We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
They were really missionaries, not aid workers, and thus technically illegal by Afghanistan law, although they were allowed in anyway. Taliban-types are likely to view them, as to treat them, as sub-human. I admire these young people, but now is not the time to try to convert Afghanistan to Christianity.
If they are killed, they will be martyrs for Christ. Does God love the foolish? Yes, indeed, when they are fools for Him.
This is the problem of the "post-Westphalian State" era that so many on the Left are so eager and happy to bring in... it will restart wars of religion of a sort that was left back in the 17th century. Of course it would help if the US and some other Nations actually upheld this concept when fighting wars and winning: any government that comes up afterwards must adhere to the 1648 Peace.
Apparently we have advanced beyond that and have nothing to put in its place. Reworking our entire outlook to support that would be difficult, but nowhere near as bad as the 15-20% dead that happened during the 30 years war in Europe. Now, picture that on a global scale. We forget that DIME does not pay the toll to entry to civilization, and we will end up paying much, much more to get that one basic understanding back in the modern world. More on that here:
Enjoyed your post that you gave the link to. Thanks!
The stuff on transnational capitalism is definitely something I agree with. Even as a kid in Latin America, saw horrific examples of the behavior of the transnational corporation my dad worked for (he quit in outrage at their currency manipulation and abuse of the country they were guests in).
Of course the wars of religion were a nightmare, and are perhaps a primary reason that most Europeans today are religious scoffers or agnostics. Never again wanting to see religious enthusiasms used as the excuse for killing.
And my college education hammered on us about the pernicious effects of "cultural imperialist" missionaries who were insensitive to the cultures they evangelized. Not until I met some real, live missionaries and found them to be gentle, loving and brave people did I realize that many of the hospitals and schools in the developing world were first planted by those Wicked Christian Evangelists. Shandung Compound by Gilkey (sic>) painted a rather depressing picture of hypocritical Protestant American missionaries imprisoned by the Japs in WWII China, far from selfless, yet also described inspiring and faithful Dutch lay brothers who sang to cheer up their fellow prisoners, and dug the compound's latrines when the American business types refused.
Of course, missionaries should tread carefully, and on balance I think the South Koreans were ill-advised to go into Afghanistan. But Jesus was ill-advised to do what He did. And the early Christian martyrs were ill-advised not to make token obeisance to the Roman state. Their self-sacrifice redeemed everything.
Feeling very stupid in the heat (106 as I left the office) so will wait til I have finished two hours of chauffeuring kids and sat in the AC for a bit to ponder the whole destabilizing effect of religion. Better a kindly and helpful atheist than a bloody minded Christian, obviously.
Very much appreciate the thought-provoking post, A. Jacksonian.
One of the most important things we forget is that religion tries to fit in and adapt to locale... the concept of 'culturally insensitive religion' and 'evangalizing' do not go well together and get very few converts. America did face the exact same problem with Islam before, way back when in the Antebellum era, where discrimination and non-acceptance were similarly practiced against Christianity. The solution was via missionary work in hospitals and schools that were open to all believers of all faiths, and discriminated against none. The very first colleges in places like Turkey and Egypt were put down by American religious institutions.
This idea of having an open society towards religion without discrimination because of it, and freedom to do as one pleases with their life was something the US demonstrated by having such people go forward. Not from the government, but on their own. The only time any need for government help arose was for hostage takings and the such... we seem to have lost our way as a society and civilization with that.
The strength of American belief is not in its singularity, but its diversity and acceptance towards all that are similarly open. The common civic community was the strength of the US in the 18th and 19th century and the power of that society was not in guns nor troops, but in Americans doing what they thought best to make the world a better place. Some few died for that... and they stepped into the cauldron knowing they risked all. That movement towards common, civil society has gotten sidetracked and stopped in this modern era, and without it that door that was locked in 1648 now unlocks again.
I do not like that in this modern world as the concept is true horror of old with modern means. It would cost to step up to that door and press it shut once more... and it will cost far, far more in not doing that for generations will pay for this easy disdain of that power of religion returned in warfare. Perhaps we are too "civilized" for our own good on that score.