Debating the War(s)

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My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
— Wilfred Owen, 1917

By the time the first Clarion issue after September 11, 2001 was published, students were already ruminating on how the United States should respond to the attacks. The conclusion was foregone — the United States would go to war in retaliation. Two lone editorials represented the entire Bethel College debate over the war in Afghanistan, both published on September 27, a day after CIA Special Activities Division soldiers were covertly inserted into the country to organize Northern Alliance troops in preparation for the coming invasion.

Goddard

Goddard

Timothy Goddard, the Clarion’s Views Editor that year, offered an unabashedly pro-war stance, prefacing his later pro-Iraq War activism. “There is no question of ‘charging into war,’” Goddard wrote, “it had charged headlong into us, and our choices are simple. We either respond or are destroyed.” Goddard compared the emerging War on Terror to the struggle against Nazism; “Muslim Extremism and anti-Westernism” were the enemy which the United States was preparing to “lay waste.” Diplomacy should be tried as well, Goddard suggested, but ultimately it would fail for two reasons. First, “diplomacy means very little to fanatics,” and moreover, diplomacy alone would not prevent another September 11th. Doing so would mean invading Afghanistan, “and possibly Hussein’s Iraq.” Goddard quoted C.S. Lewis, arguing that loving one’s enemy, per the Gospels, did not mean refraining from punishing him. Christians could relax in the knowledge that “God has everything under His control and that our duty here on earth is simple: to love.” Concluding, Goddard suggested that

This may mean loving our enemies by going overseas to fight and defeat them.¹

That was a proposition Jaron Burdick was loath to accept. Before the United States invaded Afghanistan, Burdick argued, the country should “identify what we hope the force will achieve and why.” For Burdick, that justice needed to be served was unquestionable, however, as a Christian, Burdick was not so sure about using the power of the state to exact bloody justice:

“Since we as God’s children now stand justified before God and men, we as believers are called to do as Jesus did: to forfeit our rights, and give up our claim to “justice.” […] Jesus clearly calls us to end the vicious cycles of hatred and retaliation in order that God’s justice, mercy, and grace be evident to all.

Burdick allowed that the state was not held to this same standard, suggesting that it was the job of the state of neutralize temporal threats. Yet the heavenly response Jesus mandated was, for Burdick, the better course of action:

War, admittedly, is an option, but one that should be dealt with extreme caution and deserves heavy rumination before enacting. Killing people will only breed more evil in the hearts of others. Perfect love is the only way to win.²

Airstrikes on Tora Bora

Airstrikes on Tora Bora

Goddard and Burdick’s editorials were the only items printed in the Clarion that discussed the war in Afghanistan. Goddard’s editorial expressed what was likely the dominant opinion on campus at the time, and while Burdick’s editorial suggested caution, it is notable that his was hardly a pacifist or anti-war stance; Burdick allowed that state violence was a valid response, even if he was uneasy with the pace at which the United States was hurling itself into the “graveyard of empire.” The broad acceptance of the war in Afghanistan was due to several factors. First, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, students felt that action was justified; certainly, President Bush and other leaders supported a strong response. But also important was the connection between the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. Students accepted that Afghanistan had harbored the architects of the 9/11 attacks, and so military action against the country was uncontested. As quickly as students supported the war in Afghanistan, they began to ignore it. As Noel Stringham remembered, “I would say most students more or less forgot about Afghanistan after the Battle of Tora Bora,” the December 2001 battle in which U.S. forces failed to capture the fleeing Osama bin Laden.³

Unlike the war in Afghanistan, the Iraq War generated substantial and acrimonious debate at Bethel. Like Afghanistan, that debate was significantly truncated relative to the length of the war. The first warning shot in the debate was fired mid-October 2002, and the last major article about Iraq was printed in early December 2003, just a little more than a year later. In contrast, the war began in March 2003 and officially ended in December 2011 (although U.S. troops would quickly return in 2014 and stay through at least mid 2015). The debate over the war at Bethel lasted for less than one-eighth of the conflict before sliding into nonexistence and apathy.

