Vital Signs

Grasping the Inexplicable

The U.S. government has a new official program called “Orthodox Christian World Outreach.”  Tens of millions of dollars will be spent to counter distrustful perceptions of the United States in Orthodox countries such as Serbia, Greece, and Russia—perceptions resulting, in part, from our policies with respect to Bosnia and Kosovo.  Under this new program, American tax dollars will support Orthodox Christian broadcasting, church schools, Orthodox think tanks, and restoration of churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Cyprus and of ancient icons and manuscripts in Orthodox monasteries.  Perhaps the most positive aspect is that, for the first time, the United States will ally herself politically with national movements and parties that seek to bring an Orthodox Christian moral and spiritual agenda to their societies.  This is a most welcome and unexpected development.

Alas, there is no such effort as “Orthodox Christian World Outreach.”  Everything in the above paragraph is not true.  Instead, Washington actually has launched this same program with respect to the Islamic world.  According to U.S. News & World Report,

In at least two dozen countries, Washington has quietly funded Islamic radio and TV shows, coursework in Muslim schools, Muslim think tanks, political workshops, or other programs that promote [so-called] moderate Islam. ...

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