I came across a recent lecture by N.T. Wright entitled, Where is God in the War on Terror? via N.T. Writes.com. In the lecture, Wright criticizes America and Britain for their heavy handed approach to the War on Terror. The lecture is fairly long, and a full response would be nearly as long, so I will begin by addressing Wright's politics and his perception of the War on Terror.
A cursory reading certainly supports Denny Burk's position that Wright's theology is anti-American. Clearly Wright has received that criticism frequently, and near the end of the lecture he states,
"I have said it before and will say it again: I am not anti-American when I criticise some policies of some American leaders, any more than I am anti-British when I criticise some of the policies of my own elected leaders. To suggest otherwise is simply a cheap way of avoiding the real questions; and when I said similar things to this in America a couple of weeks ago I found a great many Americans eager to agree."
I must disagree with Wright on this point (and many others). He is most certainly anti-American. His entire lecture is anti-American from start to end. In fact he is just as anti-American as the American left that we conservatives so rightly condemn.
Wright says of America, "the angry superpower, like a rogue elephant teased by a little dog, has gone on the rampage stamping on everything that moves in the hope of killing the dog by killing everything within reach. In his conclusion, Wright states that, "...we must work from every angle either to enable the United Nations and the International Courts of Justice to function as they should, or to replace them with something else that can do the same job better." Wright goes on to argue for internationalism--just as the American left. Again, he fails to recognize that America is the only Democratic nation suited for war.
Wright uses the precise rhetoric of the anti-American left in America and abroad. Wright can take the position that to label him as anti-American as "a cheap way of avoiding the real questions," but what he defends is most certainly anti-American.
It is clear there is a great political chasm between America and the rest of world. Wright does not have the conscience of an American and could never understand how offensive the notion of an "International Courts of Justice" is to us. Perhaps America's greatest challenge in waging the War on Terror is that no other nation can fully understand the threat posed by Islamo-fascism because their primary target has always been America. But I digress...
Not only does Wright state that, "The only way we could have done something wise in Iraq would have been for a force, with the energy of the whole international community behind it," (Doesn't that sound familiar?) but Wright also states, "Terrorism arises principally and obviously because individuals and groups sense themselves to be alienated from ordinary process, unable by any imaginable means to effect changes for which they long, locally or globally."
Wright continues with the Democrat talking points,
"The roots of present terrorist movements have been much studied, and they are more complex than politicians and the media often imply. But the way to make sure that the causes of terror are diminished and if possible eliminated altogether is not – of course it is not! – to drop bombs on potential terrorists until they get the point. That is to fight one kind of terror with another, which of course not only keeps terror in circulation but tends to stir up more. The way to eliminate the causes of terror is to seize every opportunity to work together, to talk together, to discover what makes people tick within worldviews quite unlike our own, and in short – as has been said within Iraq, but without much visible effect – to win hearts and minds not necessarily to a Christian worldview, certainly not to a modern secular western worldview, but to a shared worldview of common humanity, incoporating what the great majority of human beings want, genuine justice and genuine peace."
So rather than annihilate terrorists, we are to "work together, to talk together, to discover what makes people tick..." It amazes me how such an intelligent Christian leader can be so naive about the evil in the hearts of terrorists.
Again, as Burk argues, Wright's politics are anti-American despite his protestations. Wright has an altogether different perspective than conservative Christians in America on the motivation of terrorists, governmental power, internationalism, and the purposes and effects of war. But Burk has posed that it is Wright's "Fresh Perspective on Paul" that is the motivating factor in Wright's anti-American theology. Next, I will investigate Burk's claim.