On War #184
Will the Trumpet Sound Uncertain?
By William S. Lind
The endless and largely cynical blather about a “Global War on Terrorism,” “Islamic extremism,” “Islamofascism,” etc. has served more to obscure than to reveal the strategic situation the West now faces. Islam is, and always has been, a religion of war. What has changed in recent times is that after about 300 years on the strategic defensive, following the failure of the second Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683, Islam has resumed the strategic offensive. It is expanding outward in every direction, and much of its expansion is violent, if not initially then once new Islamic bridgeheads are strong enough to sustain violence.
The most critical question, and it remains an open question, is whether what remains of Christendom will defend itself or simply roll over and die. Most Western elites, and almost all Western political leaders (including those who call themselves conservatives), accept and live according to the dictates of cultural Marxism, the Marxism of the Frankfurt School known commonly as “multiculturalism” or “Political Correctness.” Because cultural Marxism’s primary objective is the destruction of Western culture and the Christian religion, its adherents see Islam as a useful if somewhat troublesome ally. They will even go to war on behalf of Moslems against Christians, as the Clinton administration did twice in the Balkans. It is improbable, to say the least, that any Western political leader will rally Christendom to defend itself.
Last week, Pope Benedict XVI seemed to do exactly that. In a speech at Regensburg, Germany, the Pope told the truth about Islam. Moreover, he did so by quoting a Byzantine Emperor, Manuel II Paleologos. According to a story in the September 13 Cleveland Plain Dealer,
What the Emperor, and the Pope, said is precisely correct. If you read the Qur’an (and I have read it), you will find it is mostly a pastiche, some elements taken from Judaism, some from Christianity, some from the pagan polytheism common in Arabia before Mohammed (Allah was the name of the leading god of the pantheon, the equivalent of Zeus or Jupiter). The main ingredient Mohammed added to this stew was endless condemnations of “unbelievers,” including repeated calls for violence against them, e.g., “slay them in every kind of ambush.” It is not surprising that from its birth Islam has been at war with every other religion. The Qur’an mandates exactly that.
By telling the truth about Islam, the Pope appeared to offer Christendom the leader in its own defense that it must find if it is to survive Islam’s latest onslaught. More, quoting a Byzantine Emperor, he suggested that defending Christendom was his intention. The Byzantine Empire was the Christian world’s first line of defense against Islam for centuries. Its fall to the Turks in 1453 was a catastrophe, but by then the modern age was beginning in the West. Modernity soon gave Christendom a decisive advantage over Islam and all other cultures that endured until the 20th century, when the West fought three civil wars that largely destroyed it. (Another Pope bought the West the time it needed—by assembling the Christian galleys at Lepanto.)
The elevation of Cardinal Ratzinger to the Papacy brought joy to traditional Christians everywhere, Roman Catholic or not (I’m not). With his Regensburg address, Pope Benedict SVI signaled he might do more than defend traditional Christianity against the heresies that beset it sorely. He might give the West a fighting leader, and a fighting chance, in a Fourth Generation world where wars between cultures will mean far more than wars between states.
The Islamic world responded predictably to the Pope’s speech, proving the truth of the Emperor’s words. In Somalia, a Moslem shot a Catholic nun in the back four times, killing her. In the West Bank, Christian churches were burned. Crowds rioted, and Islamic clerics and governments demanded the Pope retract his words.
Sadly, it appears that on Sunday the Pope crumbled. According to the AP, he said, “This in fact was a quotation from a medieval text, which does not in any way express my personal thought.” Yet what the Emperor Manuel II Paleologus said is plain fact, fact as clear as day to anyone who reads the Qur’an or knows the history of Islam.
The Holy Spirit is Truth. As men of the West, we can only pray that the Holy Spirit will strengthen the Pope to continue to speak the truth about Islam. If the trumpet sounds uncertain, who will follow?
William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation
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The Free Congress Foundation is a 28-year-old Washington, DC-based conservative educational foundation (think tank) that teaches people how to be effective in the political process, advocates judicial reform, promotes cultural conservatism, and works against the government encroachment of individual liberties.