In recent days not a few 'Christian' leaders have called for a more vigorous military engagement on the part of the United States to combat the threat of ISIS.
Truly a monstrous group, how should Christians respond to this? Is it indeed a Christian position to support the escalation of war, bombing and perhaps even a land invasion?
Politics seems to bring the various strands of Christianity together. Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders are united and most seem to insist a war with ISIS falls under the umbrella of Just War Theory.
What of those Christians who reject this theory as flawed and heretical? What of the Christians who reject the Constantinian model that creates a supposedly Christian version of statecraft? How do we respond? Will we dare to suggest that it's not 'Christian' to bomb ISIS?
Our response to the evil ISIS, the evil NATO, and the evil United States is... Repent, or you shall all likewise perish.
Saying this we nevertheless understand that the powers, the empires will respond to ISIS with violence. That's what governments do. But we don't sanction it or baptize their violence.
Is there any other possible solution? Yes, there are many solutions offered by many people. This situation is the result of previous American intervention and interference. The present bombing campaign, even an invasion may cull the immediate threat of ISIS, but will do nothing to solve the long term problems and in fact may only exacerbate them. ISIS wouldn't exist if the United States hadn't already been dropping bombs on the region since 2003... and in reality since 1991.
In fact in terms of a regional strategy it may be a mistake as the destruction of ISIS will only strengthen Syria's Assad. The warmongers will insist the United States should also take out Assad.
And then what? Well, that's where the men of blood (like John McCain) live in dreamland. Because unless the United States is prepared to permanently occupy these countries, which will result in a steady stream of death and enormous financial cost... then there really is no solution. Imperial calculus creates endless equations that can never be solved. Each solution begets at least three new problems.
McCain would happily bankrupt the United States to wage war and indeed it may be his kind that leads to an eventual American collapse. History repeats itself.
There are other options... but again, that's geopolitics. I can certainly talk about those options and offer suggestions but those wouldn't be necessarily 'Christian' either. They are pragmatic solutions at best, and though perhaps my opinions are rooted in theological principles they are ultimately outside the interests of the states involved.
Governments aren't going to voluntarily surrender power. That's not something that's in their DNA. All Christian solutions to geopolitical problems involve dissolution and the breaking of power. It's not going to happen and we shouldn't expect it to.
This is also why Christians can never be patriotic or support militarism. Those who engage in this type of thinking and activity are profoundly confused and often deluded when it comes to assessing the truth of the matter. The situation is read through a Nationalist lens which is an absolute guarantee of distortion.
What of the persecuted Christians? First of all I would prefer to recast the question... What of the persecuted and endangered people? Leave the Christianity out of it, because to be honest these ethnic Christian groups aren't Biblical Christians by any stretch of the imagination. They're interesting people to be sure and I don't want to see them hurt, but we should extend that sympathy to any of the minority groups in Iraq and Syria that are also under threat. The concern is humanitarian not Christian.
This is not sectarianism. I'm not a Protestant rejoicing at Roman Catholic or Orthodox suffering. I don't want to see any of these people suffer but this whole discussion is politicized. There are many instances of ostensibly or broadly defined Christian people suffering but if the politics don't fit the instincts of the Western Powers then our media and certainly the Church falls silent. Let's not be fooled here. The driving force of the response on the part of most American Christians is almost universally a political one.