Why are so many Western Christians either silent about, or actually complicit in, the Muslim hegira to the West? One would think Christians would be at the forefront of opposition. Some are, but most are not, and these latter include Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, mainline “Protestants,” and evangelicals in America. These churches have made four claims. First, the Bible requires Christians to accept the mass migration of non-European and non-Christian peoples into their lands. Second, Western values and principles require the same. Third, by welcoming and helping Muslim immigrants and refugees Christians will win the hearts of Muslims and turn many into Christians, or at least into friends. Fourth, if we do not welcome them, they will turn on us and become terrorists.
It is significant that, other than the first (the biblical one), these assertions are identical to what politicians, the punditry, officialdom, and “experts” will say when their policies of interventionism and immigrationism are challenged or opposed. On this issue the evangelical and Catholic apologists for Islam are allied with the left-wing secular establishment. And not just rhetorically: The charitable arms of these churches are being paid by the federal government to help resettle Muslim refugees across the United States. In fact, five of the nine government contractors doing this treasonous business are ostensibly Christian: the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Church World Service, Episcopal Migration Ministries, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and World Relief (the charitable arm of the National Association of Evangelicals). This alliance proves once again that the left has no principles, only goals. As long as religious groups are supporting its agenda—in this case the transformation of the United States into a white-minority country and Europe into a Muslim-majority one—the left has no objection to the mixing of Church and state or the intrusion of religion into politics. That’s why Pope Francis is the media’s favorite pontiff, and why the ACLU has not challenged the constitutionality of the refugee-resettlement program in federal court. But why are ostensible Christians so eager to join this leftist project of both denationalizing and (further) dechristianizing the Western world?
I don’t believe the answer is complicated at all. I believe these churches are simply conforming to the world by siding with the strongest powers (politically and culturally) within it. That is made all the easier when these powers profess to be compassionate, tolerant, and highly moral. If progressivism/leftism originated as a sort of Christian heresy, as Eric Voegelin argued, then this makes it all the more tempting for Christians to adopt the language, values, and worldview of a left that is no longer dissident but hegemonic. Christ cautioned His followers not to expect earthly rewards but to be prepared for opposition. The world, He warned, would hate them for His sake. That’s a hard saying to accept. Christians who welcome the Muslims really do expect to be praised and loved for doing so. And by whom? By the world of course, by secular liberals, by the left-wing media, and by the Muslims themselves. By welcoming Muslims, they expect to win converts, or at least allies, but, above all, they expect to be relevant again; or, as one American pastor put it, they expect at least “to be part of the game.”
In his brilliant examination of Europe’s Islamist pathology, Beyond Radical Secularism (2015), the French philosopher Pierre Manent observed that from the perspective of Europe’s political, cultural, and religious elites, “Islam’s entry into European life appears as a problem that does not arise.” We may well ask: How can that be, given what is known? His answer: Islam “is not considered at all as a social reality. It is not considered in itself.” Instead, it must be accepted without reservation or limitation in order to demonstrate that “Europe is indeed empty of common national or religious substance.” That is no doubt true, but it begs the question of why Europe’s elites, including ostensible Christians, would embrace an ideology of national and civilizational suicide. There are many possible answers to that question, but perhaps the spiritual one is the most compelling. They have abandoned the Faith of their ancestors, and God has given them over to a reprobate and cowardly mind and withdrawn His hand of protection. This has allowed the followers of what is surely a Satanic counterfeit of the true religion to invade and colonize Europe without resistance.
In the fall of 2016, I attended an apologetics seminar entitled “Engaging Our Multicultural World” at a local Presbyterian church. How America became multicultural was never explained, and neither was the reason why there are so many Muslims living in the area when not so long ago there were virtually none—which is not to say that the assistant pastor who taught the class did not give a reason. He said it’s because they have more children. That the omission of the real cause was purposeful I have no doubt. The presidential campaign was raging all around us, and one of candidate Donald Trump’s most controversial, as well as popular, proposals was to stop Muslim immigration. To explain that Muslims are multiplying because the government is bringing them here suggests that the government, under a new administration, could stop bringing them here. And if there is one thing our rulers are careful to avoid admitting, it is that their policies are in any way reversible. Notice how press, politicians, and punditry present globalism as a kind of natural and benevolent process over which we have no real control. In short, it was not a preventable evil, but an opportunity.
