Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tuesdays With Mortality

We've been inspired by the news that Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama is a "student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas," whose views he consults when running the Presidential Index Finger down his kill list. This image was planted to portray President Obama as a “a steely commander who pursues the enemy without flinching,” yet still elegantly balancing his martial prowess by means of cerebral tête-à-têtes with comparably-gifted lightworkers from the Church’s history.

That all America didn’t react to all this with a great national vomiting shows just how conditioned we’ve gotten to the media’s most ludicrous claims about The One. That, or only 3% of us actually pay attention to news. Of course, then there’s always that double standard. President George W. Bush once made the political error of stating that he prayed for guidance as commander-in-chief, and it was three years before the New York Review of Books worked through the backlog of hysterical titles about America’s descent into a theocracy.

Not that I’m sorry about any of the guys Obama has ordered blown up, except on the sole ground that killing them deprives us of invaluable intelligence we would have if we captured them instead. There’s no room in the Obama strategy for that, thanks to his directives that American interrogation techniques had to be childproofed, and thanks also to his mixed-up approach to terrorist detention.

Until this recent suggestion was leaked that Obama likes to soak in the heavier Christian classics like Augustine and Aquinas, the external evidences of Obama’s interest in Christianity have been exactly zero. The Left complains a lot about the popular misconception that Obama is actually a Muslim, a misconception they always want to blame, unfairly, on Fox News. But Obama’s the one who’s shown a consistent animosity toward Christianity, even while observing a consistent reverence for, and indulgence of, Islam. Even if we wanted to believe the unattributable reports about Obama huddled up with his Summa Theologica and his pack of Terror Target baseball cards, it’s still too little, too late for rehabilitating his image to that of a Christian thinker.

To say Obama’s public attitude toward Christianity has been ambivalent is too kind by half. There was that crack about bitter Christians clinging to their religion for starters, and then his effort to excise reference to the “Creator” from the Declaration of Independence by means of executive misquotation, among a long list of other examples. Explaining Obama’s treatment of Christianity as consistent with current progressive thinking about the separation clause doesn’t explain the unabashed affection he displays for the religion of the Prophet. Nothing he’s ever said about Christianity, including his own experience of it, rivals his statement that the Muslim call to prayer is “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset,” or his unprecedented revelation that he considers it “part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.” (Isn’t that already Ibrahim Hooper’s job?)

He always shows obvious reverence when speaking about or quoting the “Holy Qu’ran,” (the only reverence, I believe, he has ever shown toward anything).  But when Christian believers hear the way he speaks about the Bible or those who cling to it, that elitist-intellectual-professorial-liberal-agnostic dialect he adopts is as impossible to miss as a Brooklyn accent.

The New York Times reports that Obama studies Augustine and Aquinas’s just-war theory to aid his determination to take moral responsibility for [his] actions”  while targeting drone strikes.   I doubt very much there’s much in Augustine or Aquinas that could actually enable Obama to better distinguish which jihadi murderer is more deserving of a drone strike today. As John Yoo observes, the ancient traditions upon which just-war theory was built holds that all such terrorists are hostis humani generis, the enemy of all mankind, who merit[] virtually no protections under the laws of war.” (“John Yoo: Obama, Drones and Thomas Aquinas“). (I also don’t believe that Obama derived his high-flown terminology distinguishing just and unjust wars (“I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.”) from the Doctors of the Church.)

In an odd turn, just before the Obama campaign decided to link the president with these two prominent heroes of the Church, the Air Force was shutting down a training course for missile launch officers because secularists complained it included “documents that appeared to be using a religious justification for missile launches,” including “references to St. Augustine”:

David Smith, a spokesman for the Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command, said that the program had initially been designed to “help folks understand why we’re doing what we’re doing. In the missile launch industry, it takes a certain mindset to be able to walk in the door and say, yes, I can do that.”

But he added: “Senior leadership looked at [the material for the course] and said, no, we could do better than this.”

The last time we heard senior leadership saying “we could do better than this” was when the Muslim Brotherhood complained that FBI agents were being exposed to materials describing a link between Islamist violence and Islam. Now Air Force brains have to figure out a way to sanitize ethics training to exclude all traces of Judeo-Christian influence because “we separate church and state. They don’t do that in other countries. We do that here.”

I’m sure when they’ve found something better, they’ll pass it up right up to the Commander in Chief.


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