Terrorism and the West: Does the Will Exist to Address It?

In the aftermath of the latest terrorist attack in Belgium, it is time to evaluate several things.  One is the question of how this attack occurred in the first place.  The second concerns the will of European nations to deal with terrorism and especially the source of it.  Finally, it is also a fair question to ask regarding President  Obama’s commitment to, or even interest in, the terrorism issue.

The first question about Belgium itself I believe is linked to the wider question of Europe.  Like its neighbors, Belgium has allowed thousands of Middle Eastern Muslims into its country with hardly even a thought to screening, and knowing (at least at the top of the government) that at least some of these people were or were likely to become radicalized.  When the airport terror event occurred, we found out that a few of the terrorists had been held before and then released, even as authorities knew of their radicalism.  This has happened in other European nations.  Moreover, some nations have adopted a special commitment to accepting refugees (not all refugees, as we have discovered) in very large numbers, again with virtually no screening.  The European Union has even criticized those nations which, after the Paris attacks, thought twice about continuing their open borders policies.

We have the right to ask, What is going on?  From what scholars and journalists are reporting, the European leaders have, until now at least, no will to address the roots problems causing terrorism, that is, radicalization of Muslims living in European nations now, the free admission of Muslims without any screening, allowing the persistence of “no go” zones within European national borders (where there is  no rule of law except what radicals impose) and the seeming uncaring attitude toward those radical Muslims who come back into their borders after having been warned of the terrorist dispositions of the individual persons.

What then has led to those attitudes among European leaders?  I am not entirely sure.  Perhaps it is the basic political ideology of most of those leaders.  We know they are in the tradition of Democratic Socialism, but there seems to be some additional “baggage” added in recent decades.  This may have come more from philosophical shifts, particularly on the Continent.  But even in England, we see shifts in thinking based, I believe, on modifications to the Modern Liberal tradition there, similar to the changes in American Liberalism.  These have produced a cultural relativism, multiculturalism, a general “political correctness,” a definite religious toleration that, combined with cultural relativism, and a virulent postcolonial ideology, has paralyzed leaders from taking any action that might offend Muslim religious leaders or Muslims in general.  On top of this is the “open borders” mentality, whether born of genuine compassion or driven by some other motivation.  Radical open borders policies are usually associated with either Liberal/Social Democratic political ideologies or (ironically) large businesses that want cheap labor.

It is possible the roots of the problem go back even further.  Perhaps there is some guilt associated with the problem.  For some time, the Middle Eastern Muslim world has been angry and astonished at Western progress, which seemingly left them behind when before, they had been a highly developed civilization.  This has changed since the 1500s-1700s, when the West experienced explosive economic, political, and military expansion, while the Muslim world (even before any colonization) essentially stagnated or regressed.  Many Muslims have blamed this development on the West, and that attitude has played well with various radical religious Muslims over the past two centuries, but especially in the last 100 years.  Europeans now may feel guilty at this historical outcome, and may be attempting to make up for what they have come to believe is their fault.

But whatever the reasons, long or short-term, Europe is in trouble now.  By some estimates, there are about 6,000 radicalized Muslims living in countries like France, England and Belgium, and they are by and large, unrestrained in their behavior and unnoticed in their actions and movements.  Will European leaders have the will to address the problem or will they ignore it out of fear or guilt?  Will what they do influence what US leaders do?

Now I do not want to sound as if I favor some sort of military state.  I am a little irritated even by the talk (after the Brussels attacks) that we just need more security, more people, more force.  As some have pointed out, if we push security out to airport entrances, terrorists will simply go for the crowds beyond those points.  If we start implementing more stringent security at any venue that involves a number of people, terrorists will find smaller but more frequent targets.  The problem is not solved.  It must be addressed at the root.  We have to do something about our border policies (lax screening, mass immigration), our surveillance of radicals inside the borders, and ISIS or other Muslim terror groups in other parts of the world.  I am hesitant about the idea of “boots on the ground.”  I do not want a policy that says we will go to ISIS geographically, destroy them and then democratize the area.  That has been tried—unsuccessfully.  If we do send forces, their aim should be simply to destroy ISIS and then come home, and I will add, when engaged in this war, to follow the rules of just war (but not the ridiculous current rules of engagement in place—those ought to be scrapped).

Fighting terrorism is not an easy or quick task.  And even if we destroy ISIS, we may not have addressed the ultimate problem—a religious problem.  In America (and especially in Europe) as the Christian religion is marginalized, and its ethical principles disappear as a result, I can’t see things getting better.  In the short term , we can eliminate one group, but in the long term, the secularization so apparently desired by many in the West will only create a void, which may well be filled by more radical groups determined to destroy us and implement their own religious and ethical system, one far removed from Christianity.