The assistant pastor relied principally upon J.D. Greear’s Breaking the Islamic Code (2010), a feel-good treatise praised by the presidents and mission directors of the three leading Southern Baptist seminaries. A former missionary “among Muslims,” and current pastor of a North Carolina megachurch, Greear believes that Christians should be “less concerned with Islam as a sociopolitical movement and more concerned with Muslims as individuals,” an apolitical stance consistent with the “see no evil” theme of the class. According to him, “most” Muslims “are enamored of the freedom and equality in democratic societies,” and “most wish to have a Christian friend.” He calls it a “misconception” that Muslims worship a different god. On the contrary, both groups worship “the one true revealed God of Abraham.” Other evangelists were cited who insist that we should consider Muslims as a group, but favorably—that is, as potential allies in the culture wars. Since “Islamic values are closer to Biblical values than they are to western values,” we can “build bridges to the souls of Muslims” and join them in battling the secularism and moral decay of Western society. The contradiction between treating Muslims as individuals and making common cause with them as a group was never acknowledged. As for practical suggestions, one was to invite a new Muslim family to a neighborhood block party, where, we should assure them, no pork or alcohol would be served.
I left the class with new respect for Allen Tate’s justly praised essay “The New Provincialism” (1945), wherein he observed that Americans were prone to not one but two provincialisms: those of space and those of time. In this class, not one word was said about Europe and its experience with a Muslim population much larger than our own, nor was anything said about the 1,400 years of conflict between Christian Europe and the Islamic East, other than a passing reference to the Crusades as something bad that Muslims haven’t forgotten. Here the mythic message of American Exceptionalism could not be clearer—the experience of other times and places has no relevance to us because we are Americans.
Because these evangelicals, and their secular progressive allies, are determined to see nothing evil or threatening in Islam or Muslims—unless, of course, we provoke them—it is easy to believe that the followers of a religion that relegates 50 percent of its adherents to servile status come here “enamored” of our freedoms and equality. Or that they are eager to make friends when their holy book forbids it: “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends” (Koran 5:51). It is comforting to believe that liberal evangelicals can form a new moral majority with Muslims if you do not notice that they have already taken sides in a domestic culture and political war that is directed, after all, against the very people, and the very Faith, that together have shamed Muslims for over 500 years through political preeminence, military superiority, and scientific achievements. It is easy to believe in coexistence and dialogue if you ignore a thousand years of religious and civilizational conflict or pretend it isn’t continuing. It is easy to believe in the possibility that large numbers of Muslims will convert to our Faith, or at least to our side, if you do not dwell on the fact that it has never happened before and is not happening now. It is easy to believe that opening our country to them will foster goodwill and gratitude if you refuse to understand that Muslim immigrants believe themselves historically and religiously entitled to move here and thus feel no gratitude at all, which is not to say they are not mindful of their providential deliverance from the land of want to the land of plenty. The only problem is that they ascribe this “miracle” to Allah, not to Christ, and on this rock the ship of social-gospel evangelism founders and sinks.
There was no policy of presidential candidate Trump that redounded with more indignation and handwringing than his proposed ban on Muslim immigration from early December 2015. If there was a political Rorschach test for our time, this was it. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention, immediately denounced it as “reckless, demagogic,” and a threat to the religious liberty of Christians. “Make no mistake,” he intoned.
A government that can shut down mosques simply because they are mosques can shut down Bible studies. . . . A government that can close the borders to all Muslims simply on the basis of their religious belief can do the same thing for evangelical Christians. A government that issues ID badges for Muslims simply because they are Muslims can, in the fullness of time, demand the same for Christians because we are Christians.
