KEYES: Fear, Faith and the Fate of America’s Liberty
Clausewitz defines war as “an act of force to compel the enemy to do our will.”
The remarkable thing about terrorist warfare is that, once it has been carried out, even a foiled terrorist attack serves that strategic objective. The terrorist understands that what ultimately compels the will is not just the successful application of force, but the fear and demoralization that result from it. (From my blogpost “Who is to blame for terrorism’s moral victory?” January 1, 2010)
ISIS, is the Islamic terrorist group whose name has lately become synonymous with loathsome atrocity. According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, ISIS has claimed responsibility for “Sunday’s shooting…outside the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest in Garland, Texas.”
Last week as I prepared articles on the riots in Baltimore, I ran across one that reported statements by recruiters for the ISIS terrorists claiming that the situation in Baltimore was fertile ground for their recruitment efforts in the black community there.
Some news reports characterize the Garland attack as a failed terrorist attack. The fact that ISIS wants to claim credit for it confirms the understanding (quoted above) that I shared with readers of my blog some years ago.
Where terrorism is concerned, whether a given attack succeeds or fails, the result may produce the desired outcome, which is simply to instill fear. As I understand it, because the event in question featured portrayals of Muhammad Muslims would find offensive, its sponsors had already had some difficulty finding a place to hold it.
So Muslim threats of violence against anyone who disses their prophet successfully coerced the will of people in the United States even before events confirmed that the threats were not idly made. Aspects of Islamic teaching that unleash atrocious violence against unbelievers, apostates and dissidents may not yet be openly accorded any legal status in the U.S. But the regime of fear intended to enforce the will of Islamic religious dictators is already extending its shadow into our communities.
Americans can say if they like that it’s inconsiderate to cast aspersions on the religious views of others. But government-subsidized images of Christ immersed in urine have been accepted as works of art. Ridicule and punishment of students “guilty” of refusing to abandon their Christian faith is being protected by educational institutions; and at least one Presidential candidate has suggested that Christians will have to change their views on sexual depravity. All this is happening with no regard whatsoever for Christian sensibility or feeling.
The message is clear. Political and institutional forces will tread without respect on Christian tenets and sensibilities.
At the same time, however, our government and society will stand by idly, or even encourage, preemptive capitulation to respect for Islam, enforced with threats of violence. Some Americans may be ignorant or thoughtless enough to mistake these events as discrete episodes, like the smell of garbage or urine that sometimes assaults the senses in this or that block or neighborhood of a city.
But other Americans schooled by the thought and writings of our nation’s founders, will take the time to review, as they did, the writings of political thinker like the Frenchman Montesquieu.
In his work on The Spirit of the Laws, he identified fear as the pervasive principle of despotic tyranny. In his day the prime examples of terror fueled despotism were found in the Islamic Empires that still overshadowed much of the world (Part I, Second Book, Chapter 9, “On the principle of despotic government”).
Thus, if you stoke fear, you strengthen tyranny.
As they surrender to violence inspired fear, Americans are surrendering the institutional and personal character required to sustain their liberty. This transformation of character prepares them passively to accept the abandonment of the constitutional arrangements that have secured their liberty since the founding.
In this respect, the specter of Islamic terrorism appears to offer convenient aid to those bent on replacing our democratic, constitutional republic with an unconstrained elitist faction tyranny. Everything that turns Americans into cowering, timorous herd animals serves this purpose.
Could this be why, at the very time when the threat from Islamic terrorist violence begins to foul our domestic atmosphere with claims of responsibility for violence, government policies, imposed by dictatorship, are using tax dollars to import devout adherents of Islam into the United States as “refugees”, while barring Christian victims of Islamic violence from even visiting our territory to inform us firsthand about the atrocities Islamic terrorists are perpetrating?
In my column last week I wrote about the courage it takes to pursue justice by non-violent means. I called to mind the way Martin Luther King’s Christian faith helped him to sustain and inculcate that courage. Islamic terrorists count on the fact that the tenets of their religion can be used to steel their followers for the brutal business of inflicting atrocity.
With better reason, Americans of Christian faith should count on the fact that the example and guidance of Christ fills us with the courage to oppose that brutality. That courage extends as well to the firmness required to obey God rather than men when it comes to the perverse agendas of hedonistic, rapacious human self-worship the powers-that-be of the elitist faction are pursuing in order to erase the character required to maintain our institutions of self-government.
In the practical arena of our citizen affairs the greatest obstacle to that firmness is the hesitancy and confusion being bred by a so-called two-party system that enforces rebellion against God under the specious rubric of “secular” governance.
What sense does this make when the whole idea of the people’s constitutional self-government arises from the premise of God-endowed unalienable right?
What sense does it make when the courageous sense of responsibility for the common good that it requires demands that we act in keeping with the blessings of God, honoring as sacred the bonds and obligations (such as those which bind parents and children) with which God informs our nature, for our good and that of all humanity?
This is the sacred honor which the founding patriots pledged to sustain the liberty of their country.
For how much longer will Americans who claim to rely on God and Jesus Christ continue to sully that honor by yoking themselves and their nation to the rebellion against Him?
Knowing that God’s grace is for those who honor Him (“How can you believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?” John 5:44), how does it fulfill Christ’s Gospel of love to lend time, money, and moral credibility to a system of partisan political activity that presently works to deny their country the honor that comes from God?
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