The barely four years old 3rd millennium is proving to be one hell of a nightmare to peace-loving peoples around the world. For all dreamers of peace and harmony on planet earth, whether they are peaceniks, pacifists, environmentalists, globalists, human and animal rightists, labor activists, or just ordinary individuals longing and praying for world peace in the quiet of their homes, the bloody-trend of the new millennium has become a monumental disappointment, and, in fact, a betrayal. The harrowing image of blood and fire, so to speak, that seems to be dominating the face of the new millennium could hardly have factored into many people's imaginations as we joyously awaited the birth of a new millennium on New Year eve of 1999. Talk of a millennium surprise; the 3rd millennium seems to be serving it up to the world in a full-bloodied measure!
by David Asonye Ihenacho source: http://nigeriaworld.com
Watching the city of lights - Paris, dispatch the well-worn old millennium with brilliant fireworks on the midnight of December 31, 1999, while London Millennium Dome illuminated the heavens with glorious flames of hope for the new era, even as both the Washington Memorial in Washington District of Columbia and New York Times Square reciprocated with never-before-seen heavenly luminaries of their own, we had every reason to believe that the third millennium would bring greater hope and illumination to the world. But barely four years into the young millennium, we can no longer be sure whether our planet is headed to greater illumination or plunging deeper into darkness. Nearly everything happening in the world today is exactly what we had hoped and prayed would not happen again after leaving behind a tragedy, war and slavery-ravaged second millennium.
Even as we speak, the world has become far more divided, much bitter, more downcast and disillusioned than one has perhaps seen since the beginning of the Second World War. Every bloc seems pitted against the other -third world nations against the rich few nations, debtor nations against their creditors, Islamic world against Christian west, the so-called powerful nations against one another, and the rest of the world against America and America against the rest of the world. And forming some kind of an arch over the polarization and bitterness engulfing the world of today is a looming and potentially catastrophic war between Islam and Christianity. Some fanatics and fundamentalists seem to claim a divine mission to stage a cataclysmic confrontation between the two most dominant religions of the world.
However, the most telling development of today appears to be that many religious persons and organizations enamored by the strict, sentimental and non-intellectual lives of fundamentalists and fanatics appear to be abandoning their traditional services for peace to rally behind fundamentalist governments and militant movements around the world, which, on their part, are cleverly disguising the fact that they may be readying themselves and the world for a global war that they believe would hasten the end of the world and the arrival of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It appears as if some elements in the world have a tacit agenda to hurry a global Armageddon! The battle cry of the legions of fanatics and fundamentalists that are roaming our earth planet today seems to be: "Apocalypse now!"
But how did we arrive at where we are today? How did human faith and hope come crashing this early in a millennium whose arrival had been announced with a hope-filled fanfare? These are obviously some of the questions historians will have to grapple with for a long time to come. All one can say at this material moment is that immediately the third millennium officially took off, it appeared as if all the fragile barriers that held in check the venoms of hell against planet earth completely surrendered. Hence there were unleashed the vicious devils and dogs of war across the world. Since then blood has been flowing like a river on the surface of the planet. And peering far deeper into the horizon, there is absolutely no sign that this millennium that was so heralded and celebrated than any other in human history is preparing to rain down peace on the earth any time soon.
And why is this apparently so? Why is the third millennium not making any promises of peace-rain on earth? The answer seems simple enough. There is an overwhelming longing for Armageddon in the world. The feeling that Jesus has unnecessarily delayed his second coming to the world seems to have reached a fever pitch. As a result, some people tend to think that they can compel the quick return of Jesus to the earth, as they believe he is not likely to do so within a time frame that is soon enough for them.
In fact, we have arrived at an age in which many in the world are indeed fascinated by apocalypse and are investing enormously to bring it about in their own time. In our age of reality television, contemporary people seem completely fed up with fake Apocalypse and Armageddon produced by Hollywood moviemakers. They are desperately longing for a real Armageddon starring Jesus Christ the Son of God. Hence they are implicitly demanding the appearance in the here and now of their star reality actor, Jesus Christ, to begin what he is alleged to have "promised," namely, burn up the sinful planet earth in order to begin laying the foundation for "a new heaven and a new earth."
