Even the Lord was astonished. She did the prostitutes one better.
"How sick is your heart. . . . Men give gifts to all prostitutes, but you gave your gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from every side with your whorings. So you were different from other women in your whorings. No one solicited you to play the whore, and you gave payment, while no payment was given to you . . ." (Ezekiel 16:30-34).
The news these days is full of Old Testament resonance. A nation wanting so badly to be loved by nations not worthy to lick her boots reverses the normal payment arrangements. America, having been humiliated before the eyes of the world nine Septembers ago, is now seen pursuing her abusers by refurbishing mosques around the world with taxpayer dollars. The lowliest imam in Cairo laughs as he gazes on the gleaming Amr Ebn El Aas Mosque, named after the Muslim conqueror of Christian Egypt.
Every school child enrolled in a maktab in the Fertile Crescent can recite the dates of the Caliphate of Cordoba---929 to 1031---who from this city on the Iberian Peninsula presided over the high water mark (so far) of Islam in Europe. And every one of them knows the meaning of "Cordoba"---the manifest destiny of Islam.
(Thought questions: If a provocative name for a projected mosque two blocks from the twin towers is totally lost on the mayor of New York City, is it still provocative? And is Imam Abdul Rauf relieved or miffed that Bloomberg doesn't get the joke, and that Americans have no sense of symbolism?)
Flashback to the post-exilic period, where the enemies of Israel's returnees seek her annihilation under a pretense of helpfulness: "Let us build with you, for we worship your God as you do" (Ezra 4:2). Governor Zeruabbabel, less naive than the leaders of modern Gotham, does not take the bait: "You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we alone will build to the LORD, the God of Israel" (verse 3).
Flashback to the Syrian army of the eighth century B.C., which, being soundly defeated and having no other hand to play, banks on the reputation of Israelite leniency and goes in sackcloth to ask for their lives. "Your servant Ben-hadad says, 'Please, let me live.' The king of Israel replied, 'Does he still live? He is my brother.' Now the men were watching for a sign, and they quickly took it up from him and said, 'Yes, your brother Ben-hadad'" (1 Kings 20:32-33).
Twenty-nine centuries later in Afghanistan, President Karzai, in hot pursuit of the right hand of fellowship of his nation's terrorists, forms a peace council and mouths words nearly identical to those of a weak king Ahab. The Taliban he calls, with cloying conciliation, the "upset brothers" (1 Kings 20:33)---a signal not lost on the leaders in Quetta.
"What do you mean that you dress in scarlet, that you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, that you enlarge your eyes with paint? In vain you beautify yourself. Your lovers despise you; they seek your life" (Jeremiah 4:30).
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