Whose Side is God On?
April 21, 2002
by Bruce Walker
As soon as President Bush said "Crusade" the cognoscenti said "politically incorrect" and as soon as Jews mention their right to live in Israel, these same cognoscenti say "compromise." The underlying theme of these two retorts is that we - Christians and Jews of the democratic West - have no right to invoke the divine, even as venomous radical Moslems call us the "Great Satan" for whom children should die in jihad.
President Bush, Prime Minister Sharon, and serious supporters of Judeo-Christian morality and theology need to take a stand and they need to do it soon. Jews are in Israel because of a firm belief by Jews and Christians that this particular part of our planet belongs to them. Hitler proposed a Jewish homeland...in Madagascar. Tsar Nicholas also gave the Jews a place to live...in the Pale.
Jews are not asking for the vast and unmerited wealth of the Arabian oilfields (which the Israeli Defense Force could conquer and control) or the agricultural largess of the Fertile Crescent or the Nile Delta. No, Jews instead want a tiny sliver of coastal lands, arid deserts, and salty inland seas - places important only because they believe that God has said that these lands were special.
What of the presidents remark about a "crusade?" Was that not the very term that Allied leaders used to inspire our men to die in the skies over the Reich and the tropical islands of the Pacific? The crusades which offend the delicate sensibilities of Moslem nations were the struggles of Christian armies a thousand years ago to open up the Holy Lands to Christians. Conveniently forgotten by these Moslem dilettantes is the very real oppression under which Christians lived within Islamic lands.
It is a tribute to the profound goodness of Christianity that when Moslems and Jews speak of the Crusades or the Reconquista of Spain, Christians feel the need to apologize for crimes committed five hundred or a thousand years earlier by other Christians in a context that, even today, modernists would find morally ambiguous.
Perhaps eighty percent of the Spanish people at the time of the Reconquista were Christians living under the lash of Saracen overlords, often with Jewish potentates also owning estates filled with Christian slaves. The Caliphate of Cordova was certainly culturally advanced, but its wealth and art was built on the backs of oppressed Christians. CNN would look at the flowering of Moslem and Jewish architecture, letters, art, and science with horror...until its reporters found our the sweats and groans were by Christians.
Still, Christians and Jews are the first - not the last - to point out the failures and short-comings of their ancestors. Even today, Christians seldom even think about the Reconquista, literally the "Reconquest" of Spain as some sort of medieval D-Day, but rather we dwell on the later expulsion or conversion of Jews and Moslems and the Inquisition.
Jews today are often the most articulate critics of Israeli government policies and it is in Israel, not Iraq or Saudi Arabia or Syria or Egypt, where a Moslem can enter the polling booth and cast a ballot in a free election. Those noble principles of the Koran are honored most seriously in Israel and America (which is why, aside from a few oil rich Arabian states with guest workers and a few periods of inter-religious wars in the Indian subcontinent, no Arab or Islamic nations have ever had "immigration problems" but only "emigration problems.")
These are the plain facts. At what point do we choose to connect the dots and draw the obvious and necessary conclusions? Our war is against a system of belief, and bin Laden is quite right on that point. How can we be sure that we are right? If it is a religious war (and it is) that we are fighting, how do we know that God is on our side?
Which side relies upon outright lies...and then boasts of the successful distortion of the truth? Which side eschews "smart" bombs, which are intended to harm the guilty, in favor of "dumb" weapons like airliners crashing into skyscrapers filled with innocents? Which side is deathly afraid of serious and free discussion of ideas and beliefs, to the point that even building a church or synagogue is a crime?
The question, however stated, always has the same true answer. It is not coincidence that half a century after the British left the Indian subcontinent that Moslems murdered Hindus, that Sikhs have assassinated two Indian prime ministers, that Buddhists and Hindu in Sri Lanka and southern India have engaged in a horrific and under-reported genocidal war.
Islam and those lands, like India and the Balkans, which have lived for centuries under Moslem rulers are not happy lands. Spain, India, Greece, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Portugal, and other nations that lived under Islam remain backwards among the Judeo-Christian world, but far ahead of the Islamic world. Not politically correct, but obviously true.
The Islamic world view is very much like the Marxist world view: all the problems of the world are nails, and all the solutions are bigger hammers. Christians believe in an entirely different world view. Nails and hammers played a vital historical role, but these instruments were wielded by those at odds with God.
Jews and Christians believe in dying for what they must, but they do not believe in suicide or murder. Why? Because we believe that each candle extinguished by an explosion in some market in Israel is a candle lit by God and not by theocrats or politicians. We believe not only that the lives of our families are sacred to God, but that the lives of everyone killed by our ordnance in Afghanistan.
We believe that when President Bush fell to his knees in prayer after September 11th, the president did not say "Avenge me with the blood of millions!" but rather "Lord, tell me what to do, because only You can separate the wheat from the chaff." We believe that in Temples and Synagogues, when pious Jews sing "On that day, the world shall be one and the world shall be one" that this is not a request for war, but for peace.
Does this mean that in this religious war we Christians and Jews believe that God is on our side? After all, is not America full of schisms of faith? How many different denominations of Christian churches does a Moslem have to see in our cities before smirking at our division? How many public statements of doubt by Jews is required before Moslems see Jews as unbelieving people? How many times will these Moslems have to see that in America or Israel, a Sunni or Shiite or Shaykh or Qadiani can practice his interpretation of Islam with more safety than anywhere else on Earth?
How often do Moslems have to see America use its military force against Christians in Serbia and in defense of Moslems? How often do Moslems have to see Christian missionaries coming to Islamic lands with medicines and Bibles, rather than explosives and knives? How many witnesses to the compassion of the God of Jews and Christians are required before Moslems understand that if this is a religious war, then every fact which can be adduced from Creation proclaims that God is on our side?
Yes - we know that God is on our side, and I suppose that is the "bad part" for you. Here is the good part, quite literally the "Good News" - God is on your side too. He is on the side of anyone who seeks Him, and even those who do not. He is on the side of the peacemaker. He is on the side of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. He is on the side of the pure in heart. He is also - and you may soon be thanking God for this - He is on the side of the merciful.
Bruce Walker has been a dyed in the wool conservative since, as a sixth grader, he campaigned door to door for Barry Goldwater. Bruce has had almost two hundred published articles have appeared in the Oklahoma Bar Journal, Law & Order, Legal Secretary Today, The Single Parent, Enter Stage Right, Citizen's View, The American Partisan, Port of Call, and several other professional and political periodicals.
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