Saturday, March 7, 2015

The "Religion of Hell" Speech from A Light Not of This World

In my novel, A Light Not of This World, the United States is attacked with nuclear bombs by Islamic terrorists. Much of the national government is wiped out, but the President survives and so do a few members of Congress. A reconstituted Congress meets at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. During the Cold War this resort had an enormous underground bunker that was to be used by Congress in the event of a nuclear attack on Washington. That bunker still exists and now is a tourist attraction. In the novel, it is restored to its original purpose.

The President comes to speak to the first joint session of the new Congress. It is his first public speech after recovering from serious injuries. Much of the speech is devoted to his program for national recovery, for replacement of key officials and for retaliation against al-Qaeda. You can read ISIS in that without changing anything else. The philosophies of the two essentially are the same, even though they are bitter rivals now because they have different strategies for achieving the same result: a global Muslim caliphate.

This is the message I believe we should be saying publicly all the time, both to the Islamic extremists like ISIS and al-Qaeda, as well as to our own religious, and other extremists:

“We are both one people and many peoples. Immigrants from other countries created our nation, and we have continued to grow and prosper from the strength and the character of the many peoples who came to these shores, and still are coming, seeking freedom and opportunity.
“You can be from anywhere on earth, but when you come here and become a citizen, you become an American. No other nation on earth offers to freely share its heritage, its wealth, its culture, but most of all, its name and its identity, with all who come.
“Our Declaration of Independence set forth the principal that has guided this country ever since: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
“No government can take away these freedoms and they cannot be bargained away. They are inherent in us as human beings. People who do not have freedom, yearn for it. America is the proof. Freedom is the powerful force that binds us together as Americans.
“America’s only demand is that its citizens abide by its laws. Our laws, derived from our Constitution, permit no discrimination against any citizen on the basis of race, religion, sex, or national origin. All citizens are free to believe, or not believe, in any religion they wish, and they may practice their religion up to the point where their practice infringes on the rights of others, or the laws of the land. This freedom of religion, freedom of belief, is fundamental to human liberty.
“We take our freedom for granted because it is so much a part of our culture and our heritage. We take freedom for granted so much that sometimes we lose sight of its foundation. Freedom depends on mutual respect. Each of us must respect the rights of others. Each of us must allow others to enjoy their freedom. And nowhere is it so important as it is with religion.
“The history of religion is a history of both goodness and evil. Religions have raised people from the darkness and given hope to millions. But throughout history millions of people have died in wars over religion. Millions of people have been persecuted because they believed in a religion opposed by others, or suppressed by governments.
“The foundation of freedom of religion in the United States is the separation of church and state. By providing that the government cannot impose any religious belief on the citizens, and by providing a clear right of individual citizens to the freedom of religion, our founders guaranteed that our nation would never suffer the internal repression and the destruction that the wars of religion brought to so many other countries and peoples for the past two thousand years.
“But today our country is suffering from an enormous tragedy because a group that wants to impose its religion on others has committed a monstrous atrocity against the United States. Al Qaeda’s goal is a global caliphate dictatorship in which the only law is Islamic law. It is attempting through mass murder to forcibly convert the world to its version of Islam.
“Believers in this fanatical, fundamentalist form of Islam do not believe in the unalienable right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Their ideal is a government like that of Afghanistan under the Taliban, who imposed on their country a murderous religious and political tyranny that shocked the world. That is their vision for the entire world.
“Although they cloak themselves in a religion, these people are no different from the Nazis who attempted to impose their racial and anti-Semitic views on the world through war and genocide, killing millions of people in the process. For civilization to survive, Nazi Germany had to be defeated and all vestiges of Nazism had to be eradicated.

“Al Qaeda, their allies, and their perverted version of Islam, are as evil as were the Nazis. They have unleashed on us a fire from Hades. Their beliefs could have only one origin. Their religion is the religion of Hell."

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