Wednesday, July 11, 2007

President Bush Reaches Out to American Islamic Community

Last month, a week before the 4th of July, President Bush participated in the ceremonies for a re-dedication of the Islamic Center of Washington. This in itself was not unusual; President Eisenhower performed a similar tribute to the Center at its opening 50 years ago. President Bush himself first spoke to the Islamic audience there six days after 9/11.

President Bush remains an inclusive president, a man who truly believes that all voices should be heard in debate and policy-making. As governor of Texas, this trait led to the most collaborative and productive Texas administration in many decades, and he was a popular governor, although he then too had his fierce critics. As president, his policy of inclusion seems to produce less satisfactory results. His popularity is far less as President and his critics are more numerous than "the stars in the sky".

This seems to be because people tend to focus on his actions that they disagree with, and ignore or fail to speak out on those that they approve of. This speech is a good example. Conservatives critics such as Daniel Pipes,'s Bryan Preston, "Conservative Christian" Jerry Gordon, and CBNNews' Erick Stakelbeck all criticize the President's speech, as well as the courtesy shown by Bush staffers who attended the event with covered heads.

Meanwhile, my googling for an article or blog complimentary of the event turned out to be futile. If supportive voices are out there, they aren't very loud.

In my view, President Bush seems to be staying true to his convictions; cut off the bad guys, and build bridges to the good ones. (Hence, his political problems on the Mexican border.) Because these convictions don't clearly align with "Conservative", "Liberal", "American", or "Globalist" thought, he is roundly criticized from all sides. But as I analyze his actions, not the words of his detractors, I see an individual trying to deliver peace on as many fronts as possible, even when that task requires acts of war to eliminate those who foster hatred. Seen through those eyes, President Bush seems to fit into a different set of categories, ones well spoken of by Our Lord and Master...

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:3-12

What do you think. President Bush...hopeless moral coward, or blessed moral leader?

Sir Chuck


  1. He has shown earlier that he is obviously not a moral coward. And he is President of all Americans. Whether or not Islam is in itself an inherant threat is irrelevant. Peaceful people should be treated with respect.
    There is though a fine line between respecting other religions for the people in them and the good things they do espouse(there are usually SOME good things), on the one hand; and pluralism on the other. Speaking at a mosque as President, is not necessarily where the line is. He should be careful about such things, but that is enough for him to get on with.

    Sir Jason

    Sir Jason

  2. The bible tell us to “seek peace and ensue it.” So if that is what he is doing, good for him. If, on the other hand, this is a way of saying that Islam is good as a religion and a way to get to God, that is very wrong. Mohammedan, if the reports are true, was a false prophet who tried to reduce the station of Jesus to a mere prophet and not the Son of God. Anyone like that is a false prophet who is leading people to destruction.

    Sir John, the exclusivist

    PS There is such a word, I checked it out :)

  3. Saying "Islam is good as religion" can mean two things. It can mean

    A. Being a Muslim leads you to God

    B. Being a Muslim is better then being a crack-dealer

    obviously the second is true and the first isn't

    By the way "exclusivist" doesn't simply mean that one believes one can only be saved through Christ, it means one believes that one absolutely must give intellectual assent within his earthly lifetime.
    That is Catholics are "inclusivists"-they believe that everyone who is saved is saved by Christ but it is theoretically possible for one who died without giving intellectual assent to be saved, if he was headed in that direction. If a Catholic says someone is "saved by Islam"(assuming he sticks to official doctrine),he would mean that Islam taught him that God desires him to be pious and obeidiant or whatever; not that being a Moslem, in itself saved him. Presumably one hopes that inclusivists are right and fears that exclusivists are.
    The Bible is not absolutely clear on this subject. The closest it comes is "It is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgement" which implies exclusivism but doesn't say it, and the statement in Revelation that all unbelievers will be cast out or something like that(which is not to our point as anyone by that time who is an unbeliver is consciously rebelling and hasn't the mitigating circumstance of error, or inertia).

    Sir Jason

    Sir Jason

  4. Interesting article here, with American evangelicals meeting with Arab ambassadors, evidently with the same intent as President Bush's efforts with the American Islamic community...