 

44 thoughts on “Terrorism and the West: Does the Will Exist to Address It?”

  1. You said a lot of things here. Okay question time.

    First, what rules of engagement do you have a problem with?

    Second, this raises a question of tolerable thresholds, you said there are 6,000 radicals in those countries, in your mind, is there an acceptable number that is greater than zero?

    Third, by your ending statement it really looks like you have no hope of addressing the real root cause, is that right? I do want to just clarify this question a little. In your talk about addressing the root, you are talking about radical Islam (which I assert is not actually Islam) in those countries, but that doesn’t solve the actual problem as you mention at the end.

    I’ve heard before that the real problem is education is poverty, with al-qaeda I believed that, with Isis I don’t think that’s the case.

    An interesting note. The plural of al-qaeda (the base) in Arabic is actually the word for grammar.

    1. 1. Rules that unduly limit self-defense or defense of others in conflict, rules that would interpret an oil truck driver for ISIS as a civilian collateral, etc.
      2. Ideally there is not an acceptable number above zero, but being realistic it would be the point that minimizes threats and maximizes the ability of law enforcement to keep track.
      3. Yes, I think it is possible to reverse the trends, but difficult. As a Christian, I see “revival” as the foundational change needed. As more people become Christians–including Muslims–the situation changes. BUT… Also, our political leaders should be able to tell the difference between good and evil, but they often either cannot or will not.

      1. For number one, I’m not aware of any such rules and would like to educate myself, do you have specifics you can point to?

        For number two I understand the difference between you and I, I view things like letting in refugees as a cost vs benefit, which makes my question hard to answer, I suppose I’d say we should try to maximize the human lives saved, for me that includes refugee lives.

  2. Islam is not a religion of peace. While I believe that many who identify as Muslim, and perhaps as is commonly said, a majority, are themselves peaceful. However, it is because they lack a true understanding of their own faith, or perhaps is some sort of “reformed” Islam. But the history of Islam began with conquest. Mohammed tried to convert the Meccans peacefully, but they were unreceptive. He went to Medina, where the people were receptive, raised an army, and returned to conquer Mecca. Over the centuries Islam attacked and broke down the Byzantine Empire (in the process conquering Palestine), expanded through Africa and into Europe via conquest and it was through defensive military action followed by counterattacks (Charles Martel at Tours, the Reconquista, as as late as the 17th Century, the siege of Vienna) that saved Europe from Islam.

    So why are Muslims now professing a religion of peace? I would say it is because of the very fact that they lost, or were at least stopped, militarily and that Muslims who live a nation where they are a minority are supposed to, at least for a time, accept the socio-economic-political culture of their host nations. Islam now operates in distinct stages.

    Stage One: Infiltration – Muslims begin moving to non-Muslim countries in increasing numbers and the beginning of cultural conflicts are visible, though often subtle. (Already happened in Europe and underway in the United States)
    Stage Two: Consolidation of Power – Muslim immigrants and host country converts continue demands for accommodation in employment, education, social services, financing and courts. (Already happened in Europe and beginning to in the United States)
    Stage Three: Open War with Leadership and Culture – Violence to impose Sharia law and associated cultural restrictions; rejection of host government, subjugation of other religions and customs. (Beginning to happen in Europe, hopefully will not happen in the United States)
    Stage Four: Islamic Theocracy – Islam becomes the only religious-political-judicial-cultural ideology. (Hopefully will not happen anywhere it isn’t already)

    Again, I want to stress that I believe many who identify as Muslims are genuinely peaceful and are not what we would call fundamentalists. Just like many Christians in Europe and the US are for all intents and purposes Christian in name only so I think many, perhaps most, Muslims living in the west are.

    But this of course comes back to the original problem and that is how do we distinguish the threats from the non-threats and how to keep Muslims from progressing beyond Stage Two, since our legal system and constitutional protections would clearly seem to protect Muslims in both Stages One and Two.

    Of course it is also important to remember the warnings from our Founding Fathers on civil liberties during conflict. James Madison said it best when he said. “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”

    But it becomes a very difficult place to be in indeed when the very Constitution and way of life we are trying to protect also makes it harder, and perhaps in some ways, justifiably, to do exactly that.

    As Christians, we can only pray that God will give us the wisdom to walk the tightrope of security vs. freedom successfully and that not only will we be reasonably safe, but our values as Americans be preserved as well.

