Artur Rosman asks hawkish Catholics to take stock of the devastation in Iraq:
There were actually major centers of Christianity in both North Africa and the Middle East–regions presently exclusively associated with Islam. These regions were eventually decimated by the rise of Islam and its clashes with the West and Byzantium. What we are seeing today is not the beginning of the end for this region’s Christianity. It’s more like the end of the end. …
What’s become apparent is how much the presumption for force ultimately failed to take a very complex situation into consideration.
As I remember it, sometime in 2003 or 2004 both Paul Griffiths and Stanley Hauerwas (author of War and the American Difference: Reflections on Violence and National Identity) ultimately gave up their associations with First Things, because their presumption against war, in line with John Paul II, was marginalized by the journal.
The Christians of the Middle East are now paying the price.
But they’re not the only ones paying the price, because Neo-Conservatism also has a monopoly upon the anti-abortion position, which continues to lose its luster as it is associated exclusively with that political group.
He’s broached a difficult subject for some people, and while I can’t speak to First Things (though I am a reader and enjoyer of it), as another concerned critic of the empire, given recent events, I feel compelled to add similar thoughts.
Recently, I had written a longer piece on the sordid behavior of the Episcopal Church, now the clerical wing of the Democratic Party, with the head of the National Episcopal Health Ministries promising to help implement Obamacare and getting a fellowship at the Center for American Progress, controversial gay bishop Gene Robinson getting a Daily Beast column and the requisite CAP fellowship as well, and our nation’s chief law enforcement officer, an Episcopalian, takes up pet progressive legal crusades while property across the country is confiscated by judicial fiat and turned over to ailing, left-wing rump congregations.
For mostly personal reasons, I decided to pull it — my family attends one of the breakaway Anglican parishes whose appeal was denied by the Supreme Court in March. Rather more sensitively, the piece also raised the fact that a number of the key participants in the Anglican realignment, (which I support entirely for reasons above) were involved in the neoconservative project or publicly supported the second Iraq invasion. Mort Kondracke, Ken Starr, and Fred Barnes, for example, who were in a Bible study with the rector of the Falls Church and the former chaplain of the Redskins. The latter, Jerry Leachman (whom Brit Hume has named a mentor), is married to Holly Leachman, named by Hillary Clinton in one of her books as a sort of liaison to the Fellowship, the civil religion pseudo-ministry that puts on the National Prayer Breakfast.
One could go on. The American Anglican Council, which filed the complaint against the presiding bishop just after the Supreme Court’s decision, has close ties to the neoconservative Institute on Religion and Democracy, which grew out of the Scoop Jackson wing of the Democratic Party, in part to be a counterweight to the thoroughly leftist World Council of Churches. One of its founders was a Schachtmanite. The AAC’s president sits on the IRD’s board, along with Barnes, a longtime member of the Falls Church who left in 2009 for one of its plants, and wrote a Wall Street Journal column about it. The IRD’s former president Diane Knippers was a parishioner at Truro, another breakaway Virginia church, until her death from cancer in 2005. In the mid-2000s, the IRD was telling Christians to shut up about the war in Iraq.