Just When You Thought You Understood

The American lust for knowledge in the age of Mc-nihilism
By Rev. Thomas V. Berg, L.C.
Originally Posted On: February 5, 2008
Westchester Institute e-Column

Today is Super Tuesday.

After reading the morning newspapers, it strikes me that the current run for the White House has generated near-constant uncertainty about what voters think or want. Six months ago, it was inconceivable that this election would not be about Iraq. Six months hence, turns out the number-one issue is the economy.

Or was that just last week’s take on public opinion? According to a front page spread in today’s Wall Street Journal, the issue is now “character.” And—I am tempted to ask—what will it be next week?

The uncertainty about American public opinion on everything from what Americans want from a president, to what they want from Hollywood, to what they want from Microsoft is only one instance of our growing knowledge deficit. If you haven’t noticed, America is struggling with the growing awareness of just how little we know.

Is our economy in a nose dive or is it really just fine? Is America in decline as a superpower or are we still on top of our game? Is Iran building an a-bomb or not? Is global warming for real or is it ideology masquerading as science? Is the universe bounded or unbounded, expanding or collapsing? These are all valid questions, and we must certainly pursue answers; but it’s our groping in the dark and continuing uncertainty that we find more and more intolerable. As a result, our passion to be in the know, to possess the inside story, to have our finger on what’s really going on, to have the factoid at our fingertips, is an ever more prevalent, to not say dominant, psychological state.

This all unfolds, of course, in a cultural and academic milieu that treats agnosticism as enlightened and atheistic reductive materialism as sexy. The prophets of Mc-nihilism, like the late Richard Rorty, taught that we would do best to stop treating truth as something “out there” that we can grasp; that we should stop being so foolish as to believe that there is some over-arching and meaningful context in which to correctly understand our situation in the cosmos.

In such a milieu, and having absorbed these ideas since kindergarten, I would suggest that most Americans find something mildly therapeutic in their lust for factoids.

The problem is that, bereft of an overarching and meaningful account of ‘what-it’s-all-about’, such lusting after knowledge-chunks, the latest data, and the inside track, can be the very dynamic that perpetuates and aggravates the Mc-nihilism that is eating away the very core of our culture, and even our mental health.

I’m not suggesting, of course, that 1 in 10 American women are on an anti-depressant because they are uncertain whether the universe is expanding or collapsing. I am suggesting, however, that the lack of an over-arching and personally profoundly meaningful narrative into which we can fit both our abundance of knowledge-chunks and our lingering uncertainties can certainly be the root cause of everything from anxiety disorders to our growing dependence on anti-depressants. Knowledge—with its fits and starts, certainties and surprises, and open-ended-ness—lest it be the cause of growing unrest, agnosticism, and end in Mc-nihilism, needs the framework of an over-arching account of what it’s all about—an account which we deem to be true.

Enter here the role of religion in public life. Religion can provide that much needed narrative. Religion can offer us entry into another kind of knowing that surpasses the limitations and inherent uncertainty of all things empirical, and opens onto a grasp of broader realities.

In light of which, I find it much more than coincidental that Super Tuesday is followed, tomorrow, by Ash Wednesday—a welcome reminder of our need to transcend the world of factoids and pursue the bigger picture of what it’s all about.

Rev. Thomas V. Berg, L.C. is Executive Director of the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person.


The Continuing Financial Crackup

By Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson

Precarious. Ominous. Dismal. Woeful. Vulnerable. Perilous. These are just a few of the adjectives that describe the current condition of the United State’s financial markets. The crisis that I wrote about in this column last Dec. 27 (see archives) has continued to deteriorate. The conclusion that the Federal Reserve would sacrifice the dollar in the attempt to avert a total breakdown of our credit markets remains valid.

Gold now trades for over $1000 an ounce. (This is concurrent with the latest monthly Consumer Price Index report of zero inflation—a jarring juxtaposition likely to erode whatever credibility official government statistics still retain). The stock market continues to languish, plunging sickeningly after every short-lived attempt to mount a sustainable rally. The U.S. dollar continues to make all-time or multi-year lows against the Euro, the yen, the pound, the Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand dollars, the Brazilian real, and a host of other currencies. The greenback still looks awfully good compared to the Zimbabwean dollar—which has inflation rates in the thousands of percent—but that is faint praise indeed.

