Best of the Web Today points to a Washington Times article which indicates that the Saudi royal family is starting to fire and ban jihad-loving, al Qaeda-sympathizing Wahhabi clerics in the wake of the al Qaeda suicide bombings in Riyadh two months ago.

I suppose this is good news, but wouldn't it be even better if there was some hint of actual religious freedom, rather than just a switch to state religious tyranny that's more to our liking? After all, American approval of friendly dictators is supposely one of the Arab street's prime grievances against us. Taranto looks at these moves as "halting steps toward joining the civilized world", but in the civilized world the government doesn't tell you what is and is not accepted religious doctrine.

So yes, I'm glad that our staunch allies in Saudi Arabia are firing the most anti-American clerics, but not as glad as I'd be if the Saudi government fired all the clerics and took their mitts out of the religion business entirely. Iraq, even under Saddam Hussein, has had one of the most religiously free governments in the region, and I hope now that a truly free nation is being established there will be some concrete moves away from state-sponsored/-mandated Islam.

Three months ago, Time Magazine ran an excellent interview with Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Although I'm sure that many non-Christians cringe when they read about Christian missionaries lining up by the hundreds to spread the gospel to Arab Muslims, this interview might give you a new perspective.

"No one is going to flip a switch and make Iraq a Christian nation. America is not a Christian nation; it's a mission field. Conversion can't come at the point of a gun. I think this is a true test, in a post-modern, post Cold War age, of how America is going to establish a model for the recovery of freedom. Religious freedom has to be at the center and foundation of that freedom. If Iraq were to be established in a way that religious freedom was honored, it would stand out from its neighbors in the area."

"It would be an appalling tragedy if America were to lead this coalition and send young American men and women into battle, to expend such military effort, to then leave in place a regime that would lack respect for religious liberty. I think one of the major Christian concerns, and one of my personal concerns, is to see religious liberty, religious freedom," take a prominent position in "the vision of freedom that America holds up to the world."



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