Vladimir Putin and strict pacifism’s false comfort

March 25, 2014

Faith & Action, War and Peace

By Charles Redfern

Cross published on the Huffington Post.  The full article is found here.

It’s suddenly clear. We now see why Eastern European countries hustled in their NATO applications after the Berlin Wall tumbled: Mother Russia is a brooding matriarch coveting the children she once kidnapped, and Vladimir Putin stands in the tsarist lineage of thuggish, self-appointed successors of the Byzantine Caesars. Bare your chest and steal Crimea — and throw in that 97 percent vote as homage to yesteryear’s Soviet elections.

Obviously, a U.S. military strike is out of the question, but Putin reminds me why I reluctantly sympathize with fourth and fifth-century Christian theologians in their abandonment of strict pacifism, which historians Peter Brock and Thomas Paul Socknat define as “an unconditional rejection of all forms of warfare,” including self-defense. Goths and Visigoths marauded, culminating in Alaric’s sack of Rome in 410. Christians, once persecuted, now held high governmental positions with obligations to guard their citizens. Their moral dilemma: How do we handle sociopathic tyrants? Such bullies thank their enemies for the olive branches and then brandish them as whips. Think of Nero, Genghis Kahn, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic, Slobodan Milosevic, and Charles Taylor. Think of Ted Bundy with an army.

For the rest, click here


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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern


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