“I kept running across some forms of this phrase: ‘I know that killing is wrong but in war it is necessary,’ and for soldiers, this burden of having to do that which they believe to be morally evil is devastating.”
IWP alumnus Mark Tooley, President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, is pleased to announce the launch of his organization’s new foreign policy journal: Providence, a Journal of Christianity and American Foreign Policy. The publication is distributed on a seasonal basis and an accompanying website, providencemag.com, hosts new articles regularly.
The purpose of this journal is to foster debate amongst Evangelical and Protestant Christians about the morality of war and the use of force in the context of American foreign policy. This new community of thought will approach these issues through the prism of Christian ideas. Not since the era of World War II has such a journal existed in the United States, and Mr. Tooley believes it is time these questions are revisited.
“The strong thinking and writing on these issues tended to come from Catholic and Jewish friends, and it seemed as though there weren’t very many Evangelical and Protestant thinkers addressing specifically issues of global statecraft,” he stated in a recent promotional video for the magazine. “Providence aims to rediscover the Protestant tradition and to unearth some of those resources as they relate to international affairs and the vocation of the state.”
He draws inspiration from the work of Reinhold Niebuhr, and the concepts behind his Christianity and Crisis magazine which was first published in 1941. Following the growth of totalitarianism in Europe and Asia at that time, Niebuhr found it necessary to reevaluate his commitment to pacifism. Via this publication, he was able to strike up a deep debate amongst American Protestants which helped clarify the role of a Christian in the militaristic affairs of the state.
“We face somewhat of a similar situation in the world today, to a lesser degree,” Mr. Tooley stated. “Much of American Protestantism and even large swaths of American Evangelicalism are inclined towards various forms of pacifism, or isolationism, utopianism, confusion, or silence about what our government’s responsibilities and duties are on the world stage.” Providence, he hopes and prays, will clarify when lethal force on behalf of the state is morally acceptable as it relates to Christian thought.
“My motivation for doing this emerges in part from doing a dissertation on just war and moral injury,” said Mark Livicche, the managing editor of Providence. In an interview held prior to the launch of the magazine, Mr. Livicche divulged his methodology of preparation. He combed through numerous combat memoirs in a search for greater understanding. “I kept running across some forms of this phrase: ‘I know that killing is wrong but in war it is necessary,'” he said. “And for soldiers, this burden of having to do that which they believe to be morally evil is devastating. According to the classic just war tradition, it needn’t be.”
Not only does he hope to gain a fuller understanding of these concepts, but he also is looking forward to contemplating the role of the state in a Christian context. That is, how does the state manage the responsibility “to do no harm, to do good where we can, to help where we’re able,” he said. “One of the goals of Providence is to make the meeting of these goals a little bit easier.”
Providence was launched on Friday November 6th, 2015. An event was held at the Newseum in Washington D.C. to instate the magazine. The unique goals of the publication promise “controversy and excitement in the days ahead,” said Mark Tooley. “We pray and hope the Lord is in this project.”
Above: Mark Tooley speaks at IWP, September 2015.