From the limited sources available (with the exception of two relevant survey responses, only the Clarion survives from this period), the debate took on three broad dimensions. First, while themselves split on the war, the school’s administration regularly advanced a narrative designed to contest and confront many of the dogmas espoused by an extremely conservative student body. As Noel Stringham remembered,

Bethel’s leadership did a lot to encourage anti-war debate by inviting prominent Christian leftists from around the country (and particularly those from Eastern Philadelphia such as Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo) to speak at chapel and incredibly well-attended evening events at Benson [Great Hall].

Stringham

Stringham (now a PhD student at Virginia)

Throughout the decade, the professorate, and even the administration, was significantly more liberal — or perhaps simply more mature — than the student body. By and large, students tended to espouse a narrow Republicanism born of a largely white, middle-class, suburban, evangelical Christian upbringing. Even as students moderated or shifted to the left during their educations, as Stringham notes, these students “tended to move off campus (and of course graduate) while incoming students brought with them the values and attitudes of the white, politically-conservative Minnesota suburbs from which they hailed.” The effect was a rough stasis in the campus’ political distribution.

The second group involved in debating the war was a small group of mostly liberal students. These students participated in debates and forums, and a select number of them vigorously opposed the war in the Clarion. As Stringham remembers

Shane Claiborne had a narrower but much more passionate following among what I would term the Bethel counter-culture (those turned off by the vibe that surrounded Welcome Week, organized dances and dating events, and the campy suburban white middle-class culture that tended to dominate events put on by the student council.).

It was from this group that the clearest anti-war debate emanated, and on occasion, these students offered cutting critiques of the war — not just as policy, but as a moral failing.

Shane Claiborne

Shane Claiborne

The vast majority of Bethel’s students, however, essentially rejected this type of reasoning. Certainly the mainstream Clarion press rejected it. What proved more appealing to the majority of the student body — and even the tiny group of anti-war liberals — was a new paradigmatic logic for debating the war.

Campolo

Campolo

Students who debated the war seemed less interested in interrogating the war itself — in other words, issues of proportionality, justness, effectiveness, aims, means, ends, etc; in short, the fundamental issues inherent in the Just War and Pacifist traditions — and more interested in appropriating the war as a bludgeon for use in the pre-existing wars between majority Republicans and minority Democrats on campus. The war was fashioned into a stage upon which students performed notions of patriotism and Americanism, and voiced deep-seated domestic concerns which were intensely amplified by the broader discourse of the War on Terror.

While students did occasionally question the justice of the war and its aims, these questions almost invariably were raised as part of a larger discourse whose focus was on framing the war as a partisan battlefield. Even the moderately-liberal and standard-bearer of the anti-war faction Wes Burdine — also unquestionably the writer who tried hardest to escape partisan entanglements — usually ended up succumbing to the pull of party. Only towards the end of the period of debate (later 2003) did Burdine manage to shake off the spectre of party and advance a truly independent line of thought in the Clarion.

Thus, the Iraq War debates ceased by and large to be about issues of war and became instead merely an issue on which Republicans could deride Democrats as weak, un-American, and borderline seditious, and Democrats to castigate Republicans as imperialist, blood-for-oil opportunists who reveled in death and destruction.

McCarthy

McCarthy

This dynamic is uniquely relevant to the War on Terror and was not present in any of the previous wars this project examined. During the World Wars, support for the cause was sometimes semi-coerced, for example during the Great War by ethnic pressures and anti-Germanism, or else framed as part of an American’s patriotic duty to country. However, that patriotism transcended party, no matter how problematic it was. Vietnam too, saw the war transcend party. It was initiated by the Republican Eisenhower, escalated drastically by the Democrats Kennedy and Johnson, then inherited by the Republican Nixon whose professed desire to end the war with honor provided justification for a massive expansion of the bombing campaigns and even an invasion of a neutral country. True, in 1968, a number of Bethel students defected from their Republican roots and voted for the Democrat Eugene McCarthy, but his party identification was wholly irrelevant to this vote, a vote which was centered on one issue: ending the war. During the War on Terror however, the war was not an issue which transcended party but one with which it was intimately entangled.

Beyond the partisan nature of the debate, the diversity of the cast of characters was depressingly small. Almost all debate occurred between Wes Burdine (anti-war) and Timothy Goddard (pro-war), with regular support from a cast of revolving minor characters, principally the anti-war Aaron Gerhardt and Jake Nyquist, and the pro-war Kelly Kirby.

