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1. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 2
Preface
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selected essays
2. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 2
Patrick T. McCormick Reading Isaac's Sacrifice as an Antiwar Parable
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Modern readers appalled by Abraham's unquestioning obedience to a divine command to slaughter his son on the altar of sacrifice readily and repeatedly comply with governmental calls to sacrifice their own and others' children on the battlefield. But the God who interrupts the sacrifice of Isaac awakens Abraham and modern readers from the idolatrous nightmare of a patriotism that commands and blesses the sacrificial slaughter of our children.
3. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 2
Daniel H. Weiss Direct Divine Sanction, the Prohibition of Bloodshed, and the Individual as Image of God in Classical Rabbinic Literature
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This essay explores classical rabbinic literature's understanding of the prohibition of bloodshed alongside its understanding that "the image of God" corresponds to the physically embodied individual. This conception generates radical implications so that, apart from the narrow instance of a direct aggressor with intent to kill or rape, it is never legitimate to cause the death of any person, even in pursuit of a supposed "greater good." While notions of war and execution are retained in principle, the requirement of direct divine sanction for such actions neutralizes them in practice, removing them from the domain of human judgment and justification.
4. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 2
Dan Cantey Can the Christian Serve in the Military?: A Veteran Reflects on the Commensurability of the Christian Life and the Military Ethic
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To what extent is the Christian ethic, in its varied interpretations, commensurable with the experience of military life, including war? In addressing this question, I sketch two contrasting visions of the Christian faith, abolition and perdurance. My discussion of the two types emphasizes their concepts of the Christian ethic with attention to the question of military service and combat. It also offers theological rationales that provide a deeper understanding of the two alternatives. I conclude by siding with the perdurantist position while taking note of an important lesson learned from the abolitionist type.
5. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 2
Warren Kinghorn Combat Trauma and Moral Fragmentation: A Theological Account of Moral Injury
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Moral injury, the experience of having acted (or consented to others acting) incommensurably with one's most deeply held moral conceptions, is increasingly recognized by the mental health disciplines to be associated with postcombat traumatic stress. In this essay I argue that moral injury is an important and useful clinical construct but that the phenomenon of moral injury beckons beyond the structural constraints of contemporary psychology toward something like moral theology. This something, embodied in specific communal practices, can rescue moral injury from the medical model and the means—end logic of techne and can allow for truthful, contextualized narration of and healing from morally fragmenting combat experiences.
6. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 2
Hoon Choi Brothers in Arms and Brothers in Christ?: The Military and the Catholic Church as Sources for Modern Korean Masculinity
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In this essay I examine how compulsory military service and the Roman Catholic Church uphold and perpetuate an inadequate notion of masculinity in South Korea. I argue that the militaristic and Catholic definitions of masculinity significantly and pejoratively affect Korean culture. To unlearn these definitions, I propose an educational "readjusting" program that denounces any unjust discrimination on the basis of sex and gender.
7. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 2
Erik Owens Searching for an Obama Doctrine: Christian Realism and the Idealist/Realist Tension in Obama's Foreign Policy
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President Barack Obama entered office with a promise to change the style and substance of his predecessor's foreign policy. This essay evaluates his efforts by identifying the key policy goals and principled underpinnings of what might be called an Obama Doctrine. I argue that Obama's distinctive worldview, which holds idealism and realism in generative tension, is deeply rooted in Niebuhrian Christian realism yet diverges from it in important ways. I close with a brief articulation of an Obama Doctrine that reflects the president's perspective on the proper role of American power and influence in the world.
8. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 2
Paul Martens With the Grain of the Universe: Reexamining the Alleged Nonviolent Rejection of Natural Law
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This essay challenges the prevailing presumptions concerning the antithetical relationship between nonviolence and natural law. In conversation with the representative natural law positions offered by J. Daryl Charles and Jean Porter, I turn to the framing of the relationship between the new law and the natural law in Aquinas's "Treatise on Law" and appeal to the writings of John Howard Yoder and Stanley Hauerwas (sometimes against themselves) in order to argue that nonviolence can and should affirm natural law in some form if it intends to claim to represent "the grain of the universe."
9. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 2
Matthew A. Shadle What Is at Stake in the Debate over Presumptions in the Just War Tradition
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The debate over whether the just war theory begins with a "presumption against violence" has raged among Christian ethicists for more than thirty years. One camp argues that the theory begins with a presumption against violence that can be overridden in exceptional circumstances. The other camp claims that the just war tradition instead begins with a presumption against injustice. A careful analysis of the debate, however, reveals that the term "presumption against violence" has been used in three different ways, and that clarifying these usages can show the common ground in the debate and move it toward a resolution.
10. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 32 > Issue: 2
Anna Floerke Scheid Waging a Just Revolution: Just War Criteria in the Context of Oppression
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In 1983 the US Catholic bishops noted that "insufficient analytical attention has been given to the moral issues of revolutionary warfare." Decades later systematic analysis of armed revolutionary resistance remains a lacuna within theological scholarship on war and peacemaking. While nonviolence is always preferable, traditional just war criteria can and should be revised to provide guidelines for ethical, armed, revolutionary resistance. Examining the just war criteria of legitimate authority, last resort, and proportionality not from the perspective of society's dominant classes but from that of the oppressed begins to yield a theory of just revolution. When properly met, revised understandings of the just war criteria allow for limited armed resistance as a moral response to severe repression.