Increasing Violence over Video Reflects a Failure of U.S. Leadership
reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others." Secretary of State Clinton says, "Let me state very clearly, the United States has absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its contents. America's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation."
While there is nothing wrong with these remarks in themselves, many Americans are upset that the attack on our embassies and the murder of U.S. citizens is being overridden by a video. To many Americans, the President's and Clinton's responses are pathetic and expose America to future terrorist attacks. To make matters worse, some of these remarks are not true.
President Obama and key members in his administration have repeatedly insisted on telling the American public that the attack on the embassy in Libya was spontaneous and caused by the video when others, including Libyan and U.S. officials, have said it was a preplanned terrorist attack, possibly involving al Qaeda, and that the video is probably just an excuse being used by Islamist fundamentalists to ferment unrest.
President Obama speaks about respect and tolerance for the religious beliefs of others, but open persecution against Christians has begun in the United States since he took office. Under his leadership, his party has attempted to remove mention of God from its official platform; efforts have been made to narrowly define the meaning of religious freedom as mere worship; and the secular state has been firmly pitted against the Catholic Church. Moreover, the President is overlooking the disgusting insults Christians have had to endure for years.
These flagrant contradictions bring us back to our original question, why has President Obama responded to the violence the way he has? There is no single answer, but I believe one possible answer is that President Obama is a postmodernist. To make this connection, I will defer to the philosopher Dr. Stephen Hicks and his excellent series of video-taped lectures on Postmodernism.
However, my summary on Postmodernism is only partial, and it reflects my understanding and interpretation of Dr. Hicks' lectures. Therefore, if I have misstated anything, do not fault the good doctor. That being said, it seems to me that one of the most important things to know about Postmodernism is that it is the dominant view of reality and human nature within the media, academic, cultural, legal, and political communities today.
It is also important to know that Postmodernism is a radical reaction against most of the traditions we have known. One of the most fundamental premises of Postmodernism is that our traditional view of the world--the belief in God, truth, reason, right and wrong, liberty, democracy, free markets, progress, and the pursuit of happiness--is wrong; and that Western civilization itself, especially as it is manifested in the United States, is a failure, a fraud and pathological.
For instance, according to Postmodernism, there is no one true account of reality. The essence of reality is not spiritual, which means there is no God. This partly accounts for the animosity some people feel toward religion and their obsessive desire to dechristianize or secularize Western society.
Postmodernists do not seem to believe that reality is ordered and objective. As a result, they do not believe that there is such a thing as absolute or universal truth, or if there is, that it can be known. So they do not place much value on reason. Although they come from opposite ends of the spectrum, Postmodernism and Islamic fundamentalism are similar in that they are both anti-reason.
In general, postmodernists do not believe that we can be objective and see beyond our culture or our environmental conditioning. They believe that truth is subjective or relative. This understanding also applies to moral truths. For the postmodernist, there is no such thing as objective right or wrong or natural law.
Postmodernists also believe that groups are naturally in conflict with each other. They believe it is the natural order for one group to dominate and oppress other groups. They see men and women, blacks and whites, rich and poor, Americans and Arabs as being in conflict with each other. And they believe that the stronger group has a duty to identify with and express compassion for the oppressed group.
For postmodernists, the only just society is an egalitarian society. This means that everyone must be reduced to the common denominator, that the stronger groups must be brought down. To achieve this goal, liberty, democracy, and free markets must be undermined. Consequently, one of the most cherished values of Postmodernism is the acquisition of political power, and the preferred instrument of this power is the authoritarian socialist state.
Dr. Hicks also points out that postmodernists believe the West is the cause of the problems in the Middle East. The West, they claim, has tried to hide its pathologies by exporting them to weaker countries and forcing them to bear the brunt of its problems. Thus, secular Middle-Eastern countries are thought to be the products of Western departments of state and big companies, which can be compared to Hitler's Germany and the fascist states of Mussolini's Italy and Franco's Spain. Even though the West has made many mistakes, these ideas are ridiculous.
If I am correct, and President Obama is a postmodernist, then his response to the violent demonstrations around the world are easily explained. Truth is irrelevant. It is merely a tool for authoritarian leaders to wield as they will. The bottom line is that the facts surrounding the video and the attacks on our embassies and the outrageous claims and abuses by Islamists are not important and do not matter much.
What does matter, according to a postmodern world view, is egalitarianism and correcting the abuses committed by the stronger, richer Western nations against the weaker, poorer Muslim nations. If President Obama is a postmodernist, then he believes it is his first duty to identify with the Muslims and express compassion for their feelings. For him, then, the attacks on our embassies are seen as secondary and helps bring the United States down a notch.
Postmodernism is against just about everything that Western civilization and the United States traditionally stand for. It recklessly denounces the greatness of this once thriving civilization and her crown jewel, the United States, which, in spite of its flaws, has brought true hope and goodness to the world, including the Middle East. If President Obama is a postmodernist, then it is reasonable for us to expect that his policies will destroy our nation. We cannot allow that.
Michael Terheyden was born into a Catholic family, but that is not why he is a Catholic. He is a Catholic because he believes that truth is real, that it is beautiful and good, and that the fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church. However, he knows that God's grace operating throughout his life is the main reason he is a Catholic. He is greatly blessed to share his faith and his life with his beautiful wife, Dorothy. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Video, Protests, Demonstrations, Pakistan, United States, America, President, Obama, Hillary Clinton, Michael Terheyden
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