Either ignoring or capitulating to Islam

A sobering piece by Mark Steyn:

What with the Fort Hood mass murderer, the Christmas Pantybomber, and now the Times Square bomber, you may have noticed a little uptick in attempted terrorist attacks on the U.S. mainland in the last few months.

Rep. Lamar Smith did, and, at the House Judiciary Committee, he was interested to see if the attorney general of the United States thought there might be any factor in common between these perplexingly diverse incidents.

“In the case of all three attempts in the last year, the terrorist attempts, one of which was successful, those individuals have had ties to radical Islam,” said Representative Smith. “Do you feel that these individuals might have been incited to take the actions that they did because of radical Islam?”

“Because of . . . ?”

“Radical Islam,” repeated Smith.

“There are a variety of reasons why I think people have taken these actions,” replied Eric Holder noncommittally. “I think you have to look at each individual case.”

The congressman tried again. “Yes, but radical Islam could have been one of the reasons?”

“There are a variety of reasons why people . . . ”

“But was radical Islam one of them?”

“There are a variety of reasons why people do things,” the attorney general said again. “Some of them are potentially religious . . . ” Stuff happens. Hard to say why.

“Okay,” said Smith. “But all I’m asking is if you think, among those variety of reasons, radical Islam might have been one of the reasons that the individuals took the steps that they did.”

“You see, you say ‘radical Islam,’” objected Holder. “I mean, I think those people who espouse a — a version of Islam that is not . . . ”

“Are you uncomfortable attributing any actions to radical Islam?” asked Smith. “It sounds like it.”

And so on, and so forth. At Ford Hood, Major Hasan jumped on a table and gunned down his comrades while screaming “Allahu Akbar!” — which is Arabic for “Nothing to see here” and an early indicator of pre-post-traumatic stress disorder. The Times Square bomber, we are assured by the Washington Post, CNN, and Newsweek, was upset by foreclosure proceedings on his house. Mortgage-related issues. Nothing to do with months of training at a Taliban camp in Waziristan.

Listening to Attorney General Holder, one is tempted to modify Trotsky: You may not be interested in Islam, but Islam is interested in you. Islam smells weakness at the heart of the West. The post–World War II order is dying: The European Union’s decision to toss a trillion dollars to prop up a Greek economic model that guarantees terminal insolvency is merely the latest manifestation of the chronic combination of fiscal profligacy and demographic decline in the West at twilight. Islam is already the biggest supplier of new Europeans and new Canadians, and the fastest-growing demographic in the Western world. Therefore, it thinks it not unreasonable to shape the character of those societies — not by blowing up buildings and airplanes, but by determining the nature of their relationship to Islam.

via Nicking Our Public Discourse – Mark Steyn – National Review Online.

He goes on to cite how Muslim states have taken over the UN Human Rights council; the Metropolitan Museum of Art has retired its collection of Islamic art depicting Muhammed (without even being threatened); and, incredibly, the American Academy of Pediatricians is changing its policy to allow a limited form of female genital mutilation.

Western civilization, having completely lost its basis and paralyzed by self-criticism, no longer has confidence in itself. As a result, it has become a pushover for a newly-aggressive Islam.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Winston Smith

    I would like to think that, in the United States, anyway, radical Islam will eventually run into the same buzz saw of political correctness that plagues Biblical Christianity.

    Surely any attempts to impose sharia law in the United States will bring the ACLU scurrying to a federal courthouse to file an Establishment Clause suit arguing for the separation of church and state. Surely pressures on women to adopt Islamic dress will bring the feminists out into the streets to burn burqas in angry demonstrations. Surely the first “Allah Akbar” from a first-grader will bring the same response (zero tolerance) from public school teachers as a Christian child’s drawing of a picture of Jesus.

    What’s sauce for the goose ought to be sauce for the gander (or the halal lamb, for that matter). God moves in mysterious ways.

    The real antidote to Islam, of course, is the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • Winston Smith

    I would like to think that, in the United States, anyway, radical Islam will eventually run into the same buzz saw of political correctness that plagues Biblical Christianity.

