Liberal faith groups denounce drone strikes

by Institute on Religion and Democracy
Jeff Walton

Religious Left Charges U.S. Drone Policy on Autopilot

“The pacifist Religious Left is again denouncing drone strikes against terrorists without offering plausible alternatives.”
-IRD President Mark Tooley

Washington, DC—A letter to President Obama from United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Quaker, Brethren, and Christian Reformed officials, plus the head of “Nuns on the Bus,” is expressing “great concern” about drone “targeted killings” of “alleged” al Qaeda militants.

The groups want to repeal the post 9-11 “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” and instead pursue “police actions” that “extend protections consistent with principles of human and civil rights pertaining to the pursuit and apprehension of a criminal suspect, including fair trial in a court of law.”

A full version of the letter can be viewed by clicking here.

IRD President Mark Tooley commented:

“The pacifist Religious Left is again denouncing drone strikes against terrorists without offering plausible alternatives.

“These activists bemoan ‘remote, technical warfare,’ without admitting they, as literal or functional pacifists, oppose all warfare and force. Their appeal illustrates how some church officials, ignoring their own religious teachings about fallen humanity, want desperately to pretend that the world is intrinsically benign and just.

“These religious activists are interested in the ‘root causes of conflicts,’ which they surmise can be addressed by ‘restorative justice practices, and effective economic development programs.’ Their suggestion has merit if Islamist terrorists have legitimate grievances that can be redressed by rational recompense. But what if their mollification entails accommodation to Islamist rule and practice, including the suppression of civil liberties, which the activists profess to champion, and the suppression of non Islamists?

“The liberal Protestants’ letter seems to expect a level of perfection and power that not even the U.S. at its very best can possibly attain.

“Technology and modern scruples have made war and law enforcement more precise than ever before. But churches attuned to the limits of human capacity must understand that states, when defending the innocent from the murderous, must act boldly, stealthily, dangerously, and without guarantee of absolute success. Winston Churchill reputedly said: ‘The maxim ‘Nothing but perfection’ may be spelled ‘Paralysis.’’ High minded theorists may demand moral precision, but no government this side of heaven can guarantee it.”

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