Thursday, December 4, 2008

Unflinching Against Evil

I don't advocate the state-sponsored assassination of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

I do, however, believe that the U.S. government has a responsibilty to defend the nation against the abundantly-manifest evil that exists in the world. The Nazis were evil, Soviet totalitarianism was evil, Saddam Hussein was evil, and the Mumbai terrorists were evil. We defeated the former three in two hot wars and a cold one, and I hope that this nation will rise to confront the latest demonstration of evil we saw in the terrorists who massacred the innocents in India.

There is evil in the world, and the United States has historically been the world's greatest bulwark against it. When we flinch, civilizations teeter on the brink. America has always been the last best hope of mankind. It's who we are, and what we do. There's no need to apologize for it, and it's criminal negligence to repudiate it.

The issue arises with reference to the apparent comments Pastor Rick Warren made on Sean Hannity's show. Here's
Steve Benen's recap:

Pastor Rick Warren has a reputation for being far more stable and grounded than religious right leaders and TV preachers like Pat Robertson, but it's worth remembering that he's not exactly a moderate.

Last night, on Fox News, Sean Hannity insisted that United States needs to "take out" Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Warren said he agreed. Hannity asked, "Am I advocating something dark, evil or something righteous?" Warren responded, "Well, actually, the Bible says that evil cannot be negotiated with. It has to just be stopped .... In fact, that is the legitimate role of government. The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers. Not good-doers. Evildoers."
Read the rest of Benen's post, here (there's a discussion of those who have combed scripture for the biblical authority for Warren's exhortation).

My interest is the response to this on
the nihilist left, among people who have been building up preemptive arguments against any forceful action in South Asia to eradicate the terror sanctuaries from which last week's killings were launched.

For example, here's
Andrew Sullivan's response to Warren:

Some insist that Warren is a centrist, moderate type. He is, in fact, a very hard-core Christianist integrated firmly into the GOP. As such, he sees government as a divine institution authorized to punish evil and promote good - as fundamentalist Christians view those things.
Here's Melissa McEwan:

Even if the Bible does justify such a thing, which is dubious (see further discussion at the link), the Bible is not the handbook of the Department of Defense—a sentence I can't believe I even have to write, but there you go.
Matt Duss draws out an analogy:

In any case, if this were a conversation between an Iranian TV host and an ayatollah in which they discussed scriptural justifications for “taking out” high ranking members of the U.S. government, you’d probably see Sean Hannity running the clip on his show — while slowly shaking his head in pious disapproval — as evidence of what crazy extremists those Iranians are. As it is, they’ll probably be running this on Iranian TV as evidence of what crazy extremists those Americans are.
Spencer Ackerman, however, hits a moral-relativist home run:

Let's say a preacher appeared on a massively popular TV show and offered scriptural justification for an unprovoked attack on a foreign country. What would you say? "Oh, there goes Yusuf Qaradawi again"? Or maybe, "I truly hope these people turn away from bin Laden like some of their colleagues have"? Or perhaps, "How is it these fanatics can't understand that they, in fact, are the evil people they seek to rid the world of"?

Ah, but you'd be neglecting the cancer of religious extremism right here at home. Matt Duss at the Center for American Progress
takes note of pastor Rick Warren, who appeared on Sean Hannity's scummy little Fox News show to say that the U.S. has a divine obligation to attack Iran ....

Am I drawing an equivalence between Rick Warren and Islamic extremists? Why, yes, yes I am. That's because his statements are identical to those of the demagogic, fanatical preachers who motivate perplexed children into fighting religious wars....
Andrew Sullivan claims his anti-Christianist project is rooted in his faith, but that faith cannot be Christian, for Sullivan and the others here - in their response to Hannity and Warren - represent the powerful oppositional culture of radical secularism that has taken over public intellectualism on the American left.

