Today, much controversy is brewing over the statements made by President Barack Obama during his visit to Turkey yesterday. In his speech to the Turkish parliament, Obama stated:
"The United States is not and never will be, at war with Islam...We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."
Whether we observe America as "Christian" or not, there is an essential understanding that must be reached if we are to keep a correct perspective on the relationship between America and Islamic nations.
Although Obama ultimately says many of the same things that former President George Bush has said over the last several years, he is making an observation that is inherently contradictory. That observation centers around the goal of Islamic belief and thought. The goal of Islam, as commanded by the Qur'an, is for all lands to be submissive to its rule. It is a dominant religion. It is a dominant theology. And as much pain as Obama has taken to disassociate terrorism with what he called a faith that he has "deep appreciation for," the understanding that Islam is not a religion of peace must be reached.
To the Muslim world, America, as Dr. Albert Mohler rightfully cited, "appears as the great fountain of pornography, debased entertainments, abortion, and sexual revolution." And as long as we are viewed as such, America, and thus Christianity, will remain an enemy of the Islamic faithful. Better yet, as long as America is viewed as un-Islamic, this will remain the story. You can label them extremists if you would like. But according to the Qur'an, they are simply being obedient and faithful to the cause.
The true conflict, then, is not a political conflict--although Obama takes pains to make it seem so. It is a theological, religious conflict. And as Obama is overseas making claims that America is not religiously united (as is truly the case), he undermines the very substance of his claim to live peacefully with the Muslim nations--for they seek religious unity. Unity through domination. Religious belief runs much deeper than political alliances or affiliations.
We must remember that America did not wake up one day with an angry desire to go to war against Islamic extremists without cause. America was attacked into war by a religion that ultimately wants it no other way. At its deepest roots, Islamic belief encourages a violent baptism for its opposition. And although Barack Obama seeks to establish that America is not in opposition to Islamic belief, political speeches can do little to change the drastic theological differences and extreme desires that will eventually prevent any type of substantial, enduring alliances from forming. Politics do not change or influence religious fervor. Religious fervor influences political stances and aspirations. And this shared "set of values" that Obama speaks of are only shared insomuch as they are held in common by the beliefs of the people. And beyond this, the unity dies.
Unless, of course, America continues to be a breeding ground for its fastest spreading religion--Islam.