… be strong in the Lord … put on the whole armor of God … our struggle is … against the spiritual forces of evil … fasten the belt of truth around your waist and put on the breastplate of righteousness.

Eph 6: 10,11,12,14

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In the weekend addition of The Wall Street Journal (December 27-28, 2014) we learn of the “child soldiers of Syria,” boys as young as seven years of age who are schooled by the radical Islamic ISIS in beheadings of “infidels.”

These children are propagandized from morning to night and prepared to kill, with the less intelligent of them readied as suicide bombers.

Ironically, it is the younger children who take most easily to decapitation.

All seem easily convinced to mock, and deface the captured and the dead.  Each receives training in explosives and use of various weapons.  Those sent to battle enter the killing fields in short order.

For children who might contemplate escaping – they are reminded that deserters and would-be deserters are subject to execution.  Some Syrian families willingly turn their sons over to ISIS in exchange for money.  The boys themselves are baited by the terrorists with candy and juice.

These recruitment tactics are no different from what the Mujahedeen and Taliban did in Afghanistan.   You would think we might have taken voice and action against such practices.

In the West we take a less than kind disposition toward religion.  In Washington, D.C. the District’s local government (such as it is) burdens Catholic schools and churches with “rules” that violate the Church’s teaching.  The same sort of thing is repeated in many places in the U.S., sometimes aimed at Baptists or other believers.

In the quoted excerpt above, St. Paul gives us a strong dose of reality: the world conjures up evil rather easily.  What we do with it is the question.

I, for one, cannot imagine a more effective response that drawing closer to your faith, seeking from it what makes us both compassionate and courageous.

No one desires a world in which conflict, and armed conflict at that, occupies our life and enlists our young. However history shows us that our desires to the contrary are not always met.

I am, for sure, troubled that the West and the believers in the West have not been more vocal and more vigilant in their attention to the evil that grows in a world that has been reduced in size.  Likewise I marvel at how those who would lead remain inert and ineffective, and often show weakness and poor judgment in these matters.

We are, we should recognize, more easily targeted and accessed; and, we must, it seems to me, wake up and attend to these growing threats and the regimes and organizations that perpetuate this and aim their hatred at innocents and at us.

Faith first.  Then, resolve.

Shalom.

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