Why does the American Left feel so much affection for Islam? It’s a question often raised but seldom answered. It seems impossible to explain the passionate bond that has been forged between US liberals who demand sexual freedom and a religion that compels women to wear burkas and condemns homosexuals. Where is the common ground between irreligious leftists who demonstrate for world peace and a religion founded by a military leader whose armies waged wars of conquest for centuries?
Twenty years ago, the Left was horrified by Christian men who attended Promise Keepers rallies. The idea of a married woman voluntarily respecting the leadership of her loving husband was an affront to the core ideals of the American left even then. Two decades later, the same feminists who still denounce Evangelicals as “woman haters” remain strangely silent about the segregation of Muslim women from public events, or the ban against their voting or even driving in some Islamic nations. Reasonable people might ask, “What gives?”
There’s a simple answer. Western intellectuals are determined they will not be distracted by a secondary issue like Islam when they are finally poised to vanquish their historic foe, the Christian Faith, once and for all. It has taken a generation to sexualize and secularize the entertainment industry that once made epics like Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments the standard for great entertainment. It was a monumental struggle to gradually remove all references to God or the Bible from public schools and the public square. The activists of the secular left have paid their dues in the culture war against God for decades. Then just when it seemed like Christendom was ready to collapse, some unwitting Muslim extremists hijacked four commercial jets and Islam came crashing into the national debate!
How do you maintain the outrage when you spend decades warning about Christian intolerance, only to have another religious group suddenly steal the headlines by hacking off the heads of infidels and blowing up innocents? You blame it on the Crusades. One can hardly fault those poor young men from Saudi Arabia for striking back when sadistic Christians started it all 1,000 years ago. (The first Crusaders were deployed to defend pilgrims to Jerusalem from attacks and hostage taking at the hands of people who revered Mohammed. But let’s not be distracted by details.)
Secular progressives are apparently determined to drive their final stake in the heart of Christianity and seal that historic tomb once and for all. This is no time to be distracted by Islamic extremists suddenly arriving on the scene. In fact, Jihadis don’t like Christians either, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend. That’s how the religious Pharisees and the decadent Herodians bridged their mutual disgust in the First Century: Jesus was a threat to them all.
It’s tolerance with an expiration date, of course. I believe the lords of Western culture are convinced that once they have annihilated the Christian Faith and its ethical system, they can make short work of those poor, benighted fanatics from the Middle East. If values-free education won’t do it, they’ll convince them that abortion is the most effective way to fight poverty. There will be more momentum for all of that once that unsinkable Church of Jesus Christ is sunk once and for all.
This is no cause for hand wringing or a pity party among American believers. Saints in China and India are suffering fiery persecution. Here is the West, we’ve been gored by our own golden calf. We wanted the bling. We were willing to be seduced by the siren call of Success. While the activists on the left went after hearts and minds, we were too busy with work and church to win anybody to Christ. We traded away our birthright for a sequined pot of designer stew, and now the world refuses to give it all back. In fact, they wish we’d just drop dead, and they’re willing to help.
But the Gospel is about resurrection! You and I must honor God and rediscover how the salt of the earth can change the flavor of the culture. For this reason, we love our enemies tirelessly. We pray for those who persecute us. One thing hasn’t changed: the Gospel still resonates in the broken human heart, and there are broken hearts scattered all across our secular wasteland. So don’t be filled with resentment: be filled with the Spirit.
And lift up the Cross!