‘And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight.’ The notion of love overflowing in knowledge is odd to modern Western ears, accustomed as we are to a divide between reason and affections. However, such a love that overflows in knowledge could transform much of our politics.
Last night in his second national address on the global response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, President Obama asserted: “If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. . . . As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using them.”
On Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, Catholics, Christians of other denominations, and women and men of good will observed a day of prayer and fasting in response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, at the invitation of Pope Francis.
It is impossible for me to watch the footage of the children killed by chemical weapons in Syria without feeling a lack of coherence with the world. We were not meant for this. They … they were not meant for this. Their parents were not meant for this. The world was not meant for this. Breath, the source of life, was turned against these children. Their lungs were filled with death.
In his When War Is Unjust: Being Honest in Just-War Thinking, theologian John Howard Yoder asks, “Can the criteria function in such a way that in a particular case a specified cause, or a specified means, or a specified strategy or tactical move could be excluded? Can the response ever be ‘no’?” (Orbis 1996, p. 3) In my judgment, the present crisis in Syria is indeed a particular case where a just war response is “no.”
How fickle friendship can be. After all the years of close co-operation, the dinners out together, the help we provided, and the dirty work we did for them, its come to this.
Yesterday I was a reformist; today I’m a war criminal. Mubarak, Gaddafi, Ben Ali, Saleh, I feel your pain.