A War about Nothing

Remember the episode on Seinfeld when Jerry and George were trying to come up with a TV series for NBC? George decided it had to be “a show about nothing.” Nothing could happen on this show, except mundane things like getting up and going to work: “That’s a show,” George said. When an NBC exec asked why anyone would watch the show, George announced triumphantly, “Because it’s on TV!” (The exec shot back, curtly, “Not yet.”)

I’m reminded of this bit of silliness after hearing that Great Britain’s new PM, Gordon Brown, has instructed his underlings not to combine the words “Muslim” and “terrorist.” Nor are they to use the code phrase “war on terror” (which itself is a euphemism for “war on extremist Muslim terrorism”).

Meanwhile, Muslim groups across the Pond are praising the new government for its “balanced, conciliatory” approach to the car bombing in Glasgow and the two attempted car bombings in London. The say Brown’s “tone” is much better than Tony Blair’s.

But wait just a minute. If this struggle to preserve Western civilization has nothing to do with Islam, then why should the Muslim community particularly care? And who are the Brits fighting? Have the terrorists suddenly lost their Muslim identities? (This reminds me of the AIDS crisis in America, when activists said “everyone” was at risk and the disease had nothing to do with homosexual conduct, when of course it was and remains the primary means of transmitting HIV here.)

Why should Brown and Co. seek the favor of Muslim leaders if Islam has nothing to do with this non-war? Who are they fighting? Perhaps the British government has discovered that it is actually Christian and Jewish extremists, not Muslims, who are setting off the car bombs?

I think the Brits have decided it’s a war about nothing. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Muslim terrorists are laughing.

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for BreakPoint.org. He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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