Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A book is a book is book, pt. 4 - The importance of making a distinction between the traditional role of religious bodies of fostering peace within and among individuals and the role newly assumed by the Christian Left of advocating an illusory absence of war among nations should not be underestimated. (It could be argued that the Christian Peacemakers in particular have completely taken leave of the commonly understood role of Christian denominations to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ; in Iraq, the Christian Peacemakers made it clear that they were not there to proselytize.)

The fact that neither the Christian Peacemakers or the Christian Left in general can’t or won’t make distinctions between the actions of regular military forces - motived in great measure by ideals codified in scripture - and those perpetrated by lawless bands of torturers, bombers and beheaders in the name of Islam confirms that they are not motivated by any interest in establishing righteousness on earth. Indeed, they are driven only by their desire to maintain for themselves an air of self-righteousness. (This is especially troubling when the James Loneys of the Christian Left seem to demonstrate a keen understanding of who they are dealing with through their own behavior.) But in order to be taken seriously as it pertains of the conduct of American foreign policy, the Christian left must demonstrate how implementation of its agenda would persuade al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and other organizations to abandon their destructive aims.

To begin with, what evidence have al-Qaeda or its confederates in the region given the West to suggest that they can be negotiated with? How would a $50 billion peace fund, as advocated by the National Council of Churches (and as discussed elsewhere), influence the behavior of young radicalized Arab men, when the Middle East itself already sits on oil reserves that would net them an unimaginable bounty that could be put to just as good a use? The Christian Left might also want to explain why terrorists are held to lower norms of behavior than their victims. It is nothing but unalloyed elitism to suggest that Arabs can only express their yearning for freedom and societal uplift through bombings and beheadings.

If America’s enemies in the Middle East are merely using the most expedient means in order to better their circumstances, where is the evidence that they are otherwise civil? If anything, Arabs world-wide have demonstrated their capacity for gross incivility in their violent overreaction to the October 2005 publication of cartoons about the Prophet Mohammad in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. But more to the point, where are al-Qaeda’s libraries and museums, its hospitals and institutions of higher learning? Indeed, where are the signs of its theological scholarship?

If we accept the argument of Jim Wallis, Ph.D., author of God’s Politics, that budgets are moral documents, what does al-Qaeda’s lack of obvious philanthropy – other than that of funding terrorist attacks – tell us about their morality. Moreover, if by using Dr. Wallis’ moral tape measure, we are found to be more just than our Islamofascist adversaries, are we not serving our highest moral purpose in resisting them? (Such would seem to be the case, as it is clear that we are fighting an adversary that equates weakness with evil, with our enemies within Islam concluding that any lack of resolve on our part is a consequence of our inherently malevolent nature.)

As the Christian Left continues to employ the same moral relativist gyrations as secular progressives to justify their shared agenda, the two become less and less differentiated. And in that situation, it is the Christian Left that loses, as it is the primary benefit of any religion is to prepare man for a relationship with something greater than himself. (I am put in mind of a comment that C.S. Lewis made in a letter to a friend, “I think we must fully face the fact that when Christianity does not make a man very much better, it makes him very much worse.”) By yielding to the basest instinct of secularism, namely the pursuit of personal convenience over morality, the Christian Left abandons the central message of Jesus Christ and thereby negates His authority.

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