Thursday, December 14, 2006

A book is a book is a book, pt. 5 - The secular Left and it's cohorts within the clergy and laity are linked by their distaste for a muscular American foreign policy. They claim to be pacifists, but if any of them possessed a shred of intellectual honesty they would admit that they are simply passivists, content to work against the interests of the West in particular and of freedom in general, all while the Middle East continues to burn. (That certainly squares with the opinion of the personnel stationed with Iraq’s embassy to Canada, as reported in the Edmonton Journal of March 25, 2006. According to the Journal, the Iraqi embassy issued a statement earlier in the month that referred to the freed Christian Peacemaker hostages as “phoney pacifists,” “willfully ignorant” and “outrageous,” adding that they “practice the kind of politics that automatically nominate them as dupes for jihadism and fascism.”)

Indeed, the Left in general posits that because of the West’s history of being “bad” – thanks to liberals, the litany of peculiarly Western offenses such as racism, sexism, homophobia and colonialism springs to mind – the West must now hold itself to a higher standard of good. But because no country this side of heaven can meet the Left’s arbitrary and untenable measure, we are left to wallow in a faux guilt that is just enough to inspire remorse, but not enough to require repentance and atonement. Liberals wish little more than to condemn America for failing to meet an unimaginably high benchmark of morality, while at the same time refusing to apply that same criterion to militant Islam.

The Left scoffs at George W. Bush’s attempts at transforming the region, and advocates for American indifference (except of course for Americans dumping more foreign aid into the U.N.’s collection plate.) In keeping with the mainstream of liberalism, the Christian Left appears equally ready to capitulate to “world opinion.” But what moral instruction are we to take from world opinion? The considered opinion of much of the world appears to be that, as it pertains to Darfur for example, the outrage is not against morality, but decorum.

If it is the unfortunate lot of Darfurans to perish – no damn it, to be exterminated in great numbers – at the hands of Muslims acting in service to Islam, courtesy demands that they accept their fate quietly. Let there by no more vain, nagging appeals to our consciences, no plaintiff pleas for mercy. World opinion demands that the people of Darfur embrace deaths with dignity (or as much dignity as a malnourished, parasite-infested two-year old refugee can muster.)

Now as they stand at the intersection of world consensus and the imperatives of moral decency, the Christian Left must decide whether it will maintain solidarity with the world and remain indifferent to Muslim extremism, or respond to the traditional mandate of people of faith not only to eschew evil, but to confront it. Indeed, the behavior of increasing numbers of radicalized Muslims seems all but to guarantee that such a confrontation will be inevitable. After a September 12, 2006 speech on reason and faith at the University of Regensburg in Germany, Pope Benedict XVI was denounced by Muslim leaders around the world.

And what was Benedict’s offense? For no other reason than suggesting as an aside that “spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable,” the Pope was burned in effigy, churches in the West Bank city of Nablus were torched, and a Somali nun was murdered. And according to a September 17, 2006 New York Times report, a Somali cleric “was reported to have urged Muslims to ‘hunt down’ the Pope for remarks that he called ‘barbaric.’ ” In contrast to Islam, Christianity holds its God accountable to reason, and judge Him by what they are led or inspired to do in His name (i.e.: build magnificent churches, create great art, heal disease and feed the hungry.) In no wise do Muslims hold their god or their faith to a similar standard. They are free to create or destroy, heal or kill, build up or tear down, as long as it conforms to the "will" of Allah.

For those among the clergy (and increasingly, within the demoralized ranks of conservatives) who would occupy the low stations of duplicity, their efforts undercut the central purpose of Christianity and deny it's impact on American society. Americans have traditionally understood that the role of faith in our society was to ready mankind for a relationship with God, not to merely establish “social justice” or economic leveling between a man and his neighbor. As we deny the special place that Judeo-Christian values have held in our culture, we threaten the existence of those values and the culture that they undergird.

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