I have received several email messages in recent days asking about what I thought of the President’s address to the nation about the military action in Libya. One reader of Dating God asked about my position of Christian nonviolence and how, in light of that view of Gospel living, I might respond to the President’s comments. In brief, I am still against any form of military violence. This, I believe as a Christian and a Franciscan friar at that, is central to the message of the Kingdom of God. Illogical though it may seem in political and global terms, it makes perfect sense according to the poetic vision Christ offers us of God’s in-breaking in the world.
Yet, I realize that not all people hold this view and the way in which political decisions are made in this country cannot reflect a position such as mine, which (unfortunately) remains a minority view. The structure of a liberal republic such as the United States — and this, I believe is an asset — creates the conditions for the possibility of military action such as we are currently witnessing in several arenas around the world.
Instead of offering my own analysis of the situation, I direct you instead to my friend, classmate and brother friar, Br. Steve DeWitt, OFM, who has written a good assessment of the President’s address. Steve is a passionate and knowledgable social-justice advocate who has worked for the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns in Washington, DC, and is currently spending the year working in the missions of Boliva and Peru. You can read his take on the President’s speech here: “Thoughts on Obama’s Libya Speech.”
To give you a foretaste, here is Steve’s concluding paragraph:
Overall the President’s speech was full of inspiring rhetoric that addressed some of the concerns over U.S. actions in Libya. His failure to answer key questions concerning end-goals and broader U.S. policy in the Middle East, however, leave plenty of room for doubt about the ultimate wisdom of current U.S. actions. One hopes, probably in vain, that greater clarity and a more fully formulated policy concerning current events in the Middle East will be forthcoming.
Again, you can read the full text of Steve’s thoughts here: “Thoughts on Obama’s Libya Speech.”