I am one of those people who sometimes opens my mouth just often enough to stick both feet in a bit further. Mine is the bad habit of, whenever I feel misunderstood, trying to say even more about whatever it was that didn’t go over well in the first place. So at the risk of writing something no one but me will even care to read, I’ll post this one last commentary on the subject of ISIS and how I think America actually can be as helpful in defeating this evil force in today’s world as we were in defeating the evil of Nazi Germany last century. I promise not to beat any more dead horses in this process, though I will go after this one that appears to me is still breathing a bit.
What strikes me of late on social media is how determined many folks are to associate ISIS with Islam. Some have even invoked the term “Holy War” in thinking we Americans must somehow defeat this world enemy. And it’s as if those who disagree with that premise are in denial that ISIS is a serious enemy at all.
With that in mind, I’ll offer my own very contrary beliefs for what they are worth to anyone else.
1. I believe ISIS / ISIL is a serious enemy of not only the USA but of all humanity and human rights, much in the mold of the Nazi threat of the 1930’s in Europe. There is absolutely no denying this.
2. I believe ISIS believes they are good Muslims acting on behalf of their Prophet to enforce their holy book of Koran.
3. I believe ISIS has already framed their movement as being a Holy War against western Christianity and middle eastern Judaism. They would like nothing more than to destroy Israel and finish Hitler’s genocidal master plan.
4. This is where my points get a bit stickier. For I also believe Hitler’s Nazi movement was framed as being a Holy War against Judaism. There is simply too much evidence out there that Hitler viewed himself at least initially as a Christian acting on behalf of the crucified Christ. To explain, please do consider these quotes from Hitler’s own book, “Mein Kampf,” per wikipedia research:
In Mein Kampf, Hitler saw Jesus as against the Jews, rather than of them: “And the founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary, He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God.” Ralph Manheim, ed. (1998). Mein Kampf. New York: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-95105-4, p.174
“His [the Jewish person’s] life is only of this world, and his spirit is inwardly as alien to true Christianity as his nature two thousand years previous was to the great founder of the new doctrine. Of course, the latter made no secret of his attitude toward the Jewish people, and when humanity, who then as always saw in religion nothing but an instrument for his business existence. In return, Christ was nailed to the cross, while our present-day party Christians debase themselves to begging for Jewish votes at elections and later try to arrange political swindles with atheistic Jewish parties—and this against their own nation.” Ralph Manheim, ed. (1998). Mein Kampf. New York: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-95105-4, p.307
5. A few years after “Mein Kampf” was published, most of the world’s Christians refused to claim Hitler. They almost universally believed Hitler was not a Christian. This led to Hitler’s eventual antagonism toward Christianity for refusing to fight on his side of a Holy War he was waging on Christ’s own behalf. He became a rather strong atheist over time, though never withdrawing his membership in the Roman Catholic Church. Why he wasn’t ex-communicated is still a point of contention by many Jews even today.
6. I do not believe Hitler was a Christian. Nor do I believe ISIS is Muslim.
7. Almost universally, Muslims today do not believe ISIS is Muslim. They refuse to believe this is any kind of Holy War against either Jews or Christians. And they resent the ISIS interpretation of the Koran as deeply as I resent Hitler’s interpretation of Jesus driving the Jewish merchants out of the Temple courtyard.
8. I believe America played a critically important role in the defeat of Hitler’s Nazism. We did so by first denying Hitler his own label of a Holy War against the Jews, even though atheist Russia was quite willing to fight their own Holy War against the Christian Nazis. (That’s an entire different blog post for another day!!!) America waited strategically until the Christianized nations of England and France were already engaged in battle against the Nazis. Then we came in and essentially finished their battle for them in many respects. This was one of America’s finest moments as collectively produced, in my opinion, by America’s “greatest generation.”
9. I believe America can ALSO play a critically important role in the defeat of ISIS / ISIL……… but only IF WE ARE WILLING TO LEARN FROM OUR OWN HISTORY what to repeat and what not to repeat. Sadly, I see very little interest among Americans these days in American history, including our history of military success in the world.