The Purpose-Driven Warmongering
Let’s say a preacher appeared on a massively popular TV show and offered scriptural justification for an unprovoked attack on a foreign country. What would you say? “Oh, there goes Yusuf Qaradawi again”? Or maybe, “I truly hope these people turn away from bin Laden like some of their colleagues have“? Or perhaps, “How is it these fanatics can’t understand that they, in fact, are the evil people they seek to rid the world of”?
Ah, but you’d be neglecting the cancer of religious extremism right here at home. Matt Duss at the Center for American Progress takes note of pastor Rick Warren, who appeared on Sean Hannity’s scummy little Fox News show to say that the U.S. has a divine obligation to attack Iran. Here’s the relevant exchange:
HANNITY: Am I advocating something dark, evil or something righteous [by saying we should kill Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad]?
WARREN: Well, actually, the Bible says that evil cannot be negotiated with. It has to just be stopped. And I believe…
HANNITY: By force?
WARREN: Well, if necessary. In fact, that is the legitimate role of government. The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers. Not good-doers. Evildoers.
Am I drawing an equivalence between Rick Warren and Islamic extremists? Why, yes, yes I am. That’s because his statements are identical to those of the demagogic, fanatical preachers who motivate perplexed children into fighting religious wars. As Duss observes:
[I]f this were a conversation between an Iranian TV host and an ayatollah in which they discussed scriptural justifications for “taking out” high ranking members of the U.S. government, you’d probably see Sean Hannity running the clip on his show — while slowly shaking his head in pious disapproval — as evidence of what crazy extremists those Iranians are. As it is, they’ll probably be running this on Iranian TV as evidence of what crazy extremists those Americans are.
Somewhere, a student with the wrong last name or the wrong place-of-birth is being pulled out of line at an airport and questioned, while religious fanatics like Warren enjoy the deference of politicians, businessmen and media figures.