    Surely any attempts to impose sharia law in the United States will bring the ACLU scurrying to a federal courthouse to file an Establishment Clause suit arguing for the separation of church and state. Surely pressures on women to adopt Islamic dress will bring the feminists out into the streets to burn burqas in angry demonstrations. Surely the first “Allah Akbar” from a first-grader will bring the same response (zero tolerance) from public school teachers as a Christian child’s drawing of a picture of Jesus.

    What’s sauce for the goose ought to be sauce for the gander (or the halal lamb, for that matter). God moves in mysterious ways.

    The real antidote to Islam, of course, is the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • Tom Hering

    I wonder if the groups listed by Winston Smith won’t cut Islam more slack than Christianity – simply because Muslims will continue to be a minority here for some time to come. We’ll see.

  • Tom Hering

    I wonder if the groups listed by Winston Smith won’t cut Islam more slack than Christianity – simply because Muslims will continue to be a minority here for some time to come. We’ll see.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Interesting. I was “friended” on a social networking sight by a European female who is Islamic. She posted that was proud to be Muslim, and anyone who had a problem with that could unfriend her. “Fine, that,” says I to myself. “I haven’t got any Muslim friends.” Everything was fine until I randomly visited her homepage. It was filled with the most vitriolic anti-semitic tripe one could imagine. One person, I know, but at some point we have to come to grips with the fact that this religion spawns militant hatred.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Interesting. I was “friended” on a social networking sight by a European female who is Islamic. She posted that was proud to be Muslim, and anyone who had a problem with that could unfriend her. “Fine, that,” says I to myself. “I haven’t got any Muslim friends.” Everything was fine until I randomly visited her homepage. It was filled with the most vitriolic anti-semitic tripe one could imagine. One person, I know, but at some point we have to come to grips with the fact that this religion spawns militant hatred.

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  • Andy

    “Surely any attempts to impose sharia law in the United States will bring the ACLU scurrying to a federal courthouse to file an Establishment Clause suit arguing for the separation of church and state.” Exactly, Smith. Because many men in the American religious right could live quite comfortably under ‘sharia law,’ knowing that women will finally be put in their place. But kudos to you for the huevos to say that there seems to be no difference between radical muslims and conservative American christians in their disdain for the first amendment.

  • Andy

    “Surely any attempts to impose sharia law in the United States will bring the ACLU scurrying to a federal courthouse to file an Establishment Clause suit arguing for the separation of church and state.” Exactly, Smith. Because many men in the American religious right could live quite comfortably under ‘sharia law,’ knowing that women will finally be put in their place. But kudos to you for the huevos to say that there seems to be no difference between radical muslims and conservative American christians in their disdain for the first amendment.

  • http://mesamike.org Mike Westfall

    I’m wondering, Andy, how women in western culture ever came to be regarded as actually human in the first place. Do you have any theories on that?

    Was it because religion (particularly Christianity) has been weak to non-existent in the west till just recently?

  • http://mesamike.org Mike Westfall

    I’m wondering, Andy, how women in western culture ever came to be regarded as actually human in the first place. Do you have any theories on that?

    Was it because religion (particularly Christianity) has been weak to non-existent in the west till just recently?

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    We are really in trouble when our government can’t call something for what it is. Doing this in regard to the economy is one thing, and will ‘only’ result in our financial ruin, doing this in regard to a group sworn to destroy us will result in a lot of death and suffering.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    We are really in trouble when our government can’t call something for what it is. Doing this in regard to the economy is one thing, and will ‘only’ result in our financial ruin, doing this in regard to a group sworn to destroy us will result in a lot of death and suffering.

  • Winston Smith

    “I wonder if the groups listed by Winston Smith won’t cut Islam more slack than Christianity …”

    I suspect that will actually be the case, Tom, although that makes little sense. Radical muslims are so intolerant of dissent, and of womens’ rights, that they make a hard-shell Mississippi Baptist preacher sound like Voltaire by comparison. I suspect that most progressive groups, deep down, are motivated by hatred for Christianity and the Christ behind it.

