I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.
- Abraham Lincoln.
One of the reasons I don’t attend church is my long held belief that the church has essentially lost touch with the message. The Rt Rev Stephen Venner, the Church of England’s Bishop to the Forces has just reinforced this perception with his apologetic message on the Taliban:
H/t Andrew Bolt.
The Rt Rev Stephen Venner called for a more sympathetic approach to the Islamic fundamentalists that recognizes their humanity, warning that it will be harder to reach a peaceful solution to the war if the Afghan insurgents are portrayed too negatively.
“We’ve been too simplistic in our attitude towards the Taliban,” said Bishop Venner, who was recently commissioned in his new role by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
“There’s a large number of things that the Taliban say and stand for which none of us in the west could approve, but simply to say therefore that everything they do is bad is not helping the situation because it’s not honest really.
“The Taliban can perhaps be admired for their conviction to their faith and their sense of loyalty to each other.” …
The bishop said that some of their methods of combat are not honorable or acceptable, but argued that it was unhelpful to demonize them.
“We must remember that there are a lot of people who are under their influence for a whole range of reasons, and we simply can’t lump all of those together.
“To blanket them all as evil and paint them as black is not helpful in a very complex situation.”
It is not uncommon for troops to respect an honorable enemy while fighting against them; indeed many military blunders have been made by doing the opposite. One of my recollections of the WW1 veterans I met in my youth was that many seemed to have more respect for the Turks and Germans than they had for the British, but that’s Australians for you.
In the case of the Taliban it is hard to view them as anything better than vicious, medieval minded, Islamist thugs, and terrorists, who push their agenda with public beatings, amputations, executions and bomb attacks on the civilian population. Bomb attacks on schools and civilian market places give a great perception of the intellectual concepts of the Taliban, “Submit, or die.”
It is fortunate that the principle of separation of church and state is one of the underlying tenets of western civilization. For Venner to admire these terrorists for their conviction to their faith indicates that the attitude of some senior church authorities towards faith and its application to the people has not advanced since the inquisition.
Here is a video of how the people we should be more understanding of get their jollies. The lady involved is reported to have refused to marry a Taliban commander. The militants then accused her of immoral behavior and ordered 34 lashes as a punishment