CNN recently offered a six-hour, three-session program put together by its top foreign Correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, entitled "God's Warriors." Her three classifications of "warriors" were the Jews, Muslims, and Christians, one session devoted to each group, beginning with the Jews, then the Muslims, and, finally, the Christians. It was well-done, not least because Amanpour simply let people speak for themselves, with a sprinkling of explanations by "experts," and did not directly editorialize.
Amanpour and her prosperous family lived in Iran in 1979 when Khomeini returned and usurped power from the Shah, forcing them to become instant refugees. Half-Iranian (Iranian father, British mother), from age 11 she was educated in England in two all-girl Catholic schools, and her Jewish husband, James Rubin, was a member of the Clinton administration. Later in 1979, the Shah grabbed 52 Americans (actually more, but he let the African Americans go), and held them for 14 months until the day Reagan was inaugurated.
Amanpour touched on American aid to the Jews in the first program, but mentioned mostly just some Florida charismatic types, other than the government. She didn't spare either the Jews or the Islamics with respect to terrorism, was accurate about the wars of 1967 and 1973, and took the trouble to show the differences in the way women feel in both groups, including those in this country. She let the Jews speak for themselves with regard to their security and ownership of the region, and the Muslims explain their claims about the same.
The most chilling thing was her statistical approach relative to the thinking of first or second generation Muslims in this country. They are much more devout to Islam than their parents, are almost obsessed with modesty, absolutely will not touch alcohol, and – most remarkable – have feelings much like those of the young Moslems in London…jihad certainly a possibility, meaning that Muslim cells do not have to be made up of immigrants, but can be (and probably already are) home-grown.
The figures that Amanpour used came from a recent Pew Poll, I believe, and included that 13% of all Muslims in the U.S. think that suicide bombing is okay under the proper circumstances, but that the figure among Muslims age 18-29 is 26%. That is scary. Praying five times a day is quite important to them, and the wearing of the headgear for the women is their "societal jihad" in the sense that they are risking the belligerence and ridicule that this habit invites.
The Pew instrument has many tables and goes into the demographics, including the ones that relate to other countries and the contrasts/agreements held by Muslims toward such things as al Quaeda, voting, how they vote (preponderantly democrat in this country). An interesting statistic is that 43% of Muslims believe political views should be expressed in the mosques. Also, Muslims believing that the government should protect morality stands at 59% and 61%, respectively, for all Muslims and those between 18 and 29. So much for their view of church and state.
The fact that there is work in this country for everyone (contrasted with idleness, a terrible problem in France, England, and Germany leading, allegedly, to societal disruption by young Muslims) should militate against the indigenous suicide-bombers, who it seems should be content to just live and let live, so there's obviously something at work here besides the tired excuse used in ethnic groups involving people who just don't want to work. Jihad is alive and well, even among the affluent/educated, as was remarked most recently in the terrorist activities staged by doctors in England.
The final installment of "God's Warriors" was interesting, especially as it provided a look from outside both the U.S. and U.S. Christendom, although Amanpour was college-educated at the University of Rhode Island and began her TV career in this country in the early 80s. In her interview with former president Carter, she was nice enough – though she mentioned it in the program elsewhere – not to ask why he allowed the Americans to languish in 1979-81.
Carter misspoke when he said that folks who would not sign, or perhaps sign on, to a creed could not be pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention, since SBC churches are autonomous and can do what they like, as can their pastors. She let Carter explain why he had to split with the SBC – the fundamentalism thing. He's a liberal, approving of same-sex unions, for instance, anathema to most Baptists. Perhaps his most interesting comment came in the first installment when Amanpour asked why this country so avidly supported Israel. He said it was because any congressperson who voted against such support would automatically give up his/her seat.
Amanpour apparently thought God's warriors in this country, on the basis of the attention allotted, belonged strictly to white evangelicals. Not even one black representative of any denomination appeared in the program, nor did any representative of the "mainline" denominations, generally those belonging to the National Council of Churches of Christ. She paid no attention to Catholics, thus not counting them among the "warriors," though she mentioned their agreement with the evangelicals and Mormons with respect to abortion.
She spent a lot of time with Falwell (just a week before his death), as well as the dean of the Liberty University Law School, and prominently featured conservatives John Hagee, Rick Scarborough, Russell Johnson and Ron Luce. Those evangelicals pushing for the political correctness agenda were Greg Boyd, Minnesota pastor and the apologist for the homosexual agenda (levels of sin his thing), and Richard Cizik, National Association of Evangelicals political director, who is caught up in the global warming thing.
The consensus seems to be that Hagee's support for Israel has to do with his insistence that we have to help God set the stage for the battle of Armageddon and the second coming of Christ. It would have been expected that Amanpour would have mentioned that Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who helped throw her prosperous family out of Iran, is setting the stage in Iran for the second coming of the "missing imam," and drawn the obvious comparison. She didn't, but Hagee volunteered that this is not his position, only that the Bible says Israel must be protected and maintained, thus his huge ministry in Israel's behalf.
Amanpour confined the last program to "warriors" as they impact this country. This was surprising, since she had the golden opportunity to drag in the Crusades and nail the U.S. as a Christian nation going around the world doing harm. Instead, she let her interviewees declaim about "God in the marketplace," "God in the government," "God and the culture," "God in the schools" (or out, depending on the view), etc. She interviewed home-schoolers and recorded the San Francisco activity of the group "Battle Cry," part of Ron Luce's Teen Mania Ministries. It was the homosexual/lesbian/transgender/transsexual/cross-dressing/fornication crowd against a bunch of kids standing for everything 180 degrees opposite.
On balance, it seems that Amanpour might have paid a bit more attention to the "mainliners," and perhaps she tried but simply found that no sizeable number of "warriors" actively agitating for urging the citizenry to live and vote according to scriptural dictates existed in that venue. The conservatives vastly out numbered the moderates/liberals in her presentation, and seemed to comprise her opinion of who the "Christian warriors" are.
And so it goes.