Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) cited Jesus and St. Augustine as he criticized some Republicans and evangelical Christians for being "too eager for war," in a Christian Broadcasting Network interview.
When asked to explain his views on "just war theory," Paul said, "I think part of Republicans' problems, and, frankly, to tell you the truth, some in the evangelical Christian movement, I think have appeared too eager for war."
Paul has been critical of U.S. involvement in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and would like to see the U.S. military reduced in size. His father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), was the only Republican presidential candidate last year who argued for a quick reduction in U.S. military involvement abroad. Rand Paul has said he is considering running for president in 2016.
Just war theory, Paul explained, comes from St. Augustine and some other philosophers, and "some of it means that war is typically in self-defense." Paul also said that the teachings and example of Jesus informed his more pacifist views about the use of military force.
"When people come to me and they're lobbying for ratcheting up some bellicose policy towards some country, even if it's a bad country, I tell 'em, when I read the New Testament, I read about Jesus, I don't see him being involved in the wars of his days," Paul said. "In fact, people rebuked him for not being the king. They wanted somebody to stand up to the Romans. He stood up in a different sort of way, but he didn't organize coalitions and guerilla bands and arm them."
Paul clarified that he does not believe that the use of military force is never prudent: "Now I'm not saying that you shouldn't have people who want to defend against evil, bad forces around the world, but I think you need to remember that [Jesus] was the Prince of Peace."
In a reference to Jesus' "sermon on the mount," Paul added, "We're talking about, 'blessed are the peacemakers,' not 'blessed are the warmakers.'"
The interview with CBN's David Brody was filmed for two days last week at the Pauls' home in Kentucky and included an interview with Paul's wife, Kelley. The nearly half hour (including commercials) interview was wide ranging and included both personal questions about their faith, movies and music, as well as political questions. The interview will air Thursday on CBN and is already available online (see below).