When I outlined the crisis in December, I referred to what are clinically called “injections of liquidity” by the Federal Reserve that were of the breathtaking scope of $10 or $20 billion dollars in a single day. Ah, those were the good old days! On March 11, the Fed announced that it was injecting more funds—but now with another zero added to the figure, in this case $200 billion. A couple of reports listed the amount as $280 billion, and while I can’t say which figure is closer to the truth, when it is starting to seem like $80 billion if a mere rounding error, it suggests that we are in dire monetary straits indeed.

The $200-plus billion was dispensed to financial institutions in the form of 28-day loans in exchange for collateral consisting of piles of the infamous mortgage-backed securities and their derivatives that—like the “old maid” in the childhood card game—everyone is trying to ditch. Essentially, such collateral has little, if any, actual market value. The Fed issued these loans to give these institutions time to strengthen their balance sheets. Theoretically, they will buy back that collateral in four weeks. Don’t count on it. If the Fed was unwilling that these effectively insolvent institutions fail in March, do you really think that they will dump the financial garbage back onto those weak balance sheets and bankrupt those companies in April?

We can expect more hundred-billion-dollar bailouts. After all, there are who-knows-how-may trillions of dollars of iffy mortgage-backed securities and derivatives out there. By establishing itself as the buyer of last resort of financial detritus, the Fed apparently stands ready to absorb as much of this junk as key financial institutions need to unload in order to survive.

That raises another question: Which financial institutions are key? Given the complexity of intertwining investments and contracts between various firms, nobody can say where the line of demarcation is between firms that the Fed would allow to go bankrupt and those that it considers “too big to fail.” Clearly, Bear Stearns was one of the latter. It was one of the primary dealers and market-makers for Uncle Sam’s existing trillions of dollars of debt. That is why a few days ago the Fed provided funds to JPMorgan to absorb Bear Stearns at the token price of $2 per share—more than $150 per share less than what the venerable but suddenly insolvent firm was trading for last November.

The Fed has set a dangerous precedent with its recent actions. From its standpoint, its extraordinary actions are the lesser of two evils—the grim alternative being to allow the credit markets to grind to a halt and paralyze our entire economy. Politically, giving hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall Street firms that pay 5-, 6-, and 7-figure end-of-year bonuses to its employees, while Joe Sixpack fears for his job and struggles to make ends meet, opens the door wide for clamorous demagoguery, especially in an election year. Economically, the decline in the dollar may accelerate and become a panic, exacerbating the current situation in which the value of Middle America’s primary assets—house, savings, etc.—continues to erode while the prices of the goods we need to buy continue to rise.

Price charts for the commodity index and the dollar have entered a stage where the former is rising and the latter falling parabolically. Such phenomena usually are short-lived and portend a wrenching reversal. Will there soon be a reversal—a strengthening of the dollar and a slowing of price increases—or will continued rapid money creation lead to a near-vertical, hyperinflationary ascent of commodity prices accompanied by a freefall in the dollar? The answer to that question will be determined by the actions taken by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues in the coming weeks and months. Keep your seatbelts fastened.

Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson is a faculty member, economist, and contributing scholar with the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.


Kidnapped archbishop of Mosul is dead


MOSUL, Iraq, March 13, 2008— The Chaldean archbishop of Mosul is dead. Archbishop Faraj Rahho was kidnapped last February 29 after the Stations of the Cross.

His kidnappers gave word of his death, indicating to the mediators where they could recover the body of the 67-year-old prelate.

"It is a heavy Cross for our Church, ahead of Easter", the Bishop Rabban of Arbil tells AsiaNews in response to the news.

Leaders of the Chaldean Church, including Bishop Shlemon Warduni, brought the body to the hospital in Mosul to ascertain the causes, still unknown, of the archbishop's death.

