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Breyer and Scalia Illustration

Introduction by Michael Le Roy, '89

Contrary to the perceptions of those who see academia as the ivory tower, college professors and their students cannot escape the reality of war's effects. Today, as in almost every decade since Whitworth's founding, debates about war and peace are taking place in classrooms, residence-hall lounges and dining halls. Theoretical questions about war collide with physical bodies of students who, in 2006, are called away from their studies to serve in Iraq or Afghanistan. Since September 2001, Whitworth has again become a place where war is considered through the eyes of faith. Over the past five years, faculty and staff have seen a number of students called up or commissioned to serve our country. This summer we mourned the death of one of Whitworth's own, Forrest Ewens, '04, who was killed in Afghanistan. The threat of war is unsettling at any time, but it is particularly poignant when we see our students, so young and full of promise, risking – and, in Forrest's case, sacrificing willingly – their lives for others.

If Christians at Whitworth have ever viewed war simplistically, they don't do so now. Our faculty is characterized by uncommon diversity in its breadth of perspective on war in this age. In the pages that follow you will read the deep reflections of faculty members whose essays address issues that divide both Whitworth and our country. Some might see our differing opinions as weakness, but because the college seeks always to encourage Whitworthians to live out their faith with the liberty of conscience found in Christ, I see them as hallmarks of a Whitworth education. When expressed in a spirit of Christian charity and love, such differences sharpen our understanding and strengthen our arguments. And it is also important to note what unites us. Most of us believe that we cannot understand our world today without the lens of the Christian worldview. None of us believe that warfare is God's original intent for his good created order. Few, if any, of our faculty view war as anything but evidence of humanity's brokenness and need for redemption. All of us seek the peace that Jesus sought for his people, though we may disagree on how to achieve it.

Le Roy is vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Whitworth.

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