Fasting Against America

Ed. (Jacobse) The religious left is at it again. | Mark D. Tooley | July 31, 2007

Muslim Groups in the U.S. have joined with left-wing Protestants and Catholics in planning an “interfaith fast” on the upcoming “day officially known as ‘Columbus Day,’” according to fast organizers. Called “From Conquest to Community, From Violence to Reverence: An Interfaith Fast to End the War in Iraq,” the day of October 8, 2007 will conveniently synchronize with Islam’s “Night of Power” during Ramadan.

The fasters include officials from the Islamic Society of North America, the National Council of Churches, the Council on American Islamic Relations, the Catholic Maryknollers, Sojourners, the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, and the Quaker Fellowship of Reconciliation.

What better way to draw religionists together than to transforming the sinister day of conquest formerly known as Columbus Day into a Ramadan fast devoted to opposing American imperialism?!

The interfaith fasters are calling on “all armed forces and militias to ‘fast’ from killing at least for one day, reminding them that Ramadan calls for a fast from violence as well.” They also want to exploit the fast so as to “educate people in our religious communities about electing a president and representatives who are committed to ending this war.”

It’s nice that al Qaeda and other insurgents in Iraq are also invited to join the interfaith fast. Maybe there will be a spontaneous Ramadan soccer game among all the contending parties in Iraq, as during the famously unofficial Christmas Truce between British and German troops in World War I.

“American culture, society, and policy are addicted to violence at home and overseas,” the interfaith fasters explained. “In our time, the hope of a decent future is endangered by an unnecessary, morally abhorrent, and disastrous war. Ending this war can become the first step toward a policy that embodies a deeper, broader sense of generosity and community at home and in the world.”

The interfaith fasters hope to “end the shattering of Iraqi and American lives by offering American generosity and support – but not control – for international and nongovernmental efforts to assist Iraqis in making peace and rebuilding their country, while swiftly and safely bringing home all American troops.”

Calling upon a long religious tradition of abstaining from food for spiritual purposes, the interfaith fasters cited the Prophet Isaiah, Jesus, Gandhi and Cesar Chavez as potent fasters who “changed the course of history.” Strangely, Muhammad is not specifically mentioned in the litany of admirable fasters. Perhaps his own record as a military conqueror makes his inclusion slightly inappropriate on a day meant, in part, to bemoan Christopher Columbus’s “conquest” of America, not to mention modern America’s “conquest” of Iraq.

The interfaith fasters want to condemn all conquest and war. Their underlying assumption is, of course, that the presence of United States forces in Iraq is the sole cause of war there. The departure of U.S. forces will automatically precipitate peace in Iraq, they seem to assume, in an assumption common throughout the Religious Left.

“Today we call for an end to this war, an end to our reliance on violence as the first, rather than the last resort, an end to the arrogant unilateralism of preemptive war,” typically insisted a recent declaration from the 1.1 million member United Church of Christ. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) also recently pronounced that it is, “conscientiously opposing the war in Iraq as an action inconsistent with the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.”

What the Religious Left is denouncing and fasting against is in fact not the war in Iraq per se, but only U.S. participation in that war. These indignant prelates prefer to assume that the war as a whole can be turned off like a car ignition, as soon as the American President decides, or Congress forces him to do so. To acknowledge that the war in Iraq would continue, or expand, absent U.S. participation would be to admit that the U.S. presence is not exclusively responsible for the conflict. For the Religious Left, this admission is unacceptable.

These interfaith fasters have suitably targeted Columbus Day for their time of protest. America’s discovery by the European adventurer marks the start of cultural genocide and Western imperialism, in the minds of Religious Left activists. For them, the Iraq War is simply the latest sinister episode in four centuries of Western and America, aggression, for which Christianity is ultimately responsible.

The interfaith fasters and their various Religious Left allies have little genuine interest in ending the war in Iraq or in the welfare of Iraq’s people. They were not concerned about Iraqi suffering under Saddam Hussein, except as victims of U.S.-supported sanctions. And the interfaith fasters will have no interest in Iraqi suffering under an Islamist regime or under an expansive civil war, if the U.S. does as the Religious Left desires and departs Iraq precipitously.

For the Religious Left, the war in Iraq is an urgent cause only because the United States is the perceived villain. And for the Religious Left, reflexively opposing the United States, wherever it is active, is a theological and cosmological imperative.


2 thoughts on “Fasting Against America”

  1. This fast must be seen as an exploitation of faith based on a one-sided, ideologically slanted reading of history.

    Years ago, I read Kirkpatrick Sale’s book. “The Conquest of Paradise

    Kirkpatrick’s thesis in a nutshell is that when Columbus landed on that small Caribbean isle, he found a place that was strikingly similar to descriptions of Christianity’s own Garden of Eden. Gentle natives living peacefully in harmony with nature in a lush tropical paradise, as innocent and simple as children, wearing no clothes, sharing their food with others. Because the Europeans were a spiritually sick people, argues Sale, not only could they not appreciate the beauty of the gentle natives, but driven by hate, greed and fear they embarked immediately on a campaign of rape, plunder and genocide against them, wiping out the people and turning their island into a barren desert.

    Reading that who wouldn’t want to fast and pray?

    However, as always the actual truth is a little more complex. While it is undoubtedly true the the European settlers committed very many atrocities against the natives, the natives themselves were not all that gentle. The Aztecs and Mayans practiced human sacrifice and kept slaves. The various North American tribes warred against each other continually, killing each other without remorse. They eagerly took sides during the French and Indian wars and massacred the colonial settlers in the most bloodthirsty manner imaginable.

    So evil reaaly has no political or ethnic affiliation and fasting as an act of spiritual cleansing against Columbus and all the modern day fascism/racism/imperialism he is supposed to represent, is not really a spiritual act at all but a political act. It’s an act of self-delusion because what it says that there are good people and are the bad people, and let’s pat ourselves on the back for being the former.

    It would be more beneficial to fast and pray for delivery from all evil whatever its source, but most importantly as a spiritual atonement for our own.

  2. Not to mention that by calling attention to their act of fasting, they have already received their reward. Jesus tells us not to call attention to our fasts.

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