Americans are appropriately and understandably responding to last Sunday’s Islamic terror strike in Orlando, which took dozens of innocent lives, with profound grief and a sense of stabbing darkness. As is said in Orthodox Christian memorial services, may their memory be eternal.
But it would be a disservice to these 49 innocent Americans if sadness and grief alone comprised the totality of the nation’s response. The time has also come to start asking and answering specific, difficult questions about Islamic extremism and American policies towards it. This starts with acknowledging the threat and evil of Islamic extremism specifically by its name—and understanding that Islamist terrorism, much like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, seeks and is pursuing the destruction of America. Amidst the conflict, it’s difficult to envision anything beyond two prospective outcomes: Either the U.S. and its allies will assertively confront and defeat the terrorist threat of Islamic extremism, or in turn, Islamic extremists will continue to inflict suffering and death upon the West, including Americans and Christians wherever they may be.