The funeral will be held tomorrow in the nearby city of Karamles. Archbishop Rahho will be buried near Fr Ragheed, his priest and secretary killed by a terrorist brigade on June 3, 2007, while leaving the church after celebrating Mass.

The archbishop had been very sick. He had suffered a heart attack a few years ago, and since then he had needed to take medication every day. The difficult negotiations for his release carry forward over the past 14 days of his kidnapping had immediately raised concern because of the total absence of direct contact with the hostage.

The conditions posed by the kidnappers—sources in Mosul tell AsiaNews—in addition to an outrageous ransom on the order of millions of dollars, had also included the provision of weapons and the liberation of Arab prisoners held in Kurdish prisons.

The news of Archbishop Rahho's death "profoundly wounds and saddens" the pope, says the director of the Vatican press office, Fr Federico Lombardi. Benedict XVI hopes that "this tragic event may renew once again and with greater force the efforts of all, and in particular of the international community, for the pacification of this greatly tormented country".

Three times in recent days, the pope had launched an appeal for the liberation of the bishop. Numerous Muslim leaders had also spoken out for the release of the archbishop, both Sunnis and Shiites, in Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan, and also condemned the action as "contrary to Islam".

These perverts are the kind that is hijacking the Islam religion. The evil things they do paint a very bad image about Muslims. This causes non-Muslims to also say in a way, "Your Prophet is likable, but you Muslims are not."

A tree is known by its fruit.

By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. A good tree can't produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn't grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:16-20)

May incidents like this show the great contrast between the spirits of the perpetrators and the spirits of those whom they victimize.


They Love Jesus; They Don’t Like The Church

By Michael Craven

This appears to be a growing sentiment among many younger Christians in America today. They love Jesus but they want little to do with His Church. It’s not that they don’t like the their local church or even other Christians—it’s that they don’t like how Christianity in America is frequently represented by many professing Evangelicals, which in their minds is often unloving, judgmental, arrogant, and hypocritical.

This assertion finds support in the data revealed in Barna’s most recent research. For example, “four out of five young churchgoers say that Christianity is antihomosexual; half describe it as judgmental, too involved in politics, hypocritical, and confusing; one-third believe their faith is old-fashioned and out of touch with reality; and one-quarter of young Christians believe it is boring and insensitive to others.” (Kinnamon & Lyons, unChristian, Baker Books, 2007, pp.33-34)

Those outside the Church hold increasingly negative views of Christians as well. Among young people (aged 16-29), roughly 49 percent hold an “extraordinarily negative” view of evangelical Christians and only 3 percent have a “good” impression!

Kinnamon and Lyons summarize the problem well by pointing to the comments of one thirty-five year-old believer who says, ‘Christians have become political, judgmental, intolerant, weak, religious, angry, and without balance. Christianity has become a nice Sunday drive. Where is the living God, the Holy Spirit, and amazing Jesus, the love, the compassion, the holiness? This type of life, how I yearn for that.”

Before you dismiss this criticism as overly simplistic or somehow lacking in credibility, humbly listen to what the next generation is actually saying. Love of Christ, love of one another and humility should compel us to try and understand why so many young people and Christians, in particular, feel the way they do. In my own frequent interactions with younger serious-minded Christians—many of whom invigorate me by their enthusiasm and zeal for Christ—I often find that they are very turned off and even angered by the watered-down, politicized, shallow, culturalized Christianity that has come to dominate American evangelicalism. According to Kinnamon and Lyons, “The Christian life looks so simplified and constricted that a new generation no longer recognizes it as a sophisticated, livable response to a complex word.”

This younger generation of Christians is simply and rightfully frustrated by the fact that this very real condition serves to inhibit their efforts to share the love of Christ with others. In other words, contemporary American Christianity carries with it a lot of negative baggage. So much so that “they feel raising the ‘Christian flag’ would actually undermine their ability to connect with people and maintain credibility with them.” And so, they feel they must “distance themselves from the current ‘branding’ of Christianity.” (Kinnamon & Lyons)

I can tell you from the perspective of one who spends a great deal of time engaged with those outside the faith; a significant portion of any conversation begins with me making apologies for the many misrepresentations of Christianity, the abuses suffered at the hands of misguided Christians, and correcting their many misconceptions—this—just so I can get to any meaningful dialogue. I can fully appreciate the need to “distance” one’s self from the mainstream “brand” of Christianity in order to earn any credibility with the person to whom I am speaking.

