Loyalty to God and country

Over at The Jury Talks Back, Not Rhetorical asked an interesting question:

“I’m a Christian first and an American second.” If you heard someone say that, would you consider it divided loyalty? What if a soldier said it?

I responded that I would not be surprised at all, because if anyone claims to believe in God but doesn’t place him as the primary influence in his life then that person does not really believe in God. It doesn’t matter which god – the God of Israel, Allah, Zeus, you name it – if God exists, then your entire existence is shaped by that fact. Anything else you do must be in the context of what that all-powerful God wished you to do or to be. I think the US Armed Forces understand this, given that they’ve allowed soldiers whose faith prevents them from fighting to serve other roles so as not to force a showdown between God and country.

This quote, however, comes from Nidal Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter. He apparently made it public knowledge that he considered himself a Muslim first and an American second – a fact which is being played up as another sign of his blind devotion and barbarism. This should surprise no one. No political entity can match the sheer clout of a deity. The fact that he considered his religion to be the primary motivator in his life is a perfectly rational response to his beliefs, and using this point as evidence of his insanity is at best intellectually dishonest and at worst outright anti-religious propaganda. Continue reading Loyalty to God and country

Daily Hopechange for January 28

Day eight, still no unicorn. I’m beginning to lose hope.

Remember when George Bush was leaving a press conference in Beijing and found that the door was locked? He laughed it off, but the photos captured are still used to portray him as a bonehead. Well, apparently today Obama tried to walk through a window to get into the White House instead of using the door. Surprisingly, not many photos of this have surfaced, and I doubt I’ll be seeing it all over CNN, NYT, and WaPo anytime soon…

Also, it appears that Obama suddenly does have Muslim roots. He says that his Muslim family members and time living in Muslim countries give him an advantage in relating to Muslims as he tries to “reach out to them.” What this means, I’m not quite sure, but I do think it’s interesting that a fact so vehemently denied during the primaries is now embracied as a positive attribute. Certainly makes you wonder about John McCain calling any mention of Islam in relation to Obama a “shameless attack.”

And the stimulus package from hell just keeps on rolling… the good news is that the Republicans are letting the Democrats own every festering ounce of it. It passed the house today 244-188, with every Republican voting against it (along with 11 Democrats). As Pelosi said, “We won the election. We wrote the bill.” It’s become plain as day where the Democrats stand now – firmly on the side of pork spending and shady interest groups. Thankfully, this time the Republicans are actually standing firm against this one, so when this house of cards crumbles – and it will – then it will be Obama and his party who correctly take the blame.

Change we can believe in

Here we go, now this is some pleasantly surprising change for you guys. Via Lawdog, it seems that the local Muslim graveyards are refusing the bodies of the Mumbai terrorists. A spokesman for the Trust running the graveyards said of the terrorists, “People who committed this heinous crime cannot be called Muslim. Islam does not permit this sort of barbaric crime.” The Australian also reports that the Indian Muslim Council has said they should not be buried anywhere on Indian soil.

This is exactly the kind of thing the world has been looking for from Islamic authorities in reaction to these events. While a lot of people may see this as an extreme response there are two things to consider here: first off, the Muslim traditions surrounding burial are much more elaborate than most western traditions. In addition to the importance of the ritual method of preparing the body for burial, and the manner in which they are buried, Muslims believe that the deceased is questioned by angels at their burial about their life and their faith in Allah, which is why their family will stand and pray for them to answer correctly. To be denied this sort of end is a grave insult (no pun intended) and if this becomes a more commonplace threat to potential terrorists, it may give them pause.

Second, they are denying that the attacks are even the actions of faithful Muslims. This is a big one for the rest of the world. We need more of this. People hear from news outlets and blogs and other third parties that it is a minority of Muslims who believe in the jihad, who would participate in these sort of atrocities. And while most people agree that it is true that it is a minority executing these attacks, the fact that we have a huge number of these attacks being committed all over the world with little to no outcry from prominent Muslim leaders tells a story that most Muslims don’t want told: that Islam is a religion that condones, if not supports, this sort of terror. The silence is deafening. As Edward Burke was famously quoted, “all that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” When these leaders speak up against terrorist actions in the name of Islam, it gives credibility to the idea that the jihad is a war being waged by a few extremists, which in turn gives credibility back to the religion and followers of Islam as a whole. When these leaders speak up, they are fighting these terrorists on a different platform than we ever can, and we need to give our support to those who do, because the other side will not tolerate it.

This is awesome.

No, seriously, it is.

TIKRIT, Iraq – Eighteen females in northern Iraq who were associated with Al-Qaeda in Iraq suicide bombing cells turned themselves into Coalition forces on Nov. 26.

The females were persuaded by their mullahs and fathers to cease their training in suicide operations and reconcile.

Today, these women took the first step in reconciliation by turning themselves in and signing a reconciliation pledge.

Great news, on two points: first, that these women who have been treated as slaves and property are finding the strength to rise up and say no to the terrorists pressuring them into this, indicating a real change in the attitude over there. Second, that the women were convinced by their mullahs and fathers. This is out of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown. These would be devout Shi’ites, religious leaders, who are actively decrying this terrorism for the first time that we’ve really seen over there. That alone is incredible. These women also bring with them valuable information on insurgent cells. I wish them all the best in their new lives as they move forward as – for the first time – free women.

h/t: Michael Ledeen at PJM

Random Thoughts 1

It’s Saturday and I have nothing good to write about but I told myself I’d write something, so, here we go. It’s the weekend and I have random thoughts (and links!) to share.

  • Sara Bareilles is both beautiful and a great musician. I discovered her through a TV commercial that played a 5-second clip of her music video for “Love Song,” and went on to find her other stuff. It’s quite good. It’s also not the typical lyrical content of that brand of music, which is refreshing. So, go Sara!
  • Via Prester Scott: It seems the Episcopalian church has gone off the deep end. Their new devotional pamphlet encourages you to tape the UN’s Millennium Development Goals to your mirror so that you can meditate on them for Lent. While eliminating world hunger and improving education are great things, that’s not exactly what Jesus said you should be meditating on. What was that again? Oh, right. His Word.
  • Via Andy: A couple of cases of yet more Islamic branded insanity. This time it’s honor killings, in the good ol’ US of A and Canada. It’s just more proof that it’s not just the culture in the Middle East; in fact it’s the Islamic culture at large that encourages it because it is condoned, even encouraged by Islamic teaching. It’s ridiculous to me that people can look at this religion and call it a “Religion of Peace” with a straight face.
  • Via Kim: More reasons not to vote Huckabee. Actions speak louder than words, and all that. It’s not like I’d ever considered him, but I still know people who do.
  • Via my email inbox: Gingrich in the race? I can’t see it happening but it’d be a conservative in the race, which is much more than what we have now. It’d be a different approach than any of the current candidates are taking, at the very least.
  • And finally for all the truly geeky out there, via Wil Wheaton comes this lovely link illustrating the dangers of retconning. It drives people like me insane when you mess with the story lines and lore that we have come to know and love, and that does a good job explaining why.

I’m off to spend the day with my family. Hope you all have a good weekend.