More Interfaith Foxholes = Fewer Foxholes Altogether

More Interfaith Foxholes = Fewer Foxholes Altogether May 28, 2010

J. E. Dyer, who writes on military and international affairs for the Contentions blog at Commentary magazine, and who sustains her own blog at The Optimistic Conservative, has a lovely post at Hot Air that manages to link to our recent interview of former federal appellate judge Michael McConnell as well as our recent interview with Michael Yon on the faith of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What struck me, though, was Dyer’s quotation from a story Ronald Reagan once read in a speech, of a soldier who found himself in a foxhole with people of other faiths:

“I remember the first time I jumped in a foxhole, the first time the shells actually fell within the U.S. area. Looking around at the others in there with me, I made the remark that we probably had the only interfaith foxholes in Beirut. The Druze, the Muslims, Christians, all had theirs. The Jewish forces in the Israeli Army had theirs. But we were together. I made the comment then that perhaps if the world had more interfaith foxholes, there might be less of a need for foxholes altogether.”

I was struck by this because I recently met an extraordinary pastor in Dallas, Bob Roberts, who is doing amazing work in “multifaith dialogue.”  This is a conservative evangelical who has recognized that we need to build relationships of love and respect with people of other faiths, rather than lobbing rhetorical bombs from afar.  I’ll be saying more about Bob Roberts soon, and why I think the model he presents is so compelling.  But this comment seemed like a good place to start: if we need another reason for evangelicals to engage in multi-faith dialogue, perhaps this is it: simply for the sake of mutual understanding and the diminution of misunderstanding and mistrust.  I am not naive; I do not imagine that we would all get along if we just understood each other a little better.  But it wouldn’t hurt.  And it would help our witness as believers.

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