This generation sees what many are only recently coming to realize; the Church is in a pathetic state of decadence and decay. It is, to a large degree, fragmented, watered-down, and retreating from cultural relevancy. Biblical and theological ignorance, cultural apathy, and social indifference are a plague upon the American Church and what passes for Christianity in many circles is often a mere shadow of historic orthodox Christianity or worse something altogether different.

I recently spoke with a young man who is training to be a pastor. He was absolutely heartbroken and angry at the state of the Church. He laments the culturalized Christianity that surrounds him. He described the Christian culture where he lives as one in which “So many people live their lives avoiding hell instead of seeking the kingdom of God.” I think he makes an excellent point: for many American Christians; the purpose of their faith is ultimately bound up in going to heaven when they die. In the meantime the real world, the one into which Christ’s kingdom has come and is coming is ignored and the Christian’s purpose abandoned. We end up living for ourselves instead of for Christ. As I have said before, the gospel is more than just the personal plan of salvation; it is more accurately as the Lord himself said, the “good news” of the kingdom. The former has led to narrowly programmed evangelism; the latter fulfills the great commission by means of the two greatest commandments.

What concerns me most is that this reaction among young evangelicals is fraught with peril as are all reactive movements. On the one hand they can, in an effort to accommodate the increasingly antagonistic culture, become so generous in their orthodoxy that they compromise the faith. On the other hand, they can become so angry toward the Church that they fall into an un-biblical ecclesiology that encourages revolution instead of reformation. Both movements are in place right now and their respective “leaders” are gaining converts. In either case, the results will no doubt be destructive.

I believe the Lord is awakening many in this generation. They seek an authentic, life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ and they understand His lordship extends to every aspect of life and culture. I can’t tell you how often I encounter this positive spiritual theme and yet it is almost always accompanied by an equal frustration with the present Church.

What is desperately needed is spiritual wisdom that can carefully guide this generation between these two extremes toward real and orthodox reformation. The younger generation can offer insight that can properly contextualize the full gospel in such a way that it is once again relevant and our generation can provide sound guidance that preserves and promotes a love for Christ’s Church and orthodox theology. We must be willing to listen to each other, to learn and work together being of one mind and one spirit. This we must do for the sake of the Church and the next generation.

Source Link: Burning Heart Ministries

S. Michael Craven is the President of the Center for Christ & Culture, a ministry of discipleship and Church renewal that works to equip Christians with an intelligent, thoroughly Christian and missional approach to culture. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture, additional resources, and other works by S. Michael Craven visit: www.battlefortruth.org

Destroyed from Within

By Greg Laurie

In his excellent book on the history of Rome, Caesar, and Christ, historian Will Durant observed, "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has first destroyed itself from within. The essential cause of Rome's decline lay in her people and her morals."

As the Roman Empire rose to greatness, it no doubt assumed that its power would last for centuries to come. But even while its citizens were living in prosperity, the empire was crumbling from the inside. You will find this true of any civilization that has ultimately collapsed or has been overcome by a foreign power. It first fell apart on the inside. The landscape of history is strewn with the remains of once-great nations that let moral decay from within bring them to ruin. The same can happen in America today as we undergo moral decay on the inside.

But the answer to this problem is not political; it is spiritual. The people of America need to turn back to God. Engraved on the wall of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. are these words of our third president:

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.

If America does not turn back to God, then I fear that judgment is certainly coming.

It is my belief that our country has two choices at this time in history. One is judgment. The other is a spiritual awakening or revival, that is, a great move of God's Spirit among His people. That is what we need to pray for the United States of America.

In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God gave His prescription for revival and for the healing of a nation: "Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land" (NLT).

That statement was originally given to the nation of Israel at the dedication of their temple. But this is also what we need to do if we want to see God's blessing on our nation.

