13 Jun The ISIS Take-over of Mosul, Iraq
The story dominating the news right now is the conquest of the Iraqi city of Mosul by a ultra-radical Jihadist group called ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham; Arabic for the ‘Levant,’ or Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel).
I just heard President Obama on the news say he had previously urged the president and government of Iraq to be more “inclusive.” The clear inference was that ISIS’s utterly brutal takeover of Iraq’s second largest city was the fault of Iraq’s government not being more accepting of groups like ISIS.
Let me be clear — The government of Iraq is Shiite. ISIS is Sunni. And the Shiite-Sunni blood-letting in Iraq has been going on for hundreds of years. Hundreds! It wouldn’t be far off the truth to say that about the only time a measure of peace took hold of Iraq was during the reign of the hated strongman Saddam Hussein whose domination of the country kept the old conflict at bay.
Obama thinks if Iraq’s government was more “inclusive,” to use his word; more tolerant, open-minded, and accepting, then they could all sit down and have a soda while playing backgammon and Earth would be a more just and verdant world.
Sounds good. But utterly unrealistic! Foolishly, tragically ill-informed.
Let me illustrate . . .
I pastor a non-denominational, Evangelical Christian church in Southern California. California is on the cutting-edge of gay-rights and churches like the one I lead are on the front line of the culture war in this issue. We simply cannot accept what the culture is pushing—acceptance of same-sex relationships and marriage. While portions of the Church are capitulating to the culture and condoning same-sex relationships, we believe the Bible labels all sex outside of marriage to be a sin. Since the Bible defines marriage as the union of a man and woman, gays cannot be married. We love ALL people, regardless of their sexual orientation, but we do not condone sexual sin of any stripe, be it hetero- or homo- sexual.
Pastors like I are being told to “be more inclusive.” Fierce pressure is on to capitulate and go with the cultural flow. If my church is to embrace “tolerance” as it’s currently defined, it means we have to not only accept sexually active same-sex persons, we have to AFFIRM their lifestyle choices. We must officiate their weddings and hire same-sex staff.
I can’t. I won’t; no matter how loudly I’m yelled at to be “inclusive,” no matter how much pressure is brought to bear. I can no more hire a practicing homosexual than I can a fervent Buddhist or Muslim. How crazy would THAT be?
Okay, take all that and shift the subject to the government of Iraq and President Obama’s remark that they need to be more “inclusive.” Shiites regard Sunnis as people of a totally different religion and vice versa. Well, that’s not quite right; it’s WORSE than that. They see one another as heretics to the same religion of Islam; that’s regarded as even more heinous a crime!
The only time Shiites & Sunnis might unite is to face a common foe, like the USA or Israel. But once that threat is removed, they will go right back to their centuries old war with each other. There is simply no reconciling them. So for Obama to say the solution in Iraq is for the current government to be more “inclusive” is horribly ill-informed.
The problem is that Obama certainly isn’t ill-informed. He grew up going to a Muslim school. He knows the religion well. No! I’m not calling him a closet-Muslim. What I’m suggesting is that if his call for the government of Iraq to be more inclusive and accepting of the Sunnis, the very people who make up a radical jihadist group like ISIS is sincere, we’re in real trouble as a nation.
Because the President is THE shaper of our foreign policy.
Do you see the problem?