    Andy @4: I was not, intentionally or otherwise, equating fundamentalist Christianity with Islam. If you don’t believe me, check out, for example, http://www.persecution.com and see the difference. I assure you that the radical muslims understand it.

  • Winston Smith

    “I wonder if the groups listed by Winston Smith won’t cut Islam more slack than Christianity …”

    I suspect that will actually be the case, Tom, although that makes little sense. Radical muslims are so intolerant of dissent, and of womens’ rights, that they make a hard-shell Mississippi Baptist preacher sound like Voltaire by comparison. I suspect that most progressive groups, deep down, are motivated by hatred for Christianity and the Christ behind it.

    Andy @4: I was not, intentionally or otherwise, equating fundamentalist Christianity with Islam. If you don’t believe me, check out, for example, http://www.persecution.com and see the difference. I assure you that the radical muslims understand it.

  • Andy

    Smith, your theology differs from radical islam, but your worldview not a whit. You both despise those who support religious freedom.

  • Andy

    Smith, your theology differs from radical islam, but your worldview not a whit. You both despise those who support religious freedom.

  • sg

    Where are the men in the west who want to defend their women and children?

    This is why the foreign wars are so dumb. First we need to defend ourselves at home, not worry about remaking other countries in our own suicidal image.

    American men need to get in touch with their masculine side.

  • sg

    Where are the men in the west who want to defend their women and children?

    This is why the foreign wars are so dumb. First we need to defend ourselves at home, not worry about remaking other countries in our own suicidal image.

    American men need to get in touch with their masculine side.

  • Joe

    Andy – are prepared to comment with specific examples of Winston’s world view and alleged hatred of religious freedom? If not, you really own the man an apology.

  • Joe

    Andy – are prepared to comment with specific examples of Winston’s world view and alleged hatred of religious freedom? If not, you really own the man an apology.

  • DonS

    Andy — what Joe said. Are you going to actually have the “huevos” to provide the evidence that you have not slandered Winston? Because your statements certainly look like cowardly slander to me.

  • DonS

    Andy — what Joe said. Are you going to actually have the “huevos” to provide the evidence that you have not slandered Winston? Because your statements certainly look like cowardly slander to me.

  • HistoryProfBrad

    I really wonder sometimes exactly what the term “religious right” means any more. It is bantered about so freely, as are other terms like “liberal” and “right wing” that they have all but lost their meanings, falling prey to the poststructural morass that has undermined most public discourse. Andy, based on your usage of the term, you seem to be convinced without hesitation that the religious right would be quite comfortable with Sharia law and its attitudes towards women. I find your assertion overgeneralized and your tone more than a little condescending. I say this because my more conservative friends have called me a feminist while my more liberal friends have called me a misogynist and yet I find Sharia law’s views of women both despicable and barbaric.

    Then again, maybe I am a right winger, too. I am not sure any more!

  • HistoryProfBrad

    I really wonder sometimes exactly what the term “religious right” means any more. It is bantered about so freely, as are other terms like “liberal” and “right wing” that they have all but lost their meanings, falling prey to the poststructural morass that has undermined most public discourse. Andy, based on your usage of the term, you seem to be convinced without hesitation that the religious right would be quite comfortable with Sharia law and its attitudes towards women. I find your assertion overgeneralized and your tone more than a little condescending. I say this because my more conservative friends have called me a feminist while my more liberal friends have called me a misogynist and yet I find Sharia law’s views of women both despicable and barbaric.

    Then again, maybe I am a right winger, too. I am not sure any more!

  • CBoehlke

    “Western civilization, having completely lost its basis and paralyzed by self-criticism, no longer has confidence in itself. As a result, it has become a pushover for a newly-aggressive Islam.”

    Thank you Dr. Veith for pointing out that it is Western civilization has lost its basis. Western civilization has detached itself from its own history thus losing its sense of direction.

