Following the horrific attacks in Paris, the world’s attention has been riveted on the attempt by a group of religious fundamentalists to establish, by military force, a caliphate in the Middle East. The so-called “Islamic State” is theologically fundamentalist, as well as apocalyptically obsessed. The attacks in Paris and elsewhere are designed specifically to provoke a war between the godless West and the Islamic righteous to bring about Armageddon, which they believe, ironically, will result in the return and intervention of one of their revered prophets: Jesus.
Now, I am deeply concerned about developing fundamentalist caliphates, but the one in the Middle East isn’t the only one that worries me. Have you listened lately to the rhetoric of Ted Cruz, or read the most recent comments of Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, who believes that if we all carry weapons “we could end those Muslims before they walked in”?
Retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson wrote recently in Huffington Post:
In last weekend’s football game featuring the U.S. Air Force Academy’s team and the University of New Mexico’s team, 57 of the 60 Academy football team members knelt and prayed-ostentatiously, publicly-in the end zone prior to the game. They did not, as Christ’s disciple Matthew advises, put themselves in a closet; they prayed in front of the world.
Therein rests the problem.
When I saw the photograph depicting this “prayer circle,” I had one immediate thought: what would have happened if two or three of the team had withdrawn slightly from the clearly Christian circle, dropped to both knees, bent over repeatedly to touch their foreheads to the turf, all the while speaking Islamic exhortations to Allah; or if one or two had stepped back, stood, and recited the Torah, as many Jews do when praying; or if even one had stepped back and simply shrugged his atheist’s shoulders at the circle in its worshipful attempt to push its Christian god into favoring USAFA’s football efforts (in any event, the Christian prayers did not work; Air Force lost the game).
Yes, Daesh establishing a caliphate in the Middle East frightens me. A fundamentalist Christian one led by people like Ted Cruz, however, is just as scary, and the apathy of too many people of faith who seem to think there is no need for progressive organizing anymore is utterly terrifying!
Rev. Michael Piazza