Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Matt 24 watch 229j: A further Churchillian reflection on Munich 1938, after the Second World War

After the Second World War had been fought and won -- insofar as such a thing can be said to have been won -- Churchill made a further reflection on the Munich deal of 1938. He did so in the first volume of his multi-volume eyewitness history on the war, The gathering Storm.  

HT Hayward of PL in March 2012, let us clip:
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill
No case of this kind can be judged apart from its circumstances.  The facts may be unknown at the time, and estimates of them must be largely guesswork, coloured by the general feelings and aims of whoever is trying to pronounce.  Those who are prone by temperament and character to seek sharp and clear-cut solutions of difficult and obscure problems, who are ready to fight whenever some challenge comes from a foreign Power, have not always been right.  On the other hand, those whose inclination is to bow their heads, to seek patiently and faithfully for peaceful compromise, are not always wrong.  On the contrary, in the majority of instances they may be right, not only morally but from a practical standpoint . . . . 

The Sermon on the Mount is the last word in Christian ethics.  Everyone respects the Quakers.  Still, it is not on these terms that Ministers assume their responsibilities of guiding states.  Their duty is first so to deal with other nations as to avoid strife and war and to eschew aggression in all its forms, whether for nationalistic or ideological objects.  But the safety of the State, the lives and freedom of their own fellow countrymen, to whom they owe their position, make it right and imperative in the last resort, or when a final and definitive conviction has been reached, that the use of force should not be excluded.  If the circumstances are such as to warrant it, force may be used.  And if this be so, it should be used under the conditions which are most favourable.  There is no merit in putting off a war for a year if, when it comes, it is a far worse war or one much harder to win.  These are the tormenting dilemmas upon which mankind has throughout history been so frequently impaled . . . 
The Christian Faith is indeed, far more inclined to err on the side of pacifism than waspish bellicosity. And before Jesus spoke those immortal words on a Mount in Galilee, the wise one said that a soft answer turns away wrath.

Howbeit, that is not the whole story, for as we may read in Rom 13:
Rom 13:For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. [ESV]

That is, the ruler has a responsibility beyond the personal, which in a world of evil-doers, calls forth the power of the sword. In service to God in the cause of defending the civil peace of justice from those who would prey upon it.

So, yes, there must be a heart-lurching moral struggle and there must be an examination of reasonable alternatives. But, in a world where too often we can see the clouds of a gathering storm triggered by those who are deaf to reason, morality and decency, then there is the duty to wield the sword in defense. And, where too often the real choice is between acting now or delaying at fearful additional cost and hazard.

It is after all the duty of the shepherd to defend the sheep from wolves and worse.

And that requires courage, skill and equipment, sound judgement and effective tactics.

In the case in front of us, we have a regime openly bent on genocide, with a track record of sponsoring terrorism, and with a known pattern of deceptive behaviour in pursuit of the means of genocide, both nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to mount them on.

In the face of such a situation, the evidently calculated action of this US administration, has been deeply questionable. 

I fear, that action will likely have horrific consequences. 

Perhaps some miracle may yet come to rescue us but neither scripture nor history suggest that the possibility of such deliverance allows us to be imprudent. END