Precisely because I admire Clapper's article, I continue to struggle with his argument that "Sometimes the world makes us choose whom to love." Indeed, I found that comment so troubling that I wrote a letter to the editor in response (which was published in the October 5, 2005 edition of The Christian Century). Here's what I wrote:
I greatly appreciated Gregory S. Clapper's "Wounds of War" (June 28). With compassion for the trials and tribulations of men and women in the armed services, Clapper captures the difficulties of moral decision making for Christian soldiers in the maxim: "Sometimes the world makes us choose whom to love."
Clapper's maxim raises questions for Christians. For if the maxim is true and if it provides (an admittedly tragic) justification for Christians to kill, it suggests that the Jesus who says, "Do not resist an evildoer" (Matt. 7:12), "Love your enemies" (Matt. 5:44) and "Be kind to the ungrateful and the wicked" (Luke 6:35) is either naive or wrong. Either way, our Lord loses moral authority and credibility.
I still cannot neatly resolve the tension between the demands of Christian realism (so powerfully put forth by Reinhold Niebuhr) on the one hand, and the teachings and example of of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospels on the other hand.