Alright, I know now that I’m going to make a lot of people angry by the post that is about to follow. I also hope that I can galvanize some people toward something related to my view because I feel that this topic is of extreme importance. Now, I know that this blog is meant to be primarily my reflections as a Catholic on things relatively related to Catholicism. Tonight, my friends, I’m going to drift more directly into the realm of politics. There is a relation to morality, but this reflection will not seem like that to many people. To them, it will seem that I am ranting on things just like the news world does. Well, I’m going to say some things that go beyond what most of the news world says. Some will just call me a right-wing nut ball. Well, that’s unfair because this is a matter of right and wrong, not of left and right. Everybody, liberal or conservative, should agree with at least some part of the crux of my argument.
Alright, as many of you know there were allegations of rape and murder by a group of US soldiers in the Iraqi city of Mahmoudiya. In response to this, the accused soldiers were taken into custody for a trial. Additionally, the radical Islamic world decided to take matters into their own hands. Two soldiers were captured and murdered in revenge for the rape / murder. For more information on this, visit http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/07/10/iraq.main/index.html.
While I’m still semi-cool-minded, let me assess the two responses to this situation because they epitomize what is utterly different between the radicals and the US. The United States immediately acknowledged that the rape and murder were wrong. The soldiers were taken into custody to be tried. If they are guilty of these actions, which are against our moral code, they will be punished as we see fit, without being cruel and unusual. Ahh, but the terrorists were quite a bit different. In response to this offense, they decide that two people should be sacrificed in revenge for the action. To them, human life doesn’t mean anything unless it is subordinated to their message. Their idea of justice is killing two people out of revenge, placing culpability upon the heads not only of the accused but also of others who had no part in the crimes.
This is what is most insidious about radical Islam. Human beings do not really matter to them. The human is good only insofar as he is subjected to its message. If people must be killed in order for their sectarian views to spread, so be it. If revenge is necessary to galvanize people into action, so be it. They are the people who should be feared in the Middle East and not us.
Now, I know that some of you out there are thinking, “But Matt, aren’t we just subjecting them to the message of freedom? Aren’t we killing them for our view point?” Well, first of all, what premise are we starting from? We stand for the view that men/women are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” among which are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This is what America was founded on, and this is the end current of much thought which has occurred throughout man’s history. Therefore, our actions are driven by a pursuit of life.
Now, how are we pursuing life through death? It is not always an easy task to decide how you can respond to threats to these fundamental tenets of human existence. Nonetheless, at times there are threats which are so great that they must be stopped by as humane of means as possible. Radical Islamic-Fascism is the great evil of our time. It is a movement which suppresses individuals to its message. The message is what is important, not those who believe therein. By means of perversion of Islam, they have created a fearful environment in which people sacrifice themselves out of a fanatical fear or misperception. This movement must be prevented before it can spread across the globe. This can be stopped by multiple methods which much smarter people will arrive at.
They do not speak much for the truth of their religion by forcing it on people. If a religion is in line with the Truth, it will shine forth for the world to see. Perceiving the truth, they will come to it, finding rest in that which is ordered toward the totality of the universe. A forced religion is no religion at all. It is nothing more than affront to the Almighty, for forced submission is not submission at all. It is only when religion is received in the heart that it is truly a rebinding (a re-ligation) to the divine. The more fear is spread, the less the religion is freely chosen. I therefore do not think that Radical Islam is not a religious movement by a power movement.
From this, I posit something further. If every human in the world woke up tomorrow and said they were Islamic in the way that these terrorists want, they would not stop their actions. Since their quest is not really a religious one but one of power, they will not be satisfied. They will only be satisfied if everyone is subordinated to them.
Oh, I can hear it coming, “You’re Catholic, Matt. If anyone subordinates himself to someone, it’s you to the Pope.” Now, I truly believe that the Church is the steward of the Truth. St. Joseph is often used as the image of the bishop, protecting the Truth inside of Mary’s womb. This image is most excellent in this case. St. Joseph is the steward of the Truth which comes to him from without. Indeed, he doesn’t even accept it at first but only does when he realizes that something much greater is at stake here then his own opinion. This Truth doesn’t just come to him alone. The Truth is in Mary’s womb and inevitably gives Himself for all, the central tenet of Christianity. The Church doesn’t begin as a closed circle but one of openness. Although things are much more complicated 2000 years later, we still haven’t forgotten the universal call of the Faith. The sense of the faithful is still recognized by the Church as indefectible in matters of faith and morals. All can have contact with the Truth because it stands outside of the meddling of mankind and exists immutably on its own. The Hierarchy stewards the perception of the Truth in order to prevent it from being perverted. It does fail when it contradicts the Truth. It can only be a good steward by God’s grace.
Now these two different organizations of religion can run the danger of becoming closed-in on themselves when power becomes an issue. The difference between the Hierarchy and the leaders of Islamic terrorism is that the Hierarchy stewards a truth given to them. The terrorists subordinate their holy text to themselves and their aims and then subordinate humanity to their views. It’s not a matter of looking for the Truth but instead of looking after the leaders’ aims. They contradict the Natural Law by ignoring the fact that humans are endowed with liberty and that liberty is the only way that religion can have any binding force. They ignore the fact that human lives have dignity just because they exist. If you disbelieve me on this point about life and liberty, then you really don’t believe in the American ideal, an ideal which is not proclaimed for this nation but for the world as an exposition of the Truth.
I have barely scratched the surface on this subject. I require much more thought before I can be more coherent in my reflections. Please bear with me if I should revisit this.
At this point, I sign off. So much more could be said. I will save that for another day.
Let us all pray for peace,