One hundred years ago this Sunday, World War I came to an end — but its horrific toll of death and destruction has continued to cast a dark shadow over the ensuing century, writes Bill Moloney
This is a special morning. Across Colorado and around the world, Christians today commemorate one of the crowning events in the life of that man whom they worship as God incarnate, Jesus of Nazareth.
As many of you know, yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. And do you know what? In all the hoopla surrounding the celebration yesterday -- not one person at the commemoration event in Berlin mentioned the role of Ronald Reagan. Can you imagine that?
Tom Brokaw -- like many commentators -- yesterday was quick to laud the role of Mikhail Gorbachev -- the darling of the media and the Nobel Committee. Gorbachev did, of course, play a pivotal role in changing the Soviet Union and opening it up to the West. But what most analysts have missed is that Gorbachev didn't get their alone. He didn't so much as jump as was pushed -- by a resolute Ronald Reagan who was unwilling to compromise with the Soviet state and kept up a relentless pressure that broke the back of the Soviet economic system.
Ronald Reagan deserves much of the credit for the fall of the Berlin Wall -- and don't let any revisionist historian tell you anything different. Reagan's force of personality -- the force of his conviction that the Soviet Union was a system that could not stand against the march of freedom -- made it clear to Gorbachev that the Soviets could never prevail. In the face of liberal pressure to "stand down" and to give in on Star Wars and other strategic initiatives, Reagan stood fast.
The result is history. Only today that history is told with a liberal bias that sees to minimize Reagan's pivotal role.
Don't believe it. Berlin owes a huge debt of gratitude to Reagan.
Here is Reagan's famous "Tear down this Wall" speech of 1987. What other leader would have the courage to make this speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate?
Last week was truly remarkable. Republicans swept three state elections; then an Islamic extremist holding the position of an Army psychiatrist murdered 13 persons and wounded 31 others at Fort Hood, Texas; the House of Representatives defied the will of the American people by passing a comprehensive health insurance bill; and free people celebrated the 20th anniversary of the demise of the Berlin Wall back in 1989. These events reveal the contrast that exists in this country and throughout the world between those who value freedom and those who do not. The most encouraging development is the growing awareness of our citizens that the future is won only by doing the right thing.
Reversing the results in last year’s elections, voters gave solid margins of victory to Chris Christie in New Jersey and Robert McDonnell in Virginia in their gubernatorial races, but also Republican candidates for the remaining statewide offices in those states and in Pennsylvania. President Obama campaigned in the first two states, despite the growing unpopularity of his administration.
Democrats have tried strenuously to spin the dismal results as merely local contests, irrelevant to the debate over their health insurance and environmental "cap and trade" proposals. But there is no doubt that it gave the Blue Dog Democrats in Congress incentive to resist party pressure to support these budget-busting and tax-increasing measures.
All good Americans are appalled and horrified at the shooting rampage of Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who shouted "Allahu Akbar" before he opened fire on his fellow soldiers and civilians prior to his scheduled deployment to Afghanistan. The news coverage has been remarkably vapid. The same articles which make it perfectly clear that Hasan is an Islamic extremist who could not bring himself to make war on his "fellow Muslims" and regards himself as a soldier in the radical Islamic cause, describe the shooter’s motives as unclear.
Sorry to say, the President himself has set the tone for this mindless and irresponsible attitude, asking people not to rush to judgment about a man and an incident that are as transparent as anything can be. We are learning, too, that "political correctness" or the blind indifference to if not covert sympathy with those who reject Western civilization, has infected the highest ranks of the U.S. Army.
No religion per se makes anyone ineligible for American citizenship or for participation in any civil government, but if the believer’s highest loyalty is to a doctrine that calls for the destruction of constitutional safeguards for human rights, there should be little doubt that he cannot be trusted with any responsibilities or respecting the rights of other citizens.
Notwithstanding weeks of polling date that reveal a solid majority of Americans opposed to government health care (AKA socialized medicine) and Republican election victories in three states that voted Democrat in 2008, the House of Representatives approved a bill of nearly 2,000 pages that would micro manage existing health insurance coverage and impose massive costs on the American people.
Despite considerable rhetorical blather about bipartisanship, the Democrat leadership managed to win over only one Republican representing a traditionally Democrat district in Louisiana and lost 39 Democrats representing traditionally Republican districts, passing the bill by a narrow margin.
