Friday, June 17, 2005

When the East Belonged to Christ

When I was a boy, my mother circulated these prayer cards in house and presumably she got them from our local parish. Emblazoned on these prayer cards stood prominently the visage and gilded form of Our Blessed Mother who entreated us in small script on the bottom: “Pray for the Conversion of Russia.” The inner critic scoffed at such a ridiculous idea, that the heathen hordes of the Soviet juggernaut could be won over by feebly mumbled prayers spoken in darkness with the dim candlelight to guide it. Yet lo and behold, in my lifetime, before I reached manhood, the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union joined its rightful place with the rest of the Baals on the ash heap of history.

I consider such a sentiment today when we confront the Muslim in our clash of civilization. In our interdependent world, we often cut ourselves on Islam’s bloody borders.

The “I Hate America” crowd, Islamists and their European and American allies equate our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan to the Crusades. Their memory selects the Crusades, a brief time in which chivalric knights sought to liberate the Holy Land from the Saracen yoke to the fourteen century jihad bent on world domination.

But in their myopia, these nipping dogs forget a time when the Orient belonged to Christ.

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