These folks will tell you otherwise, of course, but their ideological program is of a piece: the repudiation of objective good and absolute truth in favor of a relativist epistemology; a rejection of Thomistic doctrines of rational faith in favor of scientist ontology; welfare state expansion as the solution to social problems, such as poverty; the repudiation of patriotism as anachronistic, in favor of a global loyalty - "imagine there's no countries"; and, most of all, the refusal of God's goodness as the precursor of universal right, a rejection of the divine moral code.

This oppositional secularism - despite attempts to seek the cover of ad hoc spiritual coating - refuses the moral guideposts that allows us not only to distinguish good from evil, but for us to always choose the good.

Rick Warren is not a Iranian mullah sanctioning the stoning of women and the execution of homosexuals. He is a man of deep spiritural learning, values, and wisdom, a man who knows that Americans have a manifest charge to resist the evil darkening the world. He is not a "Christianist" who gives a "religious blessing" to murder.

And Warren is not a "demagogic, fanatical preacher" who is no better than some damned Ahmad attempting to smuggle some lethal C-4 on a civilian transcontinental jetliner.

There are distinctions to be made in this world, and when there is evil, it's to be confronted, not enabled.

When I speak of the forces arrayed against traditional culture, the folks cited above are at the top of the masthead. Their time is now, with "The One" in power. But I believe their recent electoral victory is Pyrrhic, and that eternal right - as articulated in Pastor Warren's moral clarity - will again prevail against the creepy cultural totalitarianism we're witnessing today.

22 comments:

Grace Explosion said...
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Grace Explosion said...
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PALINATOR!!!! said...

The clip is problematic in that Hannity references King David's decisions (of whom BO is clearly not) and then the two of them interchange what "they" (rather than the "US") would do in personal attacks on their families, etc.
It is not clear and the context could be taken to mean any of the above points Grace Explosion (SNPW) makes. Neither of the two are King David, and God's word should not be used to promote vengeance. Regardless of what ahmadinejab says, Love takes no offense because offense is rooted in fear which God does not give. God is not surprised by Iran, nor afraid .. but those who defend evil to spite Christians win of prop 8 . . . are headed for a rude awakening ... whether BO believes God exists or not, or whatever he thinks of THE WAY to God . . . we will all see the reward of the wicked. Praise the name of Jesus who has already spoken this day as well as the last.

truth101 said...

Where in the Bible does Jesus call for the assassintion of the presidents of other countries? You people are trying to twist the Bible to fit your personal beliefs. I don't like Ahmadinijad or Castro or Chavez and countless other creeps either. But I most certainly don't call for their assassination and then say it's God's will.

Norm said...

I believe that they were really talking about taking out the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, just taking out one man to solve this situation is ridiculous.

However, I think everyone, including Hannity are not seeing the forest because the trees are in the way.

Let's look at the facts. The Saudi's (Sunnis) are refusing to cut oil production and are continuing to push the price of crude down. Yes, they are trying to save their own Western investments; but mainly they are screwing the shiite Admadineajad.
The Saudis will continue to push the price of oil down.

The Iranian economy is a disaster, much worst than ours. Admadineajad has totally rebuilt southern Lebanon..its buildings and infrastructure. He has spent billions on arming Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban and Syria.
He has spent billions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and his quest to build nuclear weapons and the rockets to transport the weapons. The Iranian people have gotten nothing and now with oil at $43 a barrel Admadineajad can't afford to pay off any of Iran's debts. The Iranian budget is being slashed to pieces. Inflation is rampant, unemployment is high, drug use is high, and the youth are restless. He is becoming a hated man in Iran and people are lining up to run against him in the next election. Plus, everyone knows that Iran is doing a lot of business with Israel, under the table.

The Israelis stated today that they will no longer wait for American cooperation, they will go it alone. If Israel attacks by itself, Iran will try to attack our navy in the Persian Gulf. We will then take out the Iranian military quickly....another disaster for Iran.

Shortly after Obama becomes President Iran is going to blink.

