Let’s be clear: The great freak-out over Pamela Geller’s “draw Muhammad” contest isn’t about love for Islam or for robust and respectful religious pluralism. Indeed, many of those expressing anguish over blasphemy against Islam show no such concern over even the most vile attacks on the Christian faith. Beyond that, they’re among the leaders in movements designed to banish religious liberty — including Muslim religious liberty — to the margins of American life. [Read more…]
On the eve of the president’s address to the nation, at the ACLJ we’re releasing a new e-book: Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore. Based on a series of papers presented at Oxford’s Harris Manchester College earlier this summer — and on our long experience defending Israel’s interests before the U.N. and International Criminal Court (along with my first-hand experience in Iraq) — the book traces the rise of ISIS from the ashes of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), compares its jihadist aims with those of Hamas, and then explores how the international community is actively seeking to limit our inherent rights of self-defense.
The book is about ISIS, but it’s also about Hamas. And it makes a key point: The only difference between the plight of the Christians in Iraq versus Jews in Israel is the people of Israel are protected by the might of the IDF, while Iraq’s Christians were helpless when ISIS surged into Mosul and threatened Kurdistan.
There is nothing politically correct about this book. It gathers all available sources to take a realistic, grim look at the jihadist threat and refuses to make the popular distinctions between more-and less-respectable jihadists. ISIS and Hamas are separate groups, but they’re part of the same jihad.
But the book’s not without hope. We remind Americans that through courage and will, we’ve vanquished terrorists before. We can do it again. And, unlike the president to this point, we outline a strategy. Simply put, a great nation must not be “war-weary” when its jihadist enemies are brutal beyond comprehension, gaining wealth and power, and eager to kill as many of our citizens as they can. A great nation must fight.
This article first appeared on National Review Online
Even in the face of jihadist horror, it’s surprising how many Christians are deeply confused about issues of war and peace, with the root of the confusion embedded in the distinction between personal and governmental responsibilities. Admonitions to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies, and to repay good for evil are at core individual responsibilities — responsibilities that not only call on us to imitate Christ’s own example as he forgave his executioners in the midst of his own execution but also relieve us from the terrible and deadly burden of imposing individual justice.
But justice is still required. The instrument of that justice isn’t, for example, the Foley or Sotloff families — as it would have been in primitive societies — but rather our nation, bearing a sword of wrath and vengeance. Romans 12 and 13 show these shifting responsibilities beautifully. First, there is the individual responsibility to love even your enemy:
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Critically, however, that does not end the inquiry. God is just, and he has designated an instrument, an “agent” of his wrath and justice.
For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. [Emphasis added.]
This is government functioning in its proper role, one of the few roles explicitly designated for government in all of scripture. In other words, we should expect and demand that our nation fulfill this responsibility. In fact, when our nation fails to fulfill this responsibility it places a terrible burden on the families of the fallen — asking them to forgive without even the hope of punishment.
Many Christians seem befuddled when responding to atrocities like beheadings and systematic, deadly persecution — conflicted between the desire to protect the innocent and “do justice” yet feeling as if that somehow violates commands like “turn the other cheek.” But we are not commanded to make sure that others turn their cheeks. Indeed, compelling helplessness and vulnerability is a grave affront to a nation’s citizens. Pacifism — which is nothing more than compelled helplessness — is thus the worst possible response to attack, not just tactically and strategically stupid in secular terms but also a direct abdication of a sacred responsibility.
So, with a clear conscience and firm conviction, our nation’s Christian citizens can and should send President Obama a clear message: ISIS should not be managed. It has to be crushed.
This post first appeared on National Review Online
The Christian Post asked me to distill the case for Mitt Romney down to 400 words. Considering that I’ve probably written (conservatively) more than 400,000 on the topic, it was a challenge. But here it is — the 400 word Christian case for Mitt Romney. Share with all your wavering friends: [Read more…]