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Today's Knight - Citizen Soldier in the War on Terror

It's time we do our part in the War on Terror. In fact, without our help, we cannot really win.
     We've seen this problem growing for many years now. A clash of ideologies that daily expands to pose a global threat.
     On one side of the conflict is the constant dissemination of western ideals throughout the world. These ideals include democracy, freedom, equality, humanitarian conscience, freedom of religion and speech, and the use of reason in the name of progress for all.
     On the other side is religious fanaticism at its worst, promoting an onslaught of indiscriminate and even mass murder in the supposed name of God. They have willingly embraced the tactics of terrorism, an ugly, ungodly means of waging war in which combatants cripple the functions of legitimate governments through violence, disruption and fear, and ruin the lives of millions of innocent victims. They reject democracy, freedom, equality and religious freedom. Violence and hate are their way of life, even when contrary to the teachings of their own religion. Their brutal tactics and unforgiving ways deaden the conscience of their participants, cheapening the value of human life - particularly their own. Right now, they feel confident of success by their rapid victories and little resistance. Their bravado has issued threats of slavery and murder to all the advanced nations of the world.
     Most of us in the west so strongly believe in the self-evident value of our ideals that we cannot understand the popularity of their ideology of hate. Why would anyone join a movement to wage war against freedom and equal rights and peaceful, civilized, and cooperative coexistence? And for what? The tyranny of some self-styled caliph, who claims power not by reason of worth or beneficence, but by the insane deviltry of killing and terror?
     It is important to ask ourselves the motivation of these combatants, who would live so much better if they embraced western ideals.
     The answer is simple. They don't look upon the west as the successful realization of high ideals. They see a wanton Babylon of immorality and greed, hated by Allah for crushing all that is sacred. Seeing us as hypocrites feeds their hate and justifies the cleansing of a bloody jihad.
     To win this War on Terror, we must wage it on two separate battlefields. Intelligence, security measures and military force naturally dominate one. But the other, less tangible one, suffers from the neglect of empty words and platitudes. That needs to change. It helps to know what we are fighting for, and that it is real. That is where we will find our greatest strength.
     We have to wake up to the inspirational depth and beauty of our own ideals before they can effectively stand up to terrorist propaganda. We must prove that greed, and all the ugliness that comes along with it, is not the natural result of freedom. True freedom produces virtue, not greed.
     We must resurrect the primacy of conscience to solidify our moral base. We must realize that true happiness does not come from the acquisition of expensive toys, or the diversions from life of being constantly entertained. It comes from leading a virtuous life.
     Lastly, we must rescue and reform our politics by preventing partisanship from perverting the will of the people.
     This is where today's Knighthood plays a vital role. We already recognize and hold dear the ideals mentioned earlier. Indeed, we have made serious commitment to them, and are charged to show the world that they are valid through the way we live our lives.
     Whenever we speak what is true when others will not, whenever we go out of our way to offer kindness to those in need, whenever we defend the weak, or assure justice, or measure our words before speaking to make sure that they support higher goals rather than our egos, we strike a blow for freedom in the War on Terror.
     We who proclaim freedom as an ideal are responsible for making it so. Believe it or not, the whole world is watching what we do with it. Ideals are just empty words until we bring them to life in our everyday lives. If we fail to do that, if we fail to live them enthusiastically and with pride of accomplishment, then we empower our enemies.
     We have a saying among us. "Seek the Knight Within." Please take a moment to consider that, to listen to the quiet voice of conscience, your own conscience, which is an intrinsic part of you, and longs to complete you. We are being called to a battlefield where bombs and bullets cannot win the day. Our weapons are what we say and do to the least among us, and the rationale of building a society forever immune from moral hypocrisy.

Knights, Companions, and those moved by the ethics of Chivalry-Now, by standing up for the light of reason and virtue, and promoting truth, we stem the tide against the degradation of our own ideals. There can be no greater weapon or fortification against the ideology of darkness that threatens us now.


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