As every religion is largely reflective of the wishes and aspirations of its age, mainstream religions of our time are rapidly transforming into advocates and instruments for the staging of a real Armageddon. Many religions that had made respectable names with their peace-projects appear to be rapidly abandoning them to form coalitions dedicated to bringing about a quick Armageddon in the world. While many members of the famed religion of peace - Islam, appear to be coalescing and organizing around some habitually violent figures like Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida networks, their Christian counterparts whose forebears Jesus Christ had instructed to turn the other cheek and spread peace on the earth appear now to be rallying and organizing around some Armageddon-hungry religious fundamentalists of North America who have long been stockpiling dangerous weapons in the privacies of their homes in anticipation of an end-time Armageddon that they believe would soon engulf the earth.
The transition into what has fast become a distinctive character of the new millennium, namely, "waiting for the final Armageddon," seems to have taken many people by surprise. But it was not quite unexpected as such. While the roots of the threatening Armageddon seem clearly to lie in ancient grudges and religious doctrines, its volcanic eruption in the young millennium seems permanently tied to the ever-volatile situation in the Middle East. In the last decade of the second millennium, the 90's, the flood of blood and wrath in this most turbulent region of the world was effectively held in check by US President William Jefferson Clinton's hands-on approach to the near-hopeless situation. With his dedicated allies in Europe and Asia, Clinton succeeded in giving the aggrieved Palestinians something to hope for and look forward to in their quarter-of- a-century quest for an independent homeland and national identity.
At the end, President Clinton's hands-on approach did not accomplish much for the overly frustrated Palestinians. Hence, the collapse of his last-ditch effort at Camp David on the eve of his departure from the American presidency brought the frustration of the Palestinians to full circle. And with the collapse of the peace project, many frustrated Palestinians returned to their former ways of unleashing deadly terror in both trickles and droves against the Israelis. Many who had given up hope completely on the possibility of arriving at an acceptable settlement through whatever means possible chose to end their lives quickly by strapping themselves with deadly bombs to slaughter innocent Israelis wherever they could find them.
But all in all, the 90's remained a decade when many thought that humanity had the rational capacity and realistic chance to achieve negotiated peace that could allow our planet to enjoy a long season of tranquility. Even though there was lurking in the background a specter of terrorism represented by Osama bin Laden and his terror network known as al-qaida, terrorism of all sorts remained more of a nuisance to our great planet and her peoples. Notwithstanding the fact that every once in a while, terrorists did sneak in spectacular attacks in that decade, not many in the world believed that they had an agenda that could seize and dominate an era, as is happening today. So the world sailed on relatively with joy and a solid hope for a better and more peaceful future in the new millennium.
Then came the official beginning of the 3rd millennium, which coincided with the beginning of a new administration in the world-running United States of America. The new president's foreign policy agenda in the Middle East was a wait-and-see attitude rather than a hands-on approach of the decade of the Clinton presidency. So, the Palestinians, feeling abandoned by the US administration in their quest for justice, opted for a more dastardly approach in which they slaughtered innocent Israelis through suicide bombings that descended on Israel with a reckless abandon. In response, the Israelis chose to meet them halfway by installing an unforgiving and bloodthirsty prime minister called Ariel Sharon. And the world took one giant step closer to Armageddon!
As the Middle East boiled in innocent human blood mainly resulting from Palestinian suicide attacks on Israel and the subsequent merciless retaliations embarked upon by the Israeli Prime Minister Sharon's administration, anger exploded in the Arab world. Former sneaky terrorists like Osama bin Laden saw enlistments into their global terror networks balloon astronomically. And feeling emboldened with their large recruitments, bin Laden terrorists ratcheted up their efforts to carry their terror war right into the heart of the most powerful nation on the planet. And with President George W. Bush still learning how to run a rapidly changing world, coupled with his decision not to touch even with a long spoon whatever policy strategies the Clinton administration left behind, the bin Laden brigade of suicide terrorists saw an opening to deliver the deadliest blow ever on the contemporary world's only surviving superpower.
On that morning of September 11, 2001, a small band of about 19 al-Qaida terrorists seized four passenger airplanes and consciously flew them into the former twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York as well as the great fortification of the Pentagon in Washington D.C. The magnitude of the destruction caused by those incidents, not counting the gruesome sudden deaths of nearly 3000 innocent people, as well as the devastation they wrought on American psyche, prestige and standing in the world, remains largely incalculable till today. In one brief moment on one ominous day, Osama bin Laden's terrorists succeeded in displaying their version of Armageddon in the very heart of America. And since that day Christian fundamentalists and fanatics in North America have all but been demanding that similar Armageddon be spread throughout the Islamic world. They claim their mandate from their literal interpretation of the mosaic principle of tit for tat.
