The Heritage Foundation Joseph Loconte
The response to the terrorist attacks in London last week suggests something about the soul of Western democracies.
Political leaders in Britain and the United States have repeated their resolve to defeat the strategic threat of radical Islam. Politicians understand the potential to wreak havoc on civilian populations with the world’s deadliest weapons. But many religious figures in the West seem reluctant to confront the ambitions of Osama bin Laden and his allies.
Of course, we expect church leaders to offer their prayers and condolences in times of suffering, and such prayers were graciously offered. Yet I can’t help thinking that we expect something more: Those who are attentive to things of the spirit should speak, with clarity and force, about the existential threat these attacks represent.
Instead, we hear wishful words of sweetness and light. A coalition of churches in Britain has announced its desire “to grow together in mutual understanding.” The World Council of Churches reaffirms its “commitment to building a just and peaceful world.” Frank Griswold, bishop of the Episcopal Church in America, says we must “overcome the fears and hatreds that divide us.” And Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, challenges all religious communities “to pursue peace in a thousand ways.”
What does any of this have to do with an enemy sworn to destroying the foundations of civilized life? And where is the moral vision to defeat it?