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Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 07 January 2010


By Jim Jordal


Terror arrived in Detroit on Christmas day when an alienated young Nigerian supposedly recruited and trained by radical mullahs in Yemen attempted to blow up a Northwest flight as it arrived from Amsterdam. But terror in Detroit is nothing new; it’s been around for years now with the massive unemployment and poverty resulting from the transformation of the auto industry and the failure (at least so far) of national leaders and those in Detroit to develop alternative sources of employment and foreclosure prevention.

Abject, hopeless, unending poverty is terror, my friends! But back to the airlines and their problems.

The typical bureaucratic response to terror in the air has already occurred—make the many suffer for the sins of a few. New rules now seek full-body searches by horrendously expensive machines, tightened carry-on rules, and a form of security-obsessed madness that could only occur in countries fully dedicated to protecting citizens from any and every possible source of misfortune.

Everyone in any position of authority regarding national security seems to believe that money, force and improved intelligence strategies are the only things that can possibly secure us against terror. Because of that mistaken belief we sacrifice thousands of our best men and women on the altar of militarism, as well as threatening the financial future of our nation. But good news--there is another alternative!

What do you suppose the radical mullahs tell the young men studying under them about why they should hate the U.S. sufficiently to sacrifice themselves as suicide bombers? Do you suppose they teach them about the threats to their societies posed by the moral cesspool that makes up much of American entertainment? Do you think they might mention American attempts over the past 50 years to support friendly and pliable dictators against the wishes of their people for freedom? And could they possibly study the American economic colossus and its attempts to divert resources from poor countries to support the global juggernaut called economic growth?

Knowing even a part of the truth about our actions around the world is enough to radicalize almost anyone—especially those young men raised in poverty, ignorance, and hopelessness. That the newest terrorist came from wealth does nothing to change the equation. The conditions causing radicalism still exist, even if they don’t apply to him personally. His conversion to radicalism evidently had its roots in London at the hands of radicalized imams and mullahs, and was only sharpened in Yemen.

So what is the alternative to the desperate, damaging, futile and oppressive policies purported to protect us from terrorism? Must we suffer continued indignities, uncomfortable conditions and massive delays every time we choose to travel by air?

Instead of creating a "Fortress America" we need to consider the formation of a "Servant America" capable of attacking terrorism at its sources--poverty, ignorance, hopelessness, and oppression.

A few enlightened people now conclude that educating women is the magic sword against tyranny and terrorism. If it is true that "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world," then educating and empowering women is perhaps the single best weapon we have against terror. Not only schools and small infrastructure projects (as Greg Mortenson is already doing in Pakistan and Afghanistan), but also micro lending, improved maternal health, better sanitation, instruction on child-rearing, cultural prohibitions against spousal abuse—all aid women to become more free, better educated, and empowered.

Mortenson relates in his new book Stones to Schools that female illiteracy is positively correlated with Taliban recruiting because mothers do not have enough empowerment to deny their sons to the terrorists. With education they become able to resist demands for the sacrifice of their children.

I think God said it best considering our alternatives. When we as a nation do not institute the requirements of Isaiah 58 to "loose the bands of wickedness, undo the heavy burdens, let the oppressed go free, break every yoke, share bread with the hungry, bring the poor to your house, and cover the naked" we fail in our duty and invite the Lord’s displeasure.

The 28th chapter of Deuteronomy details God’s promise of blessing for his people who are obedient to his commands, and fear and defeat for those who are not. Verses 65-67 describe vividly what happens when nations forget God: "…the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul. Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life.…because of the fear which terrorizes your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see."

Not worth the small temporary satisfactions we get from dominance and exploitation, is it?