Shocked, embarrassed, humiliated and provoked beyond measure, President George W. Bush, who was until then still learning the ropes of the commander-in-chief of the world's most powerful army, vowed to track down the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 Armageddon and destroy them wherever they were hiding. As the hiding places for such elements were well known to be the mountain caves of Afghanistan, President Bush charged his mighty army towards the rogue nation that had been stolen by the allies of the bin Laden terrorists known as the Taliban. As was expected, the great army of the US overran the ragtag militia of the Taliban and their al-Qaida allies in a few quick days, seizing their governments and driving the remnants of their leaders into the treacherous caves of the region. The world cheered, cooperated and contributed forces and materials as the American president delivered on his promise to destroy completely terrorists' bases in the nation of Afghanistan.
With the job of defeating the terrorists of Afghanistan barely over, and brimming with confidence over the lightning quickness with which he had accomplished his task in that most treacherous and defiant region of the world, President Bush was psyched up. He needed more action to join the pantheon of American warrior presidents. Thereafter he set his eyes on a far greater global task, namely, a worldwide campaign to remake the world with the American brand of democracy and liberate planet earth from the increasing scourge of terrorism.
The three initial countries he had singled-out as prime suspects in international sponsorship of terrorism were North Korea, Iran and Iraq. In his State of the Union of address of February 2, 2002, President Bush described them as members of the "axis of evil" and vowed to upend their secretive governments with their illegal activities unless they opened up and cooperated fully with the wishes of the international community. The rest of the world watched nervously as the swaggering President Bush bolted on the post-9-11 era not only as the conqueror of the ragtag Taliban militia and their al-Qaida allies, but also, as a potential conqueror of all his arbitrarily-designated rogue nations of the world.
But in a very inexplicable way, the president decided that he would begin his anti-terrorism world campaign in Iraq. The world became anxious and somehow suspicious of his intentions. Reason being that Iraq was the least potentially dangerous of the three members of his "axis of evil." But President Bush was hell-bent on re-launching his global anti-terrorism campaign in that already hobbled nation. The earlier reason the president gave for wanting to invade Iraq had bordered on the Iraqi leadership's hiding of illegal weapons of mass destructions. But it did not seem to wash as the United Nations had both circumstantial and physical evidence to prove that it had destroyed more than 90% of the regime's known arsenal. That kind of undercut the president's initial reason for choosing Iraq as a place to begin staging his world-reshaping military campaigns. And when therefore that initial reason fell through, the president and his allies started to produce a flurry of others, which included Iraq's alleged harboring of terrorists as well as the need to transform Iraq into a democratic model for the rest of the Arab world.
However, as the president jumped from one reason to the other, the world's suspicion grew. Many suspected and alleged he was embarking on the Iraq campaign to seize the nation's vast oil resources both for his personal use and that of the powerful American oil companies such as Halliburton. Others claimed he was doing it to help the nation of Israel get rid of one of her staunchest enemies in the Arab world. Yet not a few believed that President Bush was determined to invade Iraq in order to actualize the vision of some of his neo-conservative advisers whose foreign policy philosophy was heavy on using America's superior military power to dominate the world. And many more people believed that the president was embarked on removing Saddam Hussein from power both to complete the work abandoned by his father, former President George Herbert Walker Bush, during the first Gulf War, and also to avenge an alleged attempt on the former president's life by the discredited regime of the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. Therefore many believed that the US president was about to embark on a personal vendetta, that he was planning to deploy the most powerful army in the world to prosecute a family feud.
As suspicion on the president's motives grew, the international coalition he needed to wage a justifiable war began to come apart. Many former allies of the US who had cheered and contributed troops to sack the terrorists-harboring regime of the Taliban in Afghanistan began to question openly the rationale for a new war in Iraq. Many leaders from all over the world including Pope John Paul II worried openly and cautioned against waging any war in Iraq without a clear international consensus. But the newly reformed-warrior president would not listen to anybody. He was determined to flex America's mighty muscle in the Arab world, as he said, to begin the process of transforming the region most inhospitable to the vision and principle of democracy into a democratic bastion.