The first contribution to Bethel’s internal war over Iraq was a Clarion article by Angi Palmer on October 16, 2002. Reacting to Bush’s announcement of a first-strike policy, Palmer’s editorial was one of only two moderate articles to appear over the course of the debate. After raising a number of issues relating to Saddam Hussein’s supposed support of terrorism, Palmer concluded:

Bush should not attack solely on the basis of rumor, without hard facts to support him. The strike first policy is a little jumpy and could throw America into a war that may not need to be fought. Caution must be taken, and even though President Bush has the country’s best interests in mind, he may also be a little too quick to declare war.

Hussein

Hussein

A month later, on November 13, a brace of articles appeared which set the tone for the following months. Timothy Goddard’s column proclaimed the intervention in Iraq (he was careful not to use the word invasion) a Good Idea, for three reasons: Hussein could not be allowed to have nuclear weapons, the Iraqi government was brutal (“there is no regime on the planet so tyrannical, totalitarian, oppressive and unmindful of human rights as that of Saddam Hussein”), and American had a “responsibility.” While Goddard noted that he hated war and found it preferable to avoid, he concluded that America should intervene. If not soon, he argued, in the future, “likely soon after an event more devastating than last September, making the county more crazed with grief and bloodlust than ever, when our military will exercise no restraint.” Instead, Goddard suggested that American needed to strike now, “with her senses intact.”

Wes Burdine, writing directly below Goddard, allowed that while he didn’t view Bush as “an evil man,” the president’s followers were guilty of “sickening naivete” to believe that a proposed war was for the benefit of the Iraqi people. More accurately, Burdine argued, Iraq posed a threat to U.S. oil stability. Those who believed that a war would make the U.S. safer, Burdine suggested, had “decided that the lives of Iraqis are less valuable than [their own], because they can be expended for the sake of you feeling safe while you watch Survivor.” Burdine concluded with an appeal to Christian peacemaking:

There is something wrong with a nation and people who pray to God with the hands that kill innocents. And there is something wrong when most of the pacifists I know who are trying to save lives aren’t Christian. What happened to Christ’s peace? I guess Jesus just isn’t good public policy.

Bush

Bush

Predictably, given the polarized partisan environment, each editorial attracted criticism. In the next Clarion Goddard reported that he had received “a charming piece of hate mail” attacking him for his pro-war stance. The letter, Goddard wrote, “attacked my intelligence, salvation, morality, sexual orientation, and physique (can you imagine?).”⁹ Burdine’s editorial attracted a longer and possibly more dramatic rebuttal. Brent Kobielush rebuked Burdine for his words, writing,

President Bush is the top leader in our country and our Commander in Chief, and deserves to be treated with respect. Your statement about him being a bully had no support. You tried to support it by saying that “Russia had to cave in” because it realized how much they don’t mind killing innocent people. What a poor argument. I am sure there is more behind why Russia supports our actions.

Kobielush denied liking war, and professed that “as a Christian, my heart aches when innocent men, women, and children die unjustly.” However, those feelings didn’t mean Kobielush didn’t support the president: “I believe he has integrity and seeks to do what is best for the nation and the world.” Kobielush doubled down on his critique of Burdine, nearly accusing him of sedition:

Finally, since you do not support our President, you do not support our military. Since the President is the Commander in Chief, there is a direct correlation between him and the military which fights for my freedom and yours! What makes you different from those who continually bashed our president and military during Vietnam? […] Thank you for insulting those who try to defend the freedom of our country. Instead of insulting the President and the military, maybe you should pray that the Lord’s will be done in this world, especially in this latest conflict, and that He would give wisdom and guidance to President Bush, a man who, I understand, begins every morning with prayer.¹⁰

After the Christmas break, Jake Nyberg touched a nerve when he penned a small piece contrasting Bush’s calls to protect the sanctity of the unborn child with the number of troops stationed in the Gulf awaiting the order to invade. Drawing on one of Martin Luther King Jr’s anti-Vietnam War speeches, Nyberg bemoaned that American seemed to be heading down the very same road that MLK had decried thirty-six years prior: one marked by “racism, extreme materialism, and militarism:”

