By Dr. Jim Ferguson
Americans have trouble understanding the generational hatred that exists in the Middle East. It is obvious that our leaders are confounded by this enmity as well. John Kerry asked the “terrorist organization” Hamas “to be reasonable,” while Nancy Pelosi maintains that Hamas, which controls Gaza and rains rockets on Israel, is a “humanitarian organization.” Recently, the credulous Charlie Rose of PBS interviewed the head of Hamas who again stated his organization’s goal is the annihilation of Israel and Jews.
We are all driven by basic human emotions. Perhaps our most primitive and instinctual emotion is survival. Few would argue that humans are a successful species. Perhaps this is because we were imbued with reason or we evolved to think rationally. I believe it was both, and we were also given the sublime notion of love, a reflection of the Creator. Out of love springs empathy, sacrifice, and the virtues. I once read that the opposite of love is not hatred, but indifference. I think that’s true.
Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright recently said, “The world’s a mess.” This is one of the few times Madame Secretary and I are in agreement. Perhaps the world has always been in a mess and we just didn’t know it. The Internet and the rest of the media make us aware of the world like never before. Make no mistake, “Wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6) sell advertizing space. The media sold their souls long ago and will print anything to politicize or titillate.
The news is troubling to say the least. ISIS (the radical Islamists overrunning Iraq) has decreed that Christians must convert to Islam, leave their ancestral homes, or die. Similar degrees were issued by Nazi Germany against Jews. Disturbingly, many Muslims share Hitler’s animus for the Jews. Now, Christianity is under assault in the Middle East, in China, and in Africa. Christianity is also under assault in America by activist atheists and secularists. We hear a lot about the First Amendment and the so-called “establishment” of religion clause. However, the progressive philosophy chooses to ignore the second part of the First Amendment which says the government shall make no law “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion. I don’t need nine old lawyers to tell me what the First Amendment says or what is right.
Students of history and the Bible (the greatest extant history of a people) know that the Jews rose in revolt against Roman rule in 66-70 AD. This culminated in a terrible defeat and destruction of The Temple. All that exists today of The Temple is The Wailing Wall. Actually, there were three Jewish-Roman wars. The second is known as the Kitos war of 115-117 AD forced another diaspora (expulsion) of Jews from their ancestral homeland. The last revolt was the Bar Kokhba war of 132-136 AD and led to the banishment of all Jews from Judea and Jerusalem. Emperor Hadrian even renamed Judea and surrounding areas Syria Palaestina. After WW II the League of Nations ratified the so-called British Mandate for Palestine, and in 1948 the state of Israel was reconstituted in the Levant by the United Nations.
Modern geologic theory explains our world as due to plate tectonics. This was not always so. In 1915 Alfred Wegener proposed “continental drift” to explain how six geologic land masses could have arisen from the huge ancient land mass called Pangea. It took scientists almost fifty years to accept Wegener’s theory. We now know that volcanoes and earthquakes occur along the borders of earth’s colliding plates. We live in a world of geologic forces and I see analogies in today’s political upheavals.
Islam arose with the visions of Mohammed (c. 610AD), and swept out of the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century. By conquest and conversion Islam spread rapidly to engulf the Middle East, North Africa and Spain. The Muslim advance into western Europe was halted at the Battle of Tours (France) in 732 AD. Constantinople fell to Islam in 1453 about the same time when Ferdinand and Isabella finally expelled the Moors from Spain. The advance of Islam into eastern Europe was halted in 1683 at the Battle of Vienna.
Western civilization is founded on Judeo-Christian philosophy, and it is again under assault by the forces of Islam along political, cultural and religious fault lines. If you doubt this consider the war in Gaza and the ethnic cleansing by ISIS in Iraq. The Taliban in Afghanistan are intolerant of everything but Islam. Al-Qaeda is again resurgent and we know they are capable of atrocities. The chilling Internet picture of a twenty-two year old radicalized American sporting a suicide belt and his threats should be a wake up call for border security. And lest we forget “Our Girls” held captive by Boko Haram Islamists. The hash tag program to “bring back our girls” is laughable foreign policy and dangerously naïve in a world in flames. Also dangerous is the Obama/Hillary Russian “re-set” policy now in shambles. Tyrants and terrorists understand the one thing that Obama refuses to acknowledge. Teddy Roosevelt said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Tyrants understand the resolve to use power, and ridicule the war of words and “red lines.”
Antisemitism and the attacks on Christianity are related and both are resurgent in the world. Western culture stands in the path of the barbarism of radical Islam and the secular, politically correct crowd who idolize government and Bill Maher’s atheist schtick. The media and academic intelligentsia are the tools of the secular progressive movement. Progressive liberals brought us Barack Obama, the scandals of the IRS, Benghazi and the VA. Israel at least defends its borders with bombs while America’s borders are over-run by desperate children, drug gangs, and “coyotes” who prey upon the innocent. All the while, we are engaged in internecine political battles, and great swaths of our people are duped by the power brokers and their media acolytes.
Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” The only thing Pogo forgot was the last sentence of Ezekiel 22:12. Perhaps he wasn’t a student of history.