Its the End of the World As We Know It (and I feel fine)

Others understand the historic importance of our work. The terrorists know. They know that a vibrant, successful democracy at the heart of the Middle East will discredit their radical ideology of hate. They know that men and women with hope, and purpose, and dignity do not strap bombs on their bodies and kill the innocent. The terrorists are fighting freedom with all their cunning and cruelty because freedom is their greatest fear and they should be afraid, because freedom is on the march.

I believe in the transformational power of liberty: The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom. As the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq seize the moment, their example will send a message of hope throughout a vital region. Palestinians will hear the message that democracy and reform are within their reach, and so is peace with our good friend Israel. Young women across the Middle East will hear the message that their day of equality and justice is coming. Young men will hear the message that national progress and dignity are found in liberty, not tyranny and terror. Reformers, and political prisoners, and exiles will hear the message that their dream of freedom cannot be denied forever. And as freedom advances heart by heart, and nation by nation America will be more secure and the world more peaceful. – George W. Bush

The above quote is from President Bush’s acceptance speech at the GOP convention in New York this week. It also constitutes the heart of the reason that I cannot vote for him. It isn’t that I’m opposed to freedom; I’m not. It would be wonderful if every nation in the world enjoyed the same freedoms we do here in the US. Often, political and economic repression are obstacles to the gospel. While the persecution in such systems is often good for the church, it is not good for the people and can make evangelism profoundly difficult. Liberty can have its pluses.

No, what caused me to decide that George W. Bush is not the best man to lead our nation in these difficult times is that the statement above, while hugely patriotic, demonstrates an immense lack of understanding if Islam and Islamic fanatics. President Bush believes that freedom is the answer. He believes that if we bring liberty to Islamic nations they will not want to strap bombs on their bodies and kill the innocent”. And here he is fundamentally wrong. Not because Muslims don’t want freedom and prosperity nor that all Muslims are terrorists (they’re most certainly not), he is wrong in how he thinks they will accept it.

Christian evangelism occurs on a person-by-person basis. We rejoice “over one sinner who repents” and can consider a country as “reached” with the gospel even if it remains secular or Hindu or whatever. But Islam doesn’t see it that way. They think more in terms of nations and states than in terms of individuals. When our troops landed in Iraq, Muslims generally saw it as an assault on Islam. President Bush’s unfortunate use of the term “crusade” only cemented that observation. Infidels invaded an Islamic nation and so it was an attack on their religion. Sure, they hated Hussain but it was equally repugnant to be “liberated” by unbelievers. This is why they didn’t take up arms and join us in the fight when we arrived. Mostly, they either sat by and watched or eventually took up arms against us. The issue is much more complicated than I’ve just stated it but in general terms this is what is going on.

So when President Bush talks about bringing liberty to these people it shows that he doesn’t understand what they want. Islam is a strict religion. Dress, gender roles, cleanliness, etc. are all detailed for them. What they see of the free West is MTV, Quentin Turretino movies, Janet Jackson, Sex in the City, etc. A good Muslim on the street may be fascinated by it but they don’t want it in their neighborhood. It is sin by the bucket loads to them. Children are disrespectful of their parents, women dress immodestly and insult men, everyone has sex with everyone else, homosexuality; this is what they see in the West and they see the West as Christian. Christians, to them, are Madonna, Billy Graham, Brittany Spears, the Spice Girls, Eddy Murphy, “Will and Grace” and President Bush. Remember, they don’t think in terms of individuals but in terms of nations.

If we attempt to establish “a vibrant, successful democracy at the heart of the Middle East” it will not “discredit their radical ideology of hate”, it will inflame their distrust and hatred of the West in general and the US specifically. That isn’t because all Muslims are terrorists but because they don’t want to see their religion wiped out. Sure, we believe that it would be better off in a free society but they don’t. President Bush will only piss these people off more by “liberating” them. His attempt to make the world safer will in fact make things worse. Much worse in my opinion.

It is too bad. I like the guy and I am not thrilled with Kerry. Given these two as the only viable candidates, I think the best case scenario would be to put Kerry in the White House and keep the congress firmly in the hands of the Republicans. The two
opposites would hopefully balance each other out. What is tragic for me is that the Republican candidate in Illinois is Alan Keyes. In many ways the guy is an unelectable “right wing nut job”. So my choices next month are Democrats I largely don’t agree with or Republicans I think are going to get us in real trouble.

Print This Post Print This Post

Be the first to leave a comment. Don’t be shy.

Join the Discussion

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>