    1. “Islam is not a religion of peace. While I believe that many who identify as Muslim, and perhaps as is commonly said, a majority, are themselves peaceful. However, it is because they lack a true understanding of their own faith, or perhaps is some sort of “reformed” Islam. But the history of Islam began with conquest”

      If you look at it that way, no, Islam is not a religion of peace. But neither is belief in Yahweh, at least according to the Old Testament. Christianity was certainly promoted at time through conquest. Or would the Saxons have gotten baptized if not for Charlemagne (just the tip of the iceberg).

      There are elements of violence and of peace in both Christianity and Islam. Moreover, many Christians and Muslims abhor violence, but some Christians and some Muslims do not, even embracing it.

      Simplistic labels and broad generalizations do no good. Violence and cruelty are wrong, no matter who does it, Muslims, Christians, atheists, whomever. And people who do seek to live in peace and harmony should be praised. ALL people, not just Christians.

      1. Thank you Jeff, I started to type up a response but it didn’t come out near that respectful. This is an issue near and dear to my heart and I have a hard time not being overly passionate about it.

      2. Anonymous,

        I am sorry you interpreted my statements in such a way that caused you to view your potential response as disrespectful. I understand and acknowledge that this issue is a very passionate one for many people.

        Just please understand that while we might disagree on what true Islam is, we both still agree that a majority of those who identify as Muslims are genuinely peaceful.

        Jeff,

        “But neither is belief in Yahweh, at least according to the Old Testament.”

        Respectfully, I am not getting into that again.

        “Christianity was certainly promoted at time through conquest”

        Yes, it was. And when it happened, it was wrong. The reason I did the brief overview of Islam’s origins was not intended to compare Islam’s and Christianity’s past actions, but because I thought it relevant to the discussion at hand, namely Islamic terrorism. Perhaps at a future time under a more relevant topic we can discuss the blemishes of Christianity, historical and present.

        “Violence and cruelty are wrong, no matter who does it, Muslims, Christians, atheists, whomever. And people who do seek to live in peace and harmony should be praised. ALL people, not just Christians.”

        We agree. :)

      3. As I have pointed out before and as objective histories confirm, from its inception Islam has not been a peaceful religion and has consistently been involved in violent spread of its tenets or at least its rule (700s-800s, Levant, then up into Europe, Spain, attempts at France, Austria, etc.) Only when it was checked (for example, Lepanto) did this slow down. Now we can talk about Christianity but interestingly it was only when Christianity was closely allied with political rulers that any violent actions occurred (Islam has never separated religion from politics)–Crusades, for example (which, by the way were a response to Islamic invasions that had already occurred). In addition Christianity actually has “grown out” of its propensity to any violence.

        As for your comments on Yahweh of the Old Testament, to answer that would require a pretty substantial foray into theology of God and also interpretational theory. The upshot (that’s all I can do for now) is that since God is the one true God, He can legitimately order what would otherwise be illegitimate acts for His purposes and glory. He did order destruction of cities and the killing of their inhabitants (defined in special revelation itself as worthy of destruction). Only if you place the Quran equal to the Bible, can you make both kinds acts morally equivalent. I’ll be the first to admit this is difficult. And what we see there in the OT does NOT give anyone warrant today to do the same thing just because we see it there. That was by God’s direct command.

    2. While I am not sure about all that Nathan wrote, it does not seem to be a stretch for anyone who knows the history of Islam to admit that Islamic terrorists are more like the founder of Islam than Muslims who advocate peaceful coexistence with people of other religions.

      Part of the problem may be no separation of church and state in Islam. While Jesus told His followers to render to Caesar what was Caesar’s and to God what was God’s, Mohammad only taught his followers to render to God what was God’s without the Caesar part. This is important when considering the methods churches and states use to accomplish their ends. The former uses persuasion, while the latter also uses force. When there is separation of church and state, the former can only legitimately use persuasion; when the church and state are one, it can also legitimately use force.

      While most people are not consistent and most followers of Jesus and Mohammad are not whole-hearted followers of their spiritual leaders, it is not hard to see why those who become more consistent and whole-hearted followers of Jesus tend to use persuasion and those who become more consistent and whole-hearted follower of Mohammad tend to use persuasion and force.

      I do not like the implications of what I just wrote, but isn’t it true to logic and experience (in spite of it being politically incorrect)?

  3. “And even if we destroy ISIS, we may not have addressed the ultimate problem—a religious problem. In America (and especially in Europe) as the Christian religion is marginalized, and its ethical principles disappear as a result, I can’t see things getting better. In the short term , we can eliminate one group, but in the long term, the secularization so apparently desired by many in the West will only create a void, which may well be filled by more radical groups determined to destroy us and implement their own religious and ethical system, one far removed from Christianity.”

