16 December 2017

On the Moral Obligation of Christian Leaders to Protect Their People From Enemies

Leaders of families, businesses, and governments have a moral obligation to protect those whom they lead. Along with the preservation of law, order, and productivity, this is one of the reasons that God grants power to certain men. As the Lord is all-powerful, he is the source of all power, and all power is intended to serve his will. This is true even when that leader is wicked and unbelieving (Jn 19:11, Romans 13:4).
The obligations of fathers and husbands are expounded in Scripture in too many places to list here, while the responsibility of a ruler for the welfare of his people is made evident that all of Israel suffered when its kings faltered, and the Egyptians suffered terrible plagues for the sins of their pharaoh.
The obligation of leaders to protect their people is a matter of natural law, and is therefore not unique to the Christian faith. This moral imperative does, however, reach its fullness in Christ, taking on holy meaning in his words and example of the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep (Jn 10:11).
Consequently, a leader who defends his people, no matter how flawed he may be, is in that one regard imitating Our Lord. Nor can we consider as virtuous any leader who fails to do so. under the guise of persuing peace and mercy. The command to love strangers and even enemies does not negate the moral imperative to protect one's family, community, and country. A leader and his people are in a covenant of mutual obligations, and as a matter of justice, those obligations take priority.
Justice requires giving others what we owe them, and those entrusted with power on earth owe protection to their people. Peace can never be established seperate from justice. Only a ruler who has secured his own society can he successfully help members of other groups. Only from a position of strength can he hope to negotiate peace with an enemy, as no enemy will settle for peace against a people who are unprotected.
Leaders, therefore, have a grave moral obligation to promote order and security by enforcing laws, punishing criminals, defending the land and resources on which their people's lives depend, and protecting their people from invasions or attacks from enemies. For the true leader, pacifism is a crime of neglect.

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