Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (NIV, Isaiah 2:3-4)
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (NAS, Romans 12:17-21)
1. “As far as I am concerned, war itself is immoral.” -U.S. WWII General Omar Bradley
2. “The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” -James Madison
3. “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” -James Madison
4. “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. ” -James Madison
5. “Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.” -James Madison
6. “The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.” -James Madison
7. “It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.” -James Madison
8. “Having seen the people of all other nations bowed down to the earth under the wars and prodigalities of their rulers, I have cherished their opposites, peace, economy, and riddance of public debt, believing that these were the high road to public as well as private prosperity and happiness.” -Thomas Jefferson
9. “The most successful war seldom pays for its losses.” -Thomas Jefferson
10. “The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force.” -Thomas Jefferson
11. “Governments constantly choose between telling lies and fighting wars, with the end result always being the same. One will always lead to the other.” -Thomas Jefferson
12. “I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.” -Thomas Jefferson
13. “Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.” -Thomas Jefferson
14. “If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.” -Thomas Jefferson
15. “Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.” -Thomas Jefferson
16. “War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.” -Thomas Jefferson
17. “A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit.” -Thomas Jefferson
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. (NIV, Matthew 5:38-45)
18. “Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.” -Thomas Jefferson
19. “War…is as much a punishment to the punisher as to the sufferer.” -Thomas Jefferson
20. “I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.” -Thomas Jefferson
21. “Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.” -George Washington
22. “The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.” -George Washington
23. “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” -George Washington
24. “It is our true policy to steer clear of entangling alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” -George Washington
25. “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force…Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” -George Washington
26. “Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.” -George Washington
27. “My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth.” -George Washington
28. “Wars are not paid for in wartime, the bill comes later.” -Benjamin Franklin
29. “A highwayman is as much a robber when he plunders in a gang as when single; and a nation that makes an unjust war is only a great gang.” -Benjamin Franklin
30. “I hope….that mankind will at length, as they call themselves responsible creatures, have the reason and sense enough to settle their differences without cutting throats…” -Benjamin Franklin
31. “When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration?” -Benjamin Franklin
32. “All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones.” -Benjamin Franklin
33. “There never was a good war or a bad peace.” -Benjamin Franklin
34. “Those who give up essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” -Benjamin Franklin
35. “Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.” -John Adams
36. “Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak…” -John Adams
37. “A people free to choose will always choose peace.” -Ronald Reagan
38. “The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor.” -Ronald Reagan
39. “History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.” –Ronald Reagan
40. “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” -Ronald Reagan
41. “…no mother would ever willingly sacrifice her sons for territorial gain, for economic advantage, for ideology.” -Ronald Reagan
42. “People do not make wars; governments do.” -Ronald Reagan
43. “We must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.” -Ronald Reagan
44. “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
45. “How far can you go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
46. “We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
47. “We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
48. “Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
49. “You can’t have this kind of war. There just aren’t enough bulldozers to scrape the bodies off the streets.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
50. “War settles nothing.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
51. “There is no glory in battle worth the blood it costs.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
52. “We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
53. “Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
54. “When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
55. “This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
56. “I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
57. “Statism needs war; a free country does not. Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by producing.” -Ayn Rand
58. “Do not ever say that the desire to ‘do good’ by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.” -Ayn Rand
59. “No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country.” -Alexis de Tocqueville
60. “All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.” -Alexis de Tocqueville
61. “If we don’t stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, we’re going to have a serious problem coming down the road.” -George W. Bush, before becoming president and doing exactly what he promised not to.
62. “Free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don’t attack each other. Free nations don’t develop weapons of mass destruction.” -George W. Bush (I wish he had governed according to the principles in this quotation.)
63. “War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.” -George Orwell
64. “Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.” -George Orwell
65. “The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor.” -George Orwell
66. “Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.” -George Orwell
67. “War is a way of shattering to pieces…materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable and… too intelligent.” -George Orwell
68. “All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.” -George Orwell
69. “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” -George Orwell
70. “What is absurd and monstrous about war is that men who have no personal quarrel should be trained to murder one another in cold blood.” -Aldous Huxley
71. “A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.” -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
72. “The next war … may well bury Western civilization forever.” -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
73. “In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful.” -Leo Tolstoy
74. “A man who says that no patriot should attack the war until it is over…is saying no good son should warn his mother of a cliff until she has fallen.” -G.K. Chesterton
75. “War is the greatest plague that can affect humanity; it destroys religion, it destroys states, it destroys families. Any scourge is preferable to it.” -Martin Luther
76. “How vile and despicable war seems to me! I would rather be hacked to pieces than take part in such an abominable business.” -Albert Einstein
77. “It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.” -Albert Einstein
78. “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.” -The Mahatma Gandhi
79. “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?” -The Mahatma Gandhi
80. “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.” -The Mahatma Gandhi
81. “Liberty and democracy become unholy when their hands are dyed red with innocent blood.” -The Mahatma Gandhi
82. “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” -The Mahatma Gandhi
83. “If we don’t stop behaving like the British Empire, we will end up like the British Empire.” -Pat Buchanan
84. “All forms of violence, especially war, are totally unacceptable as means to settle disputes between and among nations, groups and persons.” -The Dalai Lama
85. “The best defense is no offense.” -Dr. Ivan Eland
86. “It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
87. “The chain reaction of evil–wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
88. “We have guided missiles and misguided men.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
89. “The bombs in Vietnam explode at home; they destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
90. “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
91. “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
92. “‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.” -F.A. Hayek
93. “The essence of so-called war prosperity; it enriches some by what it takes from others. It is not rising wealth but a shifting of wealth and income.” -Ludwig von Mises
94. “Economically considered, war and revolution are always bad business.” -Ludwig von Mises
95. “The attainment of the economic aims of man presupposes peace.” -Ludwig von Mises
96. “History has witnessed the failure of many endeavors to impose peace by war, cooperation by coercion, unanimity by slaughtering dissidents…. A lasting order cannot be established by bayonets.” -Ludwig von Mises
97. “War prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings.” -Ludwig von Mises
98. “War…is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror.” -Ludwig von Mises
99. “Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things.” -Ludwig von Mises
100. “Whoever wants peace among nations must seek to limit the state and its influence most strictly.” -Ludwig von Mises
Just War Theory
Clearly, the Christian ideal is total elimination of war and brotherly love among all people. However, in this imperfect world, war may be forced on those who do not desire it. St. Augustine (354 – 430) and St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) are primarily responsible for formulating the theory of the Just War which has remained the majority Christian approach to war to this day. There are many variations on the just war theory, but these are the basics:
- There must be a just cause for the war.
- War must be waged only in response to certain, grave and lasting damage inflicted by an aggressor.
- The motive for war must be advancement of good or avoidance of evil.
- The ultimate objective of war must be to bring peace.
- Revenge, revolt, a desire to harm, dominate, or exploit and similar things are not justification for war.
- Every possible means of peacefully settling the conflict must be exhausted first.
- There must be serious prospects of success; bloodshed without hope of victory cannot be justified.
- The war must be declared by a legitimate authority. Private individuals or groups should seek redress of their rights through their governments, not by acts of war.
- The war must not cause greater evil than the evil to be eliminated.
- Non-combatants (civilians) must not be intentionally harmed.
- Prisoners and conquered peoples must be treated justly.
More on Christianity and war: http://www.twopaths.com/faq_war.htm