    At this juncture, modern Christianity in the US looks nothing like historic Christianity. The faith has become secularized and politicized beyond recognition. In the early church the focus was on Christ’s coming kingdom, not on property rights, not on political power, not on gaining wealth. Today Christianity has often become the vehicle for promoting Ayn Rand-style libertarianism, an atheistic philosophy; or for rationalizing the endless collection of riches which earth does corrupt. One day Christians will look back with embarrassment at this era, especially 2016 (and we are not even out of March yet!).

    Secularization is itself not the problem. Japan, for instance, is quite secular, far more secular than the U.S.; and yet it lacks many of the problems that we face. Meanwhile, the Middle East and parts of South Asia are certainly not all that secular and yet have been major breeding grounds for radical Islam.

    If anything, secularization is the ANSWER to the problem that is radical Islam. And, to a much lesser degree, the growing problem that is radical Christianity.

    Islamic scholars were once at the forefront of scientific discovery. They were the ones who started the ball rolling by bringing Aristotle et al back from the proverbial dead. By failing to embrace the scientific method to the degree that Britain and eventually the United States did, Islamic nations quickly fell behind. To be fair, Italy fell behind the rest of Europe as well for similar reasons, except that the resistance to secularization came from Roman Catholicism and not from Islam.

    China too lost its once competitive advantages, but for different reasons altogether. Europe built maritime empires, whereas China withdrew onto itself. So did the Ottoman Empire eventually.

    Secularization is going to have to be a choice that Islamic nations accept voluntarily. We cannot do it by declaring wars, as I hope we all learned from the 4,000 or so American lives needless lost from last decade. Saddam Hussein was actually a secular force, to a degree, and his death did leave a vacuum. I hope that it can be filled.

    1. Jeff,

      I believe that the focus hasn’t been merely on Christ’s coming kingdom, but his current kingdom and making it tangible for those around us.

      With that said, I’m sure you’d agree, there are segments of Christianity that have fallen victim to the American dream and materialism, but not all Christians. I’m a horrible example but I know people that are making a difference and ushering in the kingdom of Christ.

      1. Yes, I would agree. Not all Christians. Just the ones, it seems, who get all of the media attention.

        Good Christians who do the Lord’s work are not particularly newsworthy. Considering the seeming decline of the numbers of such individuals, perhaps it should be.

    2. Well, you have said quite a bit there. Let’s start with this statement:

      “At this juncture, modern Christianity in the US looks nothing like historic Christianity. The faith has become secularized and politicized beyond recognition. In the early church the focus was on Christ’s coming kingdom, not on property rights, not on political power, not on gaining wealth. Today Christianity has often become the vehicle for promoting Ayn Rand-style libertarianism, an atheistic philosophy; or for rationalizing the endless collection of riches which earth does corrupt. One day Christians will look back with embarrassment at this era, especially 2016 (and we are not even out of March yet!).”

      It is difficult to evaluate your first sentence. In certain ways, of course not, but have we strayed as far as you allege? I am skeptical. The faith has been secularized in some parts of American Christianity, but not all. And it is not all politicized either. Ayn Rand is not taken as the model for most evangelicals, though they do tend (on the Right) to be economically more libertarian. The charge of materialism seems gratuitous (“endless collection of riches…”). You overstate the case by far.

      Next:

      “If anything, secularization is the ANSWER to the problem that is radical Islam. And, to a much lesser degree, the growing problem that is radical Christianity.”

      You sound like Francis Fukuyama here. But beyond that where do you get the idea that there is a growing problem with radical Christianity? I have yet to see the evidence. Anything approaching radical has been very rare. And I would argue that neither radicalism of Islam nor secularization are the answers. The answer is true Christianity–conversion. Can that happen? Yes, I believe it can and perhaps it will by God’s grace.

      1. ” And I would argue that neither radicalism of Islam nor secularization are the answers. The answer is true Christianity–conversion”

        But is tolerance of other faiths a CHRISTIAN virtue?

        I would say that there is no evidence of that in the Bible at all of that. In fact, I would say that if anything the Bible discourages tolerance and can be used quite easily to justify the use of violence in order to promote the faith.

        I would call tolerance a SECULAR virtue that has been borrowed by Christians and has helped provide a dose of humanity to a religion that often promoted doctrinal uniformity through unspeakable cruelty.

        If intolerant radical Muslims accept Christianity, there is no guarantee that violence would stop. They would also need to adopt certain secular values whose origins come from outside of Christianity, in particular, that of tolerance.

