Leave Religion Out of the Discussion on Syria

Damned if we do. Damned if we don’t.

The question the President and Congress must answer on September 9 is clear: Does the United States take military action against Syria’s Assad government for the use of sarin gas against their own people.

My own position is filled with conflicts, but leaning towards supporting the President’s position that intervention must take place. But this is not about the possibility of entering yet another Middle Eastern war, but the religious arguments placed by conservative hawks and doves.

On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos and NBC’s Meet the Press two voices of the conservative movement used anti-Islamic and pro-Christian language to justify their positions.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Testifies At Senate Hearing On U.S. Tax CodeConservative political activist Mary Matalin was the only panelist to ask where was the line to be drawn, why not when “Christians” were being raped and murdered. Senator Rand Paul. Libertarian and “anything but Obama” proponent spoke of the Syrian rebels as “Islamic” denying the fact this this is a secular civil war, not sectarian; at least for the time being.

Why must this become yet another sectarian argument, Christian versus Muslim, bringing into the discussion a position that is not part of the argument. Sarin gas does not seek only Christians or Muslims, Baptists or Sunni, men women or children, government or rebel forces. These are call weapons of mass destruction because there is no discrimination as to who is killed in the attack.

The only reason to use religion is to court the right-wing conservative-religious movement who believe that Islam is a threat to the second coming of their Christian god. That Islam is the threat to their Christian faith and the survival of Israel which must survive to achieve the prophecy of their holy books. They use the extremists as their examples forgetting that the Arab Spring was filled with secular revolts followed by free elections.

The act of war is a humanist question and Humanism does not draw sectarian lines. It is one of the hardest questions that must be answered by individual conscious, one’s own morals. Is the use of deadly force justified in this situation? How will the regime react against the United States and their own people?  What are the American interests and do they flow outside the borders of this great country?

One thing is clear, the Syrian civil war is a civil conflict not one of religion. Regardless of the compelling case made by Secretary of State John Kerry or Sen. Paul, religion is not a factor; humanity is. This is not about religious morals, but the morals of man.

NBC’s Ann Curry closed her segment on MTP reminding the listener that the world had not acted on the simple requests by the anti-Assad forces for a no-fly zone or for weapons to fight a tyrant. Are the world’s morals have been limited to nationalize self-preservation, not to the humanity of the people of the planet?

The question should not concern becoming involved in the civil war or taunting Syria, Russia and China, but the use of weapons that kill indiscriminately that addresses this question: Should the United States take punitive action against the Bashar al-Assad regime for using weapons of mass destruction on their own people? 

More important, are American morals limited to only those actions that adversely affect the United States and its people directly or is our moral obligation greater than nationalization to include protecting humanity regardless of nationality or religion?

Let’s leave religion out of this discussion and talk about humanity, for regardless of belief or nationality are we not all first human. 

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
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