by Rod D. Martin
August 19, 2005
The “God’s judging America by raising up al Qaeda” line never seems to go away, no matter what happens. It started with strange bedfellows like Bill Clinton and Jerry Falwell (and, for certain Reformed Christians, homeschoolers, etc., a very weird, immediately stupid-looking special issue of Doug Wilson’s Credenda Agenda, pronouncing the immediate end of the world as we know it, just a couple weeks after 9/11 and a couple weeks before America smashed the Taliban, accomplishing in days what the Soviet and British armies had failed at miserably over many years).
But it doesn’t ever end. And while some of the more vociferous proponants don’t even believe in God (Micheal Moore, for instance, seemingly longing for some cosmic karma to smite his meal-ticket, er, the U.S. public, off the planet), nevertheless, certain odd corners of Christianity continue to come up with some of the more interesting suggestions. I received one today which suggested that God is using Muslims to destroy the west at least in part because church people have largely ceased singing impreccatory Psalms, and have adopted instead the hymns of Isaac Watts (who lived from 1674-1748, in case you missed it, and wrote such blasphemous works as “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and the obviously Satanic “Joy to the World”).
You gotta scratch your head at this stuff, folks.
But the bigger point here is that, whatever America might deserve, it isn’t America that’s on the receiving end of this supposed judgment. To me, I simply can’t grasp the kind of self-absorption it takes to look at what’s happening (or even what happened, i.e., 9/11) here and think somehow that this compares in any way, shape or form to what has been unleashed upon the world of Islamist tyrants in the past few years. America is stronger and richer than it has ever been; meanwhile, the Taliban and Saddam are swept away, democratic revolution (mostly peaceful) has broken out across the world, from Lebanon even to Ukraine, and 2/3 of all al Qaeda leaders and members on 9/11 are now dead or in prison.
Yet the “judge America first” crowd prattles on.
Oh well. Let them. In the meantime, here’s my response to the writer of the post I mentioned a moment ago. Hopefully it will give you something useful to think about the next time this foolishness surfaces.
Well, to be quite honest, I don’t think the facts bear this out. I think we’ve seen a tremendous upsurge in the United States, in China, in Africa and Latin America in Biblical Christianity, completely independent of anything having to do with Islam. Meanwhile, we’ve seen Islam get its block knocked off every time and everywhere it’s taken us on. Afghanistan couldn’t possibly be a bigger success story in the amount of time we’ve had. Iraq is an equally tremendous success story in 14 of 18 provinces, and even the remaining four have only been difficult because jihadis are coming from all over the Middle East, and then for the most part dying there. The overwhelming majority of the Iraqi population stands against them, freedom is taking root, and as long as we’re talking about it, the Gospel is being preached to a degree that just boggles the mind. My good friend George Grant is an important part of that, but there is more opportunity for missionaries now than there are missionaries to go! It’s like nothing since the Muslims swept out of Arabia.
So no, I don’t think this is any existential threat to the United States, to Christendom, or to much of anybody. I think they badly miscalculated, believed we’d run away at the first sign of trouble — not least because we spend so very much of our time contemplating our navels instead of fighting real evil — and their miscalculation is rapidly turning into an existential threat to THEM (by which I mean the Islamists, not Muslims broadly). The era of tyrannical Middle Eastern dictators is threatened if not ending; the rise in oil prices is not only *not* benefiting OPEC but is completely out of their control, and in fact is sparking a tremendous upswing in nuclear plant construction and development of hybrids and even fully electric cars which burn no oil at all; and the cream of al Qaeda’s crop has been completely wiped out.
Perhaps most important of all from a geopolitical perspective, Bush’s Sharansky-inspired rhetoric, backed with concrete action, is convincing average Arabs for the first time in fifty years that American really means business about advancing freedom, instead of just propping up whatever dictator happens to promise a stable oil flow (that’s not exactly what we did all those years, mind you: we mostly propped up whatever dictator happened to promise both a stable oil flow and cooperation against the Soviets; but this is a distinction lost on average guys from Alexandria). That very real tendency of ours has damaged us immeasurably, and is al Qaeda’s chief rallying cry against us (if you listen closely). The problem for them is that, by actually backing democracy, we’ve called a bluff they couldn’t possibly afford to have called.
So no, God’s not cleaning our house by way of them, not even if they nuke New York. God’s cleaning their tyrannical decrepit house, because while he gave the Canaanites 400 years, He’s given these clowns 1300, and oh boy oh boy are their sins ever full.
And separate from all that, we’re in the middle of an enormous revival here, and much of the rest of the world is seeing extraordinary new growth for the Gospel such as has never been seen in human history. How anyone can miss this I can’t imagine.