        Remember how intolerant Christians were of each other’s differences for many centuries until around the time of the Enlightenment? That sounds a lot like how radical Islam is right now. Hopefully one day we might be able to say that that was how Islam USED to be, just like we can say that is how Christianity used to be.

        If I have time this Easter weekend, I will go over some aspects of radical Christianity, here and abroad.

        Thanks for your thoughtful response.

  4. I just thought I would post this here for everyone since there has been some mention in above replies about what the focus of Christianity should be and this weekend for obvious reasons makes it the perfect time.

    The tomb is empty and He is risen!

    Hope everyone has a great Easter :)

  5. “As for your comments on Yahweh of the Old Testament, to answer that would require a pretty substantial foray into theology of God and also interpretational theory. The upshot (that’s all I can do for now) is that since God is the one true God, He can legitimately order what would otherwise be illegitimate acts for His purposes and glory. He did order destruction of cities and the killing of their inhabitants (defined in special revelation itself as worthy of destruction). Only if you place the Quran equal to the Bible, can you make both kinds acts morally equivalent. I’ll be the first to admit this is difficult. And what we see there in the OT does NOT give anyone warrant today to do the same thing just because we see it there. That was by God’s direct command.”

    I agree that it is difficult, but your rationalization is based entirely on your reason (just so we know). I do not completely accept it. I know you already understand this and are OK with it.

    I would agree with you just because God ordered people to spread belief through violence in the past does not justify that practice today. But, then again, we are using human reason(“general” revelation, NOT “special” revelation) to determine this. We may be right, but we may also be wrong (just so we all know).

    When it comes to such gray areas we need to be especially tolerant of differences of opinion.

    Even if you are right, that does not change the fact that belief in Yahweh was early in its history spread by violence, JUST like Islam. You can attempt to justify–by using the logical fallacy of special pleading–but the fact remains that belief in Allah and belief in Yahweh were both done through violence.

    Thank you for your thoughtful response.

    1. Okay, I know I said I would not get into this again, but since Dr. Clauson bit, I will again just this once on one small item that needs to be corrected.

      In the OT, belief in Yahweh was never spread through violence. There is no scripture that tells of any event where forced conversion occurred. What occurred was God, in His capacity as sovereign over all creation, and in very specific instances and very specific contexts and through means of direct special revelation not applicable in any way to the present day, divinely used Israel as his instrument of justice against the wicked, and this was confined to the Canaanite tribes who practiced abominable religious rites that included prostitution, violence, and child sacrifice. These actions were also mainly limited to the seven year war with the Canaanites during the conquest of Canaan as recorded in Joshua. The vast majority, if not all, of Israel’s wars from the beginning of the judges onward were geopolitical in nature, not religious. I could go through Scripture and run down the list, however that would take quite a bit of time (and space).

      The only example, or at least the only major example, I am aware of in Jewish history of forced conversions was conducted against the Idumeans (Edomites) by the Hasmoneon Dynasty in the inter-testamental period. However, this event was neither sanctioned by divine decree or justified post facto in any way by God, therefore I must conclude the Jews in this instance were out of His will and wrong to do so. (as I believe they would be in all other instances that might be found that occurred without direct special revelation from God).

      The facts are that God, while He did ordain Israel as an instrument of justice in specific cases, never ordained acts of violence or conquest for the purpose of forcing belief in Himself. Such a notion is completely unbiblical and will not be found there by any serious study of the Word.

      Pleasant day :)

  6. Thank you for this post. It is painful to see atrocities such as the bombing in Belgium as well as the lack of screening of incoming immigrants. I wonder what the populace of those European countries are thinking when they know that a percentage of immigrants are radicalized Muslims. That would be very unsettling in my opinion. I agree that something must be done to combat the root problem (the radicals entering the country) more so than have increased security (though this is probably important since there are already apparently a fair amount of radicals who have entered the country). Certainly a troubling time for Europe and we must continue to pray for them and the current leaders.

  7. This post is very insightful. Ever since the Paris attacks I have heard a lot of discussion regarding what a Christians view on allowing refuges into the country should be. While I do not have a definite answer to that question, this post speaks to it in a lot of ways. We do need to have immigration screening processes, but the question I’ve heard so often is “Should our desire for protection of ourselves and our country be greater than our desire to help refuges?” This is a very hard question to ask because we need to be wise in how we address that situation, but as you said that is not ultimately a solution to the problem because the real problem is that people do not know Christ.

