John W. Redelfs suggested the following as a general description of Moral

"We are people of peace. We are followers of the Christ who was and is the
Prince of Peace. But there are times when we must stand up for right and
decency, for freedom and civilization, just as Moroni rallied his people in
his day to the defense of their wives, their children, and the cause of
liberty (see Alma 48:10)."  -- President Hinckley, October General
Conference, 2001)

"And thus he was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their
wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto
the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by
their enemies the cause of Christians." (Alma 48:10)

"Now the Nephites were taught to defend themselves against their enemies,
even to the shedding of blood if it were necessary; yea, and they were also
taught never to give an offense, yea, and never to raise the sword except
it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives." (Alma

"And also, that God would make it known unto them whither they should go to
defend themselves against their enemies, and by so doing, the Lord would
deliver them; and this was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in
it; not in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his
people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting
iniquity." (Alma 48:16)

John continues:

"Surely in these passages we can find some statement of belief on what is
moral action, can't we?

1) We defend ourselves even if it means shedding blood.
2) We never give offense.
3) We never fight except to preserve our lives.
4) We only fight when God commands us to fight."

George adds to the discussion:

    From the first I have used Alma 48, et al, to start the definition of a
moral war.  I think that John has, in this instance, done an admirable, but
basic and incomplete, job of defining what is needed for moral action in the
event of war.  Therefore, I would like to  add a few comments based on my
own feelings, as well as some contributions from others in this discussion.
I am using Johns comments as a beginning point of discussion, therefore what
follows is not a critique, rather an expansion.

1) We defend ourselves even if it means shedding blood.
    I must add the consideration of doing all we can to avoid killing and
destruction insofar as possible.  We can not, when given the justification
to go to war, use it as a pretense, or cause, to wield unfettered
destruction and death upon the enemy.  This is against the basic nature of
the combatants, who have the tendency and instructions to go out and do all
the damage possible to defeat the enemy.  The control, however difficult, of
such warriors is one aspect of Morality in war

2) We never give offense.
    We must also act proactively to correct the causes that might give
offense, not to the extreme of doing anything at any cost, but we must act
to prevent and correct negative conditions throughout the world.

3) We never fight except to preserve our lives.
    There is an additional consideration as we also have a obligation to
preserve principles, not just our lives.  There are principles that are
worthy to give our lives for.  We can preserve our lives by giving in to
tyrants.  This is not acceptable and is in fact immoral to do so.  The
reason we fight is as important as the way we fight.  The acquisition of
land and influence is not a principle that is acceptable as a reason to go
to war. But the preservation of Liberty and freedom is a cause for action.
    The question was asked by one, is it not possible for both sides to
fight a moral war?  No, it is not!!!  We must only fight after we have done
all we can to prevent a war.  If both sides are trying to do this, war will
not occur.  Moral action by both parties will always result in peace.  For
war to occur one or both must be acting immorally.
     We have every moral right to act in our best interests, in complying
with this 3rd consideration, and therefore to act when the other side is
preparing or taking the first steps to act against us.  Such hostile
preparations can be a cause for pre-emptive action, but only after all other
means of resolution are exhausted.

4) We only fight when God commands us to fight.
This is good, but not possible in today's world.  The best we can do is make
sure that our definition of Moral war is consistent with Gods commandments
and then do our best to comply.

5) We must treat the losers with honor and dignity, irrespective of their
prior actions.  We must do all we can to mitigate the effects of our actions
against them.  The moral victor must always look at the loser as a victim of
a terrible tragedy, even if brought upon themselves, and must do all they
can to correct the negative situation.

Other questions such as "crossing boundaries" or "international law" or
"Geneva Convention" only are applications of the basic considerations of
Moral action in the event of war.

We are a people of Peace, both as Church members and as citizens of Nations.
I believe this is especially true of the United States, but also of other
nations most of the time.  You can point out all sorts of actions that might
seem to go against the argument, but I think that MOST actions by the US fit
into the above criteria.

Would anyone disagree with this definition of Moral War?  Or would anyone
add to this list of requirements?

Now if you want the flames to fly - apply this to a real situation and we
will see how difficult it is to fight a moral war and apply each of these
rules to the conflict.


George Cobabe, CLU, ChFC
Ogden, Utah

///  ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at  ///
///      ///

This email was sent to:

Or send an email to: [EMAIL PROTECTED]

TOPICA - Start your own email discussion group. FREE!

Reply via email to