Canada's involvement in Afghanistan is the longest martial conflict in its history precipitated literally overnight by a world changing event in the 2001 9/11 attack in New York City. In 2010, the Afghan Mission remains front page news for Canadians, even threatening to undermine the Federal Government due to the so-called Detainee Scandal. The human cost (Canadian and Afghan), financial burdens and impact on the self-perception of Canadians as a peace keeping Middle-Power are immense and likely will form a watershed in Canadian history. And yet, the Mission remains little scrutinized by faith communities, and further, left as a n-conversation for many and the domain of a nebulous foreign policy and largely toothless Manley Report. This volume is the first such major attempt by the Centre for Public Theology to bring together theologians, philosophers, faith leaders, NGOs, politicians and other academics from sociology, politics and peace-keeping in order to dialogue about the impact of the Afghan Mission. These papers form much of the conversation of a conference held in May 2009 at the Centre for Public Theology. The papers offer reflections on the Manley Report, investigations on the theological and philosophical issues at play in Canada's response, interaction with Canada's shift from peace-keeping to war-fighting and the new NATO mandate, thoughts on the role of Islamic nations and analysis of the role of the Abrahamic faith communities in this wider Canadian conversation. The Centre for Public Theology is a federally funded research centre housed at Huron University College whose mandate is to bring into conversation academics, NGOs, media, Government and the public on issues of public policy and life with a particular attention to the role of religion in Canadian life. Its founding motto is intelligence, t advocacy. It is t an advocacy or lobbying centre, instead seeking only to facilitate dialogue across boundaries. Its webpage can be found at www.publictheology.org.
Gary D. Badcock is Peache Professor of Divinity at Huron University College, London, Ontario. A Canadian who studied theology at the University of Edinburgh, he has taught Systematic Theology in Scotland and in Canada for the past twenty years. In addition to numerous periodical articles and chapters in books, he is the author of three monographs in theology, most recently The House where God Lives (Eerdmans, 2009), and has edited or co-edited several others. He is also co-founder of the Centre for Public Theology. Darren C. Marks is Assistant Professor of Theology and Jewish Studies at Huron University College, London, Ontario. He is the author of dozens of articles in systematic theology, philosophy and Jewish Studies and the author/editor of several texts in theology. His research interests include global theology, public theology, Jewish-Christian relationship and science and theology. He is also co-founder of the Centre for Public Theology.