The Gospel Truth

Obama Agonistes | December 21, 2015

President Obama fancies himself a man of superior intellect and profound introspection. In reality an opaque inability to clearly detail one’s thinking is a poor excuse for profundity.

The president struggles to explain things because his mind-set in stuck in a worldview that has been discredited by several generations of history.

This has been especially true of America’s failure to successfully address the terrorist threat that has penetrated our porous borders and catapulted over our feckless defenses.

Though it would have been more appropriate for him to have waited another day, the president explained his strategy…again… in a short speech that few people watched on December 6th,

In a post-speech essay for the WSJ, columnist Bret Stephen assumed the unenviable task of trying to fathom the inscrutable mind of Barack Obama.

Stephens christened his article: Fighting Terror by Self-Reproach

A few excerpts serve as a synopsis of his findings.

He does not make a case; he preaches a moral.  He mistakes repetition for persuasion. He does not struggle with the direction, details or trade-offs of policy because he’s figured them all out.

His policies never fail; it is our patience that he finds wanting…It is for us to see what has long been obvious to him, like an exasperated teacher explaining simple concepts to a classroom full of morons.

Obama’s steadfast denial of any connection with anyone or thing related Islam is curious, if only for its close-minded ignorance of the facts, staring him right in the eye.

His concrete stance does not answer any questions but does raise a litany of such that beg for answers since our national survival might depend upon it.

The President’s struggles don’t resemble anything that would favor the country but revolve around his self-image and his twisted perception of a historical legacy.

Just what is Obama’s deep felt connection with Islam?  Is it strictly political or do the waters of influence run much deeper?

He shows no such affiliation or interest in any other religious minority.  In truth he has shown a deep-seated disdain for all religious, save Islam.  I think he would even throw feminists, unions and homosexuals under the proverbial bus than he would any one Muslim.

Despite all of the above the American people, including millions of Republicans remain pathologically uncurious about this mysterious religion that has the heart of a faith and the soul of a politician.

Obama can share real blame.

George W, Bush’s ill-fated attempt to force democracy on Iraq is symptomatic of a blatant ignorance that undermines all our Middle Eastern policies.  We should never have removed Saddam Hussein, nor any of the other buffer dictators that we once allowed to rule their people, albeit it with a bloody hand.

Look what their removal has wrought! Nothing less than international movement to accelerate a religious Apocalypse.

Obama finished the job by tearing after all the remaining dictators in North Africa so that the violent strain of Muslim Jihad is streaking through a good part of the world.

The front pages of our newspapers chronicle progress that may soon rival that of Islam in the 7th-8th centuries when its warriors were knocking on the gates of Paris.

Another important question no one asks is just what is radical Islam?

It prompts its own corollary as well. How can we win a war if we are not certain of who or what is our enemy?

A good place to start would be with the difference between Sunni and Shia.

Both Sunni and Shia Muslims share the most fundamental Islamic beliefs and articles of faith. The differences between these two main sub-groups within Islam initially stemmed not from spiritual differences, but political ones. Over the centuries, however, these political differences have spawned a number of varying practices and positions, which have come to carry a spiritual significance.

In the Middle East a potent mixture of religion and politics has sharpened the divide between Iran’s Shia government and the Gulf States, which have Sunni governments.

The Sunni-Shiite split is rooted in the question of who should succeed the Prophet Muhammad in leading Muslims after his death in 632.

Shiites say the prophet’s cousin and son-in-law, Ali, was his rightful successor but he was cheated when authority went to those the Sunnis call the four “Rightfully Guided Caliphs” — Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman and, finally, Ali.

Sunnis are the majority across the Islamic world. In the Middle East, Shiites have strong majorities in Iran, Iraq and Bahrain, with significant communities in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other parts of the Gulf.

More recently radical Islam has emanated from at least two identifiable sources— Wahhabism and the writings of Sayyid Qutb.

Wahhabism is a religious movement or branch of Sunni Islam. It has been variously described as “orthodox”, “ultraconservative”,” austere”, “fundamentalist”, “puritanical” and as an Islamic “reform movement” to restore “pure monotheistic worship” by scholars and advocates. It is named after an eighteenth-century preacher and scholar, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792).