    1. It’s actually a false choice, yes it’s possible to choose refugees over our own safety, yes Europe has largely chosen that and I do applaud their selflessness, but if America allows refugees it will be like the refugees we’ve allowed before, screened, vetted, to a fault really as many lose their lives before they can reach American soil.

  8. I think you’re missing the point. Why are they bombing us? Because we’re bombing them! They don’t hate us because we have freedom and liberty as the old Bush doctrine would claim; they hate us simply because we’re bombing them. The only difference is that, instead of sending bombs back as we do, they use suicide bombers.

    Increased surveillance and background checks isn’t going to be effective enough in stopping these crises. The major terrorist attacks (Boston, Paris, Belgium) have come from individual families, not mosque-level groups. It makes sense to have somebody sitting in at the local mosque if there’s suspicion, but how are you supposed to do that when the attackers are just a couple of brothers? 100% surveillance seems to be the only effective means to catch these types of people, but not only is that inviable, it would cost us significant freedoms.

    1. I am afraid you don’t know the history here. Islamic radicals began to hate the West before any colonization or any bombings, way back in the 17th/18th centuries while they (not the West) were trying to conquer the West. Radical elements grew out of that in the 18th century (in Saudi Arabia) which metamorphosed into modern radical groups (such as the Muslim Brotherhood). We were emphatically not bombing anyone when terrorism began a little before 9/11/2001.

      As for surveillance, it will be necessary in some way, but it does not have to threaten freedom if pursued correctly. Moreover, I am more concerned about screening those who want in. By the way the attackers in Belgium were not merely “a couple of brothers.” They were part of a network, which, for some reason Belgian officials more or less ignored for a long time.

      1. Dr. Clauson, screening is important, America has a very thorough screening process for immigrants, especially refugees. I sort of understand but also don’t understand why it seems like these European countries don’t. *when I say I sort of understand it’s that it’s the humanitarian thing to do especially for countries like turkey to allow the refugees into refugee camps without too much overhead

        As for surveillance Ryan was saying 100% surveillance is a threat to freedom, he’s right about that. If we monitored every Muslim in the country it would go against the Constitution, it just isn’t a real option.

        We don’t have an option to attain 100% safety, that is true today and has always been true.

    2. “I think you’re missing the point. Why are they bombing us? Because we’re bombing them! They don’t hate us because we have freedom and liberty as the old Bush doctrine would claim; they hate us simply because we’re bombing them.”

      No offense, but which universe do you live in? If you want to stop their desire to bomb us, here is how you do it.

      1. Geopolitical surrender
      2. Abandon the Constitution and western values
      3. Embrace Sharia law
      4. Convert en masse to Islam
      5. Betray and turn against Israel

      Doing all that (and probably more) is the only, repeat, only way to make them not hate us.

      Now, as regards the security debate, a few comments:

      Anonymous said: “If we monitored every Muslim in the country it would go against the Constitution, it just isn’t a real option.”

      1. Sorry, the above comment is mine, for some reason it posted before I was done. So to finish…

        Now, as regards the security debate, a few comments:

        Anonymous said: “If we monitored every Muslim in the country it would go against the Constitution, it just isn’t a real option.”

        If you change the wording to say “If we monitored every Muslim who is a US citizen in the country” then it would be a correct statement. Monitoring and vetting non-citizens is definitely not against the Constitution.

        “We don’t have an option to attain 100% safety, that is true today and has always been true.”

        True, however, that does not mean the government should not try to get as close to 100% as possible within the limits of the Constitution.

        The primary purpose of government is to protect its people. It is responsible for their safety. Its guiding principles are NOT the same as those of the Christian individual or the church and when the Christian is voting or is in a position of authority within that government, his/hers duties are defined by their responsibilities as a member of government, not their individual responsibilities as an individual or member of the church. If a Christian cannot separate the two, then they have no place in government. Within the bounds of its laws, government MUST err on the side of safety. A government that does not, even for humanitarian reasons, is one that is neglecting its primary responsibility.

      2. I assume you meant in your list that IF we did all that, the situation would improve. Well, I hope you weren’t serious, because if you were, I have nothing to say except that that “solution” is delusional. BUT, I am assuming this was just as an overstated way to make a point. I hope I am right.

        Now to be serious. Radicalized Muslims did not start “bombing” us because we first bombed them, as I pointed out with the facts of history. Now once they had begun “bombing” us, are you suggesting we ought simply to let it go” and do nothing? (except perhaps respond with compassion and free goods and services?). Is there such a concept of justice or not, and can we defend our own nation of not? What is your foundational philosophy or theology for what you apparently believe?

        Finally, since we obviously should NOT do what is in your list, are you just being a nihilist?

