Unification News for October, 2001
The Incarnations of Terror
We want to win the war. We want to defeat the enemy. We want to see bin Laden annihilated through any means necessary. We would love to see a knockout blow pulverizing every terrorist and everyone who ever was a terrorist or might become a terrorist. We are entertaining a fantasy.
What is the enemy? How do we fight that enemy? From a strategic point of view, we should not launch a physical war. The terrorists want war. They want us to chase them, to flex our muscle, to attack someone, somewhere. They know we will botch a war, have much of the world will turn against us, and see our own society divide. An attack, while making us feel good for a few headlines, will sink us into a morass of conflict.
Bombs might kill terrorists, but bombs cannot kill terrorism. The government of Israel cannot defeat terrorism when its perpetrators live across the street. How can we root out terrorists when they are on the other side of the planet? The battle against terrorism, physically speaking, is un-winnable; it is fighting an unholy ghost.
The real battleground is spiritual, and at this moment we have the spiritual high ground. At the World Trade Center, whites, blacks, rich, poor, Asians, Jews, Christians, Muslims and people of 82 nations died at the hand of terrorism. The nation that encapsulates the world has shed its blood. If we understand rightly the spiritual nature of the battle, we can turn the shed blood into a sacrificial offering.
Jack Wheeler, of the Freedom Research Foundation, writes that Islam must contend with the "demon of envy," which is called in Arabic al-Hasad. He views this demon as the seed of terrorism. He calls Muslims to exorcise this demon from the collective Muslim psyche.
This makes sense to me. But, quid pro quo, Christians should be ready to identify and exorcise their signal demon. That is the demon of adultery, of sexual immorality. Call it Dionysus. Both demons, Dionysus and al-Hasad, are wreaking havoc upon the planet.
Terrorism is an intervention of chaos, dramatic, visible chaos. Sexual immorality is a gradual, invisible chaos. Divorce, family breakdown, the abortion holocaust and homosexuality create internal chaos, a deep disorder wreaked upon the creation. America protects Dionysus and markets his ways to the world.
Is this truly our will, as a people? This is a moment ripe for reflection on the moral state of our nation. If there are areas that are in need of improvement, this is the time to face them. The ability to do so is the mark of a great people.
By doing so, we will change the playing field in the war against terrorism. We will maintain the struggle, but we will redefine it. It will become a struggle to build meaningful, lasting unity among the people of the world. That unity is achieved by creating, together, a common cause based upon a shared moral vision.
A global culture that is more than a global marketplace can come into being through a consensus on what is right and what is wrong, on what promotes true freedom and what destroys true freedom. The freedom our government should call us to give up is not that which allows short lines in airports, but that which allows the global justification and glorification of sexual immorality and family breakdown.
Muslims don’t like what American culture does to their children. Neither do most Christians, Jews, Buddhists, or anyone of good conscience. We must bring an end to this terrorism.
The first step is for the White House to work with Muslim and Christian leaders, and with leaders of all faiths, to build a moral consensus based upon the sanctity of sexuality, marriage and family life. Note well the one place where the wall between Christianity and Islam has come down. That is where Muslims and Christians work in opposition to the American / UN global promotion and marketing of birth control and abortion. The sanctity of the family is the prime cause that unites people beyond race, nation and religion.
The second step is for these American leaders to reach out to build unity among the world’s religious leaders based upon that family-centered, moral consensus. The third step is to add to this the investment of America’s creative genius into a wise but exciting and energetic promotion and protection of marriage and family life, worldwide.
Terrorists will not attack an America that exports this ideal. Their religion will not allow it and their communities will not protect them. The United States will win the war against terrorism in both its forms, or it will win the war against neither of them.
Dr. Tyler Hendricks is President of the Unification Theological Seminary, New York
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