    I quote Cicero, “To remain ignorant of what has happened before your birth, is to remain always a child. For what is the meaning of a man’s life unless it is intertwined with that of our ancestors by history?”

    In our vocation as citizens, what can we learn from history that will guide us and give us confidence in dealing with Islam?

  • CBoehlke

    “Western civilization, having completely lost its basis and paralyzed by self-criticism, no longer has confidence in itself. As a result, it has become a pushover for a newly-aggressive Islam.”

    Thank you Dr. Veith for pointing out that it is Western civilization has lost its basis. Western civilization has detached itself from its own history thus losing its sense of direction.

    I quote Cicero, “To remain ignorant of what has happened before your birth, is to remain always a child. For what is the meaning of a man’s life unless it is intertwined with that of our ancestors by history?”

    In our vocation as citizens, what can we learn from history that will guide us and give us confidence in dealing with Islam?

  • John C

    Perhaps american women need to get in touch with their masculine side, sg.

  • John C

    Perhaps american women need to get in touch with their masculine side, sg.

  • sg

    “Perhaps american women need to get in touch with their masculine side, sg.”

    Story of my life. Born in the 60′s, I have been pressured and prodded to be more like a man and work like a man, go to college, have a career, blah, blah, ever more obligations. It is not liberation by any means. It is not the job of women to be men or be masculine. If some women want to, that is up to them, but we are not obligated to be men. We are not men. We are worthwhile being women and doing what women do.

  • sg

    “Perhaps american women need to get in touch with their masculine side, sg.”

    Story of my life. Born in the 60′s, I have been pressured and prodded to be more like a man and work like a man, go to college, have a career, blah, blah, ever more obligations. It is not liberation by any means. It is not the job of women to be men or be masculine. If some women want to, that is up to them, but we are not obligated to be men. We are not men. We are worthwhile being women and doing what women do.

  • Philip

    Radical Islam is not the problem, Islam is the problem. To understand the effect of Islam read ” A God who Hates,” by Wafa Sultan.
    Dr. Sultan is a medical doctor born and raised in Syria. She has a first hand account of Islam and the generosity of the West.

  • Philip

    Radical Islam is not the problem, Islam is the problem. To understand the effect of Islam read ” A God who Hates,” by Wafa Sultan.
    Dr. Sultan is a medical doctor born and raised in Syria. She has a first hand account of Islam and the generosity of the West.

  • sg

    It seems we keep threatening these people with things they don’t fear. I mean, when they attack us, we go over there and kill their men. It doesn’t seem to bother them. Killing their guys doesn’t matter to them. They will just make more. Japan and Germany only surrendered when we made it clear that we weren’t going to stop at killing their guys. We were going to destroy their nation if need be, and we demonstrated our ability by destroying parts of their nations. I mean literally their nations, the population, not just soldiers.

  • sg

    It seems we keep threatening these people with things they don’t fear. I mean, when they attack us, we go over there and kill their men. It doesn’t seem to bother them. Killing their guys doesn’t matter to them. They will just make more. Japan and Germany only surrendered when we made it clear that we weren’t going to stop at killing their guys. We were going to destroy their nation if need be, and we demonstrated our ability by destroying parts of their nations. I mean literally their nations, the population, not just soldiers.

  • John C

    Islam is not monolithic. Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country, is a nascent democracy of 240 million people. They share the same dreams and frustrations as everyone else. A handful of radicals can create a lot of death and destruction but then, so did Timothy McVeigh.

  • John C

    Islam is not monolithic. Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country, is a nascent democracy of 240 million people. They share the same dreams and frustrations as everyone else. A handful of radicals can create a lot of death and destruction but then, so did Timothy McVeigh.

  • John C

    As in Iraq, there are no military solutions in Afgahnistan. You can be assured sg, that the US is negotiating with the Taliban and has been doing so for some time.

  • John C

    As in Iraq, there are no military solutions in Afgahnistan. You can be assured sg, that the US is negotiating with the Taliban and has been doing so for some time.