      3. “No offense, but which universe do you live in? If you want to stop their desire to bomb us, here is how you do it.

        1. Geopolitical surrender
        2. Abandon the Constitution and western values
        3. Embrace Sharia law
        4. Convert en masse to Islam
        5. Betray and turn against Israel.”

        “Our” bombing them did not lead to the resentment that led to 9/11. Marc is right.

        In large part, Bin Laden resented (and other radical Muslims resent) what he saw as U.S. interference, including military interference, in Muslim issues.

        The U.S. support of Israel is offensive to many radical Muslims. I do not agree with it entirely and do not support the argument that the U.S. must always support Israel, even when it commits atrocities against the Palestinians.

        I think the pre-millenial dispensationalist/Darbyist application of Hegelian dialectic that is used to justify the often knee-jerk support of Israel is a case study of modern heresy, of the use of human creativity in the abuse of Scripture for political reasons.

        If the US stayed out of places where it arguably does not belong, instead using that money to help out American citizens, radical Muslims would probably leave us alone. But that might mean geopolitical strife that would arise in the vacuum.

      4. Hi Nathan,

        So a couple points, first, non-citizens don’t seem to be the problem. In the last 14 years, how many non-citizens have committed terrorist attacks on American soil? Every terrorist attack I can think of was carried out by an American. Second, monitoring every non-citizen, but especially every Muslim non-citizen would absolutely go against the constitution (double whammy on that one).

        Dr. Clauson, Nathan was being facetious.

      5. Hey Anonymous,

        “Second, monitoring every non-citizen, but especially every Muslim non-citizen would absolutely go against the constitution (double whammy on that one).”

        If you would mind, could you please provide the clause in the Constitution that makes monitoring non-citizens unconstitutional? I just reread the Constitution and I didn’t see it.

        Jeff,

        Saying we must support Israel does not mean we are required to condone wrongful actions when they occur, although I would argue they occur alot less frequently that you seem to believe. God is very clear that nations that do not support Israel will be judged. If Israel actually commits a clear moral wrong, then it is okay to call them out on it. But otherwise we oppose them at our own peril.

        “If the US stayed out of places where it arguably does not belong, instead using that money to help out American citizens, radical Muslims would probably leave us alone. But that might mean geopolitical strife that would arise in the vacuum.”

        They might leave us alone until they filled the vacuum left behind and began expanding outward again. But eventually they would get back around to us. But your point about wasting lots of money abroad when it could be used better here at home is definitely a valid one.

        Dr. Clauson,

        “I assume you meant in your list that IF we did all that, the situation would improve. Well, I hope you weren’t serious, because if you were, I have nothing to say except that that “solution” is delusional. BUT, I am assuming this was just as an overstated way to make a point. I hope I am right.”

        Of course you are right. I was overstating to make a point against the argument made by Ryan that they were “bombing us because we were bombing them”. And no, the situation would not improve if we did that because I hardly think living under a Islamic theocracy qualifies as “improvement”.

      6. Nathan,

        To answer your question that I hope was actually a sincere question. I was referring to a combination of the preamble (all men are endowed with certain rights), the first amendment (the federal government can’t pass laws endorsing a religion) and 4th (no unlawful search and seizures). You ask where they specify non-citizens, well in a way the preamble does that by saying all men are endowed with rights, in a way each of these amendments do it by talking only about the government’s role not about the people, but the supreme court has made this very clear. This rights even extend to illegal aliens in our borders.

      7. Anonymous,

        About the response I expected and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I respect the fact that many people think our Constitution should protect even illegal citizens within our borders though I am confidently certain the vast majority, if not all, of the founding fathers would vehemently disagree.

        But as to your specific points:
        The Preamble:
        I assume you have confused the preamble with the Declaration of Independence. The preamble says nothing about “all men endowed with rights”. That language is from the Declaration. The Declaration, while it espouses the general principles the United States was to be founded on, and the specific causes of separation from Great Britain is NOT an active part of the United States’ legal codes. In fact, the Declaration didn’t even create the United States at all but collectively declared the 13 colonies as separate free and independent States. The Declaration of Independence is not a legally relevant document when it comes to United States immigration or security policy and the preamble is just that, a preamble. A statement of intent with no legal value.

        The 1st Amendment:
        This amendment prevents the government from declaring a national religion, making policies that favor one religion over another, or of prohibiting the free exercise of it. It says absolutely nothing about law enforcement using religion as a factor in determining risk of criminal behavior.

