Would Bartlet kill Laden?
It's been interesting observing the theological exchanges about the death of Bin Laden in the last few days. George Weigel came out in First Things and responded to the 'concern
' of Rowan Williams and the stronger rebuke from N T Wright, as we might have expected, and now there's a a surrejoinder in support of Wright and Williams in the Guardian from Giles Fraser. Fraser argues that although it might occasionally be necessary to kill people, and therefore pacifism is not the only viable Christian position, it is very dangerous to speak of 'just war' (and we wouldn't use that term at all if it wasn't for Constantine, who let's face it, wasn't exactly unbiased on the issue). That sentiment - that killing people might sometimes be necessary, but remains wrong - leads Fraser to ask the very Anabaptist question of whether a follower of Jesus can be in the White House, and he concludes with a quote from Hauerwas, which makes the Anabaptist tone of the piece even clearer.
All very interesting, of course. But it’s nothing that we hadn’t already seen in The West Wing, from a pair of characters, and a screenwriter, whose hawkishness stands to Hauerwas as chalk stands to cheese. The President and the Chief of Staff are discussing the morality of assassinating a foreign national who is a terrorist (not an irrelevant plotline, it would seem):
Bartlet: It’s just wrong. It’s absolutely wrong.
Leo: I know. But you have to do it anyway.
Leo: Because you won.
Can a Christian be President? Answers on a postage stamp.