Why a Christianity & National Security Conference?

Next week November 2-3 Providence is hosting its second annual Christianity and National Security Conference at Georgetown University. I hope you can join us. We have special discounts and scholarships for students and other young people. Here’s more info, including a list of speakers and registration form.

This event is for anyone who’s interested in thoughtfully applying Christian faith to global statecraft, including war and peace, espionage, nationalism, pacifism, immigration, foreign aid, nuclear weapons, terrorism, political power, and justice. As citizens of America, how should we think about our nation’s role and duties in the world? And what our own responsibilities as persons of faith, especially if we serve or desire to serve in government?

There’s plenty of evidence that the church and its related institutions are not equipping believers with the Christian-informed intellectual tools they need for addressing global statecraft.

Recently televangelist Pat Robertson controversially suggested minimizing Saudi Arabia’s killing of a USA-based journalist to protect American arms sales. Last year Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress suggested God had authorized Donald Trump to “take out” North Korea.

Christian activist Shane Claiborne likens America to the Third Reich and insists the Gospel requires America replace bomb-making with ice cream. Missouri pastor and author Brian Zahnd thinks America is a wicked empire akin to ancient Rome and Babylon. Claiborne and Zahnd heed pacifist theologian Stanley Hauerwas, who claims authentic Christian faith requires rejecting loyalty to nation.

These polemical perspectives tend to ignore the riches of historic Christian teaching about God’s core vocation for government, which is to provide public order and security. There are centuries of remarkable church tradition about understanding the purposes and limits of political power.

Yet few American Christians are aware of these incredible resources so they succumb to contemporary polarizing assumptions. The church, broadly speaking, can and must do better. This Christianity and National Security Conference aims to equip Christians and others who are interested with a broader and deeper way of thinking about America in today’s world.

Our speakers, starting with Wall Street Journal foreign policy columnist Walter Russell Mead, are amazing. But I think you will enjoy the audience as much as the speakers. It will include an eclectic collection of students, scholars and foreign policy practitioners guided by deep faith.

Last year several participants told me their lives were changed by the conference. Others were less dramatic but said they learned a lot, met new friends, and had a terrific time. Meeting in Georgetown, DC’s oldest and arguably most charming neighborhood, is just one more benefit.

The website at bottom has videos from last year that I commend to you. If you’ve questions about the conference, including scholarships, you’re welcome to contact me directly at mtooley@theird.org. I hope to see you next week!

 
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