Time for moral leadership in America

Published 10:02 pm Friday, September 18, 2015

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

Recently we learned with horror that an innocuous-looking trailer truck, parked on the side of an Austrian interstate, contained the suffocated bodies of 71 refugees from war-torn areas of the Middle East, where the Islamic State now reigns.

This incident has thrown light on a full-blown refugee crisis, as people are fleeing the evil that has overtaken their communities and nations.

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In order to understand the desperation of these refugees, one must understand the evil they are fleeing. You’ve heard terrible things about the Islamic State, commonly called ISIS. You probably know they routinely behead people, and that they have massacred many thousands of Christians.

But did you know that they instill a “theology of rape” in their fighters? This was the subject of a recent piece (“Instilling a Theology of Rape”) by Rukmini Callimachi in the New York Times.

Callimachi reports that we now know with certainty that ISIS has revived the institution of slavery in conquered areas, and that it is a particular kind of slavery: Girls and women from conquered territories are forced to be sexual slaves who are raped at will by members of ISIS.

In fact, the opportunity to rape women has become an ISIS recruiting tool to attract more fighters. ISIS has established warehouses where girls and women are sold as slaves, and dozens of girls and women are now reporting that before raping them, the men prostrated themselves in the Islamic form of prayer, for they viewed the rape they were about to commit as an act of worship, completely sanctioned and even commanded by Allah.

Professor Matthew Barber of the University of Chicago says that the conquests of ISIS have been “as much a sexual conquest as it was for territorial gain.” Furthermore, Professor Cole Bunzel, a scholar of Islamic theology at Princeton, points to numerous references in the Koran to “those your right hand possesses,” meaning female slaves.

Recently our nation remembered the thousands who were murdered by radical Islamists on Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, our government has told us repeatedly that Islam is a “religion of peace.” But is it really?

I want to make this clear: I have traveled extensively in the Muslim world, and can personally say that most Muslim people are indeed peaceful. They would be just as horrified by this behavior as any of us are. But I believe these people are peaceful in spite of their religion, not because of it.

From the killers of Sept. 11 to the killers in Paris to the killers at an African shopping mall to the killers and rapists of ISIS, these terrorists believe they are guaranteeing themselves a place in an eternal paradise.

The response of our government to this crisis has been incredibly weak. The inaction of the Obama administration has been appalling, and the President’s refusal to call these people what they clearly are — Islamic terrorists — is nauseating.

And while the President has shown a weak will for stopping ISIS, he has shown great energy in making a deal with Iran, one of the world’s most evil regimes.

The old saying is that people “vote with their wallet.” But in 2016, Americans would be wise to think beyond their wallets. The world is in a terrible condition. Will America once again show moral leadership?

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.