America’s streets are crowded with gas-guzzling, glorified grocery-getters; the already-too-rich are getting more tax cuts; our mighty military is about to launch a strike against an oil-producing member of the “axis of evil” and thousands of Muslims will behold “Christian compassion” first-hand, as our bombs fall from the heavens.¹¹

Burdine

Burdine

Over the next several Clarion issues, Nyberg’s original thesis was attacked and supported from various quarters, spawning a secondary debate over oil with comments as diverse as:

  • First, SUVs — I have not seen any evidence from Nyberg or Scripture to say they are evil or sinful. I’m not set in stone on this issue, but I am waiting for a truly good reason to think they are evil. — Abigail Dodds¹²
  • Is it really so hard to believe that this conflict has to do with oil? I encourage you to “follow the money” and see who has contributed to the Bush campaign and administration. — Aaron Gerhardt¹³
  • Does Mr. Gerhardt believe that America would seize control of the Iraqi oil for her own use? — Justine Retford¹⁴

These early examples of debate over the war should perhaps best be understood as articulating the boundaries of a mutually-acceptable “war-talk” — not debate over the war so much as the use of the war and its related issues to hammer the opposite political party. Wes Burdine’s original editorial in November 2002 contained explicitly coded partisan language; the editorial opened with a jab at the recently-elected Republican senator Norm Coleman. Brent Kobielush’s rebuttal continued the trend, questioning Burdine’s patriotism and his loyalty on account of his criticism of Bush’s policies. This pattern would continue — and intensify — over the next nine months through the end of the debate.

The war stimulated the reactivation of old forces on Bethel’s campus not present since Vietnam. Indeed, when the Peace and Justice Committee (PJC) was reconstituted in early 2003, the group was a literal Vietnam-era legacy; the PJC was formed in the early 1970s as part of the anti-Vietnam War movement on campus and had its antecedent in the even earlier Peace Club.¹⁵ One of the first acts of the PJC was to stage an anti-war protest in the Carl Lundquist Community Life Center — the atrium surrounding Benson Great Hall — during chapel on February 26, 2003. According to the Clarion,

By 9:45am on Wednesday approximately two dozen people entered the CLC lobby with an array of colored signs and t-shirts, sporting various anti-war slogans like, “Who would Jesus nuke,” “No War,” and “Disarm Peacefully.” As more and more students filed into the Great Hall, some of the committee members began chanting and singing messages of peace, including “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” and “Amazing Grace.” Some students that walked by responded with affirmation by giving the protesters high-fives. Some students stopped to speak about the issues with the protesters. Most students simply walked through without doing anything.¹⁶

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 23.45.34The purpose of the protest, according to Chris Becknell, one of its organizers, was to demonstrate that “those of us who hold an anti-war view are in the minority, but we are not ashamed to stand up against something we believe is fundamentally unChristian.” As the Clarion reported, many students were not pleased with the demonstration. Junior Brittany Graves was quoted saying “I didn’t feel welcome to speak with the group because I disagreed with them so strongly.”¹⁷

The protest was not well received by Timothy Goddard either, whose column the next week declared that the entire school should regret the very fact that it happened. The protest, Goddard asserted, served no purpose whatsoever except to “divide” the community and undermine peace and justice — the very things the PCJ was dedicated to. “The protesters set themselves up as enemies of mainstream Bethel, hurting prospects for dialog,” Goddard wrote, even as their efforts were ultimately futile. What exactly, Goddard asked, did the protest accomplish? It merely “drove a wedge between those completely opposed to war and those who are not, alienating the latter,” Goddard said, and “though [that] may not have been the goal, it certainly looks like an attempt to intimidate and shame.” Perhaps, Goddard concluded, the protest was “an attempt to capture a bit of the lost “glory” of the ‘60s.”¹⁸

MLK on Moratorium Day 1969

MLK on Moratorium Day 1969

Goddard was not alone in drawing on Vietnam to talk about the War on Terror. In fact, the Vietnam War provided fertile imaginary for students to discuss contemporary issues. In addition to Goddard, we’ve already seen how Brent Kobielush accused an anti-war author of being the kind of person who would have protested the President and the troops during the Vietnam War. Aaron Gerhardt, the leader of the PJC also drew on Vietnam, cited Martin Luther King Jr.’s opposition to that war as a principal reason for his own protest of the Iraq War.¹⁹ And Wes Burdine, another anti-war student, despairing of the cynical political climate, pinned the last year of hope in 1965, before “Johnson announce the commencement of a devastating and heinous series of bombings in Vietnam.” Johnson wanted to