But as the president showcased his single-minded determination to carry out an unpopular military campaign in Iraq, some of the nations and organizations that saw themselves as next in the president's hit-list after a lightning and successful Iraq campaign decided to make hey while the sun shone. The two other members of the president's "axis of evil," North Korea and Iran, sped up their efforts to acquire nuclear weapons in order to put a damper on the president's military adventurism. With a speed unlike the one experienced during the invasion of Afghanistan, North Korea rushed and armed herself completely with nuclear arsenal. Not to be outdone was Iran, which inched quickly closer towards acquiring her own nuclear arsenal. Today, the two nations do not seem intimidated again by the mighty military of the United States.
The most immediate fallout from the president's war-mission in Iraq was that it tended to offer al-Qaida terrorists organization a new lease of life. The terrorist brigade which had become dislodged in Afghanistan and made to seek refuge in caves and in private homes in tacit anonymity, and which as a consequence of the horrific nature of the events of 9-11, had almost become despised and ostracized throughout the world, including many Arab nations, began all over again to win some hearing and converts among Arab youth. Bin Laden's terrorists quickly found in the president's rhetoric some new recruitment propaganda to sell to the Arab streets. The president's misspeak in the emotionally-charged days following the events of 9-11, on the need to carry out a crusade against terrorism and terrorists everywhere in world, was quickly seized upon by al-Qaida and its allies in the Arab media to charge that the American president had launched a new Christian crusade against the Islamic world and its dominant religion.
But in a very inexplicable development, as al-Qaida and its media allies upped their crusade rhetoric against President Bush and his administration they seemed to have inadvertently aroused the Armageddon-hungry Christian fundamentalists of North America who came out in full force to support the president's intended worldwide military campaigns. Hiding behind the Star Spangled Banner and chanting hymns of patriotism, Christian fundamentalists of North America began to scour the Bible to seek some divine justification and mandate for the invasion the president decreed for Iraq. As event would later unfold, it appeared that the powerful forces of Christian fundamentalism were not just supporting the president because as a born-again Christian, he was one they could easily claim as their own, but that they had offered their support because they had their private interpretation of what the president was about to accomplish in Iraq and the Arab world in general.
In their literal interpretation of the scriptures, they believed that the president's conquest and destruction of Iraq would represent the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Book of Revelation on the destruction of biblical Babylon. Since the ancient kingdom of Babylon that is so despised in the Hebrew Scriptures for its destruction of the highly prized Temple of Jerusalem in 587 BC and its subsequent enslavement of the Jewish nation is in today's Iraq, some American fundamentalists, in their literal interpretation of the Book of Revelation believe that any punishment visited on the original land of Babylon and their present-day descendants would accord perfectly with the prophecy of the Book of Revelation. In their ignorance and hatred for scientific interpretations of the scriptures, the North American fundamentalists would not accept that the Book of Revelation does not intend to talk about the ancient Babylon of Iraq which had ceased to exist as a powerful kingdom when it was written, but rather it might be talking about the symbolic Babylon of its author's time which was most probably the rich, idolatrous, promiscuous and most influential city of the Great Roman Empire - Rome.
Also, some of the North American fundamentalists who rallied behind the president in the run-up to the Iraq war tended to believe that the destruction of the enemies of Israel like Iraq would firmly secure Israel and expedite the return of Jesus the Son of God who would in turn destroy the recalcitrant and unbelieving Jewish nation in an Armageddon-like battle that would precede the inauguration of the kingdom of God on earth. But once again, though some members of the fundamentalist movement of North America tend to put all their faith in a literal interpretation of the bible, it seems surprising that they would not realize that their doctrine in this regard has almost no biblical foundation. It seems whole and entire a fabrication based on alleged visions of end-time Armageddon and hell by some earlier leaders of the fundamentalist movement in North America during the heydays of anti-Semitism.
As it turned out, President George W. Bush rode into Iraq in defiance of many world leaders including Pope John Paul II, but with the solid home support generated mainly by the North American fundamentalists who were perhaps carrying an agenda different from that of the president. And since the middle of March 2003, the battle has raged on in Iraq. Many precious lives of young Americans and innocent Iraqis have continued to be wasted. Blood flows all over the ancient nation of Iraq today. There does not seem to be any end in sight. Ironically the campaign remains popular among average Americans especially among the fundamentalists.
