January 10, 2020 - Friday
An Unjust War against Trump
January 10, 2020
Every president since George Washington has had to make quick decisions to defend America. The only difference on January 3rd is that the president was Donald Trump. And that means the far-Left will do absolutely everything in their power (and outside of its powers) to stop him. Even if it means putting American lives at risk.
The harsh reality for liberals, Andrew McCarthy argued, is that the president "has a right to strike the bad guys." And no amount of political posturing or War Powers debating can take it away from him. But that doesn't mean House Democrats won't try. Thursday, in one of their most ridiculous exercises yet, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) actually put a bill on the floor ordering the commander-in-chief to check with Congress before doing his job. But the whole point of having a president, Kent Ingle fired back, is so he doesn't have to.
"The Constitution created the office of president because we need one person at the head of our government who can make tough decisions quickly and under extreme pressure," Ingle wrote. As for Trump's elimination of terrorist and Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, nothing he did was "disproportionate," as Pelosi carped, or even, FRC's Lt. General Jerry Boykin pointed out, out of line with the resolution as written. "What the War Powers Act requires," he explained to listeners on "Washington Watch," "is that the president has 48 hours after he... takes an action... to notify Congress. And then he has 60 days to continue unless he gets funding from Congress -- at which time it will go on for whatever amount of time is required to win."
"The reason they passed the War Powers Act to begin with in 1973 is because America had gone into Korea as well as Vietnam without a declaration of war. And what they were trying to do was ensure that it didn't happen again. But there's a big difference between a war and taking out a known terrorist... I think it is a political stunt. And I don't think this is going to have any impact on the president's willingness to do what needs to be done to protect America."
Now maybe some Christians have heard the Left's arguments and wonder about the morality of killing a man like Soleimani. Thursday on "Washington Watch," I asked FRC's David Closson, director of biblical morality and Christian worldview, if this is a question Scripture speaks to. As we all know, the Bible talks a lot about war and God is clear that war itself is not intrinsically evil. "As believers, we are at war with sin," David points out. "We're at war with evil. And you go through the Bible, the Old Testament actually sanctions war. [Moving to] the New Testament, we see that governments have a responsibility toward their citizens and are answerable to God for that. So sometimes there are compelling reasons for going to war. And [while] all killing is tragic, sometimes it's necessary."
A lot of philosophers and early leaders of the church thought long and hard about war. St. Augustine, known as the father of modern Christianity, is often credited with developing the foundational biblical premise for how armed conflict should be viewed. Later, that idea was shaped into what St. Thomas Aquinas called Just War Theory, which was his defense of how a nation can go about conducting and engaging in warfare morally. Under his theory, there are a handful of principles that legitimize war -- things like "just cause," which means you go to war to defend innocent life or self-defense, or when you're trying to maintain or restore justice.
"'Just intentions' is another principle. You don't go to war to humiliate your enemy, but for just causes. War should be a last resort. That's another principle. All reasonable attempts should be made at a peaceful resolution [is another]." A declaration of war must come from "a legitimate authority," David explains. "The mayor of Washington, D.C. can't declare war, but the president of the United States has that authority. The fifth one is there needs to be a proportional objective. And then finally, there needs to be a probability of success. So all those are criteria that nations need to think through before they go to war." And every one of them, as we discussed, was extracted from Scripture.
Obviously, conflicts are different now than they were in our grandparents' generation. Terrorism has complicated things. Modern technology has complicated things. But, as David told listeners, the principles still apply. "A lot of Christians think that the default position of Christianity is pacifism. But there are actually quite a few examples in the Bible where Jesus speaks about this issue. And Scripture teaches a couple of examples. In Luke 3, John the Baptist, when he is preaching, he actually exhorts the soldiers to not abuse their position of authority -- but he doesn't tell them to resign from the army. Another example is Acts 12. Cornelius the centurion when he gets saved. He doesn't have to resign his post. And then another example is Jesus as well."
Democrats have made plenty of arguments against Donald Trump's use of force. But invoking the Bible would be a stretch, even for them.
** Just a brief reminder that starting this evening in Baton Rouge we will host our first Stand Courageous men's conference of 2020. There is still time to be a part of this encouraging, life changing event. Go to StandCourageous.com to found out how you can join us. **
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.