“send a message” to the North Vietnamese, in a war of ideologies in which there are never any winners. Our language was hijacked, our communication became violence and destruction, and it was glorious.²⁰

Another relic from the Vietnam era, the Teach-In, was also reappropriated by students (if under a different name). On March 6, students held a forum in a large lecture hall packed beyond capacity. Speaking in favor of the war were professor Dan Ritchie (English) and students Michael Krueger (Political Science and Business) and Abigail Dodds (Political Science); against the war was professor Don Postema (Philosophy) and students Aaron Gerhardt (Philosophy) and Olivia Pelham (History). History professor G.W. Carlson moderated. Ritchie and his cohort argued that peace was impossible without freedom, while Postema and his supporters suggested that because the war was not in self-defense, it violated both Just War criteria and international law.²¹

Krueger

Krueger

But even these efforts were substantially marred by rampant partisan affiliation which undercut efforts to establish dialog and instead painted opposing sides as reductionist caricatures. At the forum, Carlson was repeatedly forced to cut off students who attempted to actively debate the speakers, and Ritchie’s conclusion suggested that conservatives at Bethel felt both marginalized and embattled by their liberal opponents — an odd deduction, given the overwhelming conservative majority on campus.²² The earlier protest outside of Benson was also marked by ugly partisanship. A Wes Burdine editorial elaborated on the Clarion’s reporting of the event:

I’ll clarify the previous Clarion’s report of someone yelling “stupid liberals”: what was really said was “stupid eff-ing liberals.” (The guy actually said “eff-ing,” not the real word, can you believe that?) Far worse things were yelled than that, though. “Pray for Peace” signs were ripped down from professors’ doors. Now, I can understand disagreeing with the demonstrations, even thinking them in bad taste, but for crying out loud, how can someone find an honest and innocuous call for PEACE offensive? […] I won’t even mention the bigotry required to call the Roman Catholic Church a sanctuary for “pedophiles” at the Bethel War Forum.²³

bush-in-flight-suitAs the invasion began on March 19, the pro-military, pro-Bush narrative intensified palpably and continued at a fevered pitch through the fall of 2003. If a student contradicted the invasion narrative propagated by the Bush administration, he was castigated by other Bethel students in a construct that evoked Bush’s argument that those who were not with him were with the terrorists. Bethel’s pro-war Clarion writers worked to construct a total apology for the military, the invasion, and for an aggressive American patriotism. More often than not, that narrative centered on the singular figure of president Bush, creating something of a cult of personality. Those who questioned the president were ridiculed.

In late 2002 the outlines of that phenomenon were already taking shape. Recall, for instance, the December 11 letter which took Wes Burdine’s fairly moderate critique of Bush’s casus belli and transformed it into an attack on the president and by extension the American military (“thank you for insulting those who try to defend the freedom of our country”).²⁴ On March 19, Adam Barber claimed that God would not hold American troops accountable for killing Iraqis; rather, He would hold Iraqis accountable, “knowing that they should have stood up [against Saddam Hussein].”²⁵ On April 23, Randy Kleinman and Matt Borg accused the PJC of being nothing more than a front for “anti-Bush and anti-American banter.”²⁶ Finally, on May 7, Timothy Goddard topped the others with the latest judgement from his recurring column, “Good Idea/Bad Idea”:

George W. Bush: Good idea. Go ahead and call me partisan if you like (I have a feeling that some of you will whether I give you permission or not), but no one can deny that Bush looks cooler in a flight suit than any other president in recent memory would.²⁷

Ritchie

Ritchie

This line of rhetoric culminated in a December 2003 debate on Bush’s Christianity. Professors Ritchie and Carlson squared off in an Oxford-style debate on the question “this house believes that George W. Bush is not representative of American Christians.” Carlson argued that any Christian president should seek to embody four criteria:

•    Be a peacemaker
•    Care for God’s creation
•    Ensure economic justice
•    
Ensure equal opportunity for all people to develop their unique gifts

