Anna Githens
How "COEXIST" misleads Americans
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By Anna Githens
November 20, 2014

There is presently no other bumper sticker seemingly more ignorant and presumptuous, in my opinion, than the one that says, "COEXIST." Especially at this point in time, I believe this message, or rather, command, is not only curt and insensitive, but in direct opposition to everything American. Although I find this directive irritating, I am not the least surprised by it since anti-American sentiment seems all the rage right now, and since it aligns nicely with our current administration's main objective: to placate our enemies and fundamentally transform us.

Yet, the recent brutal beheadings of American aid worker Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig and journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff clearly serve as direct warnings to the United States from Islamic State (ISIS) militants. Deeply troubling to me is our President's lack of leadership and his flippant remarks surrounding the Foley and Sotloff killings. Each day that has passed without an appropriate U.S. response to ISIS, I believe, has worsened the terrible plight of the victims of persecution in the Middle East and has put our country in graver danger.

I was driving along the highway contemplating these tragic events, when, ironically, a car with the "COEXIST" bumper sticker pulled in front of me. What had previously been an enigma suddenly became perfectly clear to me: Ever since the serpent slithered into the Garden of Eden, there have been forces of evil on earth that actively seek to destroy all that is good and true. Has there ever been a time when we were able to coexist?

Furthermore, human beings were not meant to go through life merely existing. Houses exist. Chairs exist. Bacterium exists. We are called to love one another and to be our brother's keeper, not to exist juxtaposed with other human entities.

But that bumper sticker doesn't mean any harm, you say?

Well, maybe that's the problem. While it may be something "nice" to imagine, in reality it's just another ill-conceived liberal term. Its message is a hoax. It encourages people to wish for an unfeasible ideal by demanding that moral, law-abiding citizens "coexist" with those who believe in dangerously flawed ideologies. It goads people to shift blame onto those presumably unwilling or reluctant to "coexist" by accusing them of being intolerant or averse to living peacefully – a useless tactic since it is geared to the wrong viewers in the wrong country.

Basically, it seduces Americans to "coexist" with evil, to tolerate the intolerable, and to accept injustice, which is as senseless as the lyrics, "All we are saying is give peace a chance." Moreover, its underlying pacifist message is actually detrimental to peaceful societies, for it breeds apathy among law-abiding citizens who are supposed to care about stopping anarchy and brutal savagery. Therefore, the "coexist" message is harmful to America.

A major objective of that bumper sticker is to make all religions seem equally irrational, which tells me that either an atheist or an agnostic most likely created it. Lumping all those "silly" religious symbols together shaped into a command for peace certainly gets everyone's attention. At the very least, it may prompt us all to reflect on our "superstitions."

Why can't we all just get along? Why can't we unburden ourselves of all false notions and rely solely on human reason, the pseudo-liberated elitists ask. Yet, they are ones who subscribe to nothing and exempt themselves from standing up to violence, which they are convinced is the fault of world religions. However, they make no attempt to examine each religion independently. Unfortunately, most followers of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and many others prefer to settle comfortably into indifference rather than try to understand their own religious tenets and history.

Our lives are intended for much more than just consuming, breathing, toiling, and having a pulse. We are not mere animals; we are rational animals. We are human beings who possess faculties such as reason and intellect, and emotions like empathy and compassion. Rather than simply coexist, we should strive each day to help one another and lighten one another's burdens. We should passionately defend all that is true and good, and fervently oppose all that is malicious and evil. To accomplish this, we ourselves need to objectively determine what is the real source of evil, and what is the true source of all good.

We talk about the heinous atrocity of the Holocaust, and ask, how could it have happened? Well, we have a genocide occurring right now in the Middle East. While innocent people are crucified, women and children are buried alive, and thousands are sold as sex slaves, our President casually remarks, "The world has always been messy," and certain Americans slap on their "COEXIST" bumper sticker and go about their business.

Our present administration and those who support it naively believe tolerance will eradicate violence and magically bring everlasting peace. This is entirely untrue. Essentially, as long as someone is trying to kill you, tolerance is illogical, and "coexistence" is virtually impossible.

Incidentally, I found this somewhat accurate clarification of the "COEXIST" bumper sticker on the web:


For over two hundred years, our strong leadership throughout the world kept America relatively safe from the invasion of Islamic jihadists. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed. Due in part to our current administration's negligence, a vacuum resulted allowing terrorism to run rampant. There were nearly 10,000 worldwide terrorist attacks in 2013, an increase of 43% from the previous year, according to the U.S. State Department.

The Obama Administration's point man in the anti-ISIS coalition, John Allen, recently said, to defeat ISIS we must "highlight our profound respect" for Islam, however, they have yet to highlight the elements of Islam that warrant our respect. Furthermore, something tells me that ISIS members don't care about gaining our respect. If Satan incarnate were sitting across from you, do you think you could have an honest conversation with him? And if you tried, do you think you could trust him? Actually, the more respect we give the evildoer, the more credence it gives to his belief system and fuels his hateful ideology. Placating, pacifying, and apologizing to our enemies will only justify their violence and convey to them that somehow we deserve condemnation.

Although a great number of Muslims are known to live in harmony with others, there have always been countless Muslims who have spread Islam through violence. While many label the latter as extremists, the fact is, this violence has primarily resulted from the teachings of Mohammad and the aggressive commands in the Quran and the Hadith, leading to persistent Muslim invasions of lands that once belonged to Christians, Jews, and others. The implementation of Sharia law, which advocates continuous jihad and brutal subjugation and persecution of non-Muslims, dates back to the seventh century.

