Religion plays motivating role in the war on terror
Where does religion belong in the war on terror? Recently, Muslims have rioted, not over a cartoon this time, but over a speech by Pope Benedict XVI. The pontiff presented an academic argument on the methodology of the spread of Islam — in which he entertains the possibility that violence overtly pervades the ideological spread of militant Islam — and got a violent response in return: Palestinians attacked churches in Nablus, and run-of-the-mill American and Israeli flag burnings occurred around the Muslim world. Today, however, these points are not precursors for a theocratic comparison, rather a discussion of the question of whether God has any place in the war on terror.
Some denounce the pontiff’s remarks as a method of adding religion to the mix of concerns over the epic ideological struggle between Islamofascists and modern Western civilization. This is the same criticism often hurled at President Bush and some conservative leaders who “dare” to cast the enemy in a truthful light. These leaders “dare” to highlight the holy war of jihad that contemporary Islamofascists continue to undertake, all the while relying on their distorted interpretations of Islam.
Political correctness necessitates my admission of personal secularism in order to strengthen the following argument.
The discussion requires an examination of the perception that the United States is increasingly trying to cast the battle with the Islamofascists as a struggle between the Judeo-Christian complex and the Islamic ward. The general argument above is that it is dangerous to cast this war in any religious light whatsoever. The logic behind this argument is that this would make us similar to our enemy, to the point of losing the moral high ground. Criticism of adding any religious reasoning to the struggle belies the intent behind the invocation of religious tenets and realities.
The criticism continues by arguing that we should focus only on the Islamofascist hatred of democracy and certain Western societal tendencies. In the mentality of those who argue against any religious talk concerning this struggle, echoes can be heard of removing God from the pledge, or banning any religious artifact or representation anywhere near public groups. This is another case of classic disproportionate action, taken out of fear and completely devoid of reason.
In a conflict with consequences as dire as the ones the free world currently faces, there is no time to be politically correct. This means, when there is a real threat, you describe it in real terms. Unfortunately for those that think the religion of secularism is the only acceptable form of worship, casting the threats of the enemy in easily digestible terms — some of which have religious undertones — threatens the nature of removing all religion from public life. Yet, the issue here is not the longstanding attempt to remove all notions of God from the public realm, but rather a classic flaw in the reasoning of the proponents of casting this struggle in a wholly secular light.
The counterargument here is not in favor of any sort of Judeo-Christian crusade on behalf of preserving Western civilization. Rather, here we disagree with the idea that there are no valid religious selling points to the war against the Islamofascists. The war itself can be described in many truisms that should serve as varying points of motivation for a population as varied as ours. This is not a manipulation of the public, but rather a true explanation of an enemy’s intent, in terms that each group can relate to, and be motivated by.
The concept of Godly religiosity and secular religiosity simplifies the issues that matter to individual citizens. In this regard it is necessary, if not prudent, to relate the true threats of a mortal enemy to the personal constitutions of the American public. As such, here are two hypothetical examples of completely parallel motivation techniques. Remember, these hypothetical situations, while fictional, are based on the true actions of our current enemy.
First, President Bush grabs Larry Liberal and pulls him to the side. Larry Liberal is an agnostic who is primarily concerned with social issues, particularly gay rights and womens’ equality. President Bush explains to Larry Liberal that the Islamofascists kidnap, imprison, and kill gays in many countries. Bush then explains to Larry Liberal that the Islamofascists plan on reducing women to subservient creatures; creatures that require a man’s permission to even leave the house. These facts enrage Larry Liberal, and motivate Larry to realize the nature of his enemy and participate in the fight against them.
Next, President Bush grabs Chester Conservative and pulls him to the side. Chester Conservative is a devoutly religious regular churchgoer who represents the more religious wing of his particular political party. President Bush explains to Chester Conservative that the Islamofascists plan a worldwide theocratic civilization in which all persons are of the Muslim faith. Bush then explains to Chester Conservative that the Islamofascists will not tolerate religious diversity, killing those who do not convert. These facts enrage Chester Conservative, and motivate Chester to realize the nature of his enemy and participate in the fight against them.
This is the same thing. You explain the threats to people in ways that coincide with their strongest beliefs. In this struggle, the things at stake are widespread and include political, religious, and societal tenets that we all hold dear. Perhaps the underlying issue preventing a clearer explanation of the threat is fear. In any case where the truth causes one to realize that his or her life — or constitution — is actually threatened by some enemy, that person is forced to act. Failure to act in such a case is to actively engage in one’s own demise.