The Christians and the Moslems have warred conventionally against one another since the rise in the Arabian Peninsula of militant Mohammendanism in the 7th Century. In 732 at Tours, France, Charles Martel thwarted the greatest threat to Christendom by Moslems, who had conquered their way across North Africa, crossed the Mediterranean Sea at Gibraltar, invaded Spain then France and there met defeat. The loss of Spain in 1492 still rankles in Moslems’ memories.

In 1529, Solyman, an Ottoman Turk and Moslem, besieged the city of Vienna on his way into the heartland of Christendom. “But the small Austrian garrison, valorously supported by the undaunted burghers, beat off the Moslem host and obliged Solyman to raise the siege.”

In 1389, at Kossovo, in the heart of the Balkans, Murad, an Ottoman, routed Orthodox Christians under Lazar of Serbia. Both Murad and Lazar perished in the struggle. But the indelible imprint of Mohammad and his teachings was an aftermath of Kossovo that persists to this day and was evident when Yugoslavia fell apart and the Orthodox Christians and Moslems set upon one another with murderous and pitiless assault.

In Medieval times, Christians had evolved a faith that was to them so certain that the Church, which had nurtured it, brooked no challenge to it. In fact, those who differed with the faith of the Church were subjected to interrogation by torture and if found guilty of heresy were put to death by burning at the stake, a horrible penalty for following one’s belief.

But the Enlightenment birthed by the Renaissance and the heritage from the Greek and Roman thinkers and writers of secular minds—which heritage was preserved by Moslems and restored to the West by the Crusaders—tended to undermine the theological and ideological certainties of the Church. The result has been that in the West the residue of Inquisitional forces has been slowly but surely weakened by science, secular scholarship and common sense—Charles Darwin having dealt the Coup de Grace to the threat of theocratic hegemony.

This evolution in the West from religious absolutism to separation of church and state—mankind’s greatest victory in the history of secularism and the freedom of conscience—is a phenomenon that is mostly alien in the lands of Mohammedanism. In Islamic lands today, the medieval aspect of the West’s evolution from Taliban-mindedness to the 1st Amendment—is as fanatical in Taliban adherents as it was in the Christian clerics that condemned the mystical teenager Joan of Arc to die in flames.

The Moslem’s answer to secularism is suicidal bombers that take their lives and all the other lives that stand in their way of making a statement for Allah. They do it in the belief that it is what Allah demands and for the reward that doing it will bring to them.

Western secularists believe that the Moslem bombers are misled. They are misled because science and knowledge and common sense evidence that there is no god, no heaven and hell and no reward but death for those that sacrifice their lives to subject children and women and the aged to the deadly effects of detonated explosives. It’s inexplicable that anyone of any religion can, declaring it’s God’s will, kill hundreds of others of mankind in an instant to gain a reward that he or she believes will assure them of paradise forever. But it is the mindset that the West is up against.

How does a nation defend itself against such a mindset and its terrorism? In Europe the place of adoption of Christianity and the birthplace of the Inquisition, the cathedrals have become mainly tourists’ attractions. The land of the Vatican is becoming secular, while South America and Africa the lands of the uneducated and poor have become the hope of the Vatican. The change in Europe has been through education in ageless secular knowledge—the basis of secular culture and of the subversion of absolutism. And through a betterment of the living conditions of the people of Europe.

The West is now, relative to the Moslem world, a super power. No Moslem nation can oppose it militarily with hope of defeating it. So the Moslems have innovated. They have brainwashed with religion many of their citizens to believe that to bomb themselves into oblivion along with large numbers of infidels will be the way to paradise and all the pleasures therein. Apparently, a combination of this belief and patriotism is enough to induce them to do the deed.

Secularism’s crusade must be to disabuse the Moslem world of its absolutist beliefs. The means are education and financial help and the West’s living in a way that is admirable. Just as the European nations have secularize notably since the Age of Faith, so has the number of unbelievers increased statistically in this nation and alarmingly so from the view of Fundamentalists. Even though there are pockets of creationists in Europe and this nation, the change to secularism, although slow, has been sure. And doubtlessly will continue.

As education has spread and income has increased giving people the opportunity to acquire the knowledge of the ages and to have the time to learn alone, faith has faltered. There are few in Europe and this nation today that are not puzzled and shocked by the mindset of suicide bombers or outraged by the barbarities of Moslem religious laws. And there are few who do not look back on the Inquisition with disbelief; and there many who view Fundamentalists as know-nothings.

The war on terrorism militarily is unwinnable, so long as the Moslems fight and die believing with a certainty that a heaven of pleasures, forever, awaits their sacrifices. It can be won by a Secular Crusade that employs enlightening education and economic betterment, the only weapons that can succeed in disabusing Moslem extremists and their heirs of the beliefs that inspire them to war with suicide.

This may take five hundred years, but better the expenditure of centuries of patience than billions in treasure and thousands in troops. So the strategy is to withdraw our forces, shore up our defenses against bombers, dedicate ourselves to build a stronger nation through education, economic justice and moral discipline and let what has happened in the West take its course in Islam. Iran already is beset with citizens in the streets. It may be the harbinger of a more liberal nation.

This nation fought a fratricidal war that sacrificed nearly a million of its sons over a racial and economic issue that had its origin two hundred years before it was resolved somewhat by that war. Today, that issue is all but mute: Now that the presidency of this nation is in the hands of an African-American. The secularization of the Islamic World and the West is the only reasonable means of victory.

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (, and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation ( I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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