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February 25, 2007


Phil Tallon


I am reminded, reading your post, of a Chesterton quote which says that modern society "is full of wild and wasted virtues." In Chesterton’s eyes, there is as much danger from a rogue virtue as from uncontrolled vice.

To praise Bush for a virtue which he shares with men like Wilberforce says virtually nothing of his character. Among the cardinal virtues, it should be noted that alongside fortitude should be joined with temperance, justice, and prudence.

Phil Tallon.
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Well said, Phil! Abstracting "staying the course," as if fortitude (as you say) can be assessed as a virtue apart from its conjunction with the other virtues misses far too much. When one is engaged in misbehavior that is bad, fortitude is a vice, eh?

Steve Collins

Hi -- Can you provide a link to the original article? (Hope I did not miss it.)



In the midst of all my anxiety, fear, anger and grief about the war is my absolute amazement at the blindness which seems to have gripped so many people, some of whom are well-meaning. Some have convinced themselves that to be a moral person is to be loyal and to have fortitude. I've seen similar comments where Bush is praised for his courage to stand for his beliefs, even when others forsake him (allusions to his Christ-likeness?) Others, I'm afraid, have exchanged the truth for a lie. And this shows the complex evil of war...even those who are not directly involved through action, have become culpable through their refusal to think critically.

K E Alexander
Asst. Prof. Historical Theology
Church of God Theological Seminary


Kim, thanks so much for joining us and commenting. I hope you will visit more!
I think your comment reveals something of what Volf talked about in Exclusion and Embrace--the manner in which the "domination system" draws us in with its multiply nuanced lies. On around page 89, there is a page and a half that really articulates it well. He concludes that the systems of exclusion are so subtle that they insinuate themselves into the very citadel aimed to protect us from evil. It is a powerful and heart breaking statement.
thanks again!

Matt Purmort

I took a course on the history of the English Church and they talked about how Wilberforce and his college's learned from the mistakes of the Puritans of previous generations who tried to reform England by the sword which proved to be futile. They understood as a result that persuasion in the context of political discourse was both more Christian, and could achieve better results. What Wilberforce acheived the United States was not able to, it unfortunatley took us a Civil War in which evangelicals in our society lost the moral high ground.


Well said, sadly:>(

victor ermita

For anyone who knows the history of Iraq it is indisputable that 20 percent of the population effectively enslaved 80 percent. That is no longer the case and, among the former slaveholders, a Baathist Klan has arisen just like occurred in our own Civil War. As a pacifist I believe we should place our own bodies between former slaves and former slaveholders but, if not enough pacifists will join in this, I find it hard to condemn the administration for the failure to mobilize the Church.


Victor, great to have you join us and thanks for your comment. I do have to disagree with your assessment, however. To speak of slavery with regard to Iraq is very much a metaphorical use of the term. I have friends from Iraq and they would find this a very strange claim indeed. As to the administration mobilizing the church, there has never been so much as a peep in that direction. It is pretty clear that this administration saw warfare as the only acceptable plan against Iraq from the beginning of their tenure.
So, again, to compare what this administration has done in Iraq with any work by Wilberforce completely breaks down any sense of an analogy.
By the way, glad to hear from another pacifist brother:>)

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