Between Pacifism & Jihad

The Just-War Tradition Today

by J. Daryl Charles

The character of much current religious dissent to the use of military force has been dispiriting. A good number of the dissenting responses lack serious thinking about the role of the authorities in preserving the moral and social order and protecting the citizenry, and many fail to engage in serious moral reflection about our duty to our neighbor.

Many religious leaders seem to hold an overwhelming presumption against the use of military force and to assume that any use of force is immoral in and of itself. They seem to define peace simply as the absence of war. . . .

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J. Daryl Charles serves as the Acton Institute Affiliated Scholar in Theology & Ethics. He is author, co-author or editor of seventeen books, including: Wisdom’s Works: Essays on Ethics, Vocation, and Cultural Engagement (Acton Institute, forthcoming), America and the Just War Tradition: A History of U.S. Conflicts (Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 2019), Natural Law and Religious Freedom (Routledge, 2018), and The Just War Tradition: An Introduction (ISI Books, 2012). He is a contributing editor to Touchstone.

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