The reason for the continuing popularity of the Iraq war in America is arguably not because of the clarity of its objectives. And neither is it because Americans have become immune to explosions, decapitated human bodies and fresh bloods flowing like a stream along the edges of Iraqi streets. In fact, there is hardly any belief on the streets today that Iraq can ever become a model democracy to any nation on the planet; neither do many people believe anymore that the conquest of that highly polarized country in anyway benefits the nation of Israel. Even Iraq's rich crude reserve, which some critics of the administration believed was the main reason for embarking on a costly war, and which on the other hand, some members of the administration hoped on to offset the enormous cost of the war, has all but become a pipe dream and a wasted investment.
From all perspectives the Iraq war has become a monumental disappointment. But it ironically retains its base support in mainland America. It seems reasonable to suggest that the only reason why the costly war in Iraq has remained quite popular in North America is because of its religious interpretation among Christian fundamentalists. For them it is the wish of the bible that Babylon be punished for its present and historical crimes; that unbelievers be pounded to submission and perhaps enslaved or proselytized for their salvation, and that the Jewish nation of Israel be prepared like a sacrificial lamb for its final holocaust in the imminent Armageddon!
Great credit though, must be given to President Bush and his ingenious political machinery for riding the wave of the fundamentalists' support for the Iraq war campaign into a resounding re-election victory. But our prayer is that after his inauguration he keeps in mind the dire consequences of the type of theology being propagated by Christian fundamentalism in North America, which benefited him in both the Iraq war campaign and in his re-election bid. A theology that sees the innocent blood being spilled in Iraq as willed by God and in accord with the bible is absolutely unaffordable in the new millennium. Moreover, a doctrine that preaches that the Jewish nation of Israel that has seen quite a lot of tragedy in its history is being prepared yet again for another Armageddon-like holocaust seems to have a future genocide written all over it!
Most important, people of North America and the rest of the world must be concerned about the type of an agenda the Christian fundamentalists and their counterparts of the camp of Islamic fanaticism are bringing upon the young millennium. Both of these groups seem to have a tacitly worked-out program to force a premature in breaking of Armageddon in the world. They seem to be going about their projects with incredible wisdom and deceit. And with such a ploy they are able to woo and gather together many unsuspecting individuals and camps into their millennial apocalyptic projects. Consider the ingenuity with which the North American fundamentalists pulled off their greatest feat ever by recruiting their former nemesis, the conservative Catholics, in good time for the Iraq war and for the re-election of President Bush.
First, they wrapped themselves with the pro-life cloak. Of course the worldwide Catholic Church is "unambiguously pro-life" to use the famous statement of the late archbishop of New York, John Cardinal O'Connor. But the North American fundamentalists group is not "unambiguously pro-life." It believes in death penalty, not just death penalty in very, very rare situation where it is understood that a state could exercise some legitimate right to take the life of some one who has destroyed lives and posed real threat to life and property, and who would, if let out or left living, continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Rather, the North American Christian fundamentalists believe in death penalty even when the system that delivers people to their deaths has proven to be less than watertight and reliable as to preclude the deaths of innocent people. But the North American fundamentalists do not mind that the innocent may die for a crime he/she did not commit. They simply insist on death penalty because they believe that it has a biblical root. Such a position would be utterly abhorrent to a traditional Catholic.
But all that notwithstanding, the North American fundamentalists were able to robe in some conservative Catholics into their notion of pro-life, which they had cleverly narrowed down to anti-abortion. For them, the whole scope of pro-life is limited to anti-abortion, period. Of course, true Catholics, whether conservatives or liberal, must accept that abortion is intrinsically evil. But what organized governments should do about the evil of abortion is another matter, altogether. This seems to be where there is a major disagreement. Some conservative Catholics believe that a Catholic politician must reflect his or her faith in the evilness of abortion in any legislation or action he/she participates in or cooperates with. But many others do not see the matter as that simple. Such people insist that there are many processes and factors that go into the making or implementation of any legislation to the extent that it is almost impossible for any politician actively involved with government affairs to satisfy all the requirements of his/her individual religious faith.
But in real life, for Catholics of all sheds of opinion, the notion of pro-life must expand to include anti-death penalty, anti-racism, anti-unjust war that kills innocent civilians, anti-government actions that impose hardships on the poor. Catholic pro-lifers are not just anti this or that. They must be pro-poor people, pro- fair wages, pro-women, pro-workers, pro-racial equality, pro-government's assistance to the poor, etc. This seems what the Catholic Church means by claiming non-ambiguity in pro-life.
