The three things Stetzer is focussing on are the ways Christians should respond to their friendly, neighborhood Muslims. These responses are Biblical for the most part. They consist of the reminder that we must love all of our neighbors, we must pray for all of our enemies, and we must recognize religious liberty for all while acknowledging that there is violent resistance to this liberty particularly in countries that are predominantly Muslim. Of these three suggested responses, the first two are very legitimate and must be taken seriously. The third one is somewhat debatable, but that is not what we will take issue with here.
The Stetzer comment that concerns this blogpost the most is the one that says:
The West is at the front end of what will almost certainly be a multi-decadal war against radical Islamism. We saw so again this week, as violence marred Chattanooga, TN.Stetzer's view that we have just begun a conflict with radical Islam is troublesome for two reasons. The first reason is that many would place the front end of this conflict on day of the 9-11 attacks. Was not Bin Laden and Al-Qaida considered to be representatives of radical Islam back then? That was my impression. And if that is the case, though calling this conflict multi-decadal would be correct, calling our current position in this conflict with Radical Islam the front en should trouble a lot of Americans.
But Americans are not the only ones who should be troubled by the above quote. That is because the West, consisting of America and parts of Europe, has been intervening in the Middle East and trying to control the oil resources there since before WW II. America started its Middle East interventions in 1953 by teaming up with Great Britain to overthrow Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister. In his place, we installed a leader who was friendly to Western business interests. But this leader, the Shah as he was called, acted as tyrant to dissidents within his own country and he tried to westernize the nation against the wishes of many Muslims back then. His harsh reign led to an overthrow in 1979 and his replacement, the Ayatollah Khomeini, was recognized as the radical
Muslim of his day.
In fact, one of reasons why we supported Iraq's brutal dictator Saddam Hussein for 10 years was so that Hussein could offset any threat Khomeini could pose to our interests in that region of the world. But not only did we support the Shah and Hussein, our unbalanced support of Israel has led to horrible persecution of Palestinian Christians and Muslims. In fact, the kind of support we've given Israel along with our support of Middle East dictators like the Shah and Hussein were two reasons cited by Bin Laden for why Al-Qaida attacked us on 9-11. Our troops sent to Lebanon and our previous day shelling of Hezbollah positions led to the bombing of the marine barracks in 1983. And we could also mention the fact that we supported terrorists like Bin Laden provided that the enemy was a Soviet Union backed government in Afghanistan.
So though Stetzer is correct in stating that our current conflict with Radical Islam could last for decades, his approximation of the conflict's beginning is very questionable. For us, the conflict always starts with what has happened to us. For Stetzer, the conflict with Radical Islam has started close to the time of the attacks against the marines on our soil. But his anticipation of the future, like the anticipation possessed by many of my religiously conservative Christians about our future because of the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage shows a gross insensitivity to the pains we've caused. For just as those from the LGBT community have dealt with decades, if not centuries, of marginalization due to Christian privilege in society, so many Muslims have suffered either directly or indirectly for decades from American interventions in the Middle East. Our interventions have caused some Muslims to become radicalized. Many more Muslims would say that the battle with the West started way before 9-11. Only we American Christians could never accept that because we have acted like a Bull in a china shop. Just as the bull is unaware of the brokenness he has caused, so many of us religiously Conservative Christians blind to the pain, caused by the actions of our nation to Muslims because of how we have deemed them as not being worthy of our consideration.