Sept. 26, 2011
The American Interest is running a piece by the distinguished scholar Peter Berger about Christian reflections on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11. After citing the various and sometimes guilt-laden responses, Berger says this: “In all these texts there is not one word about the obvious moral reality of the event: That the United States was brutally attacked by an enemy of unmitigated evil, against whom violent force was fully justified. Both the goal of Jihadist terrorthe establishment of a tyranny with systemic violation of human rightsand the means to get thereindiscriminate mass murder and tortureare utterly evil in the perspective of Biblical faith. That should be at the center of any Christian reflection about September 11.”
Amen: Whatever the missteps of American policy regarding our response to the slaughter ten years past, nothing should surmount, as a response to it, the reality that the terrorists were killers on a mass scale and that their acts against our country were heinous. Without qualification, without justification. Period.
American Christians embarrassed by the occasional reactive response from some of their fellow believers often go much too far in the other direction, engaging in lugubrious self-reflection and near-flagelative anti-Americanism. I am reminded of something the late Carl Henry wrote years ago: “Not to oppose a Hitler, a Stalin, or a Mao would be an act of Christian lovelessness.” The same is true for the Taliban, al-Qaeda and their associates in the fellowship of human evil.
Should we hate them? No. Should we defend ourselves from them? Yes. The means of this opposition might be open for debate, but if America refuses to thwart those who would destroy it, we demonstrate our unfitness for the independence and liberty our fathers have, at the cost of many of their lives, bestowed to us. Let us be worthy of them.