By James Wilson
Fr. Jim is an Anglican priest in Northern California and president of PrayNorthState
Used by permission of the author.
Used by permission of the author.
Our president closed out a White House summit on violent extremism refusing to name the religious perpetrators a Culture of Terror. Instead he lectured on how Muslims have been interwoven into American Culture since our founding. He did not bother to name the Founding Fathers who worshipped Allah – because there are none. He failed to mention the contributions of Islam to American life – because there are none.
The closest Islam comes to America’s formative period is provoking our first foreign war – during the administration of Thomas Jefferson. Pirates serving the Sultan of Tripoli – Libya – preyed on European and American shipping with impunity. Crews were captured and held in torturous conditions of slavery because – as the Sultan and his envoys explained it – there is no other purpose for non-Muslims than slavery, torment, and death. They demanded tribute of the United States – about twenty per cent of the national budget – but the pirates still attacked and killed. Europe was in the same boat. Jefferson and Congress declared war, sending the Navy and Marines. The incident gives the Marine Corps hymn “to the shores of Tripoli.” Muslim views on non-Muslims are neither new nor changed.
During the (Teddy) Roosevelt years an American ex-pat, Perdicaris, was kidnapped with his family by a Muslim war lord named Raisuli; his quarrel was with the Moroccan government but using an infidel as a pawn was okay with Raisuli. Roosevelt famously sent a communiqué reading roughly, “Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.” Perdicaris was released along with his family. The bottom line is that Presidents Jefferson and Roosevelt understood an enemy when they saw him; they likewise understood the duty of a president to defend his countrymen from all enemies. They got it that Islam is the enemy of all that is not Islam because that is what Islam says about itself – and always has. We – and our leaders – need to get that today.
We can never afford to forget there are millions – hundreds of millions – of Muslims who are decent people seeking to raise their families and live in peace with their neighbors. We are not and should not be at war with them. But just as unaffordable is the delusion that Islam is not at war with us and with everyone who does not bow to its tyranny of blood. The holiest documents of this religion call for extermination or enslavement of all who fail to adopt it. They demand death for women raped without producing four witnesses – or who marry outside Islam. Every nation coming under Islam has adopted a degree of this coercive mentality and most are as rapacious as the Barbary Pirates Jefferson fought to a standstill.
There is one other thing we dare not forget. Just as Islam hates the Cross of Christ and the mercy and grace it promises to all who live at Its base – just as Islam is evil – Muslims are people. Muslims are in fact people for whom Jesus Christ gave His life just as surely as He gave it for Jews and Gentiles. Any of us who dare to call ourselves Christians or Jews must be prepared to protect our families and our way of life on the one hand and acknowledge with joy any opportunity we are given to show that grace and mercy to people of Islam.
We are not at war with these people. Our God is the One who desires that none should perish. He came to bring abundant life (John 10:10); He came to set the captives free (Luke 4:18 and Isaiah 61:1) for all time. We are not at war with Muslim people, but we are at war with Islam’s war on the whole world, and with their special hatred of America and Israel.
I am astounded at the President’s disconnect from reason and history. Truthfully I should not be. Anyone who golfs when American citizens are murdered but calls a news conference to denounce violence when Muslims are killed – in the utter absence of evidence their deaths were at all connected to their religion – has no idea of his responsibilities. Anyone so ignorant of history as to think the Crusades were an invasion of Muslim lands – or that Christian holy books promote the brutality advocated in the Koran – such ignorance as he shared at the National Prayer Breakfast – is capable of irrationality on a cosmic scale. But the rest of us need to think clearly and walk the tightrope between offering peace to those who honestly want peace and death to those who clearly prefer death with seventy imagined virgins awaiting them.
It is very simple. Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.
James A. Wilson is the author of Living as Ambassadors of Relationships and The Holy Spirit and the End Times – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at