The idea that the political aspects of the Ten Commandments are confined to the latter portion and that the beginning portion is only ‘religious’ in nature is unsustainable. The politics of the commands themselves as well as the politics of the conversations in which those commands are embedded continue to be instructive for faithful communities today.
NATO’s humanitarian war in Kosovo in 1999 provides the context for the central idea of this book. In that conflict, the puzzling linkage between the desire to advance human rights and military means raises far-reaching questions about the role of rights in shaping international wars. Is it possible to understand or explain wars as an outcome of perceptions of rights? How did rights, be they divine rights in the Middle Ages, territorial rights in the eighteenth century, or human rights today, become something that people are willing to fight and die for?
Although Meghan Clark and Joseph Tetlow, S.J. have raised some important criticisms of Stacie Beck’s contention that the “social justice agenda” of many Catholics ignores certain basic truths of capitalist economics, they downplay the extent to which the provision of certain basic human rights is dependent on the creation of wealth. The Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain provides guidance on how to maintain both the grounding of human rights in universal human dignity and the contingency of concrete rights, a balance necessary in the current age of austerity.