When is war ever justified?

See also:

Manhood of the Church called into armed services

God is at the helm

War Incompatible with the Teachings of the Savior

David O. McKay

David O. McKay

Thus we see that war is incompatible with Christ’s teachings. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of peace. War is its antithesis, and produces hate. It is vain to attempt to reconcile war with true Christianity. Notwithstanding all this, I still say that there are conditions when entrance into war is justifiable, and when a Christian nation may, without violation of principles, take up arms against an opposing force.

Such a condition, however, is not a real or fancied insult given by one nation to another. When this occurs proper reparation may be made by mutual understanding, apology, or by arbitration. Neither is there justifiable cause found in a desire or even a need for territorial expansion. The taking of territory implies the subjugation of the weak by the strong—the application of the jungle law.

Nor is war justified in an attempt to enforce a new order of government, or even to impel others to a particular form of worship, however better the government or eternally true the principles of the enforced religion may be.

There are, however, two conditions which may justify a truly Christian man to enter—mind you, I say enter, not begin-a war: 1) An attempt to dominate and to deprive another of his free agency, and, 2) Loyalty to his country. Possibly there is a third, viz., Defense of a weak nation that is being unjustly crushed by a strong, ruthless one.

Paramount among these reasons, of course, is the defense of man’s freedoms. To deprive an intelligent human being of his free agency is to commit the crime of the ages. Without freedom of thought, freedom of choice, freedom of action within lawful bounds, man cannot progress. Throughout the ages, advanced souls have yearned for a society in which liberty and justice prevail. Men have sought for it, fought for it, have died for it. Ancient freemen prized it, slaves longed for it, the Magna Charta demanded it, the Constitution of the United States declared it.

A second obligation that impels us to become participants in war is loyalty to government. The greatest responsibility of the state is to guard the lives and protect the property and rights of its citizens; and if the state is obligated to protect its citizens from lawlessness within its boundaries, it is equally obligated to protect them from lawless encroachments without – whether the attacking criminals be individuals or nations. The state is duly bound to protect itself against treachery, and its only effective means of doing so under present world conditions is by armed force.” (David O. McKay, Secrets of a Happy Life, p. 76-77, see also Book of Mormon Institute Manual, 1979, p. 334)

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1 Response to When is war ever justified?

  1. Pingback: Alma 43-63 The War Chapters | LDS Scripture Teachings

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