When we look at the problems in America today, we are quick to point the finger at someone else. It is the fault of Hollywood. It is the fault of the media. It is the fault of Congress. But when God sees the moral breakdown of a nation, He points to His people: "If my people who are called by my name. . . ."

So what should we, as His people, be doing?

First, we need to humble ourselves. One of the hardest things to do is to say that we have sinned. It is difficult for us to admit to any personal wrongdoing. Maybe you haven't sinned as much as some people you know, but God doesn't grade on the curve. That's why we need to humble ourselves before God and admit that we have sinned.

Second, we need to pray and seek God's face. To fail to pray can be as much of a sin as breaking one of God's commands, because there are sins of omission as well as sins of commission. A sin of commission is breaking a commandment, while the sin of omission is not doing what you are supposed to do. If Christians will obey this command to pray and seek God's face, they will be able to do more for our nation than all of the government's programs combined.

Third, we need to repent. "If my people will . . . turn from their wicked ways. . . ." The word "repent" essentially means to make a U-turn, or a change of direction. If we are going to follow Jesus Christ, then we need to turn away from the things the Bible says are sin. We need to examine our lives for anything that is inconsistent with God's Word and needs to change.

God has told us what we need to do as a nation to see His blessing come upon us. We need to stop pointing our fingers at everyone else and make sure that we are living the Christian life that God intended for us to live. But it starts with you. It starts with me.


There Is Real Hope For Genuine Muslims

Motion - 'This House believes that Muslims are failing to combat extremism.'

The Doha Debates

Speakers for the Motion

Ed Husain, Author and former member of Jamat-e-Islami, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizbut-Tahrir

Born and raised in London, Ed Husain became what he called an "Islamic fundamentalist" at the age of 16, and remained active in a number of Islamist organizations until he was 21. In the early 1990's when the groups were first emerging, Mr. Husain was a strategist and campus recruiter who helped create the ideological basis for much of contemporary Islamism's manifestations in Britain. Some of his recruits remain senior activists to this day.

His book 'The Islamist', was published in 2007. In it, he says Muslims have a responsibility to stand up and reclaim their faith from extremists, adding that "the radicalization of yet another generation of young Muslims continues unabated".

Arsalan Iftikhar, Contributing editor, Islamica Magazine

Arsalan Iftikhar is a contributing editor for Islamica Magazine, an international publication aimed at broadening perspectives on Islam. It provides a voice for Muslims to articulate their concerns while establishing cross-cultural relationships.

Mr. Iftikhar is also a prominent media commentator and his interviews have appeared in most major media outlets including CNN, BBC World, Al-Jazeera and TIME Magazine. He was also a contributing author to 'Taking Back Islam' (Rodale Press), winner of the 2003 Wilbur Communications Award for Religion Book of the Year.

An international human rights lawyer, Mr. Iftikhar served as the first National Legal Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations - the largest American Muslim civil rights organization in the United States - until 2007. Debate audience

Against the Motion

Moez Masoud, Muslim televangelist

Millions of viewers in the Arab world tuned in to watch Egyptian Moez Masoud host his first Arabic show, 'Al-Tareeq Al-Sah' (The Right Way) in late 2007. The 20-part series, filmed in Cairo, Jeddah, Istanbul, London and Medina, tackled youth-related issues including drugs, alcohol, and gender relations. It also dealt with sensitive issues like homosexuality and the roots of terrorism.

His earlier television programmes in English, 'Parables in the Qur'an' and 'Stairway to Paradise', were aimed at Muslims living in the West. They invited them to live a successful contemporary life while embodying the central teachings of their religion.

Daisy Khan, Executive Director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement

In 2005 Daisy Khan decided to dedicate herself fully to her community through the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA). This is a non-profit organization aimed at developing an American Muslim identity and maintaining dialogue between Muslims and the wider public.

Two years ago Ms. Khan launched two intrafaith programmes for youth and women: MLT - Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow - and WISE - Women's Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equity - which seek to build and empower networks in their target groups.

(Like many of its episodes, this show's episode is also highly recommended. For schedule of replay, visit BBC's website of The Doha Debates.)