He started a revivalist movement in the remote, sparsely populated region of Najd, advocating a purging of practices such as the popular “cult of saints”, and shrine and tomb visitation, widespread among Muslims, but which he considered idolatry, impurities and innovations in Islam. Wahhabis, aspire to “assimilate with the beliefs of the early Sunni Muslims”, specifically the first three generations known as the Salaf.

Sayyid Qutb picked up their mantle in the 1950s.   Born in 1906 he was an Egyptian author, educator, Islamic theorist, poet, and the leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1966 he was convicted of plotting the assassination of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and was hanged.

During most of his life, Qutb’s inner circle mainly consisted of influential politicians, intellectuals, poets and literary figures, both of his age and of the preceding generation. By the mid-1940s, many of his writings were officially among the curricula of schools, colleges and universities.

Even though most of his observations and criticism were leveled at the Muslim world, Qutb is also known for his intense disapproval of the society and culture of the United States.

During a sojourn to the United States, ostensibly to study Western culture, Qutb was scandalized by the low social mores of the American people, especially its women. Over two years, he worked and studied at Wilson Teachers’ College in Washington, D.C. (one of the precursors to today’s University of the District of Columbia), Colorado State College for Education in Greeley, and Stanford University. He visited the major cities of the United States and spent time in Europe on his journey home.

On his return to Egypt, Qutb published The America that I Have Seen. He was critical of American abject materialism, individual freedoms, economic system, racism, brutal boxing matches, “poor” haircuts, superficiality in conversations and friendships, restrictions on divorce, enthusiasm for sports, lack of artistic feeling, “animal-like” mixing of the sexes (which “went on even in churches”), and strong support for the new Israeli state.

During a sojourn to the United States, ostensibly to study Western culture, Qutb was scandalized by the low social mores of the American people, especially its women. Over two years, he worked and studied at Wilson Teachers’ College in Washington, D.C. (one of the precursors to today’s University of the District of Columbia), Colorado State College for Education in Greeley, and Stanford University. He visited the major cities of the United States and spent time in Europe on his journey home.

On his return to Egypt, Qutb published The America that I Have Seen. He was critical of American abject materialism, individual freedoms, economic system, racism, brutal boxing matches, “poor” haircuts, superficiality in conversations and friendships, restrictions on divorce, enthusiasm for sports, lack of artistic feeling, “animal-like” mixing of the sexes (which “went on even in churches”), and strong support for the new Israeli state.

This American experience was for him a fine-tuning of his Islamic identity. He himself tells us on his boat trip over.

Should I travel to America, and become flimsy, and ordinary, like those who are satisfied with idle talk and sleep. Or should I distinguish myself with values and spirit. Is there other than Islam that I should be steadfast to in its character and hold on to its instructions, in this life amidst deviant chaos, and the endless means of satisfying animalistic desires, pleasures, and awful sins? I wanted to be the latter man.

Qutb noted with disapproval the sexuality of American women:

The American girl is well acquainted with her body’s seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs—and she shows all this and does not hide it.

His experience in the U.S. is believed to have formed in part the impetus for his rejection of Western values and his move towards Islamism upon returning to Egypt. Resigning from the civil service, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1950s and became editor,

It is Qutb’s puritanical thinking that is housed within Moslem law or the Sharia, which would see the world as a Muslim Theocracy.

As a legal system, the Sharia law covers a very wide range of topics. While other legal codes deal primarily with public behavior, Sharia law covers public behavior, private behavior and private beliefs. Of all legal systems in the world today, Islam’s Sharia law is the most intrusive and strict, especially against women.

Whether radical jihadists do this by the barrel of a cut, the blade of a knife or a baby’s cradle this is the threat that looms largely over the world horizon.

As a member of the Muslim faith in Indonesia during his adolescent, surely Obama knows all these facts. Is this what explains his struggle to communicate his thinking to us? Or is it something even deeper and perhaps more sinister?

 

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2 Comments »

  1. I think your last paragraph sum’s Obama up!!!

    Comment by mary jo sanchez — December 24, 2015 @ 5:16 am

  2. The puzzle lies not so much in Obama’s mindset or upbringing, but rests with the addled American electorate that astonishingly voted him into office. Twice

    Comment by Joe Crowley — December 31, 2015 @ 1:59 am


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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