Monday, June 08, 2009

Flattery and Distortion: That's Obama

Charles Colson speaks the truth about Obama's speech in Cairo. Perhaps the most egregious thing about this speech was that Obama, purportedly a Christian, failed to address the Islamic persecution of Christians around the world, and in Egypt as well. Islam is incompatible with any historic Western concept of religious freedom. On this, read Culture Clash by Mark Gabriel, formerly a professor of Islamic history at Al-Azar University in Egypt.


anna said...

What you call "Flattery and Distortion" seems like a safer and surer route to diplomacy with the Middle East, something the U.S. sorely needs. With tensions between the West and Islam running high, Obama extended the olive branch and did well not to fan the flames. We need peace now, not finger-pointing (although I would agree that persecution of Christians in the Muslim world is a serious issue). I applaud his mention of Islamic history and culture since it is something of which most Americans are completely ignorant.

David said...

I thought the purpose of the speech was to extend an olive branch to the international Muslim community. That could hardly be accomplished by criticizing Muslims for their treatment of Christians.

Tim said...

I thought the purpose of the speech was to criticize and belittle America and pass in unbecoming silence over the many instances in which American blood has been spilled to save Muslim lives.

But maybe I'm missing something. I am, after all, going only by what Obama actually said.

David said...

It seems that anything Obama says (and doesn't say) can be viewed negatively, if interpreted with a critical spirit. The purpose of the speech was to make a connection with the Muslim world. Given the times, this is an important and necessary political move. However unimpressive his speech might have been, it certainly wouldn't have been made better by ranting and raging about the persecution of Christians and the spilled blood of Americans.

Doug Groothuis said...


No need to "rant and rave." Truth would do. Obama gave no truth, not about history or Islam or America. Reagan went to Berlin and said "Tear down this wall." Obama went to Cairo and said, "Build up Islam."

Doug Groothuis said...


If you want to know Islamic history, don't go to Obama, for God's sake. Go to Mark Gabriel or Robert Spencer. It is not pretty at all.

David said...

Look, I don't deny there are deep problems between the West and Islam, with the latter even being the primary instigator. I would just question the wisdom of being confrontational in this particular setting.

The strategy is to take the high road--appeal to diplomacy and common ground. That way, if more conflict arises, America clearly has the moral leverage it needs to justify its actions.

Brian said...

I don't understand why Groothuis believes it's wise for an American President to go to the middle east at this point in time and highlight Muslim abuses of Christians (American Christians? All Christians? Only contemporary abuses, or also historical ones? Should he in fairness mention any Christian abuses of Muslims?) Would he also recommend that Obama highlight the falsity of Islam as a religion? After all, it's true that Islam is a false religion - does that truth need to be mentioned in a high-profile speech in the middle east by an American President? Should he reiterate the fact that it was Muslims who attacked the US on 9/11 - in this particular speech? After all, that's true as well. What purpose would highlighting any (or all) of these truths serve, and how should one rank-order the value of speaking truth in this way against the value of avoiding the fairly obvious negative consequences of speaking these truths in this way? Or perhaps I misunderstand - perhaps Groothuis believes that the consequences of speaking these truths in this speech would actually help foster long-term peace and stability (or some other comparable goods)?

Doug Groothuis said...

O need not preach an evangelistic message (he wouldn't know how) or excoriate Islam. But what he did was dead and dangerously wrong. I am not enough of a statesman to know exactly what he should have done, but I know he botched the opportunity. My question is, "What would Reagan have done?" A few ideas:

1. Emphasize that America will not tolerate terrorism at home or abroad. It will do all it can to extirpate this plague on the world by supporting democracies and the rule of law worldwide.

2. Emphasize that American soldiers have spilled blood and had their bodies ravaged defending Muslims in Bosnia and Kuwait.

3. Emphasize that we are not at war with Islam, but with terrorists, as (2) points out.

4. Highlight that America honors the freedom of religions, as should all nations. But we will not support religious attempts to undermine the philosophical foundations of our own country.

O has neither the nerve nor the intelligence nor the vision to do anything like this. This strategy is quintessentially liberal: flatter enemies to try to make them our friends. That always fails. Lies do not promote justice or peace.