Of course, candidate Trump never proposed, or even suggested, the first or third proposals. Was Moore claiming the occult power to read Trump’s mind? Or was he merely suggesting, without actually arguing, that Policy B leads ineluctably to A and C? If so, he was deploying the slippery slope argument beloved by leftists, and we need not be reminded of what, or more precisely who, lies at the bottom of their imaginary slope. That Moore was thinking, and wants us to think, about the Jews under the Third Reich is clear from his invocation of the dreaded identity badge.
Moore borrows his phrase “fullness of time” from Paul’s epistle to the Galatians (4:4) in order to lend sanctity to his argument. Yet the Apostle was speaking of the time of Christ’s bodily presence on earth, not to some future time when Christians would pay the price for having discriminated against Muslims. Moore highlights his performance as high-minded liberal with this Lincolnesque peroration: “We must never lose in time of war precious freedoms purchased through the blood of patriots in years past. We must have security and we must have order. But we must not trade soul freedom for an illusion of winning.” An “illusion of winning” describes perfectly well the American “strategy” in the ongoing war on “violent extremism,” a war that even its proponents admit will not be won in our lifetime—indeed, can never be won. And how is it not bearing false witness against the very men whose memory Moore invokes to claim they were fighting so that their descendants would be a minority in their own land, a land desecrated by mosques?
And as for Christians being able to rely for protection upon liberal platitudes such as nondiscrimination or equality before the law, consider the case of the 27 Chaldean Christians who were arrested after illegally crossing the border into the United States in May 2015. The Obama administration kept them in detention for six months, prosecuted five of them for falsifying their asylum applications, and deported the other 22. That very same month the Department of Homeland Security drove a group of Somalians and other Africans who had illegally crossed the border from Mexico to a detention facility in California before releasing them all into the country. A government that enforces the law in order to keep Christians out, but ignores it in order to bring Muslims in is not practicing nondiscrimination. These contrasting incidents are recounted in Leo Hohmann’s Stealth Invasion (2017).
Moore’s message that Christians have nothing to fear from an inundation of Muslims, but everything to fear from a proposal to stop one, is reflected in recent resolutions passed by the Southern Baptist Convention. That conventicle made headlines in the summer of 2016 during its annual meeting (June 14-15) when it condemned the Confederate Battle Flag as “a symbol of hatred, bigotry, and racism” (Resolution 7). Russell Moore added that “it had been used as a threat of terrorism against” African Americans. There had been a real act of terrorism just two days before in Orlando, Florida. A Pakistani immigrant and Islamist named Omar Mateen shot over 100 people, killing 49 of them, at a nightclub on June 12, at that point the worst mass shooting in American history. The Convention condemned it as an act of “terrorism” (Resolution 1), omitting the all-important qualifying adjective Islamic. At their next annual meeting (June 2017), the Convention condemned “the alt-right,” “white supremacy,” “white nationalism,” and “racism,” as being “of the devil” (Resolution 10). Yet it is clear and undeniable from the context that it was only white racism and white nationalism that was of the devil. Somehow it escapes these Baptist divines that to attribute “the horrific sin of racism” exclusively to white people is itself racist and likely to promote the very racial hatred and ethnic division that it purports to deplore. In the same way, the Convention did not condemn, or even mention the existence of, the Alt-Left or Islamic terrorism, which means that it sees neither one as a problem that needs to be addressed.