Unfortunately, in none of these do many North American fundamentalists see eye-to-eye with conservative Catholics. The fundamentalists are pro-war, pro-death penalty, pro-gun, anti-immigration, and at best, indifferent to racial issues. In fact, some of them are downright racists. A great majority of them are bigoted whites that insist on unadulterated purity of the white race. Most fundamentalists stock up dangerous weapons in their homes with a longing for in breaking Armageddon in which unbelievers would be massacred to inaugurate God's kingdom of justice and goodness. In other words, their notion of God's kingdom on earth seems based on massacre, genocide, injustice and racial domination. But to cover up their tracks so as to win the support of many in the larger society, they usually fly only one banner publicly. They usually present their public persona as pro-life, pro-family, pro-public prayer, etc.
But despite their stark differences with the traditional doctrine of the Catholic Church, the North American fundamentalists were able to convince many of their conservative Catholic counterparts to embrace their abbreviated notion of pro-life. Hence, for many conservative Catholics in the new millennium, pro-life equals anti-abortion, period. All credit for this breakthrough goes to the power of the fundamentalist movement in North America. In the last few years, they have made a tremendous headway in recruiting and gathering their Armageddon army even from the strangest of places, like the Catholic Church, whose doctrines they pooh-pooh and whose leadership at all levels they despise.
However, I think the great feat ever recorded by the North American fundamentalists in this new millennium was to push some respected Catholic leaders into embracing and propagating their shortened notion of pro-life. Over the last few years some conservative Church leaders in North America have all but abandoned the Catholic Church's traditional teaching on pro-life issues that was best summarized by the late Cardinal O'Connor of New York: the Catholic Church must be unambiguously pro-life. Of late, the whole focus has become solely on abortion. In this abbreviated notion, once one supported anti-abortion movements, even if one knowingly bombed a market square killing all the innocent people there, he/she would remain a bona fide pro-lifer!
And while vehemently condemning politicians who are struggling to reconcile their support for choice abortion with tacitly prohibitive pro-life doctrines they embrace in their Catholic faith, some conservative Christian leaders willingly cooperate with and encourage governments and politicians who sabotage Catholic pro-life teachings through indiscriminate executions of death row inmates, unjust wars that kill innocent children of God, indifference to racial matters, etc. All those other situations in which the lives of innocent children of God are or could be destroyed through contrived actions of governments and politicians have almost ceased to attract the attention of some of the so-called pro-life leaders of the Catholic Church. When last did you hear a Catholic Church leader preach against death penalty or unjust bombings of innocent civilians? Those things hardly matter any more in the Catholic pro-life movements of North America!
The usual excuse of such Christian leaders is that abortion is a primary/core and absolute evil that heartlessly snuffs off the life of an innocent unborn. Therefore it must be addressed primarily and almost exclusively. But such leaders also purposely tend to play down the fact that their statement equally applied to almost every other case and situation in which the life of an innocent human being is destroyed or gravely threatened. The taking of the life of an innocent human being in every situation must be treated as a core and absolute evil that must be primarily and exclusively addressed and condemned.
Perhaps indicating how far those religious leaders might have gone in truncating and compromising traditional teachings on pro-life, some of them go out of their way to teach their congregations that in making non-morally binding choices like in politics, they could choose what they describe as "the lesser of two evils." That is to say, in a political situation, say, in an election, they usually taught their followers to treat an anti-abortion candidate as the lesser of two evils over the other candidates who might publicly allow choice abortion. Even if the latter candidates were to have other traditional pro-life credentials over the anti-abortion candidate such as anti-death penalty, anti-unjust war that kills innocent people, anti-poverty, etc., these leaders usually groomed their subjects to discount such other qualifications since they would not be adequate for a true pro-life title. For them what counted for a true pro-life position were anti-abortion, nothing more, and nothing less!
In our view this is a classic North American fundamentalist approach to moral issues. These fundamentalists love to politicize moral matters, reducing complex moral questions to political slogans for an effective election campaign use. And this shows how powerful and effective Christian fundamentalism has become even in the Catholic Church of North America. They have succeeded in getting some Catholic leaders to adopt their terribly distorted teachings on pro-life. In our view, this is halfway towards enlisting such leaders as commanders in the fundamentalist Armageddon army.
