Tuesday, May 14, 2002
Islamic terrorists are the enemy. If there was any doubt before, it should have been obvious to all but the thickest Chomsky-ite after Sept. 11.
As Christians we're commanded to love our enemies and to forgive. But we are also commanded to speak the truth, which is why the silence surrounding the occupation and desecration of the Church of the Nativity is troubling.
Raymond J. de Souza, in Canada's National Post outlined what happened from a religious standpoint:
It needs to be said. The occupation of the Church of the Nativity by armed Palestinian terrorists was a gravely anti-Christian act. Much has been made of how the basilica was filthy but not seriously damaged. To speak only of what happens to a church physically is to miss the point. One of Christianity's holiest shrines was profaned by armed terrorists. It is blasphemy to use the house of God as a military refuge. For more than a month, the faithful were denied access to the basilica to pray while the gunmen used its status as a house of prayer as a tactical advantage.
That the key men inside were not refugees but terrorists was confirmed by the reluctance of any country to grant them exile. Italy grudgingly agreed to take one or two, but reports in the Italian press yesterday indicate they will be kept confined, perhaps on an island somewhere. Too dangerous for the Italian mainland, apparently, but Europeans appeared to be fine with the fact such men would have the run of the Church of the Nativity.
Palestinian Authority claims, and that of their U.S.-based supporters, that these men were innocents is an insult to Christians around the world.
And it gets worse.
US experts searching the Church of the Nativity yesterday found "booby traps" in the compound, an Israeli army spokesman said.
He was unable to specify how many there were, or where they had been placed, but said that after the discovery the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, who has partial custody of the church, had asked Israeli troops to search the buildings.
About 20 soldiers entered the church complex to check whether there were any remaining explosives.
An army spokeswoman said the searches had found five concealed rifles and about 40 explosive devices, primed for use.
And what was the response of the Palestinians to news that their heroes and victims had planted booby traps in the church where Jesus was born?
Almost immediately, the Palestinian leadership accused the Israeli army of desecration and of violating the terms of the deal to end the 38-day siege of the basilica, one of Christianity's holiest sites.
It said the Israeli army had "desecrated the church under the pretext of looking for three rifles".
President Bush has made pains to assure the world that the war against terrorism is not a religious crusade. If Arabs and Muslims continue to use these tactics, they may get the holy war that they've been advocating.