, I find it odd that while Wallis has repeatedly gone out of his way to criticize wars initiated by Republicans, he has been nearly silent on the five or six lower-profile wars his friend and confidante President Barack Obama has initiated.

Wallis is walking a very fine line at the edges of political power, and I would encourage anyone who reads Sojourners to consider what a principled stance against state-sponsored violence really entails.

Dr. Norman Horn

Norman founded LibertarianChristians.com and the Libertarian Christian Institute, and currently serves as its President and Editor-in-Chief. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from the Austin Graduate School of Theology. He currently is a Postdoctoral researcher in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • David

    Absoiutely, the left are of course, a bunch of hypocrites when it comes to criticizing their own.
    At least he’s not a “conservative” though.
    As someone who grew up in the “Right” I’m more upset with the right than the left these days. I’m mostly getting what I expect from the left, while the right continues to disappoint me.
    I admittedly, have my own positions and occasionally (A lot rarer than either of the major parties) will support government intervention in something, but I take the Libertarian position far more often than 90% of the time. I don’t expect conservatives to become Libertarians. I do, however, expect them to be what they actually claim to be, and that is constitutionalists. At the very least, I expect them to oppose executive declarations of war and FEDERAL government intervention in anything not specifically mentioned in the constitution. If they could at least do that, I might support them to some degree. But they don’t, They are bloodthirsty warmongerers, and they do so WHILE CLAIMING TO SUPPORT THE CONSTITUTION.
    The fact that they make this claim, in my mind, makes them even worse than the left. The left doesn’t really claim to care about the constitution anyways.
    I will say, as I always have said when talking about the constitution, that I can agree that the Articles of Confederation were probably better. If we could bring that back, I would. But even strict constructionism is a HECK of a lot better than what we’ve got now, or what the Republicans are really offering.

    I would also say that while Obama fails the “Just war” test as well, and has murdered hundreds if not thousands with drones, he isn’t quite as much of a warmongerer than the Republicans. Its close, but he isn’t quite as bad. Its still extremely hypocritical that anyone who supports “Just war” would refuse to crticize him though.

  • I guess that depends on how you look at it. Obama has STARTED five or six lower profile conflicts that have taken its toll on a LOT of people, and of course he has had four years of Iraq and Afghanistan too. I’m not defending the right of course, but the left is just as bad on war so long as they are the ones starting it.

  • David

    That’s true (Its sad that I don’t even know what wars Obama has started exactly, IIRC they include Libya and Yemen, and then of course the drone surge) maybe its just the attitudes of the various sides. The left sometimes supports war but it seems like the current right is actively seeking it. I mean, Obama’s certainly at the very least a moderate warmongerer and you’ve got guys like Limbaugh calling him a pacifist. I can only imagine how much influence guys like that surrounding the next Republican President*, even a sort of moderate one like Romney, could have. That’s the difference I think, when the right starts wars, the left criticizes them for starting those wars, although they are hypocrites when they do it. The right, on the other hand, criticizes the left when they start wars for not killing quite enough people.

    I’m no friend to the left either, although I’d take a leftie with a sane foreign policy over the current Republican Party for sure. There’s also this expectation that “Evangelicals should be conservative” that annoys me as well, its practically assumed by some. The Evangelical left is more of a minority, while Evangelical Republicans are practically everywhere.

    Note of course that “Better” does not mean “Good” or even “Acceptable” either. I generally think that the Republicans are a little bit better, but still bad, on economic issues, and that the Democrats are a little better, but still bad, at foreign policy issues. On social issues both sides suck and the current debates are mostly irrelevant to libertarians. Of course abortion is debated even among libertarians, and although I take the pro-life side, the Republican party really doesn’t. Both sides can’t help continuing to focus on the relatively minor issue of gay marriage. The Democrats are a little better on drugs, and the Republicans a little better on guns, but neither side truly understands why those rights are important and why you shouldn’t be moderate on either one. Heck, I sometimes ask myself if I’m second amendment enough, and I’d be willing to legalize rocket launchers (lol).

    That said, I made that last comment before Obama reminded us again that he can kill US citizens whenever he wants without trial. I don’t think that Bush even went that far, and I don’t think the three most autthoritarian US Presidents of history (Lincoln, Wilson, Franklin) did either. All of those did claim they could arrest people without trial, but to my knowledge none of them claimed they could outright kill US citizens without trial. So maybe we really are living under the worst President ever across the board, I don’t really know.
    Its tough to be proud to be an American under current conditions. I’m sure even the Clinton years were great compared to what we’ve got now.

  • Wallis and Sojourners sold their souls to the state long ago. He manifests the perpetual inherent hypocrisy of statists everywhere: murder by government can be justified if it advances your own narrow social or religious agenda.