Westin Miller is a Cortina Alumn and a former Cortina RA. He currently works as a Leadership Consultant for Beta Theta Pi. This is where he stands with regard to the possibility of the United States’ intervention in Syria.
I am not a pacifist.
I follow the teaching of Christ, who was no doubt a peacemaker, but I fail to see an example from His life that definitively calls for pacifism in our conversation about Syria. The Bible never gives an account of Jesus responding to violence being perpetrated against an innocent, unarmed person (other than himself).
“But Westin, remember the most obvious example ever? The woman who was going to be stoned?”
You are right. This story teaches us a beautiful lesson that we have an ABSOLUTE OBLIGATION to preemptively intervene peacefully to prevent violence. Whenever possible, we should be challenging those with violent intentions to seek other alternatives. Our challenge should, of course, be peaceful.
In this particular example, the question I always struggle with is “What if the stones had been thrown?”
If your mind takes you to an answer even remotely related to the idea of stepping in front of them, that is our cue to move specifically to Syria. Because you can’t step in front of a missile loaded with Sarin.
The Bible never gives an account of Jesus responding to violence being perpetrated against an innocent, unarmed person.
The Bible certainly never gives an account of Jesus instructing a nation about how to respond to another nation murdering its innocent civilians. In fact, Jesus never addresses foreign policy at all.
If children are being burned alive in Syria, the international community is obligated to attempt nonviolent intervention.
If nonviolent intervention doesn’t work, I think it is possible to justly engage in violence.
The United States has not attempted nonviolent intervention.
We have not exhausted, or even attempted diplomacy. Our international efforts have been to persuade others to join us in violence and to train and arm the combatants, not to dissuade Assad.
Until we exhaust diplomacy, we cannot justly engage in violence.
We haven’t even tried.