Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Choice

God recognizes no separation between religion and state. And the concept of rendering unto Caesar that which be Caesar's and unto God that be God’s as understood and interpreted by the proponents of secularism is an atheistic concept of which God and his Prophets are innocent. And since the believer in God and his Prophets believes and lives his life according to the book and prophetic practice, he has no need for the legislatures and parliaments which you in the west have, to put it mildly, used to legislate yourselves into a prison of your own making.-- Adam Gadahn aka Azzam the American

The reaching out for freedom was a long and painful process in the West, and a large part of our cherished cultural heritage is wrapped up in that very event. Here in the US, we celebrate our founders and the struggle they underwent to throw off a colonial rule that they found oppressive. But this too did not happen in a vacuum. It is built on many small steps that defined liberty, the relationship between the governed and those who govern, and concepts of justice that even though they often fell short, strove for fairness and just outcome for all. This is a concept that has given those who follow the Prophet as much freedom to worship as the next man in all the countries of the West where he takes refuge. It has given people a way to work for righting wrongs that allow growth and building instead of the endless rounds of war you find in societies like Somalia. In the long run, it has given us a system that protects people from long rule by tyrants to attack their own people that allows all a chance to strive to improve one's lot in life in ways nearly impossible for those born to the wrong clan, or the wrong sect, or the wrong ethnic group in so many parts of the world.

Where sharia law, theocratic law has been the rule of the day, we see mentally handicapped children executed for crimes thrust upon them by their caretakers, women killed because their brothers were unhappy with their choice of husband, men punished for wearing standard athletic clothing while playing soccer. Everywhere there is the curtailment of personal freedom in the name of God: music is constrained or banned, freedom of the press eliminated, freedom of association attacked frequently by gangs of young men who demand people behave in ways they deem religiously acceptable. Everywhere in these societies half the population have what are considered normative rights that were won with enomous struggle vastly curtailed.through custom, tradition and religious interpretation.

Remember Afghanistan under the Taliban. This is the way of life, with its cruel punishments, its high level control by religious bully boys acting as police, and its misuse of women and children, and the forcible infliction of their version of righteous living on everybody in society that the extremists are dreaming of creating with their hope of the Caliphate.

The threat is not only from without. There are those, like Adam Gadhan, members here of our own country who have also fallen into that dream. And if we let them, they will sweep away every dream of our founding fathers, every shred of the social contract we hold sacred between the governed and the governing, every concept enshrined by the suffering and blood of so many Americans, and give us the choice offered to every infidel: Convert or Die.


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