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The On Being Project

Jean Bethke Elshtain, John Paul Lederach, and Michael Orange

Justice and a Just War

Just-war theory was set in motion in the 5th century as St. Augustine agonized over how to reconcile Christianity's high ethical ideals with the devastating world realities which were bringing about the fall of Rome. For 1,600 years, theologians, ethicists, diplomats, and political leaders have drawn on this tradition, refined it, and employed its key questions: When is it permissible to wage war? And how might our ethical and religious foundations place limits on the ways we wage war? In this program, we explore three varied perspectives on how such questions are alive and evolving today, and how they might inform our approach to the conflict in Afghanistan and the peace we would like to achieve beyond it.
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  • Jean Bethke Elshtain

    Jean Bethke Elshtain

    was an author and Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

  • John Paul Lederach

    John Paul Lederach

    is a senior fellow at Humanity United, a project of the Omidyar Foundation, and professor emeritus of international peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

  • Michael Orange

    Michael Orange

    is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and author of Fire in the Hole. Raised Catholic and patriotic, he left his studies at Kent State University to fight in Vietnam. His book is the culmination of long reflection on the reality and the morality of war, with relevance both to the war he entered in 1968 and the conflict we have entered now.