More important, the fundamentalists have persuaded some of those religious leaders to mandate moral choices where there should be apparently none. Usually, when options available are all evil, there are no moral choices for a free moral person. In a non-constraining situation when all you could choose from are all evil then you should not choose if you don't have to. What we were taught in our school days was: choose no evil, period. We were told to consider choosing a lesser evil only when we found ourselves in a situation of a dilemma or double effect and are obligated to choose. That is a situation in which whatever we choose, something evil would likely become the outcome. In such a situation, the option to choose a lesser evil becomes somehow appealing. But it can only happen when you must choose and the options available are weighted as evil.
But such a situation of acute dilemma hardly exists in any true democratic election. Voting for a candidate is not a matter of double effect! When the options available are all evil in the sense that the candidates canvassing for people's support have one way or the other compromised the life of an innocent human being, one cannot easily see where there is a lesser-evil-choice there for a truly moral person. Perhaps the best choice for a truly Christian voter would be not to vote at all. This is because whichever one chooses in such a situation one is not choosing a lesser evil because there is none available. What exists in the taking of the life of every innocent human being is an absolute evil that is in no way lesser. When one chooses a candidate who has in any conceivable way cooperated in the taking of innocent human life, one cannot be said to have chosen a lesser evil. Unfortunately some present-day religious leaders in North America teach their flocks the terribly distorted doctrine that there can be a lesser evil between the taking of an innocent life through legislative abortion and death penalty in a flawed legal system or unjust war campaign. This, in our view, is nothing short of a clear victory for fundamentalist reductionism right inside the heart of the Catholic Church!
The bottom line to all is that the North American fundamentalists seem to be drawing their supports from all segments of the human society. Their interest is to continue to narrow these individuals' visions of reality and moral principles in order to finally enlist them in their armies for the imminent Armageddon on planet earth. Unless people wise up, the Christian fundamentalists will continue to build their army for a final assault on people who do not share their faith and vision of the universe. As it were, nothing would guarantee more satisfaction to these fundamentalists than to organize the world's Christians into one large battering army that would roam the face of planet earth invading and subjugating all the "fanatical" and "unbelieving" Islamic Arab nations so as to bring them into the Christian fold in real time for the second coming of Jesus Christ the Son of God. And this seems to be clearly their goal in the frenzied post-9-11 era.
On the opposite side of the spectrum are the counterparts of North American fundamentalists - the Islamic fundamentalists and fanatics. As a result of the US military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the deteriorating situation of the Palestinians, Islamic fundamentalists and fanatics are embarked on massive recruitments all around the Arab world. And nothing could prove more rewarding to them than the opportunity to employ their large army to unleash a world-blanketing Jihad that would bring the "infidel" and "promiscuous" Christian west under the overwhelming authority of their mullahs, emirs and shariah law. It does not need a crystal ball to tell that a jihad of such a magnitude is a part of their intention for the new millennium.
So, while North American fundamentalists are getting ready for an end-time Armageddon, Islamic fanatics are readying themselves for a worldwide Jihad. A collision is brewing. Something will ultimately have to give. And this is the dilemma that faces the new millennium: how to contain and douse the ferocious fire of these two powerful forces that have the intention and capability to plunge planet earth into an unending religious war. Especially disturbing is the fact that the upsurge in recruitments by these camps since the beginning of the 3rd millennium seems to be pushing further wide the already widened gap between Islam and Christianity. The moderate voices that used to straddle this gap and communicate across the borderlines are disappearing like snow on a warm sunny day. Those moderate voices are being replaced or drowned out by the ever-ballooning and boisterous armies of fundamentalists and fanatics from Islam and Christianity.
Unfortunately for the new millennium, these large gatherings of fanatics and fundamentalists cannot talk and cannot dialogue. They know only how to prepare for an end-time Armageddon and a worldwide Jihad. And this is absolutely dangerous. A clash is brewing. It is not that of civilizations. Conservative ideologues of North America have been wasting the last three years since 9-11 selling a hollow theory of a clash of civilizations to explain the deteriorating relationship between popular Islam and popular Christianity. But they know in their heart of hearts that what is happening is not a clash of civilizations. It is rather a clash of fundamentalists and fanatics of one religion against their counterparts of the other religion. Established Islam and Christianity seem to have been pushed aside and their popular fringes have arisen to steer the world into a monumental religious confrontation. The worldwide Christian fundamentalists led by their North American wing seem to be headed for a deadly head-on-collision with their Islamic counterparts. And the only hope the new millennium has is to find a way to head off this on-coming collision that could result in a world-ending Armageddon!
Goodbye and let there be peace on earth
by David Asonye Ihenacho