It is evident that Democrats are desperate to pass some form of health care legislation, even if they lose seats or lose House control in 2010. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was not deterred by the strong indications that her Senate counterparts lack the votes to pass the legislation, even if it followed her lead in dropping coverage for abortions. She is unmoved despite the fact that she is defying the consent of the governed.
Meanwhile, celebrations are in order on the anniversary of the removal of the infamous Berlin Wall, an event which President Obama either feels is beneath his notice or perhaps understands as an achievement for which he cannot claim credit. No greater contrast exists between Presidents who steadfastly supported the freedom of Berliners and of all Europeans during the Cold War years and the current President who feels more comfortable talking to Asian and Latin American despots than supporting leaders of free nations long allied with the West.
One cannot imagine a President Obama making the courageous decision of Harry Truman to supply Berlin during a long Russian blockade or the uplifting defiance of President Reagan in demanding that Mikhail Gorbachev "tear down this wall!"
The future of freedom is best entrusted to its dedicated friends.
The West has been warned with increasing frequency, most recently by Netherlands MP Geert Wilders, that radical Islam is making such great strides that Europe will become "Eurabia" in a few decades and that the United States is not far behind. In a speech he gave at Columbia University on October 21, Wilders spoke alarmingly of numerous incidents and ominous trends as evidence that a dynamic Islam is growing at the expense of what used to be called the Christian West.
Wilders himself has been caught in the middle of this rise and fall. For his outspoken opposition to radical Islam, he was even barred from the United Kingdom until the British courts intervened.
Because the "cultural sensitivities" are so great on this issue, it has become virtually a crime to speak frankly and truthfully about what is going on. Here is a sampler that Wilder provides, taken from the mass media reports over the last several years:
The Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard made a Muhammad-cartoon and all of a sudden we were in the middle of the so called 'Danish cartoon crisis'. The Italian author Oriana Fallaci had to live in fear of extradition to Switzerland because of her book 'The Rage and the Pride'. An Austrian politician, Susanne Winter, was sentenced to a suspended prison sentence because she spoke bluntly about the prophet Muhammad. The Dutch cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot was arrested by 10 policemen because of his drawings. And the Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh was brutally murdered in the streets of Amsterdam by a radical Muslim.
This discouraging trend can only be explained by the dynamics of radical Islam as contrasted with the decline of European Christendom. This, in turn, points to the likelihood that religious conviction, thought to be some to be irrelevant in the "post-modern" world, is decisive. Islam, after several centuries of decline, has been reshaped into a messianic force. There is nothing comparable to this among Christians.
As ominous as the constant threat of violence may be, the long term trends in Europe may be more worrisome. For decades, Europeans have permitted large-scale immigration of Africans and Asians to provide cheap labor. Unlike the United States, European nations do not encourage assimilation or movement toward citizenship. As long as Americans pledge loyalty to the principles and institutions of our country, anyone can potentially become a citizen. Not so in Europe.
As a result, millions of largely Muslim inhabitants have no compelling reason to adopt the customs of their host countries. Indeed, as their numbers increase, it is their customs and their laws that take root. Those periodic riots in Paris among unemployed Algerians or Moroccans stem from their permanent outsider status. Increasingly there is pressure to allow Muslims to govern themselves by Sharia law, a repressive code that is the rule in the despotic Muslim nations today.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has even suggested that the United Kingdom acquiesce in the establishment of Sharia there, indicating that preemptive surrender is the proper response.
Europeans generally have acted as if the Christian religion which gave their continent its distinctive identity for centuries can be abandoned without consequences.
In Europe there are many massive–and empty–Christian cathedrals. Meanwhile, Muslims are increasing their numbers through birth rates far in excess of the Europeans’, which have fallen below the replacement level of 2.1 per family.
Another way of putting this is that one cannot oppose something with nothing. If the Europeans altogether abandon the faith that inspired millions of people before them, they can be sure that Muslims will not. Some analysts have predicted that the UK, France and Germany will lead the way into a Muslim future by 2050. Major cities are already dominated by Muslims.
The American birthrate among citizens has fallen below 2.1 as well, with the vast influx of illegal aliens from south of our borders keeping that figure up for all inhabitants. The percentages of Muslims are still far below Europe but the official deference to their sensibilities is strong.
The evidence is overwhelming that as this trend continues in Europe, the change from Christianity to Islam will not be peaceful but increasingly violent. There will be increasing persecution of non-Muslims wherever Muslims are sufficiently numerous to impose their will. The Western world’s half-hearted response is not working. One can pray that a powerful spirit returns to Western civilization, but it will not come as long as it holds that what men believe about God makes no difference.