Debra Erickson

Debra Erickson holds a Ph.D. in Religious Ethics from the University of Chicago. She is co-editor of the forthcoming volume: In Search of the Ethical Polity: Critical Essays on the Work of Jean Bethke Elshtain.

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Is Russia-Ukraine War the Start of World War III?

As the Russia-Ukraine War continues, is World War III inevitable—or has a new kind of world war already begun?

Russia-Ukraine War’s Lesson about Values and Decision-Making
Russia-Ukraine War’s Lesson about Values and Decision-Making

The West is not responsible for Putin’s war. But Western democracies are responsible for whether they live by the values that set them apart from the values that animate Putin’s imperial fantasy, and for whether they defend those values against attack.

Just War is Not a Foreign Policy
Just War is Not a Foreign Policy

Just war thinking is moral analysis of military action, not a framework for foreign policy. Acknowledging these limitations helps us to become better just war casuists, and it highlights the need for values-driven strategic thinking in the foreign policy sphere.

Hope amid Suffering as a Child is Born
Hope amid Suffering as a Child is Born

Hope is, fundamentally, the conviction that things can be different, that what is badly wrong with the world is not ultimately irreparable. Like the Christian calendar, which mirrors the rhythms of the year even as it points to something beyond, hope directs our vision to a better world just beyond the horizon.

First Mennonite Church in Berne, Indiana, in May 2007. By OZinOH, via Flickr.
A New Mennonite Vision: A Review of Melissa Florer-Bixler’s How to Have an Enemy

Melissa Florer-Bixler is angry, and she wants her fellow Mennonites to get angry, too. At least, that is the professed premise of her book, “How to Have an Enemy: Righteous Anger and the Work of Peace.”

Neither World War II nor Vietnam: 9/11 and the New Paradigms of War
Neither World War II nor Vietnam: 9/11 and the New Paradigms of War

In her 2003 book Just War Against Terror, Jean Bethke Elshtain argued for a new paradigm for a just war: the fight against global terrorism, particularly terrorism perpetrated by followers of militant Islam. Twenty years after 9/11, this claim is due for revisiting.

After the US Capitol Riot, Who Are We?
Who Are We?

January 6, 2021, would have been Elshtain’s eightieth birthday. I can only imagine how she would have responded to the events of the day. I do not think she would have been surprised, but nor would she have despaired. Neither should we.

Christian Realists, not Political Sectarians - Partisanship Politics
Christian Realists, not Political Sectarians

Pure partisanship—or political sectarianism—consists of commitment to an uncontested view of reality and fidelity to one’s ideological compatriots over the whole of one’s polity. Christian realists should not be such partisans.

The Uses and Abuses of War Language in a Pandemic

Talking about a pandemic like it is an armed conflict obscures the clear distinctions between military and medical ethics, leading to faulty judgments and potentially creating additional moral and material harm.

What is the Meaning of a Plague? Coronavirus and the Almost-Chosen Nation
What is the Meaning of a Plague? Coronavirus and the Almost-Chosen Nation

Not every plague is a judgment, but every plague is a revelation.