Several weeks ago my name appeared on a statement I wrote promoting civility among Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Middle Tennessee. Nobody seemed to notice until yesterday.
While browsing in a local bookstore I was approached by a man who, after introducing himself and referencing the statement, said, “You know you are missing the larger picture. We are witnessing the early stages of what will become the next Crusade. President George W. Bush said as much; though he was forced to back down, but he was right on track. This war with extremist Islam is a world war just as it has been for centuries.
“Islam was born to be extremist. The only reason the world isn’t Muslim dominated is because we Christians stopped them at gates of Europe. And then dismantled the Turkish Caliphate at the end of WW I. Mohammad and Allah have dreamed of a worldwide caliphate from the beginning. The real extremists are the Muslims who do not want world domination. While we are all distracted by ISIS, watch as modern Turkey, NATO’s Turkey becomes an Islamic state overturning the work of Ataturk. This will be the real 21st caliphate.
“We have got to make this a Crusade to wake people up. You know what I want to see? I want to see pastors radicalizing young men in churches the way imams do in mosques. Warriors for Christ are what I’m looking for. Onward Christian Soldiers is what I want. Muslims don’t have a monopoly on martyrdom. We should tell our young men that God wants them to fight, just like God wanted them to fight in the Crusades. And we should teach them that to die fighting Muslims guarantees them a place in heaven. Unless our pastors do this, Islam is going to win because their fighters want to win more than we do. No, no, no. I misspoke: they want to die more than we do. They want their children to die more than we do.”
I mentioned that the Crusades were very bad for us Jews, but he told me not to worry. I reminded him that the Vatican is a Christian State and suggested that the Pope mobilize the Swiss Guard and send them into Syria, but he reminded me that in our town Catholics aren’t Christians. I wondered aloud if the Russian Orthodox Church could call upon the Russian people to mobilize against Islam and reconstitute the Russian Empire, but that didn’t satisfy him since Orthodox Christians, like Catholics, aren’t really Christians. I then asked if Christian martyrs and Muslim martyrs both went to Heaven, would the fighting continue there? He actually thought about this for a moment before saying that Muslim martyrs would not be in the Christian Heaven, but rather in the Christian Hell.
I asked him what would happen to the Jews. “You should join us,” he said. “Jesus was a Jew before he converted to Christianity, you know.” I was going to explain that Jesus didn’t convert to Christianity, toyed with the idea of suggesting Jesus converted to Catholicism, and then simply pretended that my phone was vibrating and I had to take a call.
“Maybe it’s Jesus calling to tell you to enlist in His army of God against the army of Allah,” the man said as I walked away.
“No,” I said as I exited the store, “it’s just my dad.”