Back on September 11, 2001 – which feels like ancient history now – George W. Bush and his cabinet correctly concluded that the attack on that day was in fact an act of war, much more than merely a criminal action.
As a result of actions that the American government undertook, Afghanistan and then Iraq were militarily defeated and Al-Qaeda and the Saddam Hussein regime were overthrown. In the early stages of the conflict President Bush was sure to remind people that the U.S. would draw no distinction between the terrorists and those who supported them. However this resolve was almost instantly met with compromise as Saudi Arabia was clearly involved somehow, if not by the preponderance of Saudi terrorists (15 of the 19), then by way of sympathetic agents in Saudi Arabia. Since the Bush administration had close links with Saudi Arabia, they faced no public consequences. This week after 14 years the final 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission Report was finally released which referenced Saudi involvement.
The prosecution of the war proved to be politically costly and public opinion was also heavily divided. Additionally, one cannot logically fight an ongoing war against a tactic. Terrorism doesn’t simply pop up at random but there is an ideological basis for it. That these acts of terror were inspired by Islam was clear, but George W. Bush and his cabinet almost instantly softened and began assuring Americans that Islam was and is a religion of peace.
No U.S. administration could justify a religious war with Islam, particularly since freedom of religion is enshrined in the Bill of Rights. However Islam isn’t only a religion but also a political system called Shariah which is designed to supplant competing modes of civic order.
The Obama administration repudiated the Bush doctrine of going after enemies who present an imminent threat to the U.S. homeland. In fact, the Obama administration denied any links between Islam and every subsequent act of terror committed by Al-Qaeda and IS, or even inspired by IS.
The terror attack on Nice in France is merely the latest in a long line of terror attacks, and it is a certainty that there will be more. French minister of the Interior Bernard Cazenauve said that the French public must simply get used to terror attacks as a way of life. Obviously this statement was not well received by many in France however as politicians the calculus of terror and response has been weighed and they – along with every Western government – are unwilling to speak of the truth that they have discovered:
There is no radical or moderate Islam (as Turkish president Erdogan has publicly stated); Shariah is fundamental to Islam and Islam does not mean ‘peace’ but ‘submission’; Acts of terror are committed to intimidate the non-Muslim population and government into compliance; to resist is to invite more attack.
Recently on Fox news, Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House, postulated that Muslims in America be given a test to examine whether they want Shariah and if so, should be deported because it is a political system that is in opposition to the Bill of Rights. President Obama pronounced this thinking as anathema, forbidden.
The Christian thinker Thomas Aquinas theorized that there are times when it is permissible for Christian soldiers and Christianized society to justifiably engage in war. There are other Christian schools of thought that favour pacifism but Thomas Aquinas referred to Romans 13: 4, “For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” (NIV). In 007 parlance, governments have a licence to kill evildoers.
In the book, ‘When God says war is right’ by Darrell Cole, the author lays out the case for a just war which Christians can support, under the following points. War
- Must be declared under the proper authority (like the State);
- There must be a just cause, with the
- Right intention. War should only be a
- Last resort, and
- Have a reasonable chance of success.
In prosecuting the war, the agents should
- Give no consent to evil (the ends do not justify the means)
- Practice discrimination between the enemy and civilians, and
- Exercise proportional force (don’t destroy indiscriminately).
Many of the acts of terror committed daily and weekly are not by state actors or agents from a foreign government but especially lately are conducted by so-called lone wolves inspired by IS. Islamic State has been clear about its intention to murder so-called infidels and in this case the conditions for a just war appear to be clearly met. What is lacking is the political will.
Assuming Western governments like those in France or the U.K. become serious about protecting their citizens from harm, IS can be obliterated from the face of the earth. This may include enlisting the help of the Assad regime. Even though distasteful, the Assad regime is a present fact on the ground and is not presently antagonistic towards the West. Looking beyond the destruction of IS, the question is now: Are we willing to submit to Islam? Without government resistance, and given historical patterns, our governments will submit to Islam out of fear of more attacks. This raises many more questions.
I’m convinced of this as I possibly could be, that Shariah is not of God. And even more so, God gave the Children of Israel the law, which is better than Shariah. And even more so, He made grace freely available to His children. We are not under law, but under grace.
Scripture compels me to be obedient to the State. I cannot submit to Shariah which sets itself up against the knowledge of Christ. I’m not saying they have an easy job, but I don’t trust many Western governments to resist the push for Shariah. Ultimately they are put in place by God, and ultimately I do not look to the State but to God, being a citizen of His kingdom. And that being so, I have to trust that ‘all things work together for good for those who love God, who have been called according to his purpose’.