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A. Acting As Citizens
We recognize the awesome responsibility political leaders, policy makers, and diplomats have for peace in our unsettled time. In a democracy all citizens share in this responsibility. We encourage participation by Christians in the affairs of government.
Our faith as Christians gives a distinctive quality to our life as citizens. Love born of faith calls us not to harm others and to help them in every need. The Scriptures provide us direction. Yet we do not possess uniquely Christian international policies or a divine or biblical politics for our nation. For political guidance we also must rely upon reason and compassion, and examine and draw upon common human experience through which, we believe, God is at work creating and preserving the world.
For the welfare of our neighbors, we in company with others must press for what is right and good within the limits and possibilities of the actual situation. Leaders and citizens make decisions among many competing goods and interests when not all can be realized. In the uncertain task of calculating the probable outcomes of these decisions and choosing the best alternative, we must view the desired ends of action in light of the means and resources available.
Political authority relies on both the consent of the people and the threat and use of coercion. In accordance with the Lutheran tradition,  we affirm that governments may legitimately employ such measures as law and its enforcement, police protection, provisions for the common defense, and resistance to aggression. We also affirm that governments should vigorously pursue less coercive measures over more coercive ones: consent over compulsion, nonviolence over violence, diplomacy over military engagement, and deterrence over war.
With its significant economic, political, cultural, and military power, the United States plays a vital leadership role in world affairs. It cannot and should not withdraw or isolate itself from the rest of the world. Neither should it seek to control or police the world. Global challenges cannot be addressed by the United States alone; yet few can be met without the United States' participation.
In pursuing their interests, all nations, including the United States, have an obligation to respect the interests of other states and international actors and to comply with international law. Nations should seek their own common good in the context of the global common good. International bodies should work for the welfare of all nations.
Citizens need to give careful attention to how we in the United States perceive our national interest and interpret our national identity, since what states do depends in large measure on their views of their own interests and identity. Sin's power often makes itself felt in arrogant and self-righteous views of national identity, and in narrow, short-term, and absolute views of national interest.
We call for an imaginative attention to the interests and welfare of other nations, especially of those that are viewed as "enemies" or that are considered unimportant for our nation's interests. We expect expressions of our nation's identity to build on the best of our traditions, to respect others' identity, and to open up paths for mutual understanding. For the sake of a greater good or for reasons of conscience, citizens may need to oppose a prevailing understanding or practice of national identity and interest. Citizens may even need to resist oppressive government.
B. Deciding about Wars
Wars, both between and within states, represent a horrendous failure of politics. The evil of war is especially evident in the number of children and other noncombatants who suffer and die. We lament that the Church has blessed crusades and wars in the name of Jesus Christ. We recognize with sorrow that too often people formed in the Lutheran tradition have passively accepted their government's call-to-arms or have too readily endorsed war to resolve conflicts.
First and foremost, love of neighbor obligates us to act to prevent wars and to seek alternatives to them, especially in view of modern weapons and their proliferation. For this reason, this statement focuses on building a just peace and identifies tasks that create conditions for peace. Yet wars and their threat still thrust themselves upon us, and we cannot avoid making decisions about them.
In doing so, we face conflicting moral claims and agonizing dilemmas. Helping the neighbor in need may require protecting innocent people from injustice and aggression. While we support the use of nonviolent measures, there may be no other way to offer protection in some circumstances than by restraining forcibly those harming the innocent. We do not, then--for the sake of the neighbor--rule out possible support for the use of military force. We must determine in particular circumstances whether or not military action is the lesser evil.
We seek guidance from the principles of the "just/unjust war" tradition. While permitting recourse to war in exceptional circumstances, these principles intend to limit such occasions by setting forth conditions that must be met to render military action justifiable. We begin with a strong presumption against all war; support for and participation in a war to restore peace is a tragic concession to a sinful world. Any decision for war must be a mournful one.
The principles for deciding about wars include right intention, justifiable cause, legitimate authority, last resort, declaration of war aims, proportionality, and reasonable chance of success. The principles for conducting war include noncombatant immunity and proportionality.  The principles for post-war conduct include showing mercy to the defeated and assisting them to rebuild. Justifiable national and international commitment of forces to armed conflicts depend on adherence to these principles.
This approach incorporates the hope that even war may be subject to political ends (peace) and moral considerations. At their best, these principles provide a moral framework, ambiguous and imprecise though it be, for public deliberation about war, and guidance for persons deciding what to do when faced with the dilemmas of war. In using them, Christians need to be prepared to say "no" to wars in which their nation participates.
These principles are important in international law and in military codes of conduct. They are the basis for our church's unequivocal rejection of nuclear war  and for its support for "selective conscientious objection."  In taking this approach to war, this church supports the vocation of men and women in the military who in conscience directly face the ambiguities of relative evils, and who may suffer and die to defend their neighbor.
From the posture of the just/unjust war tradition, the aim of all politics is peace. Any political activity that involves coercion should be held accountable to just/unjust war principles. They are important for evaluating movements, sanctions, embargoes, boycotts, trade policies to reward or punish, and other coercive but nonviolent measures.
The Church and others often fail to teach and apply the just/unjust war principles. These principles can be and have been misused in self-serving ways. As an evolving tradition, these principles need constant testing in light of the changing nature of warfare. Their proper use depends on political wisdom and historical knowledge of the situation. We affirm this approach humbly and self-critically. We encourage further deliberation about its faithfulness and adequacy.
Another voice with deep historical roots in the Christian tradition also speaks in our church. This church today needs the witness of its members who in the name of Jesus Christ refuse all participation in war, who commit themselves to establish peace and justice on earth by nonviolent power alone, and who may suffer and die in their discipleship. We support members who conscientiously object to bearing arms in military service.
We must continue the perennial discussion in the Church universal about whether Christian love and discipleship prohibit participation in war in all circumstances, or whether they may permit it in some circumstances. This discussion poses important and difficult biblical, historical, theological, and ethical questions. Even when Christians may differ on these questions, there is still a basis for practical cooperation in their common presumption against violence and commitment to peace.
We make decisions about participation in war knowing that what we do or do not do falls short of what love requires. No matter what conscientious people decide, they remain under God's judgment and in need of God's mercy given in the cross of Christ.
Does your Christian belief extend to mercy for prisoners? Or are you an eye for an eye man? The U.S. has 25% of the world's prisoners but only 5% of the world's population. We also are among the leaders in executions. What does your faith have to say about that?
You ought to put this long written piece into a hub...since you don't have any yet!
Just select it, cut or copy and paste into a new hub.
And you will want to put the credits for it as necessary, too. Is all of this your original work?
I think it could go under politics and/or religion.
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