Having conquered all Arabia before he died in 632, Mohammad assembled a large military force equipped to expand Islamic hegemony throughout the Middle East and beyond, following his avowed mission as recorded in the hadith, Sahih Muslim (1:33) The Messenger of Allah said: "I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Mohammad is the messenger of Allah, and they establish prayer and pay zakat."

In his farewell address, Mohammad ordered followers to continue his mission, that is, to fight and to wage holy war (jihad) as expressed in the Qur'an (9:5): "Slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush." [1] The fact is, Islam has always been the aggressor, has caused more violence in the world than any other religion, and continues to wreak havoc today.

If one takes the time to examine the contrasting origins and spread of Christianity and Islam, the inability of these two religions to coexist becomes clearer.

What other person or prophet in history uttered words comparable to these?
    "I am the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6)

    "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

    "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:24)
Jesus eschewed even the semblance of coexisting. He emptied himself completely while taking our sins upon himself, enduring a grueling crucifixion and death, and then rising again so that we may have eternal life. The piercing of his side, as he hung on the cross, signified the birth of the Church. It is said that in heaven Jesus still carries the scar from the piercing of the Holy Spear in His Sacred Heart, which so eloquently symbolizes the greatest love the world will ever know. [2] Through the centuries, however, His Church has endured horrendous persecutions.

Even today, while legions of innocent human beings are massacred daily, are we supposed to turn a blind eye and just "coexist"? This was the quandary in which Pope Urban II found himself about one thousand years ago. He understood that certain evil acts could not be tolerated, and if they were it would lead to the detriment and self-annihilation of civil society.

It was not until the gruesome torture, rape, and murder of Christian pilgrims en masse and the vile desecration of churches, altars, baptismal fonts, and religious relics in the Holy Land, that Christians were compelled to rise up and take arms against the Seljuk Turks. These were, according to Rodney Stark and other historians, "recent converts to Islam who had invaded the Middle East, captured Jerusalem, and driven to within one hundred miles of Constantinople." [3] A letter to Pope Urban II from the Byzantine Emperor, Alexius Comnenus, urgently imploring his aid, led to the origin of the Crusader.

According to some current authors, misconceptions about the Crusades resulted from enlightenment polemicists like Voltaire, and biased twentieth-century historians. Hence, while modern day historians view the Crusades as "violent atrocities committed under the banner of the cross in the name of Christianity," historical facts show Muslim invasions and massacres against Christians on the rise decades before the start of the Crusades in 1096. In fact, two-thirds of Christian territory had already been seized prior to this date. The Crusaders only sought to recover lands that formerly belonged to Christians and to ensure the rights of pilgrims to peaceful passage to visit religious sites in the Holy Land.

Throughout history, evil has presented itself in all forms, shapes, and sizes. Yet through time, and for all eternity, there has been, and only will be, one Good. Each one of us must decide for oneself what truly is good, and the source from which all goodness flows. When we do, we must be resolute and steadfast in defending it, and consistently stand up for it with our whole heart and soul. We have a duty to protect what is good and fight all that is evil, with our whole heart and soul. America already decided a long time ago what she believed was good, and true, and beautiful, which is reflected in her Judeo-Christian roots.

Presently 78.4% of Americans identify themselves as Christian. Now is the time to personally consider these crucial questions: Did Jesus really give his life for you? Did he really rise from the dead? If you believe he did, than defend this belief with all your being, with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

The people suffering at the hands of ISIS, whether Christian, Yazidi, or those of other faiths, believe the United States doesn't care. They must be thinking why isn't America doing more to help us? It is their Agony in the Garden, for Jesus experienced the same desertion. The greatest pain is the pain of the heart. America – the leader of the free world – seems to have lost her integrity, not to mention her moral compass. Plagued by relativism and religious indifference, we Americans no longer know what we stand for and when we must combat evil. We've lost our heart.

Let's stop kidding ourselves and acknowledge the fact that, since the beginning of time, humanity has been engaged in a perpetual and ongoing battle against evil, in all its forms, with which it has never been able to coexist. Let us each take the time and effort to identify evil and unequivocally oppose it and take a solid stand against it. We must protect our homeland by securing our borders, for good and evil cannot coexist, one must surely depart. Which will it be?

I urge those sporting the "COEXIST" bumper sticker to seriously ponder the meaning behind each one of those symbols. What do they stand for? What do you believe is the source of all that is true and good? To whom do you owe your allegiance? Rather than remain stubborn in your indifference, pick a side. And while contemplating your choice, think about who would, and has, given his life for you. I believe it to be the American soldier, and above all, Jesus Christ.

NOTES:

[1]  Stark, Rodney; God's Battalions: A Case for the Crusades; Harper Collins, New York, 2009.

[2]  Work of God; "Mercy of God Devotion," JMJ Divine Mercy, www.theworkofgod.org, (accessed April 12, 2001).

[3]  Stark, Rodney; God's Battalions: A Case for the Crusades; Harper Collins, New York, 2009.

© Anna Githens

 

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Anna Githens

Anna Githens is a freelance writer who is passionate about promoting Christian ideals and tried and true American values. With an M.A. in Theology from Seton Hall University’s Immaculate Conception Seminary and a B.A in Economics from Providence College, she has diverse career experience in bond trading, teaching, and journalism. She is a mother of three wonderful sons and resides in New Jersey with her family.

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