Spiritual Combat, Moral Combat, and Physical Combat: Culture Wars

Two prolife activists Two people, one of them a prolife activist, were gunned down in Michigan yesterday. God rest their souls. I can't help wondering -- is this in some sense a crazed retaliation for the killing of Tiller? What kind of a society are we?Those who recognize the Constitution protects abortion ought to recognize that the Constitution protects the right of free speech -- including free speech that protests current constitutional interpretations.But it was this story -- more senseless murders -- that made me realize that I myself am not as sanguine as some on this blog are about the possibility of neatly separating spiritual warfare from moral warfare from culture warfare from physical warfare. At the very least, I think prudence suggests dialing down that language in favor of other metaphors. But for a contrasting view, which recognizes the undeniable role of spiritual combat in the Christian tradition, see Bob Imbelli's post below.I'm sure that it did not escape anyone's notice that yesterday was September 11. Some Muslim scholars, as I understand it, argue that "jihad" was centrally meant to mean spiritual "jihad" -- its use in the form of warfare was a misunderstanding. My question, I suppose is, whether martial imagery in general is too susceptible (by Christians too) to a distorted migration from interior to exterior warfare.

Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.

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