Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Mr. Talbott has recently attempted to compare the virtues of America, whose alleged foundations are Christian, to other nations that follow different beliefs. While I will not fault Ross on the value he places on his personal Christian heritage, I am concerned with an undertone of fear mongering and prejudice in some of his assertions. These are due, I believe, to his probable ignorance of certain lesser-known historical facts, and a slightly biased national fervor born out of decades of cultural conditioning to “see no evil, hear no evil” in regards to America.
Throughout his column, Mr. Talbott refers to the “Christian foundation” of America. Historical evidence demonstrates that although colonial pilgrims fled Europe for America expressly to practice their Christian faith, our nation’s government was “founded” largely by very wealthy men who were deists, not Christians. Additionally, many of these men belonged to the fraternal religious order of Freemasonry, which derives much of its teachings from the Kabbalah, the mystical teachings of Rabbinic Judaism. While many of the religious phrases and jargon used in Freemasonry and in our founding documents are common sounding to Christians, the two religions are fundamentally opposite. This, in part, has led many well-intentioned pastors and teachers to inaccurately assert that America’s “foundational faith was Christianity.”
Mr. Talbott makes several sweeping statements concerning the Muslim faith of Islam and its form of jurisprudence, Sharia law, that appear to be based more on his opinion and television “journalism” than any careful study of history and the teachings of Islam.
First, Ross claims that Sharia law imposes “a system of morality that is totally counter to our American understanding of morality.” I’m confused with how he arrives at this conclusion since, as he states, our “American morality” is founded on Christianity. Christian morality comes from the Mosaic Law as given in the Old Testament and further expounded by Jesus in the New Testament. But Sharia Law’s haraam, or “things forbidden”, is also based on the Mosaic Law, forbidding idolatry, fornication, murder, adultery, etc. How is this morality “totally counter” to the morality taught in Christianity? Maybe Mr. Talbott simply has an inaccurate understanding of the morality that Sharia Law actually teaches.
Ross then goes on to paint all “Islam-dominated countries” with the broadest of brushstrokes, laying at their feet the blame for spawning “terrorist organizations and cruel dictators such as Saddam Hussein in Iraq.” To reduce the existence of “so-called” terrorist organizations to the simple equation of “Islam = terrorism”, betrays a lack of understanding of the geopolitical, social, corporate and military factors that should be carefully weighed when attempting to understand today’s phenomenon of what is popularly labeled “terrorism”.
A simple case in point: In the 60s Iraq’s prime minister was Abd al-Karim Qassim. He quickly became unpopular with western political and corporate interests when he pulled Iraq out of the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact, threatened to occupy Kuwait, and nationalized part of the Iraq Petroleum Company, the foreign oil consortium that exploited Iraq’s oil. The CIA quickly moved to remove Qassim from power by employing one of their locally trained assassins, Saddam Hussein. Following Qassim’s murder and a military coup orchestrated by the CIA, Saddam Hussein rose in power within the Ba’ath Party, eventually becoming the President of Iraq in 1979. Ironically, Saddam Hussein would be similarly removed from power in 2003 when he was determined to be no longer useful to his U.S. handlers. A careful study of history reveals that Saddam Hussein and the “cruel dictatorship” that followed his rise to power had nothing to do with the religion of Islam and everything to do with the Machiavellian efforts of U.S. intelligence agencies at the behest of military, political and corporate interests.
Mr. Talbot, we certainly live in highly charged times where we are constantly being bombarded with “news” and “opinions” about important geopolitical events that unfortunately seem aimed at dividing us culturally, politically and even religiously. It is in these tumultuous times that in the pursuit of truth, we must work even harder to weigh the evidence on all sides, rise above our personal interests, and hopefully see our fellow man just a bit more clearly regardless of his color and creed.
– Gil Villarreal is a New Castle resident
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.