Featured Peacemaker: Eric Patterson

by Rick Love

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Conversations about peacemaking can tend to communicate the notion that all force is always wrong. However, peacemaker Eric Patterson believes that we can work for peace while also supporting the use of force by legitimate authorities under the right circumstances. This way of thinking is known as the Just War tradition and has a long history within Christendom, tracing back to Augustine.

I met Eric Patterson at a dialogue between Christians and Muslims hosted at Eastern Mennonite University in 2011, and we hit it off immediately. As we talked he said to me, "Rick, you're a thoughtful peacemaker!"

Soon afterward he invited Peace Catalyst International to put on a peacemaking conference at Georgetown University. So we convened Evangelicals for Peace: A Summit on Christian Moral Responsibility in the 21st Century.

Since then Eric and I have become close friends. I continue to learn from Eric and deeply appreciate his understanding of the Just War tradition.

Senior Research Fellow at Georgetown and Dean of the School of Government at Regent University, he also has practical government experience, having served as a White House Fellow and worked in the State Department’s Bureau of Political and Military Affairs. He also currently serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard.

Eric has brought the ideas of the Just War tradition to peacemaking conversations through his research, teaching, and books, including Ending Wars WellPolitics in a Religious World, and Just War Thinking.

Learn More

Audio from Eric's presentation at Evangelicals for Peace gathering, Georgetown
Just War Thinking by Eric Patterson
Ethics Beyond War's End by Eric Patterson