Fathomable Zealotry

On Wednesday, Mark Earley reported the good news about the release of Abdul Rahman, the Afghan Christian who was facing execution for "apostasy" from Islam. As I record this, Rahman is free from jail and has fled to Italy -- a smart move since prominent imams are calling for him to be killed for his profession of Christ. As outrageous as extra-judicial killings are, a government executing someone for religious reasons is even worse. And that remains a very real possibility in Afghanistan and other parts of the Islamic world. After all, Rahman was set free only because he was judged to be insane. That adjudication reminds me of the Soviet Union: If someone was a Christian or other kind of dissident, they were called insane and put in an institution. It was a way of punishing and controlling the Church -- the stuff of tyrants. And tyranny is still what we have in Afghanistan. Even after the Taliban was driven out of power, Afghans are not free to exercise their conscience. Their constitution says that Afghanistan will be governed by sharia law -- the same law that makes conversion a capital offense. For our foreign policy to have credibility, we must demand not just that Rahman be set free, but also that Afghanistan and Iraq, countries we are liberating, respect basic human rights. The events of the past week have taught us lessons about the nature of the foe we face in the global war on terror. As columnist Richard Cohen wrote, "The murder of a person for his religious belief ought to be inconceivable." But it's not, and Cohen, more than some other commentators, understands why. As Cohen wrote, the threat to Rahman's life doesn't come from a "few crazed governments," a "rogue government," or even "a solitary crazy prosecutor." It comes from "an entire society. It is not a single judge who would condemn [Rahman] but a culture." Specifically, it's a culture shaped by an Islamic worldview. Sadly, what's true of Afghanistan is true of much of the Islamic world. As Investor's Business Dailyeditorialized, Islam "mandates warfare against unbelievers." Now, this puts the lie to the mealy-mouthed proclamations of many politicians that Islam is just a "religion of peace." Thankfully, most Muslims "do not act out on [Islam's] violent commands." But Islam sees itself in a state of war with Western civilization, which was shaped by the Judeo-Christian tradition. The incompatibility of this worldview led Harvard professor Samuel Huntington, in his 1990s book The Clash of Civilizations, to predict that the clash between Islam and the West would be the great struggle of the twenty-first century. He is a prophet. The question is, as with all prophets: Will we listen? Will we acknowledge that we are in the midst of a life-and-death struggle between two hostile worldviews? To listen to America's politicians say we have to bring the troops home, three years is long enough to fight, is tragically comical. For nothing in Islam's fourteen-hundred-year history suggests that it is prepared to declare a truce. I've written and spoken about this at length. You can call us here today (1-877-322-5527), and we'd love to send you a transcript of a speech I gave on the clash of civilizations -- because you and I need to understand the true conflict we are in: It is a war of worldviews.


Chuck Colson


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