The other way that left-leaning evangelicals responded to Trump’s proposed Muslim moratorium was to hold a national “summit” to welcome Syrian “refugees.” In January 2016, nearly 500 such evangelicals gathered at a Chicago megachurch. They included representatives from World Relief, World Vision, the Willow Creek Association, Saddleback Church, and the Southern Baptist Convention. They named their summit GC2 to signify both the Great Commandment (“love thy neighbor”) and the Great Commission (“go and make disciples”). Their message was captured in the headline of the story in my local paper: “Evangelical leaders see Syrian Refugees as Opportunity.” The participants did not hesitate to state that they spoke for God Himself. Richard Stearns, the head of World Vision, was quite explicit: “God wants us to share their pain.” Another pastor, from a St. Louis County megachurch, used a sports analogy to drive home the point: “God Almighty . . . needs us to get in the game.” An Arabic pastor urged American Christians to make Muslim friends, “be the gospel and preach the gospel,” but “not engage Muslims in theological argument.” That is quite the challenge, and I think we know how it works in practice. Muslim “refugees” are more than willing to accept “Christian” charity, but less than willing to hear the Christian Gospel, indeed will likely take offense should it be shared, which it rarely is. One of the participating organizations at the summit, World Relief, is actually a government contractor that, in exchange for federal funding (amounting to nearly 70 percent of its budget), is prohibited by law from sharing the Gospel with the refugees it is helping resettle within the United States. It and the other Christian agencies doing this work have accepted this condition on the theory that demonstrating unconditional love to strangers and foreigners is a Biblical imperative as well as a way of winning Muslim hearts and minds. Whether Christ would have agreed with this approach is open to question. After all, when He counseled his Apostles to “feed my sheep,” He did not mean it literally but figuratively—as in teach them the Word of God. And this the Christian VOLAGs (so-called voluntary relief agencies) do not do. Yet, and please note the irony, these pastors invoke the Great Commission, even as some of them are actually being paid to keep silent. It is also questionable whether refugees who have been brought here by the government from the other side of the world are our neighbors whom we are under obligation to feed, clothe, find work for, medicate, and educate. Talk about a burden too heavy to bear. And it is a burden that these evangelical leaders themselves are not bearing. It is being borne by the receiving communities and states.
Christ cautioned his followers not to boast about their good works, yet these evangelical leaders like to boast about their refugee advocacy. “Southern Baptists taking the lead on welcoming Syrian refugees” is the headline of an article on the ERLC website. This article begins by citing “an outstanding piece” in the New York Times “highlighting the role Southern Baptists have taken in welcoming Syrian refugees to the United States.” Notice that the Baptists are proud they are being praised by the left-wing “paper of record.” The Times article focused on the refugee work of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia, whose pastor, Bryant Wright, justified it on the basis of Christ’s command to “make disciples of all the nations.” The Great Commission again. To those who might be opposed to the continuing influx of Muslims, Wright countered, “Would it be better for these people to see Americans reaching out with love, and showing them all the [material] blessings Americans can have? Or do we turn our backs on them, and make them more sympathetic to Islamic terrorism?”
The prosperity gospel teaches that God will reward Christians with health, happiness, and riches. Wright takes it one step further: God wants us to bestow those good things on non-Christians in order to persuade them to become Christians. Apparently, when Christ said “blessed are the poor,” He really meant, “blessed are the prosperous, for they shall become Christians.” The Reverend Wright is a bold innovator, indeed. He is also a brilliant military strategist. Some of us remember former President Bush’s repeated refrain that we have to fight the terrorists over there so we don’t have to face them over here. The Wright corollary is that the more we bring here, the fewer we will have to fight over there. It does not occur to him that we would not need to fight them at all if they were not here and we were not there. For Wright, “making disciples of the nations,” and winning the War on Terrorism, requires us to fly Muslims here and bestow upon them the American Dream; and if we don’t do that, he warns, they will attack us.
Many have done just that. “Disgruntled Syrian in Germany Blows Self Up,” was the headline of an AP story in the summer of 2016. Why was he disgruntled? His asylum application had been rejected. So this 27-year-old male placed a bomb in his backpack, loaded it with shrapnel, and detonated himself outside a wine bar, wounding 15. His first target was a music festival, but he had been denied admittance. His final words? “Germans won’t be able to sleep peacefully anymore.” A year later, a 26-year-old male migrant from the United Arab Emirates began stabbing Germans in a Hamburg supermarket, killing one man and injuring six others. He too had had his asylum application rejected. So, in his mind, Germans had to die. Thus, we have a new category of Islamic terrorist: the spurned Muslim. Here is another example: A Yemeni asylum-seeker living in Iceland recently murdered a Latvian woman also living there because she spurned his sexual advances.
Muslims believe they are entitled to certain things, the denial of which by non-Muslims constitutes not only an injustice but a justification for retaliatory violence. In 2004, the president of Turkey, Recep Erdogan, presented a stark choice to Europeans: Either allow his country into the European Union, or become his enemy. In his own words, admitting Turkey “will bring about harmony between civilizations,” but rejecting her would mean a continuation “of the present situation”: “There is nothing we can do if the EU feels that it can live with being simply a Christian club.” And notice his peculiar understanding of peaceful coexistence. It does not mean Christian and Muslim civilizations living peaceably side by side. It means Europeans opening their borders to an endless influx of Muslims. If Turkey “is not welcomed, history will not forgive them.” What he really means is that Muslims will not forgive Europeans, and will make war on them. Just like Western progressives, Muslims believe that history is on their side, that they are the future, and that the future belongs to them. After all, does not the earth belong to Allah, and are they not Allah’s children? What does their book say? “He that flies his homeland for the cause of god shall find numerous places of refuge in the land and great abundance” (Koran 4:100).
Hegira, or the Islamic doctrine of migration, is Islam’s version of Christian missions. While the Church sends out missionaries to convert the heathen, the mosque sends migrants to colonize them, just as before it sent warriors to conquer them. Western technological and military superiority prevents the old method, which proved ephemeral anyway, as the Europeans eventually reconquered Spain, Sicily, Greece, and the Balkans. Peaceful migration and high birthrates promise not only a domineering presence but an enduring one. Muslim imams are calling it “the miracle of Allah.” Nor do Muslims feel any gratitude for the generous benefits (free medical care, food, housing, education) they are receiving, as they are taught that these benefits are a form of tribute, or jizya, that the infidels owe the people of god (Koran 9:29). If Muslims feel so divinely favored and entitled, where then is the gratitude for being allowed to settle or join? It is excluded, of course, and there is left only the losing strategy of appeasing Muslims by allowing them free and unlimited movement into Western countries. It is a losing strategy not only because it has not worked (terrorism continues), but because there is no end point short of a Muslim-majority Europe and an America where Muslims will form part of a new majority of minorities.
“Muslims have a dream of living in an Islamic society.” Those were the words of a Muslim leader living in Denmark, as reported by Bruce Bawer in While Europe Slept (2006). The question that springs to mind is why, then, do his fellow Muslims leave an Islamic society to migrate to a non-Islamic one? The answer is that they intend to transform Denmark into an Islamic society, as he himself boasts—“This dream will surely be fulfilled in Denmark. We will eventually be a majority.” A popular T-shirt worn by Muslim youth in Stockholm, Sweden reading “2030—then we take over” proves that this is not an isolated view. Nor is it confined to Europe. “We have the youngest and strongest demographic in the world,” said Canadian Imam Mazin Abdul-Adhim. Nor is this the message only of youth and imams. A little over a year ago, in March 2017, Recep Erdogan urged Turks living within the European Union to have “not three, but five children, because you are the future of Europe.”
But surely not all immigrants and migrants are pious Muslims. Surely some are indeed fleeing the oppression of an Islamic culture. True enough, but what percentage of the total are they? A USA Today article from the summer of 2016 quotes a 21-year-old male Iraqi “refugee” named Saif Ali, an admitted atheist, complaining that his six Syrian bunkmates in a Munich “refugee” camp were all Islamists. They told him that “Europe will become Muslim; we will Islamicize. . . . Germans are good, and we should save them.” Notice that he did not say that Germans are good, so we should become like them. No, the Germans are worthy of being changed, of converting to Islam and becoming like them, who, as Muslims, are already good. And why are Germans “good”? A Syrian male, 27 years old, with no interest in fighting either Islamists or Assad, supplies the answer: “History will remember that Germany has taken in the Muslims.” So, if Germans are good because they are taking in Muslims, does it not follow that they are bad if they do not? And if bad, are they not legitimate objects of holy war? “Shame on you, Hungarians!” was the shout of one Iraqi male of military age when the Hungarian border police began impeding his movement north to his destination of choice.
These are not the only justifications for the hegira. There is also the perceived rectification of the historical “injustices” of colonialism and “racism.” Given what they are taught, and even more what they want to believe, Arab, African, and Asian migrants are unlikely to believe that they owe the Europeans gratitude for allowing them to share the prosperity that Europeans unjustly acquired and have for so long selfishly monopolized. And indeed they don’t believe so. Listen to Mustafa Alatoom, a Syrian male of military age living in Calais, who was furious at attempts to keep migrants from getting across the English Channel: “They think they will stop people going to England? All the world used to be British and French colonies, and now they don’t want us to go to their countries?”