A bankrupt nation with a destroyed military is two steps back for Iran. It will not be tolerated.
The mullahs will get rid of Admadineajad and negotiate.

Ken_L said...

'... the United States has historically been the world's greatest bulwark against it. When we flinch, civilizations teeter on the brink. America has always been the last best hope of mankind. It's who we are, and what we do.'

Speaking as a non-American I can only say how staggeringly smug, self-serving, deluded and totally self-regarding that passage is. It's also what we Australians call utter bullshit.

Just butt out of looking after the rest of the world, OK? Go look after yourselves. We'll manage without you,I promise. And if we get into trouble, you have permission to laugh at us ... just like we are laughing at the USA right now, the 'sole superpower' that has become a global laughing stock in just eight years of the 'American century'.

Anonymous said...

As another Australian...

I would like to point out that civilisation has been around for thousands of years longer than the USA, which in any case only became interested in throwing it's weight around after it became profitable. We, among others, fought the Nazis for years before Japan forced your hand.

But don't mistake me. Most of us do respect America in one way or another... be it your cultural or technological achievements. Just not the ugly - and frankly fascist - element that you represent, which has harmed America so badly over the last eight years.

Not to mention the rest of us.

Note that some of your generals have gone to Obama hoping he will repudiate torture and restore America's standing as a civilised country.

You're gonna hate him even more if does, I suppose. I suppose you think torture is just dandy.

If you're talking "last best hope"... he's probably it.

Empires come, Empires go.
Take it from us - we used to be part of one.

Trish said...

Wow, and if Sean Hannity had been broadcasting back in the late 30's and early 40's, would all of you have said he and Rick Warren were wrong to suggest taking out Hitler? Shut up all of you, it was a comment, not a decree of war. And the man they are referring to, is as evil as they come. My my how the people from other countries (Aussies) can so easily repute the US. I hope you never need our help down the road, but that we remain the power we are, in case you ever do...

Pat Houseworth said...

I have no problem with taking out Islamic Terror leaders....and it has nothing to do with the Bible. It's the right thing to do. As will Israel be right to take out Iran's Nukes before Obama gets into office....let's hope they have the stones to do it.

Norm said...

Maybe our Australian friends would be happy if America stopped trying to be an intermediary between India and Pakistan and let them duke it out in a nuclear war. As KenL says:
"Butt out".

Ken...when those little clouds of highly radioactive dust start to settle on Australia I am sure the rest of your countrymen/women will be very happy we Americans took your advice.

Hoot Gibson said...

The Aussies and the rest of the 'free' world can't wipe their collective asses without America's(military) help.

They would have long ago(are you hearing me Canada?) been taken over by the Islamics(and that's pretty close to happening now).

Austrailia, you stink, you gutless spawns of Britian's castoffs.

Jason_Pappas said...

It would be most righteous to assassinate Ahmadinejab and I say that as a thoroughly secular person. If Warren wants to express this righteousness in religious terms then God bless him and pass the ammo.

CS said...

"Ken...when those little clouds of highly radioactive dust start to settle on Australia I am sure the rest of your countrymen/women will be very happy we Americans took your advice. "

You people remind of the same paranoid schizos you claim to despise.

Norm, South asians aren't a bunch of collectively retarded peoples that America needs to "mediate". If they want your help in mediation, they'll ask for it. I can assure you that most people in south Asia, whether it be India, or Pakistan have little trust in America, especiallly with its past history of utterly self-serving and down right idiotic foreign policy moves.


Trish, you might want to consider that America didn't come into world war 2 with some noble endeavour to rid the world of "evil", as you people like to claim. It came into the war ONLY after its own ass got seared.

Jason_Pappas said...

“... America didn't come into world war 2 with some noble endeavour to rid the world of "evil", as you people like to claim. It came into the war ONLY after its own ass got seared.”

