Friday, March 18, 2011

Theology: Islamophobia and the Myth of Security

I've recently been in some discussing with some hyper-conservatives over Islamophobia. They seem to fear that ever Muslim in the world is out to destroy them. First off, let me say that I don't have the expertise in the religion either doctrinally or politically to make real comment on whether these fears are founded. In the end, I suspect that the truth lies somewhere between the manic fear and the claim that "Islam is a religion of peace"... but I digress.

This post isn't about that. Rather, this post is about security, specifically the frequent call to sacrifice liberty in the name of security. To, for example, ban the hijab lest "those people" bomb us. During the course of a debate over the insane content of the linked post, someone made the following claim "Liberals don't understand that they will be beheaded like the rest of us." What follows is my response, edited slightly to be less bound by the context of that conversation.

It could be the case we'll all be beheaded. So what? We are called not to return "evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing" (1 Peter 3:9). Christ calls us to love our enemies, telling us "...not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also" (Matthew 5:39). We are to pour ourselves out, in Christ's example, even to death on a cross.

Admittedly, this is why no nation can ever be a Christian nation, because no nation can act in such a way, but the good nation is moderate. This is the benefit of democracy, the extremes don't get their way, the government is kept from becoming too much of a top down force for whatever vision of the good those in power have in mind. Part of moderate government is punishing criminals for crimes committed, not punishing people groups for potential crimes.

Even the most hate-filled, vitriolic people are (or should be) free to be what they are until they act out evil. Man is too frail, to fallible, to be trusted with guarding against potential evils. The thought that we can attain security is always an illusion. No earthly power can ever make us safe - just look at the horror natural disasters wreak.

In this life, the only security we can have is the security of the Resurrection in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is the one thing promised to us by the Revelation of St. John. The world is a bad place, tyrants rule, the church will come under persecution. But love conquers, the Lamb Who Was Slain is the Mighty Lion of Judah. And in the end, as we labor in love, the Lord will return, the world will be set right, and "...God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4).

To build up prejudicial barriers of defense is to be like the rich man in the parable (Luke 12: 13-21), storing up grain for a day that may never come (James 4:14). I say again, security at the expense of liberty will always buy you tyranny.

Real people, who should be loved and respected, are being turned into symbols of fear in order to further an agenda. A woman wearing a hijab is being looked as as a potential suicide bomber, and the sight of a hijab as the importantion of sharia law.

There's a huge gap between sharia law and a dress of modesty like the hijab. Seriously, imagine if you were an American woman asked to go topless or stay out of public because the dominant power in your nation feared you might carry a bomb (or a gun, or a knife) under your shirt or bra. How humiliating would that be for you?

That is what the Cult of Security is calling for.

I believe in a God who is sovereign. I do not need to fear, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7) I will seek Christ, seek to shine His love to the world. I will stumble, but by His grace I will be raised up again. And in all things, in all places I will know that I am secure.

The blessing of Christ go with you.