Friday, October 21, 2011

Opposing the Use of Force in Libya

Christians are given no leave to choose between the lesser of two evils. They must simply choose between right and wrong.

By Jonathan D. Fitzgerald, March 23, 2011
As a junior in college, four short months after 9/11, I had the opportunity to study abroad at Daystar University, a Christian college in Nairobi, Kenya. Although my thoughts on war and peace were still in formation, I knew that the language of revenge that erupted from the White House and the news media sounded nothing like Jesus' language of peace and justice.

With these thoughts swirling in my head, I enrolled at Daystar in "Christian Perspectives on War and Peace," taught by Ahmed Ali Haile, a Somali who had lost his right leg. Here was a man who had been shot by a rocket and was practically exiled from his home country, but who believed very deeply in the Gospel message of peace. As it turns out, Professor Haile was also a Mennonite and introduced me and my classmates—students from all over Africa, including several Sudanese refugees—to the writings of the Christian pacifist John Howard Yoder. 

It is difficult to see Jesus' call to lay down one's life for another as metaphorical in the presence of a man who did it for real. Likewise, it seemed impossible to justify a violent response to 9/11 while sitting in a classroom full of students who, in the face of genocide, still chose peace.

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Jonathan D. FitzgeraldJonathan D. Fitzgerald is the managing editor of, and writes on the various manifestations of Christianity in culture. Follow him on Twitter or at his website,
Fitzgerald's column, "In Progress," is published every Wednesday on the Progressive Christian Portal. Subscribe via email or RSS.

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