Americans like to talk about ecumenicalism, which is an idea that concerns itself with “establishing or promoting unity among churches or religions.” We in America have proven to be very good at it, so much so that we think nothing of little news stories about the rabbi giving a talk to his neighbor’s church, or the minister from one Protestant church joining a prayer meeting from another Protestant Church. The difficulties many conservatives are having with the Romney candidacy (Mormon!) and the Giuliani candidacy (Catholic and pro-Choice!), or even the nasty smears the Democrats leveled against Bobby Jindal during his successful candidacy for governor, are about as bad as religious differences get here. No blood is shed, no villages are destroyed, no people are persecuted or driven from their homes. We are, therefore, exceptionally blessed.
Other nations, and particularly Middle Eastern nations, are less blessed. In Muslim dominant countries, Jews are banished and Christians are persecuted. Once that’s done, the Muslims turn on each other, with the varying sects diving into blood baths to attain religious and secular predominance.
That’s why Michael Yon’s most recent photograph out Iraq, which you can see here, at his blog, is so important. On its face, it shows something wonderful: a cross going up on a Church in Iraq. What’s even more amazing, though, is the text that accompanies the photograph, since it explains that this is not just a Christian church that is taking a risk at reestablishing a place of worship. Instead, it is ecumenicalism in action, in the heart of the Middle East:
I photographed men and women, both Christians and Muslims, placing a cross atop the St. John’s Church in Baghdad. They had taken the cross from storage and a man washed it before carrying it up to the dome. (Emphasis mine.)
Some regimes are cancerous. They grow and swell, and make the body politic look strong and full, but they are, in fact, slowly killing it from within, with their poisonous tentacles reaching out to destroy every organ in their path. Cancer does not yield easily, preferring to kill its host rather than to give up.
With real cancers, we go in with knives and chemo and radiation. And with political cancers, sometimes the only answer is troops and weapons. The body bleeds and suffers but, if it is fundamentally strong and if the disease is stopped in time, it can recover fully.
I’d like to think that this is what we are seeing in Iraq — after the removal of the cancerous Hussein leadership from the Iraqi political scene, and after the trauma of that removal, the Iraqis are recovering and going on to be stronger and healthier than ever before.
UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, Chris Muir has the last and best word: