Air Force Removes Moral Compass/Cancels Just War Theory Course

By Julie Roys
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The U.S. Air Force this month effectively removed its moral compass. Responding to pressure from a vocal minority, it cancelled a class on Just War Theory for its nuclear missile launch officers. It’s now seeking to teach ethics without any religious basis.

Just War theory, as you may know, is based on Christian values and teaching. And, that’s precisely what offended the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an ironic name for a group that wants to erase religion. Foundation Spokesman Mikey Weinsten called the Just War class “disgusting” and demanded it be removed. The Air Force quickly caved.

Air Force Spokesman David Smith conceded that at one time, the armed service thought Bible-based training necessary “because of the nature of the job.” But now that society’s become pluralistic, he contends that such training is “inappropriate.” Now, Smith says, the Air Force must develop an ethics course without relying on any religious system.

Of course, that’s impossible. All ethics are derived from religious belief. Even the secularist relies on what’s essentially religious belief: the only difference is he trusts in man and so-called random processes where a theist trusts in God. So now, instead of valuing humans as beings made in God’s image, the person deciding humanity’s fate will think we’re simply accidents. And, rather than believing that a war must be just, he’ll simply try to ensure survival of the fittest.

Of course, Weinstein is hailing the change as a moral victory that will make the world more peaceful. He wrongfully characterizes Just War Theory as advocating that “war is a good thing.” On the contrary, Just War Theory actually teaches restraint – that a nation should go to war only after peaceful attempts have failed and only when its cause and intent are just. As Romans 13 says, government is God’s servant, “an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” But, without God, there’s no definition of wrong or just. There’s simply a moral vacuum – and weapons of mass destruction.

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4 thoughts on “Air Force Removes Moral Compass/Cancels Just War Theory Course”

  1. This is truly unfortunate. Mt general experience is that most people who dismiss just war theory, including many Christian pacifists, don’t really represent it fairly or seem interested in understanding it accurately. I’m no expert in it, but I’ve read enough to recognize caricatures of it when I see them.

  2. Julie, I attended the US Air Force Academy where we were taught Just War Theory as cadets for an important reason – it comports with deontological (ie, duty based) ethics. A secular basis would necessarily shift from this basis to utilitarian ethics, ie, survival of the fittest, be it individual- or state-driven. They tried interposing Kant for our classics readings, but even he was a mish mash of humanism and revelation that didn’t work intellectually for many, including me. But JWT meshed for almost everyone, its nature being grounded in universal truths (eg, if you are violently attacked or are about to be, you can defend yourself) that nearly every cadet recognized as transcendent. Mikey Weinstein is a known figure around USAFA. He unfortunately experienced anti Semitism at the Academy as a cadet and also didn’t like the Christian ethos – chapel was compulsory when he attended, as I hear it – and has been on the war path against God since.

    PS: Also have a child considering playing soccer for Wheaton – thanks for your social justice expose and the letter from a listener whose daughter attends Wheaton. Wouldn’t have guessed it.

  3. Thanks for sharing your perspective. Have you ever read “Total Truth,” by Nancy Pearcey? She so cogently explains how secular worldviews that try to replace the biblical narrative eventually fall apart, as you describe.

    Glad you enjoyed the Wheaton piece. I have a niece and nephew who recently graduated from there. They enjoyed their time, but outright laughed when one of my relatives asked if their professors ever offer a conservative perspective on social justice issues. I’m sure some do, but it seems the prevailing thought is left of center.

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