But ignorant and arrogant attitudes, like that of a Western nation news agency who insist on their so-called brand of freedom of expression, continues to provoke Muslims by publishing and republishing their very sarcastic cartoon of a Muslim Prophet.


Obama: Sermon on Mount Justifies Same-Sex Unions

Terence P. Jeffrey
Editor in Chief, Crosswalk.com

(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told a crowd at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, Sunday that he believes the Sermon on the Mount justifies his support for legal recognition of same-sex unions. He also told the crowd that his position in favor of legalized abortion does not make him "less Christian."

"I don't think it [a same-sex union] should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state," said Obama. "If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans." ((Hear audio from WTAP-TV)) St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans condemns homosexual acts as unnatural and sinful.

Obama's mention of the Sermon on the Mount in justifying legal recognition of same-sex unions may have been a reference to the Golden Rule: "Do to others what you would have them do to you." Or it may have been a reference to another famous line: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."

Click here to read full text.


Defining the Enemy

By Rick Santorum
From the Hill, Crisis Magazine

In his speech marking the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, President Bush accurately described our nation’s ongoing war against the people who attacked us as “the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century.” This war is a struggle for our civilization. I have spent a lot of time talking about the formidable enemy we face because I do not think many Americans understand the high cost of losing this war.

The ideology we are fighting is not terror; terrorism is only a tactic. The ideology we fight is Islamic fascism. Islamic fascists are the heirs to the Nazis and others we fought in World War II. The foot soldiers of this worldwide jihadist movement subscribe to a radical, perverted form of Islam, and they seek to dominate or destroy the United States and freedom-loving people everywhere. Every major Islamic fascist leader promises the creation of a new, global “caliphate” to rule all peoples. This message comes from radical Sunnis and Shiites alike, whether Arab, Persian, Indonesian, American, or British.

Al-Qaeda and other Islamic fascists have been attacking U.S. targets for decades, because we stand in the way of their goal to subject the world to their tyrannical rule. The 9/11 attackers used airplanes, Hezbollah uses katyusha rockets, and Iran’s dictator is eyeing nuclear weapons; but they are one and the same enemy, and their principal weapon is fear. Beyond Iraq and Afghanistan, they have expanded their presence to nearly every continent. They even have invaded the Americas through Iran’s ties to the Cuban and Venezuelan dictatorships.

This is a war of attrition, and we either fight the fascists or perish. They are a dangerous enemy with an ideology that motivates people, and they have a tactic that is uniquely effective. The terrorist tactic is to cause death every day—not to defeat the military, or drive back the lines of our troops, or control additional territory. Every day in this psychological war they wage, they want to make it harder for Americans to read the newspaper or turn on the television and see more death.

As Osama bin Laden said, “We will defeat you because you love life; we love death.” They love death because they see death as better than life. They are willing to die; they want to die. Islamic fascists want a nuclear weapon in Iran—not to stave off attacks, but to pursue their messianic vision of the return of the twelfth, or Hidden, Imam. They believe it is their obligation to bring about the end of time by the destruction of the state of Israel and by world chaos in which Islam suppresses the infidels. Only then will the Hidden Imam return, fulfilling that prophesy.

Some say we should not speak about Islamic fascists because we might offend Muslims. I say remaining silent is the real offense to Muslims. Moderate Muslims need to publicly reject this virulent strain of Islam that spreads fear and fuels a bloody war. Islamic fascism produces the systematic murder of innocents, including many Muslim innocents. Furthermore, speaking against this destructive ideology is crucial to the cause of religious freedom. If the enemy wins this war, only Muslims will be able to practice their religion.

The president is right: This is our hour to lead by promoting the only possible antidote to radical Islam in the Middle East—democracy. As leading Middle East historian Bernard Lewis says, “We free them or they destroy us.”

We can seek political advantage to win the next election, or we can confront the reality of this hour and fight Islamic fascism. On my watch, even though I am facing a challenging reelection campaign in Pennsylvania, I am going to confront this threat. Islamic fascism threatens our civilization, and I pray we have the courage to defeat it.

Rick Santorum is a United States senator from Pennsylvania and chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.