I would like to suggest that the average westerner has not fully understood both the violence and the complexity of the Islamic worldview. Politics and faith are inextricably connected in the mind of an Islamic radical. There is no comparison with the conservative Christian involvement in American politics. In Christianity, governments are charged with waging wars, while individuals are called to a lifestyle of personal peace and non-violence. Conversely, many Muslims have taken up the call to personal violence as an act of their faith. Therefore, suicide bombing, rioting, persecution of non-believers, and other atrocities are all part of personal choices that radical Muslims make.
Many people in the U.S. and the UK have not yet come to grips with the idea that many of their Muslim neighbors have not caught the vision of freedom that our nation espouses. Growing numbers of Muslims residing inour homelands do not share our views on women's rights, social justice, or racial tolerance.
So what do we do? How do Christian nations conduct their own jihad? We should draw a line in the sand – defining our unique national cultures, while resisting the encroachment of unbending, imperialistic Muslims.
More specifically, we need to understand that we are conducting an ideological, spiritual battle. I am not suggesting that Christians arm themselves physically or become suicide bombers. Quite the contrary! I am recommending that we recognize our enemy and fight ideologically before we get embroiled in direct physical conflict.
In the West, we must avoid backing down from the intimidation of radical Islamic groups. Freedom of religion is a major tenet of our nation which should not be violated. On the other hand, we must resist the attempts of one group to dominate the cultural landscape of nations which have given them refuge.
In third world nations, where Islam is just starting to make inroads, we need to send aid and Christian missionaries. The gospel of Jesus Christ must be preached once again without compromise. The statistics say that large numbers of Muslims are converting to Christianity all over the world (perhaps the greatest conversion rates since the religion’s conception in the 7th century). With their conversion, former Muslims are dropping the notions of physical jihad and violent attack of infidels.
How do we win this fight? We must focus upon elevating the poor. Remember that at the core of Christianity the gospel offers good news to the poor. Most modern mission efforts reflect this core value by serving targeted communities with practical solutions to economic, health, or environmental problems. A final word of practical advice is appropriate here. Churches and denominations should attempt to dovetail their efforts as much as possible with the huge aid packages that western nations are giving around the world. This coordination could multiply the impact of our efforts.
In summation, it’s time for Christian nations to unashamedly preach the gospel. We need to strengthen Christian commitment within our own countries, while sending missionaries to foreign lands. This non-violent jihad must be won all around the world. Let’s roll!
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.