Holy War: Religious leaders call for destruction of Islamic State

Holy War: Religious leaders call for destruction of Islamic State August 15, 2014

Should the US destroy the Islamic State? A coalition of religious leaders is calling upon President Barack Obama to use US military forces to destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The coalition of more than 50 religious leaders, led by mostly conservative Catholic, evangelical and Jewish activists, is calling on President Obama to sharply escalate military action against the Islamic extremists.

The coalition is calling for the destruction of the Islamic State, claiming that “nothing short of the destruction” of the Islamic State can protect Christians and other religious minorities currently being subjected to “a campaign of genocide” by Islamic extremists in Iraq.

The following is an excerpt from a petition signed by the religious leaders:

The so-called Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS/ISIL) is conducting a campaign of genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and others in Iraq. In its fanatical effort to establish a caliphate, ISIS/ISIL has engaged in crimes against humanity…

It is imperative that the United States and the international community act immediately and decisively to stop the ISIS/ISIL genocide and prevent the further victimization of religious minorities…

We represent various religious traditions and shades of belief. None of us glorifies war or underestimates the risks entailed by the use of military force. Where non-military means of resolving disputes and protecting human rights are available, we always and strongly favor those means. However, the evidence is overwhelming that such means will not be capable of protecting the victims of the genocide already unfolding at the hands of ISIS/ISIL…

Therefore we call upon the United States and the international community to do everything necessary to empower local forces fighting ISIS/ISIL in Iraq to protect their people… Nothing short of the destruction of ISIS/ISIL as a fighting force will provide long-term protection of victims.

What is happening to these people now, and the further threats they face, would not be happening but for errors and failures of our nation’s own in Iraq. The point is not to point fingers or apportion blame, but to recognize that justice as well as compassion demands that we take the steps necessary to end the ISIL/ISIS campaign of genocide and protect those who are its victims.

According to reports, the petition was organized by Robert P. George, a prominent Catholic conservative and Republican activist, and he was joined by a range of other leaders, many of whom are known for their hawkish views on foreign policy.

They include Russell Moore, chief public policy official for the Southern Baptist Convention; Benjamin Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and conservative commentator; Edward Whelan, head of the Ethics and Public Policy Center; Gerard Bradley, a law professor at Notre Dame; Christian author and commentator Eric Metaxas; Martin Peretz, former editor of the New Republic; and writer Leon Wieseltier.

What do you think? Should the US use military force to destroy the Islamic State? Can it even be done? Would such a course of action be wise? If not, what should be done about the threat the Islamic State represents?

Flag of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

(H/T David Gibson | Religion News Service)

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