  • kerner

    John C:

    The “solutions” in Iraq certainly did have a military component. Iraq would not be the vastly improved place it is now, both for us and the Iraqis, without military intervention.

    sg:

    I’m not understanding what you are saying. Half the time you seem to be saying that we should not be fighting abroad at all. The other half you seem to be saying we should be anihilating entire populations of people abroad. What exactly do you think we should be doing?

  • kerner

    John C:

    The “solutions” in Iraq certainly did have a military component. Iraq would not be the vastly improved place it is now, both for us and the Iraqis, without military intervention.

    sg:

    I’m not understanding what you are saying. Half the time you seem to be saying that we should not be fighting abroad at all. The other half you seem to be saying we should be anihilating entire populations of people abroad. What exactly do you think we should be doing?

  • sg

    Kerner, I am not a military strategist. I don’t know what we should be doing. However, even a simple person can see that what we are doing goes against some basic principles. The current wars are expensive and ineffective. So, I don’t like them. Annihilating entire populations is effective even if we abhor such a strategy. Threatening it is also fairly effective because our enemies fear the destruction of their women, children and society. They don’t fear losing their own lives. We can simply observe history. Removing members of alien groups from our country is also effective even though most of the people we would remove would be innocent. We don’t want to punish the good in order to thwart our enemies. So we endure expensive and ineffective efforts to protect ourselves. I am just characterizing our situation. I don’t have a solution.

  • sg

    Kerner, I am not a military strategist. I don’t know what we should be doing. However, even a simple person can see that what we are doing goes against some basic principles. The current wars are expensive and ineffective. So, I don’t like them. Annihilating entire populations is effective even if we abhor such a strategy. Threatening it is also fairly effective because our enemies fear the destruction of their women, children and society. They don’t fear losing their own lives. We can simply observe history. Removing members of alien groups from our country is also effective even though most of the people we would remove would be innocent. We don’t want to punish the good in order to thwart our enemies. So we endure expensive and ineffective efforts to protect ourselves. I am just characterizing our situation. I don’t have a solution.

  • Marty

    kerner, Iraq “vastly improved”? Surely you jest.

  • Marty

    kerner, Iraq “vastly improved”? Surely you jest.

  • kerner

    Marty:

    No jest at all. Political and intellectual freedom have increased for everyone in Iraq. The Shi’ite majority now have the political power associated with the number of their votes, the Sunnis seem to be actively participating in the political system, but are not being severely persecuted by the formerly oppressed Shi’ites. The Kurds have more freedom and autonomy than they have had since ancient times (maybe ever), and they are apparently developing their region in positive ways. The press and intellectual experssion are freer that they have ever been. The people don’t live under a brutal dictatorship that raped and tortured at will.

    More importantly, most of us in the industrialized west don’t appreciate how different life is in third world countries whrer the dictator runs the government like his personal wealth generating operation. When a ruling oligarchy milks a society for all they can get, the overwealming majority suffer in ways you can’t imagine. I have represented people from third world countries for most of my adult life, and I know how it is. So, yeah, the situation there, with all its flaws and with all the individual errors and misdeeds Americans might have committed, has vastly improved for the Iraqis. For us, Iraq is no longer our enemy. Big improvement there too.

    I assume you disagree. Can you honestly say things have gotten worse?

    sg:

    “We don’t want to punish the good in order to thwart our enemies. So we endure expensive and ineffective efforts to protect ourselves.”

    It can be tempting to be willing to kill or deport or otherwise harm the innocent when we see this as a byproduct of an “effective” strategy for protecting ourselves. On some level, some unjust suffering by some inocent people will be umavoidable, so it becomes easier to rationalize inflicting lots more suffering on innocent people than necessary.

    But most of us on this Blog are Christians and Americans, and we have to examine how much suffering we are willing to inflict on our neighbors (leave aside for the moment that I, as a Christian and Lutheran, don’t believe that anyone is really innocent) to preserve our own wealth and safety.

