Google+
Close
Yes, the Christian West
Religion is a pillar of our civilization. We shouldn’t apologize for it.


Text  


Comments
568
Conrad Black

One of the many problems that arise from the cross-currents in the Middle East and the activities of radical Islamists is that the Western response is almost entirely confined to concerns about terrorism, and, to a degree, to the need to prop up the less odious regimes against the more barbarous and aggressive. These are certainly desirable lines of defense, but they leave some large fields of combat vacant. Militant Islamists endlessly denounce the West as degenerate, morally decrepit, godless, and a vast zone that is bankrupt in terms of the human spirit. Because so much of the secular leadership of the West, and so many of its institutions, are agnostic, and the state religion of the West is, in effect, atheism, we discard in advance one of the strongest cards the West possesses in this contest with deranged and aberrant Islam. Judeo-Christians were the pioneering monotheists, the Jews about 1,500 years ahead of the Christians, and the Christians 600 years ahead of the Muslims.

There are at least as many practicing Roman Catholics in the world as there are practitioners of Islam, and that is not counting Protestant and Orthodox Christian churches, in which there are hundreds of millions more practicing Christians. This is not just a question of market share: The development of Christian theology and religious philosophy and connected art, ramifying into painting, sculpture, and literature, vastly surpasses that of Islam or of any other religion, much less that of any secular creeds that would affect to shoulder the vast body of Judeo-Christian thought and creativity aside. Because our governments, with few exceptions, are so infested — stuffed, in fact — with agnostics, they are complicit in the Islamic campaign to represent the West as a completely corrupted materialist society with no connection to or belief in any spiritual concepts or any moral imperatives. All is relativism and there is nothing that is right or wrong, and even a terrorist attack that massacres the innocent is the expression of frustrations that inevitably are a response to some provocation or shortcoming of the West, and even as we deter or even punish terrorist acts we must contritely mend our ways and pull up our moral socks.

Advertisement
Broadly speaking, in the interests of liberating themselves from any review by ecclesiastical leaders and facilitating the materialization of all values by pitching almost all political questions as matters of pecuniary redistribution, our governments make it easier for the critics of the West to denounce us as a society of no beliefs, in which everything can be bought. While there is no known reason to believe that this bulked heavily in the minds of President Obama and his advisers when they unleashed the spurious and outrageous campaign to impose upon the Roman Catholic Church the obligation of ensuring payment for the contraceptives (as well as sterilizations and inducement of miscarriages) of students and employees of Church-related organizations and institutions, that was an across-the-board win for the enemies of the West. The government of the most powerful Western country went to war against the premier Christian Church and the leadership of the largest religious denomination in the United States. It was Obama’s own little Bismarckian Kulturkampf, which dismisses religious convictions as part of a partisan “war on women” and promotes and makes believable to the uninformed (who are a majority of the world’s Muslims) a version of Western society that is profoundly irreligious.

This reinforces the Islamists’ argument that they are without religious rivals, that they alone are aligned with God and are defending godliness against the “corruption on earth” that that murderous lunatic swaddled in violent religiosity, the Ayatollah Khomeini, was always imputing to his opponents. And Islamist fanaticism is also fostered by the ghastly quietism with which Western governments appease the Islamists and ignore the endless outrages committed against Christians, even more than Jews, in the world. Nothing could better encourage the sense that the West is cowardly, decadent, and heretical than the feeble acquiescence of all of the West except the Vatican in Islamist persecution of Christians in the Middle East. A century ago, Christians still made up 30 percent of the population of the Middle East, but that number is only about 3 percent today. In only two years since the toppling of Egypt’s President Mubarak, some Egyptian Christians have been publicly crucified, a Coptic church was burned down with no intervention from the new Muslim Brotherhood regime, hundreds of Christian women have been brutally assaulted, and over 100,000 Copts have fled Egypt.



Text  


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

NRO Polls on LockerDome

Subscribe to National Review