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March 25, 2011

Little Evangelical Consensus on Libya

The U.S., Britain, and France led a military intervention to secure a no-fly zone over Libya last week after the United Nations Security Council authorized military force against Libya. Evangelicals appear to agree that President Obama could have done a better job handling the situation in Libya, but they disagree over whether the intervention is moral and the country’s next step.

Sojourners president Jim Wallis said the U.S. military action in Libya was hypocritical because the U.S. is not taking similar actions in other countries like Sudan, Bahrain, or Yemen. He mocked the claim that the motivation was a humanitarian crisis.

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“Darfur doesn’t have [oil]. Bahrain does, along with a huge U.S. naval base. And the Saudis, who have come in to crush the democratic protests in Bahrain for their good friends in the royal family, have all the oil. Obviously, no humanitarian concerns there,” said Wallis. “It’s amazing how consistent U.S. foreign policy is from administration to administration, and how little changes when we elect a new president.”

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, supported the no-fly zone, but he said America should have unilaterally made this move much earlier.

"At least in the end we're doing the right thing. I just hope and pray that it's not too late because Gaddafi murdering his fellow citizens, butchering them, is what the world looks like without U.S. leadership,” Land said on his weekly radio program Richard Land Live! Land said that Qaddafi should be killed for his actions. "Mr. Qaddafi needs to be tried and found guilty of crimes against humanity including the Lockerbie bombing and then he needs to be hung as the war criminal that he is."

For Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, the ethical standard for evaluating military policy is the U.S. Constitution and national security. He said that the only justifiable action against Libya would be to kill Qaddafi for his role in the bombing of an airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland that killed hundreds of Americans.

“Once Congress issues a 'letter of marque and reprisal' for Gadhafi’s scalp, we can - and should - take it any way we can. Blowing his compound to kingdom come with him in it would be one way,” said Fischer.

Faith in Public Life provided a list of the criteria of ethical military action under Just War Theory, comparing how it views U.S. action in Iraq and in Libya. Its analysis also leaned toward the military action in Libya being just, but not for the Iraq war.

Military action must comply to Just War Theory, BreakPoint’s Chuck Colson said. “I can’t imagine a more just and proportional response to the massacre of innocent people than to establish a no-fly zone. So I was mystified and chagrined by our nation’s inaction.”

On its webpage posting Colson's commentary on Libya, BreakPoint linked to a column by Bryan Cones at U.S. Catholic, who evaluated the military action by the traditional criteria of Just War Theory. Originally, Cones concluded, “straight moral calculus leans in favor of military intervention in this case.”  But Cones updated his view after seeing the campaign in action.

“My natural suspicion about the use of military action in Libya has been deepened by the scale of the bombing (see proportionality below), which has included more than 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles and multiple attacks against Libyan infrastructure well away from the besieged civilians of Benghazi (see just cause),” said Cones. “Add to it the discovery that most Libyan oil goes to Europe, led by France and Italy and Ireland (see right intention), and this action starts to struggle to meet just war criteria.”


Comments

Just as the opinion of many others, I realy think that the main reason of many leaders to attack Lybea is :oil!!Qaddafi is not the only political leader, who´s killing his own people. What to think of North Coreas leader and other political leaders who are killing their own citizens and some of them already do it for many years !?And the international society does nothing.The only distinction can be this:the presence or absence of oil.

The Libyan infrastructure that U.S. and allied planes have destroyed was military infrastructure, which is a legitimate target, especially if the ultimate target is, as it should be, Qaddafi himself.

Anyone who could say that the only "ethical standard for evaluating military policy is the U.S. Constitution and national security" is not a Christian, let alone an evangelical.

Christ alone, as revealed through the Scriptures, is the ONLY guide to a moral life. Shame on Bryan Fischer and the American Family Association. They preach a Gospel other than Christ.

There would be no interest in Libya by the US or NATO if Libya had no oil. That is the clear, unadulterated truth. Israel's treatment of the Palestinians has not invited an attack on that country's army by the US because zionist money and media control is so powerful in the US.

Hi, I'm a just a student and I'm an evangelical Christian and a new-calvinist (favorite authors: John Piper and Tim Keller).

I hate to say this but I believe the US led NATO bombings are at best war crimes against humanity. When the Bible says, 'love of money is the root of ALL kinds of evil,' I'm starting to see more truth to how that does unfoil in this world.

I do not consider Gadafi innocent, but let me explain how I came to think along these lines regarding Libya and feel free to correct me where I'm wrong. When Gadaffi was killed, I was hesitant to watch the youtube clips just as I did not watch Saddam Hussain get hung. But this time, I did and I have to say I was horrified!

No human being who's crying out, 'stop and why are you doing this?' deserves to be bombed and then be slaughtered like that. Then you may say force is justified by the state if there is ample reason to where in this case he was killings 1000's of his own people as President Obama said.

So, I did the unthinkable and tried to separate the media's portrayal of him as this brutal dictator and attempted to watch interview after interview of him and his son Saif as neutrally as possible trying to ignore all the leading questions that were asked. After watching them, I've came to a different opinion of him and his son Saif and I don't believe that the depiction of him as seen on tv is accurate and I have yet to see direct evidence that he was killing 1000's and 1000's of his own civilians. In fact, some independent reporters in Libya suggest a different story.

This event almost reminds me of another Someone who we also did similar acts to and He was found to be 100% innocent, but yet He died for our sins. So, the very least we should do is listen to the Gadaffi's interviews and his son, Saif and try to understand him. It's the least we can do if we're going to bypass congress and bomb civilians at will, while spending 2 million + dollars to bomb a country whose literacy rate is 86%.

Loving your enemy doesn't mean tolerance for mass oppression like that of North Korea but the principle applies to us as well.

In fact, the new government has implemented Sharia Law and just as how it as in Iraq, Christian missionaries will have even a harder time now spreading the gospel.

Another question is how did all those civilian protesters have those war weapons and why are we now tolerating Al Quada groups to set up in Libya? Should we at least be consistent?

Yes, let's still pray for our leaders and love them as well. Yet in a democratic republic that we have in the West, we were meant to have a voice in what our government does including foreign policy- and that means any blood shed by our leaders is blood shed by us.