"We are fated to kill and be killed because we know no other way to live, but through the forgiveness made possible by the cross of Jesus we are no longer condemned to kill. A people have been created who refuse to resort to the sword, that they and those they love might survive. They seek not to survive, but to live in the light of Christ’s resurrection. The sacrifices of war are no longer necessary. We can now live free of the necessity of violence and killing. War and the sacrifices of war have come to an end. War has been abolished," – Stanley Hauerwas, cited in a dismissive review in First Things, which focuses on the impracticality of living Hauerwas's doctrine in the real and dangerous world we actually inhabit.
Which is to say: it uses Hauerwas's difficult prescriptions to ignore his spiritual diagnosis. Which is a shame, because Hauerwas is putting his finger on something both true and discomfiting — the way American wars are viewed by many as "redemptive" and the way patriotism becomes a form of piety. War, for Hauerwas, "is America's altar." It sure seems to have continued that way.
(Photo: The Deserter by Boardman Robinson. Anti-war cartoon depicting Jesus facing a firing squad made up of soldiers from five different European countries. At that time the US had not yet entered the war. First published in The Masses in 1916.)