The Crusader President


The Rondel of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta

That Order is the oldest living chivalric order in the world; to be admitted is a very high honor indeed.  There are some consequences to it, however, for the direction of US foreign policy at a time when relations between the West and the Islamic World are at a delicate moment.

In general, Muslims respect deep faith in Christians as with others.  George W. Bush, for all his cowboy image, enjoyed the respect if not the trust of much of the Islamic world on just these grounds.  We can also reasonably observe that President Obama, for all that he was supposed to be more acceptable to Muslim world because of his Indonesian upbringing and Muslim stepfather, has not demonstrated much success in leveraging that supposed advantage to obtain improved relations.

I obviously cannot hold it against a man that he should belong to an Order that I greatly admire, and whose history inspires the highest respect.  Still, I wanted to put it out there for our discussion.  What do you think?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I see nothing wrong, and much to admire, given what I've read about the Hospitallers' ongoing service helping pilgrims and others. I am not familiar with the oaths of the Hospitallers, but so long as they do not conflict with the Presidential oath there should not be any great difficulty.

LittleRed1

Anonymous said...

I did a longish paper on them for my MA in History. I've been to their "country", which is a few blocks down the street from the Spanish Steps in Rome. They do have a presence in Malta, but the govt.of Malta has nothing to do with these chaps. Oddly, they issue passports and maintain some embassies.....not players on the world stage. They are into good works and I cannot see that anyone would mind who was rational. Speaking of which, long ago my high school pal's mother told me, sotto voce, that the Catholics had an army in the U.S. and were going to take over the country. Right. She was talking about the Knights of Columbus. Even after I told her they were mostly older men with funny hats and feathers and tiny little swords, she remained convinced. Sigh.

Joseph W. said...

He wouldn't be our first Knight of Malta in public life. No, I can't see any harm in this per se.

rcl said...

As a 4th Degree Cavalieri di Columbo I will admit the swords are small and dull. Like a mini horse I don't see the point. A good Knight's hat is not "funny". Although some of the brighter colored plumes strike me the same. Same with the capes. There are classy capes and chintzy capes. The Knights in that gear are Color Guards. I just wear the tux and sash.

I'm impressed that Rick is a Knight of Malta. That's invitation only I believe. Interestingly enough just a night or two back I ordered a DVD of Richard Harris' excellent The Apocalyse. Looking for it I learned that despite his hard living Irish ways Sir Richard (knighted by the Dutch monarch) was a member of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

The Knights of Malta are an historic organization of prominent Catholics. Membership indicates a serious intent to serve.

The Knights of Columbus are a social, patriotic order. Please assure your aunt Anonymous that if we do seize power you can count on good food and a well stocked bar at all events.

douglas said...

Ah, yes rcl, you can indeed be assured a well stocked bar if the Catholics are in charge!

I thought we sorted this issue out in 1960. Is there something specific in a KoM oath that is problematic for a President? I can't imagine. Personal oaths usually wouldn't stop one from fulfilling upholding the constitution, and enforcing the law of the land- so what problems would (sane) people imagine there would be?

As for foreign policy, if the Islamic world takes it seriously, I suppose they might be less likely to think he wouldn't act in defense of Western Civilization and it's interests, and I'm not sure that's a bad thing. The old "it is far safer to be feared than loved if you cannot be both." bit. Surely that is better than the image we project currently.

Kim said...

Anything is better than the image we project currently.

MikeD said...

We can also reasonably observe that President Obama, for all that he was supposed to be more acceptable to Muslim world because of his Indonesian upbringing and Muslim stepfather, has not demonstrated much success in leveraging that supposed advantage to obtain improved relations.

I've long been confused why anyone thought it would help him with the Islamic world. To be clear, I do not believe he is a "sekrit Muslim", any more than I believe that his Christianity is anything more than a feigned conviction for political purposes. Like most liberals, I believe that at heart he is an atheist (or at least an agnostic), who recognizes that the vast majority of the American public would not support him were he to be open about it. That's my opinion, I can't prove it, but that's where I'd put my money were there a bet on it.

HOWEVER, my point is, regardless of what is actually in his heart, as far as the Islamic world is concerned, he's an apostate. His father was Muslim, that makes him a Muslim by Sharia. Period. The fact that he professes Christianity makes him apostate. Which is actually punishable by death in most Islamic nations. Sure, they might treat Christians harshly, even brutally. But that's nothing compared to how they treat apostates. So why would anyone expect his "Islamic heritage" would do him any favors with the Islamic world?