Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stanley Hauerwas on pacifism

An interview and write-up on Stanley Hauerwas' stand on pacifism. The article's excerpt:

"As far as just war is concerned, I think it's a terrific theory... Unfortunately, it has no purchase in reality. For example, I note that the reason people think the theory can be used in Iraq is because we have the capacity (and the `we' means the United States) to fight a war in Iraq. Did `we' get that capacity on just war grounds? No, the United States got that capacity on the grounds of political realism shaped by the Cold War. So, just warriors need to get serious and tell us what would a just war foreign policy, shaped by an equally just war Pentagon, look like."

As with many who are committed to nonviolence, Hauerwas has found himself asked what are his alternatives to bombing Afghanistan and Iraq. "Such questions," he replies, "assume that pacifists must have an alternative foreign policy. My only response is I do not have a foreign policy. I have something better--a church constituted by people who would rather die than kill."

"If you ask one of the crucial theological questions--why was Jesus killed?--the answer isn't `because God wants us to love one another.' Why in the hell would anyone kill Jesus for that? That's stupid. It's not even interesting. Why did he get killed? Because he challenged the powers that be. The church is a political institution calling people to be an alternative to the world. That's what the cross is about."

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