I guess you could call this an edited guest blog. I read this entire letter today and it offers up some thoughts for discussion. The full letter can be found here: http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2013/09/05/president-of-national-association-of-evangelicals-releases-statement-on-syria/
We grieve the horrific loss of 100,000 lives and the displacement of more than two million refugees in a civil war that is frightening the world. We abhor the use of chemical weapons that have killed civilians, including hundreds of children.
We’ve gotten ourselves in a corner with a clear threat of retaliation against Syria for crossing the “red line” of deploying chemical weapons. Since the chemical atrocities of World War I there has been an international consensus that chemical weapons would never be used again. It’s happened, and most agree there should be serious consequences. But, does that mean America should inflict those consequences alone, without a resolution from the United Nations or broad support from our European allies and the Arab nations of the Middle East?
Our world has so many injustices and some of the worst are initiated by governments. These injustices should be confronted. Someone must speak up and stand up for the poor and suffering who cannot defend themselves. Since the United States is the most powerful and prosperous nation on earth, there is an expectation that we lead against unjust and cruel regimes. Yet, we know that we are not big enough, powerful enough or prosperous enough to police hundreds of nations with billions of people. The difficulty is deciding when we will intervene and when we will allow injustices to go unchallenged.
What we don’t know is whether a military attack on Syria would help or hurt Syria’s neighbor nations from Turkey to Israel and beyond. Some think that doing nothing will communicate weakness and put neighbor nations at greater risk. Others think that Syria might respond to a U.S. attack with its own attack and provoke an explosive regional war throughout the Middle East. We just can’t know in advance what might happen.
Could the United States persuade other nations to join with us in looking for new ways to punish Syria for the use of chemical weapons but also preserve the threat of military options in response to past and potential use of chemical weapons?
Leith Anderson President | National Association of Evangelicals