The United States risks losing the “war on terror” by not recognizing that the “war” is really about ideas and beliefs, and not about technology, said the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Denver.
“The United States isn’t fighting ‘terror,’” said Francis Maier in a recent interview with the Denver Catholic Register on Christian-Muslim relations and lessons learned since 9/11. “It’s fighting a particularly bloody, bigoted strain in the body of Islam,” he said. “Americans risk losing the ‘war on terror’ by fighting ideas and beliefs with technology.”
The country’s leadership, he continued, “is hobbled by the secularist delusion that religion is unimportant in driving human actions.”
Maier said the primary issues that divide Muslims and Christians “would be the same, with or without 9/11, because they’re fundamentally theological, not economic, or political.”
It’s a mistake, he said, to try to understand 9/11 through a purely secular lens.
He also criticized Americans for buying into the arguments put forth in recent decades by some academics, politicians and the mass media that religion should be a private matter.
“This has never made sense, and Islam clearly didn’t get that memo,” Maier stated. “Muslims correctly see their faith as the source of their community and culture.”
While Americans “should resist the way some Muslims carry their beliefs into the public square,” he said, Americans must also insist on mutual respect among religious believers and non-believers.
Maier said reconciliation for the 9/11 attacks between Christians and Muslims is possible but it requires honesty and repentance from both Muslims and Christians.
“Christians seem readier for that task than many Muslims, which is curious,” he remarked. “Over the 1,400 years of our shared history, Islam has much more frequently been on the offensive than Christianity.”
Discussions on Christian-Muslim relations in these times is important because Christians throughout the Muslim world continue to endure discrimination, violence and persecution.
“We have a duty to our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ to speak out on their behalf and to defend their right to believe in, live and freely preach the Gospel,” Maier said.
The paper’s interview of Maier comes in anticipation of his lecture on the theme “Christian-Muslim relations in the wake of 9/11” The free talk is to take place Sept. 13th at 7 p.m. John Paul II Center in Denver.