Correspondence with Will Scarlett
The Courier-Herald Co. Inc.
It is nice to have your letters, but I doubt whether I can be of aid to you on the moral and theological issues of international relations because my mind is in a flux in regard to this matter. We have both resisted the "pure" christian solution of pacifism. In regard to the nuclear stalemate, proposals for unilateral disarmament are in the pacifist category. If you rule that out and rely, as we must on a precarious nuclear stalemate, all the problems of a Christian social ethic are raised to the nth degree. We must become involved in the prospective guilt of a possible nuclear war in order to avoid war. As I see it there are no strictly moral but only religious principles to govern our action. On the moral plane a nuclear stalemate is the old balance of force by which all peace and justice is maintained. It is a law of justice and not of the gospel. Religiously we have more to say about the peril of self-righteousness [ ]
Reinhold Niebuhr Papers: Library of Congress, Manuscript Reading Room