The problem with many church institutions, especially those in the progressive wing, is that they regard war-any war-as the greatest possible evil. They ignore centuries of Christian teaching about the ethics of war, otherwise known as the just war tradition. It argues that governments may, and sometimes must, wage war to restrain the violence of wicked men. This is Christian realism: the proposition that evil is a fact of human nature and that, in its advanced forms, it will not yield to dialogue and diplomacy.
No one wants ministers to whip their flocks into a self-righteous frenzy. Yet pacifism in the face of radical Islam will not protect innocent lives, and it must not be the chief influence on democratic governments. That was the grievous mistake of churches in the 1930s, and it allowed the Nazis to nearly devour the whole of Europe.
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