This is a Religious War

By: Hans Zeiger

If there are doubts about the title of this article, perhaps it is because we have not thought of this war on Islamic terror as a religious war. But it must be a religious war.

Because the terrorists define it as a religious war. At a rally this week, Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmedinejad declared, “On one side, it’s corrupt powers of the criminal U.S. and Britain and the Zionists.with modern bombs and planes. And on the other side is a group of pious youth relying on God.”

Ahmedinejad and his young thugs are men of faith. The Muslim devotees in England who would have blown up ten planes this week were young-ages 17 to 35-and they were faithful. One young man among the arrested terrorists gave up life as a slothful pothead to become a Muslim. These little groups of “pious youth” are are on a ji’had to take the West, and they will not stop because a postmodern, enlightened Westerner of the Left asks for tolerance and peace.

Islamic terrorists have the passion, energy, and determination to destroy America if they are given the chance. And Europe seems to be giving them more than a chance. So ultimately the question is, can the West survive the threat of Islamic terrorism? It is easy to have doubts about Europe, and it is easy to have doubts about the majority of young people in America.

But this is not about majorities. The terrorists understand that. For them, as for us, it is about a minority of people who understand their capacity to make a difference. Every social movement of any consequence in history has begun with a small group of people who coalesced around a central theme, recognized the urgency of advancing it, and devoted their lives together to winning some victory.

It is by appealing to the deepest spiritual impulses in the human spirit that a man or woman will respond and take up arms, or take up the pen, or teach, or preach. This war on Islamic terror will not be won merely by dint of weapons and security screenings. It pits a religion against our culture, and only by religion can we entirely respond and win.

But Burke’s Law is not necessarily true in reverse: evil will triumph when good men do nothing, but good will not always triumph when evil men do nothing. Sometimes, it is a reaction to the works of the evil that the good are brought to action. It is rare that men will act without a sense of emergency.

Though the nation is half asleep, there is hope, and we must build upon it.

Conservative Christians, it seems, have long sensed an emergency. They have been aware that the Left has strongholds in places of cultural influence, in the academy, and the media, and the law, and in much of the church. As a result, conservative Christians have prepared their children far better than liberals to fight the battles of our generation. Liberals, in fact, haven’t had many children. They’ve aborted too many. And out of the curse of abortion has come this blessing: the Left is losing demographically.

And even though in the final analysis it isn’t about numbers, it is about passion. The Left has failed to pass on the passion of the Sixties to the rising generation. There are many young liberals, of course, but they are not aspiring leaders. They are jaded. They are self-absorbed.

And so, we might fret about how the West, too, is losing demographically. But there is enough of a conservative impulse remaining in this country, enough of a sense that the values of popular culture and consumerism are insufficient to sustain soul and civilization. “Reality” is the buzzword of our time.

To deny the reality of the soul, and of the eternity of the soul, is to deny that the person of that soul exists. It is the height of disregard. That way of thinking is dead. It has failed the rising generation, and young people long for something more.

Young conservative Christians seek a more humane society, a return to the enduring things of our civilization. Few though they are in number, they are determined to fight the war of our time that will be fought not merely on the battlefields of Iraq and Iran, but on the battlefields of Hollywood and the university campus and the home and the Internet and the school classroom. If we are to defend against the invasion of a growing Islamic extremism, we must offend against the fortress of postmodernism.

And we too must have a “pious group of youth relying on God,” not Ahmedinejad’s merciless Allah, but on the Living God of the New Testament.

It is a time for young leaders. We cannot yield our civilization.

Hans Zeiger is a junior at Hillsdale College and author of Get Off My Honor: The Assault on the Boy Scouts of America (Broadman and Holman, 2005). He is also a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance ( and the author of a forthcoming book about the rise of young conservatives.

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