Recently by Ellen Finnigan: Why I Decided To Publish Directly Through Amazon
When asked, “What is the most pressing moral issue of our time?” one presidential candidate said: “We now promote preemptive war. We have rejected the just war theory of Christianity.”
This candidate is Ron Paul. He voted against the invasion of Iraq, and he is my choice for president.
In January 2003, two months before American forces invaded Iraq, in an address to the Diplomatic Corps, Pope John Paul II listed “certain requirements which must be met if entire peoples, perhaps even humanity itself, are not to sink into the abyss.” Among them he listed “Yes to life!” “No to death!” and “No to war!” In the political culture at large, war is rarely discussed as a moral issue, but as Catholic American voters, we must consider it one.
I believe that Ron Paul’s ideas on foreign policy, on war and peace in particular, when considered in light of Pope John Paul’s statements, make him the only truly pro-life candidate.
Regarding “Yes to life!” the Pope said, “War itself is an attack on human life, since it brings in its wake suffering and death. The battle for peace is always a battle for life!”
Ron Paul has said, “I get to my God through Christ. Christ, to me, is a man of peace. . . . He is not for war. He doesn’t justify preemptive war. I strongly believe that there is a Christian doctrine of just war. And I believe this nation has drifted from that. No matter what the rationales are, we have drifted from that, and it’s very, very dangerous, and in many ways unchristian. . . . That is what I see from my God and through Christ. I vote for peace.”
Congressman Paul even considers sanctions, such as the ones imposed on Iraq in the 1990s—which resulted, by some estimates, in over 100,000 Iraqi deaths—”an act of war.” He opposed the sanctions on Iraq and calls them immoral. He opposes sanctions on Iran. In his view, “[Sanctions] result in terrible, unnecessary suffering among the civilian population in the target countries and rarely even inconvenience their leaders.”
In addition to challenging diplomats and nation states to say no to war, Pope John Paul called for “respect for law.” The Pope acknowledges that the rule of law forms “the foundation of national and international stability.”
According to the Constitution, our supreme law which every president must swear to “preserve, protect and defend,” only Congress has the power to declare war. The last time Congress declared war was on Dec. 11, 1941. Since then, it has been abdicating this responsibility and transferring the power to the executive branch under the War Powers Resolution of 1973, a process which circumvents the Constitution and ultimately the American people. Since then, we have had no clear victories in “war,” only an endless series of convoluted, indefinite entanglements with murky goals, murkier results, and thousands of lives lost.
Congressman Paul is the only presidential candidate who claims to have a problem with the way we now go to war, calling it not only “complex and deceptive” but “a danger to world peace.” He filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its “illegal war in Libya” and “abuse of war powers” in an effort to “force the Obama administration to obey the clear letter of the law.”
Paul is always the champion of the Constitution, which is to say the rule of law, but especially when it comes to war, because “a declaration of war limits the presidential powers, narrows the focus, and implies a precise end point to the conflict.”
Pope John Paul also outlined a “duty of solidarity,” saying that “it is important to spare no effort to ensure that everyone feels responsible for the growth and happiness of all.”
Congressman Paul has said that “history shows that without weapons and war, there is more food and prosperity for the people.” He describes his foreign policy as follows: “I would replace [a policy of mutually assured destruction] with a policy of mutually assured respect. . . . This requires simply tolerance of other cultures and their social and religious values and the giving up of all use of force to occupy or control other countries and their national resource. . . . This would result in the U.S. treating other nations exactly as we expect others to treat us, offering friendship with all who seek it, participating in trade with all who are willing. . . . This is the only practical way to promote peace, harmony and economic well-being to the maximum number of people in the world.”
In his eyes, “If America indeed has something good to offer—the cause of peace, prosperity, and liberty—it must be spread through persuasion and by example, not by intimidation, bribes and war.”
Pope John Paul explained to the Diplomatic Corps: “The peoples of the earth and their leaders must sometimes have the courage to say ‘No’. . . no to death! no to selfishness! and no to war! War is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity.”
Not only is Congressman Paul known as “Dr. No” on Capitol Hill, he does not mistake bellicosity for courage. On the issue of Iran, Paul said: “I think this wild goal to have another war in the name of defense is the dangerous thing. The danger is really us overreacting. . . . If [Michele Bachmann] thinks we live in a dangerous world, she ought to think back when I was drafted in 1962 with nuclear missiles in Cuba, and Kennedy calls Khrushchev and talks to him and talks him out of this, and we don’t have a nuclear exchange. You’re trying to dramatize this. We have to go to treat Iran like we treated Iraq? And kill a million Iraqis? And some 8,000 Americans have died since we’ve gone to war. You cannot solve these problems with war!“
As Pope John Paul suggested, “International law, honest dialogue, solidarity between States, the noble exercise of diplomacy: these are methods worthy of individuals and nations in resolving their differences.”
Similarly, Congressman Paul has said, “This policy of American domination and exceptionalism has allowed us to become an aggressor nation, supporting preemptive war, covert destabilization, foreign occupations, nation building, torture and assassinations. This policy has generated hatred toward Americans and provides the incentive for almost all of the suicide attacks against us and our allies.”
“We have 12,000 diplomats in our government. I suggest we start using our diplomats and do a little bit of diplomacy once in a while.”
Fittingly, Congressman Paul has named Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks as two of his heroes for their effective leadership through a commitment to the Gospel message of nonviolence. They were social diplomats for change through peace.
Ellen Finnigan [send her mail] graduated from the University of Montana with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. She recently published her first book, The Me Years, and currently teaches writing online to homeschooled kids. Visit her at ellenfinnigan.com.