In contrast, Ritchie argued that Bush represented American Christians by “focusing on moral issues that are important to Christians, namely abortion and gay marriages.” The debate solved little. In response to Carlson’s opening remarks, Ritchie suggested that Carlson’s four criteria “were not for Christians but for Socialists.” “I feel like when I follow [Carlson], there’s such a feast of intellectual error for me to talk about,” Ritchie concluded.²⁸

At various times, Bethel’s moderates and liberals attempted to push back against this laudative narrative of American militarism and conservative conformity. Aaron Gerhardt offered a defense of his decision to protest in April:

I protest because I am an American. Living in this country affords me the right to dissent, to offer alternative explanations and solutions to problems that this country faces, and ultimately being an American means that I love this country as much as any soldier fighting, or person in support of military action in Iraq. I support this country by asking the question, do people need to die in order to achieve peace?²⁹

WWI detritus

WWI detritus

That same month, Wes Burdine evoked the horrors of the first World War to critique the American tendency to pursue violence as policy:

Honor, courage, good, and evil are words which died in the trenches of World War I. And now they’re resurrected to fight again. My generation seems particularly thrilled about this war because we get to see our movies and games come to life. The “honor” of giving one’s life for one’s country is much “cooler” in real life than on Playstation.

Do we remember why these words died, why words like good and evil were deconstructed? Was it because of a sinful age of humanity [which] became too relativistic? Save me the sermon. Maybe it was because we saw our children bleeding the green earth black and whole cities light up in ash. We saw generations destroyed by the bullets they fired into their enemies, which could only be a bullet in their hearts later. Later, when they realized that wars are not fought for virtue.

Wars are not fought for honor. Wars are fought for ideologies and fear. We feared communism. Now, we fear terrorism. Honor and courage died because the generations before us destroyed one another in vain.³⁰

Jake Nyberg also rejected the basic narrative of the War on Terror:

Since [the horrible day of September 11], many in our country, including our President, have hijacked patriotism, and the results have been equally appalling. If you didn’t spend money after the terrorist attacks, you were “letting them win,” and therefore, unpatriotic. Stickers and flags started popping up everywhere, along with “we will never forget” merchandise and “true hero” dolls. In much the same way, Americans were sold this war! How many of us honestly lived in fear of Saddam Hussein or his alleged “terrorist connections” before our President and news media started warning us of the danger on a daily basis? If we truly aim to bring liberty to the Iraqi people, why are we being stripped of basic freedoms on our soil? How has protesting, an act rooted in free speech, become un-American?³¹

Bush

Bush

These objections were largely ignored as conservatives in the Clarion proceded apace in promoting the war, the President, and American troops. Only one moderate voice stood out in 2003. Matt Boettcher, the Clarion’s photo editor that year, penned a small piece lamenting the division on campus. “Let me tell you about some disturbing facts,” Boettcher wrote:

I have heard liberation advocates shout obscenities about the “stupid f-ing liberals” that stand outside Benson on Wednesdays. I’ve heard people I respect in the Peace and Justice Committee called un-American and un-Christian. I have even heard a report of an attempt to bully a professor in support of peace to “just go along with it now that it’s under way.” On the other side, I have seen peacemakers alienate the members of Bethel’s community with signs poorly worded. I have heard dishonoring remarks about Bush as a warmonger with a messiah complex. One of my conservative friends [Goddard] has received hate mail for his views.

Boettcher lamented that his good friends Tim Goddard and Aaron Gerhardt used to talk to each other openly and now were silent: “Does anyone care that the Republican and Democrat rift that has scarred our country has been allowed to scar our campus?”³² Boettcher’s remarks failed to inspire a single response.

Burdine

Burdine

That November and December, as Wes Burdine prepared to graduate, he penned a series of farewell letters in the Clarion. Looking back on his tenure at the paper, Burdine reflected:

When I started writing articles to raise questions about the Iraqi war last year, complaints came in to the Clarion about their liberal bent. How ridiculous. This campus is so fearful of opposing opinions that one (count ‘em — one) liberal on staff could be seen as threatening. Then, this semester arrives and a staff writer uses the column title “Minority Report” to publish conservative view pieces. Since when was the title “conservative Christian” a minority opinion here?

