THE QUESTION OF THE U.N.
N T Wright on the United Nations:
"the USA and Britain could never act as a credible police force in the world, especially in the Middle East;
(ii) imposing the will of the West, by brute force, on another part of the world, simply invokes a might-is-right philosophy which we will strongly object to as soon as India or China attains superpower status and decides to effect regime change in London or Washington;
All this has happened, and I conclude that this war always was unjust, and that if we wanted to prevent Saddam tyrannizing his own people (why stop there? There are plenty of other brutal tyrants in the world) the best and only way was through . . . the United Nations. YES, I KNOW – this, quickly, to those who at once pour scorn on the very mention of it – the United Nations has been a laughing-stock and, despite many successes (some unsung), has had many failures and muddles. But part of this is because America has had a strong vested interest in keeping the UN weak (just like America doesn’t like the idea of an international court of justice, or the Kyoto protocol, etc.).
We badly need a credible international police force; we don’t have one at the moment; USA plus Britain can’t function as such; we should be working flat out either at enabling the UN to act in that way or at creating a body that can."
I agree with NT Wright that the War for Iraq was a political mistake but he is mistaken in thinking that the error lies in George W. Bush or Tony Blair not following the guidelines of the Augustinian Just War theory; rather, the Operation Iraqi Freedom was a blunder largely because the unfaithfulness of the Bush administration to the U.S. Constitution (specifically Article I, Section 8, Clause 11-the Power to declare war by CONGRESS!) and Bush presidency’s insubORDinate behavior (that is, their refusal to subject themselves to the demands of God’s Word) towards the command in Romans 13 to be subORDinate to the authorities, which is in this case, the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate according to the Constitution. Even the proposal of a United Nations’ created international police force by Wright runs contrary to the principles that the United Nations was founded upon.
Chapter 1, Article 1, section 1 of the UN Charter clearly states that the United Nations desires to MAINTAIN international peace and security as well as to develop friendly relationships, and achieve international cooperation; but it goes on to recognize in Article 2, section 1 that each state is EQUALLY SOVEREIGN and in section 4 of that same article that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” In other words, the establishment of a police force that uses both actual and veiled forms of violence, is contrary to the UN Charter and violates the rights of individual member states.
In addition, Wright overlooks the unequal power relationships created by the existence of the U.N. Security Council as it stands right now. The notion that it is necessary to keep the same five particular countries which must remain on the council with veto powers or the peculiar statuses of the Vatican and Palestine having Permanent Observers to the UN. The nature of these relationships along with the good number of intergovernmental agencies such as the African Union and the European community must be dealt with before there is any talk of an international police force; are regional considerations and differences, for example, going to be respected? Lastly, if it is a possible to create a police force through the United Nations as it exists, what authority will the force be accountable to? The International Court of Justice? The International Criminal Court? Or maybe individual states?
Rather than trying to find a solution based on an unwarranted fear of chaos, I propose that the Church follow a model that first recognized the Mastery of Jesus the Messiah over the universe. Christians do have their own charter, the new Law given to us as a gift by Christ, from which we read about in Scripture called the Sermon on the Mount. We must subORDinate our lives to the law of Christ and then subsequently, the laws of the land. There is a Christian organization dedicated to making peace, and not just keeping the peace as the U.N. is called to do. The Matthew 5:21-26 Project is a group of Evangelicals and Pentecostals whose aim it is to recognize the Lordship of Jesus the Messiah by making him LORD over everything in their lives, including their relationships with strangers and “enemies.” They serve as an example of a peaceful witness dedicated to the limitation of governments to wield arms and the promotion of nuclear weapons reductions. An international police force will not be necessary because God has ordained the Church to serve as a nonviolent radical remnant beholden to the Crucified, Risen, and Returning LORD and the order that God prefers in the empire of God.
Vicit agnus noster; eum sequamur
Our Lamb has conquered; him let us follow.
Yoder, John Howard. The Politics of Jesus : Vicit Agnus Noster. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.Carlisle, U.K.: Eerdmans ; Paternoster Press, 1994.
The Gift of Powerlessness, Part 1
The Gift of Powerlessness, Part 2
DISCLAIMER #1 (NICHOLAS THOMAS WRIGHT)- There are many persons in the blogosphere who make it their business to criticize the work of NT Wright and the New Perspective on Paul based on hermeneutical and theological differences. Usually, it comes from the corners of the evangelical community that lean Reformed. This post is no such thing. I refuse to put Martin Luther, Jean Calvin, and for that matter, Karl Barth on a pedestal. Far from it; it is the author’s wish to push great men like these from their thrones in the royal court of theology and see Jesus the Messiah at the center of all theological reflection. That would include ethics, politics, race relations, sexual issues, and economics.
DISCLAIMER #2 (THE UNITED NATIONS)- There are a few Christian communities that have given society the impression that all Christians possess an irrational fear of the United Nations or any form of international cooperation. In fact, the producers of such stellar Christian movies such as MEGGIDO and the writers of the LEFT BEHIND series even go so far as to intimate that the UN or an organization as such will be an instrument of the Anti-Messiah. I do not interpret the book of Revelation in such a manner, and will I am fully aware of the tradition behind the pre-millenial dispensationalist reading of that text, there seems to be too many holes regarding that interpretation. I do affirm the physical, bodily return of Jesus the Messiah; I just do not share the same reasoning for believing in his return as pre-mils or Wright. This blog post is not going to be a fear-mongering, UN-bashing polemic.