  5. The problem with exclusiveism.

    1. It is based on extrapolation rather then direct scripture. All scripture says is that Christ is necessary. It does not directly say intellectual assent is necessary.

    2. It goes against Romans 11. God hath not abandondoned His People, and hath prepared for Himself a remanant. But historically the only "remanant" that would follow the exclusivist doctrine would be those few Jews that converted, many of whom did so for social convenience as well as the last generation before The End. While that does indeed constitute a "remanant" such literalism comes so close to deceit that I would in fact only use it on a mortal enemy(or a fellow Diplomacy player-which is an environment where that is expected). One can counter that by saying Elijah's remanant was only 7000. To which the reply is that Elijah was specifically told that. I cannot believe that God is less scrupulously honest then me.

    3. It goes against, "from every tribe and nation". Some culture's were born lived and were exterminated, or assimilated without hearing a thing.

    4. It harms our own assurance of salvation. If God holds His People to blame for prefering tribal loyalty to what is in fact ambiguous evidence(which is what excusivity in fact implies), our own salvation starts to seem less assured. They were given a promise as well.

    5. It offends our sense of justice and mercy. One of the standard replies to that is that our sense of justice is flawed. To which the answer is that so are our eyes with with which we read scripture, and our minds with which we interpret it. To dismiss the one completly one must dismiss the other. Another argument is that that is setting oneself as God's judge. Well that's as may be-probably everyone has done that sometime. But that is not the point as the argument is not against God, but in determining what God said in the first place.
    That is also, arguably an attempt to win a debate by intimidation and thus a cheap shot.

    6. It implies less imagination then one would expect of God. One would assume that whatever God's judgements are, they are different for every one. That is a bit of a reach but it is worth pondering.

    7. In the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, we are told that the planter commanded that the laborers wait until the crop was grown. If some that seem like wheat are tares, some that seem like tares are wheat.

    8. Exclusivism is contradictory to evangelical tradition. If the children before the "age of accountability" are saved, why not the heathen and the erring? In fact "Age of Accountability" is not found in scripture, and is as much speculation as Limbo, or Purgatory. But if we accept one why should we not accept the other? Because they have not had time to sin? But even the youngest have Original Sin-and at the least are often guilty of being a pain in the neck which in certain cases would constitute sin.

    It must be noted that this is not an argument saying that Christ is not necessary. It is an argument saying that Intellectual Assent during one's Earthly life may not be-that the Catholic interpretation may in this case be more correct then the Evangelical.

    Sir Jason

  6. oh and ...

    9. "All nature reveals God". Yes, but all nature does not in fact reveal that Jesus is the Messiah. Therefore that does not necessarily apply.

    Sir Jason

  7. On the other hand...

    It is certainly implied that Sodom and Gomorrah had no chance of repentance(woe unto thee, Bethsaida, woe unto thee Capernaum). The reason they were denied was easy to explain in human terms, "to encourage the others." Given that sin has already earned judgement then of course having a happy Earthly life is itself a mercy. Is the judgment disproportional? That of course depends on what the judgment is(don't pose the red herring of "God can do anything He wants-God does not contradict His nature which is good; He does not lie for instance"). Is the judgement annihilation? Is there really a Limbo? Or even a Purgatory for some of those who died unbelieving. Obviously this is speculation not doctrine and presumably He has His own ideas.
    As for why someone might be denied a chance of repentance, in some cases that is also denying the responsiblity for the choice-I hardly think Capernaum and Bethsaida were more wicked then Sodom in normal terms.
    All this is speculation and is harmed by emotion. On the one hand
    most of us have people they love who have not yet accepted Christ. On the other the combination of doctrinal conscientiousness(assuming tradition to be correct), and timidity about asking questions does go against that. And the motives of the questioner do not negate the question.
    So in fact we don't know for certain whether the Catholic doctrine or the exclusivists are right. What we do know is that every one who is saved in some sense believes on Christ, whether intellectual assent in one's Earthly life is absoulutly necessary, or simply highly desireable.

    Sir Jason the I-don't-know-ist