Damn right! We’re not an altruistic charity. We defeated evil because we chose to. We chose to join the rest of the Anglosphere in fighting insidious evil. We were righteous and honorable. But we have no duty to carry the world.

PS, everyone, don’t listen to fools who claim to speak for a country or region——they don’t. They are just trying to drive a wedge between freedom-loving people everywhere.

Rich Casebolt said...

Trish, you might want to consider that America didn't come into world war 2 with some noble endeavour to rid the world of "evil", as you people like to claim. It came into the war ONLY after its own ass got seared.

So now we have learned from WWII, and are more proactive. Sounds to me like fewer dead or suffering people in the long run ... as opposed to waiting until those like you and our two "Aussies" here figure out when they should act to defend life and liberty, even if it upsets the sensibilities of the elites.

You know one reason we waited so long to get into WWII, was because much of the nation believed in an isolationist foreign policy ... similar, but not the same, to the policies of the nattering nabobs that have been so vociferously critical of Mr. Bush ... not the same, because back then they didn't believe in subordinating our nation to international groupings that don't "hold these truths to be self-evident", as many of today's critics do.

Listen up, you spoiled brats ... we tried it your way on many occasions since WWII, and IT DIDN'T MAKE US SAFER. Life, liberty, and prosperity have ONLY been advanced in a sustainable manner when our leaders ignored your conventional wisdom, and confronted those who would deny others life and liberty.

Until you stand up WITH us, stop preening to the elites, and work to see rights-respecting governance (like you already live under) established and maintained wherever it is evident that its absence is leading to poverty, suffering and death, you are part of the problem.

That is not being arrogant, or a bully.

That is acknowledging reality, and working to make it better for all of us.

Michael Tuggle said...

For once, I must agree with Max Boot:

"I am gobsmacked by these appointments, most of which could just as easily have come from a President McCain ... this all but puts an end to the 16-month timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, the unconditional summits with dictators, and other foolishness that once emanated from the Obama campaign ... [Hillary] Clinton and [James] Steinberg at State should be powerful voices for 'neo-liberalism' which is not so different in many respects from 'neo-conservativism.'"
-- Max Boot, neoconservative activist, former McCain staffer.

Toldja.

Donald Douglas said...

CS:

"You people remind of the same paranoid schizos you claim to despise."

Standard BDS. Aren't you late for a video appointment with Noam Chomsky?

Michael Tuggle said...

Casebolt,

Wrong again. The US inserted itself into WWI, a war in which it had no business fighting.

And Pearl Harbor was the direct result of FDR's intervention into the Japanese-Chinese conflict.

It's time we learned to mind our own business. But with the Great O in charge, it looks like you'll be working lots of OT to make more weapons for killing. (See my previous)

Philippe Ohlund said...

Donald, your outspoken word: "I don't advocate the state-sponsored assassination of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad", shows your great civilization.

You call this to be: "Unflinching against evil", and you are right.

The New Testament says: "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good", see Romans 12:21.

Besides we know that all evil will be punished by the Lord, see Romans 12:19 - 20.

Donald Douglas said...

Mike Tuggle: Get lost, okay. That lame revisionist history of yours is not relevant nor welcom here, and is not even worth a rebuttal.

Anonymous said...

"My my how the people from other countries (Aussies) can so easily repute the US. I hope you never need our help down the road, but that we remain the power we are, in case you ever do..."

There's a long standing alliance between the USA and Australia.
It's been invoked many times. Immediately after 9-11 in fact.
We supported you in Korea, Vietnam and both wars with Iraq, where we still have involvement as well as in Afghanistan.
We have your intelligence gathering facilities here.

We've always supported you
Only time will tell if you'd ever do the same.

"Austrailia, you stink, you gutless spawns of Britian's castoffs."

You're welcome.

Michael Tuggle said...

Donald Douglas,

Understood. A man's got to know his limitations.

But surely you can manage a response to Max Boot's confirmation of what I've been trying to get you to admit.