The other day as I was getting my hair cut, I overheard a conversation about the fighting in Libya. A lady was saying, “There’s just too much hate in the world. It doesn’t take that much to show a little kindness to others.” Hearing her simplistic solution to international upheavals, I eased myself back into my own meditation, ignoring the sounds of clipping, conversations around me and background music.
“Could hatred be the real culprit?”, I mused. The rationale goes something like this: War is bad because it is violent. Violence is wrong because it is an expression of anger. Anger is bad because it is an expression of hate. Hate is a brutish expression that we can be taught not to exercise. Oh, if we could only teach people not to hate.
As nice as that sounds on a personal level, I don’t think it’s realistic, in that it ignores most of the real influences that cause war. Very basically, if the issue of war comes down to a single reason, it must be self defense. If someone “attacks” you, will you fight back? If you don’t fight back, there is no war, just your own demise. So the question really is, are you willing to defend yourself. And, of course, oneself includes ones values and beliefs. The true pacifist is opposed to the use of violence or force — even in self defense.
Remember the 60s? That was a time when the “civil disobedience” of pacifism was a major influence in anti-war and civil rights demonstrations, free sex and open drug use. In those days burning draft cards, bras, flags and effigies were commonplace. The “establishment” was opposed to this form of expression, but in the end, the courts decided it was protected free “speech”.
As offensive as book burning is to most Americans (I have visions of pre-WWII Germany.) we are pressed to accept it, just like we are pressed to accept other morally offensive rights, such as abortion and gay rights.
Last month a small church in Florida burned one Koran, which was the culmination of a mock trial in which informed experts discussed the teachings of Islam’s “holy” book. Ever since, thousands of crazed Afghani Muslims have been killing people in retaliation against that perceived unforgivable insult to their religion.
For anyone whose head hasn’t been stuck in the sand for the past few decades, that reaction typifies the so-called “religion of peace”. Whoever dares to insult Islam, whether in spoken or written words, by art work or by burning a Koran, becomes the object of an official death threat in the form of a fatwah. Very often, those threats are realized in the form of beheadings or other forms of brutal murder.
So how do our leaders and the media respond to this? They blame the little church for irresponsibly exercising their right to free expression.
Supposedly, we are in a “war” against terrorism or against al-Qaeda or the Taliban or something. But for politically correct reasons, because we are afraid to offend the religion of Islam, our military is hamstrung by unreasonable, restrictive rules of engagement that prevent us from ever “winning” this so-called war.
In WWII, it took us less than 4 years to destroy our enemies across the entire continent of Europe and the Pacific Ocean. That was a war. But in Iraq and Afghanistan we have no clear cut objective, certainly no military objective. We have run these “wars” like police actions driven by politics, rather than real wars. And now we seem to be adding Libya to our list of wars to save the world from hate.
Our leadership continues to be more focused on imprisoning members of our own armed forces for doing their job, than actually defeating the enemy. Killing the enemy is seen as a war crime. This goes beyond being ineffective. It reflects our national self-destructive attitude toward the use of military force. Our naive attitude can never win wars. All it can accomplish is self-accusation, such as finger-pointing at the Koran burning in Florida.
Growing out of the flower child philosophy of the 60s, our educators and opinion makers have relentlessly been telling us that the underlying cause of all of society’s ills is hatred. If we can only get people to stop hating, we can solve all our problems. In order to sustain this two-dimensional thinking, many traditional assumptions have had to be redefined. For example, in order to mainstream homosexuality, changes in the law is only one of many factors. Psychiatry officially changed its long-held position that homosexuality was an aberration, re-evaluating it as being a normal alternative to heterosexuality.
This was supposedly a “scientific” decision, disregarding the moral attitudes that had historically seen homosexuality as being repugnant. But since those moral attitudes were primarily based on the Biblical teaching that homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God, critics began calling the Bible “hate literature”. Like burning a Koran, preaching from the Bible that homosexuality is a sin is considered hateful and blamed for inciting violence. While Bible believers put their faith into action based on the conviction that God is loving and forgiving, they are labeled “homophobes” because the PC assumption is that anti-gay attitudes are based on fear (which is caused by ignorance and produces hatred).
Society’s ability to remain cohesive is not sustainable when, in exercising their religious freedom, Christians are accused of hate, while Islam and it’s holy Koran are given a pass. If you agree with the lady in the barber shop, that hatred is the most basic cause of wars, then just look at the religion of hate that inspires mobs of murdering Muslims. Who are the real haters? Who are the real proponents of a holy war? What book do they use to justify their rampaging?
More to the point, are we in America willing to defend our way of life? Are we willing to take a stand for our own beliefs? Are we willing to stop the mindless terror aimed at our nation? Our choice is clear: either be willing to fight for our freedoms or learn to live under the intimidation of Islam. And I mean that literally, because the Koran’s idea of peace is the intimidation of non-Muslims.