        The 4th Amendment:
        Same as above, says absolutely nothing about law enforcement using religion as a factor in determining risk of criminal behavior. It just means that before any actual searches and seizures occur, the authorities must obtain a lawful warrant. It does not mean that within the scope of the law the authorities cannot engage in surveillance action to determine if that step is necessary.

        Court rulings:
        Yes, the courts have ruled that many constitutional protections apply to non-citizens within the United States including illegals. But, again, nothing is said about law enforcement using religion as a factor in determining risk of criminal behavior.

        Immigration policy:
        Finally, even the ACLU, in their non-citizens guide to rights, says that non-citizens caught or detained at the border during entry or attempted entry are not entitled the same rights as those already inside. Immigration policy is entirely the purview of the federal government and nothing, not even the Constitution, protects or grants rights to non-citizens who have not yet entered. The United States government could legally ban entry into its borders based on whatever classification they choose.

        The Supreme Court has been very clear on immigration powers and consistently upholds federal immigration regulatory power even when said policies are clearly discriminatory (see Chinese Exclusion Act for an example).

        “The Government of the United States has broad, undoubted power over the subject of immigration and the status of aliens. … This authority rests, in part, on the National Government’s constitutional power to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” U. S. Const., Art. I, §8, cl. 4, and its inherent power as sovereign to control and conduct relations with foreign nations…” – Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.

        So if the United States were to implement a temporary ban on non-citizen Muslims, or non-citizen Syrians, or any specified group, or banned entry outright for anybody and closed the borders, or (and this would be disastrous) abolished all immigration laws period and let anybody and their uncle come and go however they liked, the federal government would be, according to scads of legal precedent, well within its rights to do whatever it wished.

        Please notice that with all of this I am not making an argument in favor or against a particular action, but just showing that legally and constitutionally the federal government, on immigration, can do whatever it pleases.

  9. It seems like no matter what we do the terrorists will continue to find ways to infiltrate the system and carry out their objectives. I think that some countries need to take a serious look at their immigration methods and look to reform them. Although as Christians we feel the call to help and protect others, we can’t just let radical Muslims into our country to bomb us.

    1. Sean, no one is advocating just letting radical Muslims in, America has a cumbersome overly strict system of vetting especially refugees that enter the country. That’s why the last several terror attacks and thousand plus mass murders have all been committed by Americans.

      The answer is not to try to stop terrorists from getting in, that’s a very difficult task and can put too high of a cost for anyone entering the country. The key is to attack the problem at the root. Now the question is what is the root? Given the effectiveness of Isis recruiting we can say the root problem is not Islam or poverty. Maybe the problem is just a spirit of hate and selfishness in the world.

  10. I agree with Dr. Clauson when he says that the problem needs to be dealt with at the root. There does not seem to be an end to these attacks on innocent people, and to me, that is frightening.

  11. A very informative post and discussion, I appreciate being able to read the different views expressed in the comment section. I think that posts such as this one are the most conducive for thought and further learning.

  12. I appreciate the discussion, allows for a greater view on the topic! I like the way you approach the evaluation of the attack.

  13. Thank you for the post! It was very helpful and informational. These terrorist attacks are indeed making people view Muslims much more suspiciously. Which is difficult when, like you said, the Muslim population is growing in Europe and other places. That feeling of safety that people used to have has been diminished. Even if we do eliminate ISIS. How long do you think it would take for people to begin to have a feeling of safety and trust that they used to have around each other and especially around Muslims?

  14. I am so happy this was posted. I was very happy to see someone else is actually seeing the actual issue. The non-screening/non-caring ideology is something that will allow this problem to continue whether or not we get ISIS. If we take them out more will eventually fill there place. Repairing the root problem is the only way to actually make a dent in this issue.

  15. I didn’t know that Radical Muslims were this free to do what they want in Europe (Free admission, no go zones). It is almost surprising to me that Europe have only had a handful of successful attacks in recent months. Is it that the Radical Muslims aren’t always trying to do something? Or have European governments been able to foil many of the attempts?

  16. This is an interesting post that highlights some major problems in the world today. It is difficult to determine where the line should be drawn between too much regulation on immigration and too little. While some people may claim that civil liberties can be equally balanced with security, I do not believe it. No matter the policy, one is getting the upper hand. What we need to be careful of, however, is people who are advocating to ignore one (almost completely) in favor of the other. A President like Trump, for example, would be detrimental to our country in the present state of the world.

  17. I believe that this topic will remain to be untouched as far as the depth of it goes until it hits closer to home. By then the question will be, can we even do anything about it? There will come a point when the terrorists have gone too far and we will retaliate. But until it is on or close to our soil, I believe that we will acknowledge it but will overlook it.

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