    There is a point at which being willing to harm our neighbors unjustly to preserve our own safety and comfort becomes cowardly, isn’t there? On some level, a free society has to be a courageous society, doesn’t it? One willing to accept some risks in order to preserve the freedoms and principles it stands for. If more safety saves us money and inflicts harm to our neighbor unjustly, I believe that at some point we, as Christians and Americans, should be willing to spend the money and/or take the risk.

  • kerner

    Marty:

    No jest at all. Political and intellectual freedom have increased for everyone in Iraq. The Shi’ite majority now have the political power associated with the number of their votes, the Sunnis seem to be actively participating in the political system, but are not being severely persecuted by the formerly oppressed Shi’ites. The Kurds have more freedom and autonomy than they have had since ancient times (maybe ever), and they are apparently developing their region in positive ways. The press and intellectual experssion are freer that they have ever been. The people don’t live under a brutal dictatorship that raped and tortured at will.

    More importantly, most of us in the industrialized west don’t appreciate how different life is in third world countries whrer the dictator runs the government like his personal wealth generating operation. When a ruling oligarchy milks a society for all they can get, the overwealming majority suffer in ways you can’t imagine. I have represented people from third world countries for most of my adult life, and I know how it is. So, yeah, the situation there, with all its flaws and with all the individual errors and misdeeds Americans might have committed, has vastly improved for the Iraqis. For us, Iraq is no longer our enemy. Big improvement there too.

    I assume you disagree. Can you honestly say things have gotten worse?

    sg:

    “We don’t want to punish the good in order to thwart our enemies. So we endure expensive and ineffective efforts to protect ourselves.”

    It can be tempting to be willing to kill or deport or otherwise harm the innocent when we see this as a byproduct of an “effective” strategy for protecting ourselves. On some level, some unjust suffering by some inocent people will be umavoidable, so it becomes easier to rationalize inflicting lots more suffering on innocent people than necessary.

    But most of us on this Blog are Christians and Americans, and we have to examine how much suffering we are willing to inflict on our neighbors (leave aside for the moment that I, as a Christian and Lutheran, don’t believe that anyone is really innocent) to preserve our own wealth and safety.

    There is a point at which being willing to harm our neighbors unjustly to preserve our own safety and comfort becomes cowardly, isn’t there? On some level, a free society has to be a courageous society, doesn’t it? One willing to accept some risks in order to preserve the freedoms and principles it stands for. If more safety saves us money and inflicts harm to our neighbor unjustly, I believe that at some point we, as Christians and Americans, should be willing to spend the money and/or take the risk.

  • sg

    “There is a point at which being willing to harm our neighbors unjustly to preserve our own safety and comfort becomes cowardly, isn’t there? On some level, a free society has to be a courageous society, doesn’t it? One willing to accept some risks in order to preserve the freedoms and principles it stands for. If more safety saves us money and inflicts harm to our neighbor unjustly, I believe that at some point we, as Christians and Americans, should be willing to spend the money and/or take the risk.”

    Sounds swell.

    Our enemies aren’t constrained by such sentiments.

    We have the capability. It is ours to lose.

  • sg

    “There is a point at which being willing to harm our neighbors unjustly to preserve our own safety and comfort becomes cowardly, isn’t there? On some level, a free society has to be a courageous society, doesn’t it? One willing to accept some risks in order to preserve the freedoms and principles it stands for. If more safety saves us money and inflicts harm to our neighbor unjustly, I believe that at some point we, as Christians and Americans, should be willing to spend the money and/or take the risk.”

    Sounds swell.

    Our enemies aren’t constrained by such sentiments.

    We have the capability. It is ours to lose.

  • kerner

    “Our enemies aren’t constrained by such sentiments.”

    No, they aren’t. But if we are just like them, what difference does it make who wins?

  • kerner

    “Our enemies aren’t constrained by such sentiments.”

    No, they aren’t. But if we are just like them, what difference does it make who wins?


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