Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006
Here it is, as I promised....

Judeo-Crusaders: Deus Ge Valt!

The primary reason I support Israel, both in its present war against the Iranian mullahs' Marine-bombing agents calling themselves Hezbollah, and more generally, is this:

Israel is the world's only functioning Crusader state.

Let me clarify right off the bat that I am not a "Christian Zionist." The quintessentially Protestant movement that goes by that name attributes to the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 a far greater weight in salvation history than it can possibly carry. Specifically, and most outrageously, it advocates the rebuilding of the Temple and the resumption of Old Testament sacrifice there, as a prelude to the Second Coming.

They can advocate this because, as Protestants, they do not believe that lawful sacrifice to God has taken place since the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. As Catholics we know, of course, that lawful sacrifice -- more precisely, the divinely ordained re-presenting of Christ's one sacrifice (Hebrews, chs. 9-10) -- takes place every day on every Catholic altar. The Temple was destroyed, not because sacrifice had been done away with, but because the true sacrifice had arrived.

There will be no new Temple. Julian the Apostate tried to build one, understanding correctly that, if successful, this would destroy the credibility of Christianity. The attempt was blocked "by fire and earthquake," notes the Catholic Enclyclopedia, echoing many Christian and pagan sources (though the incident is denied by the Jewish Encyclopedia). There will be no new Temple.

No, I am not a Christian Zionist. If you want a name that I would accept, perhaps we can settle on Catholic neo-Zionist. Or how about "Zionist-Crusader," since that's the name Osama seems determined to give people like me, and why, on this particular issue, should he not be considered an authority?

But, you will ask, how can a Jewish state (one which, let it be admitted, forbids Christian proselytism of Jews -- but compare, e.g., Saudia Arabia, which leaves out the middle-man and just prohibits Christianity) be a Crusader state?

Don't make the same mistake as the ruffians of the "People's Crusade" of 1096. They needed money for their journey, and, adopting the reasoning of Willie Sutton, they went where it was, or where they thought it was, which was the Jews of the Rhineland. They also figured: Muslims, Jews -- they're none of them Christians, so what's the diff? Big mistake, as Pope Urban II pointed out. The First Crusade, which he had called, was not an undifferentiated war against nonbelievers: it was a response to specific call for help from fellow-Christians (albeit schismatic), and, more generally, a long-overdue defensive movement against the violent seizure of much of the ancient Christian heartland by Islam's hordes 400+ years earlier.

That's the essence of Crusading: prying Islam's claws off Christian land. They can have Arabia, even with the oil: nobody wanted in the 630s, and, after another generation of alternative fuel development, nobody will ever want it again. But places where Christians had put down deep roots, including Syria, Palestine, North Africa, and above all, the land where God Himself walked -- n'uh uh, Yoscimitar Sam, yer outta here.

Oh but wait a minute -- Christians are no longer doing anything about the problem. I first called attention to the problem when Dante visited me in the Circle of Mars, and things haven't changed. Sure, Lepanto rocked, but it only stopped them from advancing even further. It's great that they didn't do to all of Europe in the 16th century what they did to Spain in the 8th, but to settle for that is to commit the strategic error of General Meade when, in a communication to Lincoln, he claimed Gettysburg as a definitive victory because he had "driven the enemy from our territory." I take no sides in the Late Unpleasantness when I observe that this probably caused Lincoln to file Meade under "people unclear on the point," and thereafter to take nothing for Grant-ed.

So what did God do? The first counter-advances against Islam in 600+ plus years are scored by -- the Jews! Who'd have thought? What a reversal of stereotypes! Too many Catholics imagined themelves on white chargers with Jews cringing in their counting holes. But God resisteth the proud. What do we have today? Cringing Catholics (don't miss Jody Bottum's column on this) and fighting Jews!

Iran, via Hezbollah, poked its finger in Israel's eye because it thought it could, and it thought it could because the Bush administration's offer to negotiate with it on nukes translated into Islam-inflected Farsi as "We're weak: kick us." So they kicked the West, which, for them, starts just south of the Lebanese border. Is Israel's response "disproportionate" (a word that obviously focus-grouped well for the Islam lobby)? You bet it is: it's not nearly enough to eliminate Hezbollah. Today's fighting Jews are nonetheless sensitive to international opinion -- surprisingly, considering how international opinion hates them -- and seem determined to conduct, so far as possible, the zero-casualty, zero-error war that the media have adopted as the just-war standard. Such is not the just-war standard, and elimination of Hezbollah is necessary for Israel, and desirable for the world. Deus Ge Valt!