Few commentators are more knowledgeable in the history of fundamentalism thank Karen Armstrong, who was trained as a nun in the 1960's and left the convent to become one of the most popular and readable writers on the topic of religion - organized and disorganized, Abrahamic and Eastern. In her books she dances with the stories of what people have done since the earliest glimmers of time in the name of religion, faith, and organization.
I've been wondering what her commentary on the current situation in Lebanon/Israel/Palestine would be.
She sees the U.S. side of things as a Bushocentric rapture trip, and in the tradition of the prophets, points out the unacceptable ethics encapsulated in the path marked out for us by the U.S. president - one of war and destruction.
His opponents point out that while the president zealously champions the rights of the unborn, he is less concerned about the plight of existing American children. The US infant mortality rate is only the 42nd best in the world; the average baby has a better chance of surviving in Havana or Beijing; infant mortality rates are unacceptably high among those who cannot afford adequate healthcare, especially in the African-American community. And, finally, at the same time as Bush decided to veto the stem cell bill, Israeli bombs were taking the lives of hundreds of innocent Lebanese civilians, many of them children, with the tacit approval of the US.Ms. Armstrong ends her opinion piece with this chilling comment:
Fundamentalists do not want a humanly constructed peace; many, indeed, regard the UN as the abode of Antichrist. The willingness of the US to turn a blind eye to the suffering of innocent people in Lebanon will certainly fuel the rage of the extremists and lead to further acts of terror. We can only hope that it does not take us all the way to Armageddon.
All she has left against the fundamentalists is a gentle, soft-spoken hope. She's got one up on me, though; I'm afraid all I have left right now is fear that it will, indeed, take us to an all out, worldwide, all weapons out there, all life desecrated war.