"Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat."
Thus did Kipling, the Poet of Empire, caution the British about the Eastern world the Victorians and Edwardians believed to be theirs.
And with that world so inflamed against us, perhaps we should inspect more closely our irreconcilable conflict -- what Harvard's Michael Ignatieff calls "the fatal dialectic between Islamic rage and Western free speech." Consider first American values, as seen from an ACLU point of view.
Our establishment holds that not only is there to be a wall of separation between church and state, all symbols of religious belief are to be expunged from public institutions and the public square.
And what do devout Muslims believe?
That there is no God but Allah, that Muhammad is his Prophet, that sharia shows the way to a moral life in this world and paradise in the next.
Many Muslims put their Islamic faith ahead of their national identity and forbid preachers from other religions from coming into their countries to convert their young. Apostasy is treason to Allah. Heresy has no rights.
From America's schools, religion has been relentlessly purged. No prayers, no Bibles, no Christian symbols, no Ten Commandments. And into these godless madrassas of modernity has come compulsory sex education starting in the early grades, with condoms handed out to the sexually active.
Devout Muslims demand that children be immersed in their Islamic faith in their schools and believe that teachers who condone or encourage sexual activity among their young are and should be treated as perverts.
In Charlotte, the Democratic Party came out for "marriage equality" and subsidized abortions into the ninth month of pregnancy with the woman the sole decider as to whether the unborn child lives or dies.
In many Muslim countries, men caught in homosexual activity risk mutilation and women's rights do not exist. What do we think is going to happen to those girls' schools in Afghanistan when we come home and the Taliban return?
When we proclaim that our First Amendment protects Quran-burning and denigrating the Prophet in books, magazines, videos and films, devout Muslims reply unapologetically: Under Quranic law, we kill people like that.
In America, Christians have futilely protested insults to their faith like the "Piss Christ" and depiction of a Madonna adorned with elephant dung.
Muslim protests appear more effective, as Salman Rushdie, the Danish cartoonist who portrayed Muhammad with a bomb for a turban and Theo van Gogh, ritually slaughtered in Holland, could testify.
We preach pluralism. Some Muslim countries take the same attitude toward religious pluralism as Henry VIII and Torquemada.
In our own country in 1844, the founder of Mitt Romney's faith discovered that Protestant America was not all that tolerant, when a mob lynched him right there in the land of Lincoln.
Our elite believe in a new trinity of equality, democracy and diversity. Indeed, after the Cold War, we declared the spread of democracy worldwide to be our historic mission and national goal.
But, down deep, do we really believe what we say? When U.S. vital interests clash with democratist ideology, do we not put those interests first?
The king of Bahrain has been in power for 10 years. Have we ever called for free elections there, which would likely produce a Shia government friendly to Iran and far less receptive to remaining as the Persian Gulf base for the Fifth Fleet?
Have we ever demanded that the king of Saudi Arabia hold free elections? When one-man, one-vote produced victories for Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, did not George W. Bush, the great Democracy Crusader himself, put it on the shelf for a while?
We proclaim that we cherish the First Amendment. Do we?
If so, whose version of that amendment? How many Americans would willingly die for the constitutional right to produce pornographic films? Or for some nutball's right to insult the Prophet? Or the right of "artists" to befoul and denigrate Christian images of our own Lord and Savior?
Our Founding Fathers who created this republic did not believe in democracy. When did we come to worship this idol? Wrote T.S. Eliot:
"The term 'democracy,' as I have said again and again, does not contain enough positive content to stand alone against the forces that you dislike -- it can easily be transformed by them. If you will not have God (and He is a jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin."
Worldwide, there are a billion and a half Muslims. Their numbers are exploding, while the post-Christian West stares at demographic death by century's end.
While we remain infinitely superior militarily and materially, what will be the ultimate outcome of the clash of civilizations? Kipling's prediction:
"And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of
the late deceased,
"And the epitaph drear: 'A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the