Denison Journal of Religion


Since the attacks on September 11, 2001, the government of the United States has understandably been taking steps to protect its citizens. This essay questions whether the steps taken by the government are the most appropriate and just. Applying Reinhold Niebuhr's theology and social ethics to the War on Terrorism exposes the actions of the United States as a "witch-hunt" that fails to complicate the governmental, social, and economic factors that governed the political climate of the time. Because the United States government responded to the attacks of September 11th with an overpowering sense of self-righteousness, its actions immediately became questionable. Niebuhr's affinity for complicating the big issues in personal life and global politics is enacted in part by slowly considering all possible actions and their implications, and by having a firm understanding that whatever actions are taken will not be universally appreciated. Rohrer argues that if Reinhold Niebuhr's theories had been taken into account more regularly today, particularly immediately after the September 11th attacks, responses and their consequences may have been significantly less violent.