We shouldn't talk about political issues in Sunday School class, but I've got to get some things off my chest...so I'll talk about them here instead.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, although it is politically neutral, encourages its members to be politically active. However, that political activism is prohibited from occurring in
In modern-day parlance, "just war" means that even a half-baked idea is reason enough for the world's only superpower to dominate yet another nation, because the United States only wants what's best for everyone else.LDS meetinghouses. You may imagine, then, how difficult it was for me to bite my tongue to prevent it from saying political words during our Sunday School class today, in which we discussed the subject of war.
So did Stalin. So did Hitler.
When the question was posed in class this morning: "When is it justifiable to go to war?" I leaned over and asked my wife if it would be appropriate to respond, "When another country is controlling the oil that we need." She smiled a don't-you-dare look and then almost slapped me.
Captain Moroni was a beloved commander of the Nephite peoples; his story is told in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Moroni abhorred war, but realized that it was sometimes not only permissible, but imperative, to enter a war against one's enemies.
Considered a local situation: is it okay for us to go to war with our enemies when we are defending ourselves or our families? I'm sure you'd agree that if another person began beating up on your wife or child, you would feel justified in fighting back against her aggressor.
The same metric can be applied to nations. We go to war in self-defense and for not much else. Moroni understood this concept well
9 And now the design of the Nephites was to support their lands, and their houses, and their awives, and their children, that they might preserve them from the hands of their enemies; and also that they might preserve their brights and their privileges, yea, and also their cliberty, that they might worship God according to their desires.
And now, the sabers are rattling against Iran in nearly the same way that they were rattling against Iraq six years ago. Are we smart enough to recognize propaganda and non-just war when we see them this time around?
Probably not. Because members of the intellectual community have invented a much lower threshold, which they have given the unfortunate misnomer of "just war". In modern-day parlance, just war means that even a half-baked idea is reason enough for the world's only superpower to dominate yet another nation, because the United States only wants what's best for everyone else. So did Stalin. So did Hitler.
If we are truly just, we don't go to war when oil is at stake--instead, we find alternative sources of energy. We don't go to war simply because American corporate interests are at stake--instead, we champion through our example the benefits of liberty. We don't go to war when one of our allies attacks one of our enemies--rather, we avoid entangling alliances in the first place. And we for sure don't use the vitriol of false propaganda to stir up the people to call for and sanction illegal wars.
Moroni didn't do any of these things. In a remarkable display of character, while abhoring the act of war, Captain Moroni never entered war with anger or malice for his enemy. When the Lamanite chief Zarahemna was captured, Moroni magnanimously offered a covenant with Zarahemna and his people that if they would lay down their weapons and commit to never come to battle against the Nephites again, he would let them leave in peace.
Sometimes I wish it were okay to talk politics in Sunday School. There are a few people in my Sunday School class who understand the basic concept of when it's morally permissible to enter a war, but there are some that don't. Some that understand the concept don't still don't see, though, how it is applicable to our day. Even worse, outside of my Sunday School class, there are a plethora of Americans who, having voted for George W. Bush twice, still don't seem to have a clue as to what a just war is.
George W. Bush, you are no Captain Moroni.
Do you think there are government leaders out there today who have the courage and integrity of a Captain Moroni? Yes, there are. But we have this really bad habit of, in nearly all cases, ignoring them or being afraid to vote for them out of deference to the "Lesser of Two Evils" doctrine. That's gotta change!