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Separation of Church (Not Mosque) and State By: Dr. Joseph Hitti
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, May 22, 2007

In a Naharnet posting on May 18, Gen. Michel Aoun is quoted as saying that Maronite Bishops "are not responsible for political life, but rather for spiritual life. In their capacity as citizens they are eligible to deal with political issues." In other words, Gen. Michel Aoun is applying the principle of the separation of State from Religion, but only to the Christian community, since he has a very cozy alliance with a Shiite Muslim fundamentalist group whose entire leadership consists of Sheikhs and Mullahs who can’t even imagine politics outside of religion.

The separation of State and Religion is a wonderful principle which many Lebanese would love to see applied to their fake democratic system that allows religion to dictate every aspect of people’s lives and that allows unelected men in robes, turbans and other strange headgear to run the country from inside their medieval castles perched atop the best real estate in Lebanon.

As the presidential elections approach in Lebanon , both the Maronite Patriarch and the Shiite Supreme Mullah Hassan Nasrallah are pulling strings to decide who will be the next President. The Lebanese Constitution recognizes 17 different (and specific) religious sects and assigns political office according to religion: Only a Maronite Catholic can be President, only a Shiite Muslim can be Speaker of Parliament, and only a Sunni Muslim can be Prime Minister, and so on and so forth, and each of the three top posts has roughly equal power. When the three communities are not busy killing each other, they bicker, and their leaders often resort to “sulking” [“Harad” in Lebanese] as a means to paralyze the political process as is happening right now, leaving the Lebanese people to fend for themselves through abject public services, high unemployment, and a defunct economy.

Aoun is also quoted as saying that “Israel is Lebanon 's enemy with which the nation is in a state of war.” The last I heard is that only the renegade militia Hezbollah is in state of war with Israel, while both Lebanon and Israel as sovereign states remain bound by all international agreements, beginning with the 1949 Armistice and all the way to the many many resolutions (including last summer’s resolution No. 1701) that require the Lebanese state to disarm and disband Hezbollah, Gen. Aoun’s recently discovered brothers-in-arms.

Gen. Aoun himself during his 15 years of exile used to condemn the state of war imposed by Hezbollah on Lebanon, as well as the forcing of Lebanon to be the only war front with Israel, while the other Arab countries are happily exchanging embassies and trading with Israel . Why hasn’t the Lebanese State declared war on Israel if indeed the nation is in such a state of war? How come the Lebanese Army has never fought Israel if the nation is in a state of war against it? How come only Shiite fundamentalists are defending the country in that war? Where are all the courageous Christians, Sunnis, Druze and all the other esoteric religious communities that make up the Lebanese potpourri, not waging war against the enemy, Israel, side-by-side with their heroes, the Shiite fundamentalists? If the nation is in a state of war, shouldn’t Lebanese unity demonstrate it? Shouldn’t Gen. Aoun himself be leading a battalion of fighters somewhere along the frontline? Mullah Hassan would happily give him a few thousand missiles to play with and harass the Israelis.

Perhaps Gen. Aoun should urge the Maronite Bishops to convert to Shiite Islam. This way they will now have the right to engage in politics, and best of all, when the radical Shiites of Hezbollah are sent to the trash bin of history, the formerly Maronite bishop converts to Islam will go with them to the Hell that their common God has prepared for all of them.

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