Why does Alatoom want to go to England? Is it freedom he is seeking, or is it something else? “I’m not going to do National Service and kill my people.” He means the Islamists who are fighting Assad. But if he is so patriotic, why won’t he join the anti-Assad forces and fight the government that is killing his people? The historian John Lukacs wrote once that all immigrants lie, especially to themselves, about their reasons for migrating. That Alatoom simply does not want to fight in his country’s civil war, and possibly lose his life, that he would rather move to Europe and live the good life immediately—these are far more plausible explanations for his behavior than his absurd claim of patriotic principle as a reason for his fleeing his country. Islam provides him with another justification: He is doing it for Allah! By moving and settling in the West, he will be helping to establish and defend an Islamic presence where none existed before. But such a claim would be justificatory, not motivational. Alatoom is clearly dreaming of an earthly and not a heavenly paradise, as are most Muslims who choose to emigrate. Those who do will see their annual salary not simply increase but multiply, sometimes by a factor of ten. In his book Stealth Invasion, Leo Hohmann interviews an Egyptian native and Muslim convert to Christianity now living in Nebraska, who admits that material motivation is the real driving force behind the hegira. In a recent essay for Lapham’s Quarterly (“Brontosaurs Whistling in the Dark,” Winter 2017), Renata Adler provides confirmation. The Muslim migrants housed in temporary shelters in Germany were dreaming not of freedom but of free medical procedures, high-paying jobs, and—for the numerous young men among them—women. They expected these things to be provided them on demand, and it doesn’t take much psychological insight to see that frustration and resentment (not gratitude) are likely to be the reigning emotions among Germany’s newest residents.
In 1990, the Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis wrote a cover story for The Atlantic with the politically incorrect title “The Roots of Muslim Rage.” Lewis’s thesis was that Muslim terrorism was rooted in shame over the centuries-old military, technological, and economic superiority of the Christian West over the Islamic East. While terrorism is one method of striking back, it appeals only to the pious few who are willing to sacrifice their lives. Migration appeals to the many because it involves no real sacrifice and offers Muslims an opportunity not only to share in the wealth of the infidels but gradually to acquire power over them by demographic increase, and even to lay claim, in the name of religion, to the land itself.
Twelve years ago, the English philosopher Roger Scruton paid tribute to the English parliamentarian and classicist Enoch Powell in the pages of the New Criterion (September 2006). Powell is known for his “Rivers of Blood” speech from 1968, a speech which ended his political career, but which has the great merit of denying to his traducers the excuse of saying, “no one saw it coming.” In that speech, Powell alluded to the prophecy of the Sybil of Cumae concerning the arrival of the Trojans in the land of the Latins: “I see war, grisly war, and the Tiber frothing blood.” Scruton explained what Powell knew, but did not expressly say: “[L]ike Aeneas, our immigrants come carrying their household gods. Like Aeneas, they come with an unbrookable intention to make a home for themselves. And if their gods dislike the indigenous rivals, they will soon make this fact known.” They are indeed making their displeasure known, more so in Europe than in America, but in Europe they are in greater numbers and living in closer proximity to their Islamic homelands. In both places their demands are the same: no profaning of their prophet, no criticism of their religion, and no stopping more of their people from joining them. And why, if they are coming here to escape the confines of Islamic culture and embrace Western freedoms, do so many of their women still wear Islamic garb? Why is their use of pronouns always ethnically determined? Powell knew the answer: because they do not come here as individuals but as peoples, peoples who are not grateful but aggrieved, envious, and ambitious for majority status.
Samuel Huntington, too, understood this. In his Clash of Civilizations (1996) he wrote, “The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism but Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power.” Despairing of ever “catching up” with the West, they have determined to capture it from within. Thereby, as if by magic, Western wealth, power, and preeminence become their own, without their doing anything other than migrating and reproducing.