18 November 2002 Discussing teachings on war by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Terry Lane and Winston Churchill. 


About John Lilburne



Teachings on War

I am impressed with the Statement on Iraq by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. They explain the Catholic Church teaching and give their perspective. But are restricted in what they say:

"... We offer not definitive conclusions, but rather our serious concerns and questions in the hope of helping all of us to reach sound moral judgments. ..."

Terry Lane begins with the challenging question: "What do we do when the intolerant take advantage of our tolerance?" I have difficulty with his answer: "keep cool, it will all work out in the end." He concludes the article: "Muslims do say the darnedest things that can get us wound up, and all religion is dangerous. But we can live with it."

To say "all religion is dangerous" is simplistic. According to the biography (from Monash Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Australia) on Terry Lane's website:

"... After studying for the ministry at the Churches of Christ College of the Bible in Melbourne, Lane was a minister for six years before working in the Methodist Department of Christian Education and the ABC's religious department. ..."

So he seems to have had diverse views on the value of religion throughout his life.

I don't know what Winston Churchill would say in this situation. But this is what he said in 1934:

"... What shall we do? Many people think that the best way to escape war is to dwell upon its horrors and to imprint them vividly upon the minds of the younger generation. They flaunt the grisly photograph before their eyes. They fill their ears with tales of carnage. They dilate upon the ineptitude of generals and admirals. They denounce the crime as insensate folly of human strife. Now, all this teaching ought to be very useful in preventing us from attacking or invading any other country, if anyone outside a madhouse wished to do so, but how would it help us if we were attacked or invaded ourselves that is the question we have to ask.

Would the invaders consent to hear Lord Beaverbrook's exposition, or listen to the impassioned appeals of Mr. Lloyd George? Would they agree to meet that famous South African, General Smuts, and have their inferiority complex removed in friendly, reasonable debate? I doubt it. I have borne responsibility for the safety of this country in grievous times. I gravely doubt it.

But even if they did, I am not so sure we should convince them, and persuade them to go back quietly home. They might say, it seems to me, "you are rich; we are poor. You seem well fed; we are hungry. You have been victorious; we have been defeated. You have valuable colonies; we have none. You have your navy; where is ours? You have had the past; let us have the future." Above all, I fear they would say, "you are weak and we are strong." ..."

By J.R. Lilburne, 18 November 2002. I give what I have written on this page to the public domain.

Other Sites:

Statement on Iraq by USCCB of 13 November 2002

Terry Lane, Cooling it and they will come around, of 17 November 2002

About Terry Lane

Winston Churchill, Causes of War, 16 November 1934