In America, I’m considered a moderate liberal — at Bethel I’m the anti-Christ, an angry, hippy liberal, and all I had to do was oppose the war.³³

His swan song came in December. Rejecting the stultifying fear of the “dominant, regular chapel-attending, 1-4-5 chord students,” Burdine challenged the school with a plea to “come alive.” “Come alive and question everything — leave no stone of your politics, faith, and life unturned. Until you have taken yourself apart and rebuilt everything from the ground up.”³⁴

A few pages deeper into the same Clarion, a Kelly Kirby essay proclaimed that president Bush was staying ahead of his many critics. Citing statements from Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, Kirby reveled in the belief that, “despite the endless criticisms by liberal opponents and the media that wants his presidency to fail, President Bush is continually proving himself as a skilled leader and wise decision-maker. Let’s hope Americans realize who they are listening to and can decipher fact from fiction by election time in 2004.”³⁵

— Fletcher Warren

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Citations
¹ Timothy Goddard, “War must be fought with love,” The Clarion 2001-09-27.
² Jaron Burdick, “When the empire shouldn’t strike back,” The Clarion 2001-09-27.
³ Noel Stringham, Survey Response, Summer 2014, Author’s personal collection (hereafter WPC).
⁴ Ibid.
⁵ Ibid.
⁶ Angi Palmer, “Caution must be exercised whenever war threatens,” The Clarion 2002-10-16.
⁷ Timothy Goddard, “US, UN have ethical responsibility to intervene in Iraq,” The Clarion 2002-11-13.
⁸ Wes Burdine, “Why I don’t like killing people — a case against war,” The Clarion 2002-11-13.
⁹ Timothy Goddard, “How to disagree without killing people,” The Clarion 2002-12-11.
¹⁰ Brent Kobielush, “Dear Editor,” The Clarion 2002-12-11.
¹¹ Jake Nyberg, “A higher destiny — America’s unfulfilled moral obligation,” The Clarion 2003-02-05.
¹² Abigail Dodds, “Misguided government or misguided you?” The Clarion 2003-02-18.
¹³ Aaron Gerhardt, “Dear Editor,” The Clarion 2003-03-05.
¹⁴ Justine Retford, “Dear Editor,” The Clarion 2003-03-19.
¹⁵ Matthew Boettcher, “Students speak out in anti-war protest,” The Clarion 2003-03-05.
¹⁶ Ibid.
¹⁷ Ibid.
¹⁸ Timothy Goddard, “War (protests), what are they good for,” The Clarion 2003-03-05.
¹⁹ Aaron Gerhardt, “Dear Editor,” The Clarion 2003-04-09.
²⁰ Wes Burdine, “Losing hope: Toby Keith sings for all of us,” The Clarion 2003-11-05.
²¹ Matthew Boettcher, “Forum brings many people, many opinions,” The Clarion 2003-03-19.
²² Ibid.
²³ Wes Burdine, “The death of generality and ideology,” The Clarion 2003-03-19.
²⁴ Brent Kobielush, “Dear Editor,” The Clarion 2002-12-11.
²⁵ Bill Lent, “Uncovering a unique voice for protecting a nation: an interview with a United States Marine veteran,” The Clarion 2003-03-19.
²⁶ Randy Kleinman and Matt Borg, “Dear Editor,” The Clarion 2003-04-23.
²⁷ Timothy Goddard, “End of year rapid-fire analysis,” The Clarion 2003-05-07.
²⁸ David Maus, “Faculty, students debate on Bush’s Christianity,” The Clarion 2003-12-10.
²⁹ Aaron Gerhardt, “Dear Editor,” The Clarion 2003-04-09.
³⁰ Wes Burdine, “We love ourselves some war,” The Clarion 2003-04-09.
³¹ Jake Nyberg, “Hijacked patriotism — cheap colors do run!” The Clarion 2003-04-09.
³² Matthew Boettcher, “A voice from the middle-ground,” The Clarion 2003-05-07.
³³ Wes Burdine, “Bethel must acknowledge, deal with, homosexuality,” The Clarion 2003-11-19.
³⁴ Wes Burdine, “Last words: stop being afraid and come alive,” The Clarion 2003-12-10.
³⁵ Kelly Kirby, “Bush staying one step ahead of his many critics,” The Clarion 2003-12-10.

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