Liberty, however, does not have to be American-style liberty. In fact, in our day and age of progressive law and Hollywood permeation of American society, it would be well for the rest of the world to not look too closely at America as a pattern for the kind of liberty they should like to enjoy.
This is the essence of Islamic ambivalence (and sometimes hatred) for America. Muslims the world over, quite accurately see the freedom that America wants to share with them as the political and entertainmental America. They are offended by this brand of "freedom" and they also fear it--for good reason.
Other nations and peoples form their opinions about the United States from our media. They watch our news, our movies, and our television programs. The messages they hear include the following: (1) that women should be just like men, (2) that homosexuality is okay, (3) that it is passe' to worship God and attend religious services, and (4) that the nuclear family is unimportant.
Imagine if you belonged to a country in which another nation occupied your land and told you they were giving you freedom. Then conjure up in your mind the "freedoms" listed in the above paragraph. You might not think so highly of democracy either.
One of the greatest failings of the Bush Administration in its attempt to bring democracy to the Middle East is not having explained that family, faith, and morality are time-tested and important ingredients of American democracy, and that American democracy is being hijacked by a small group of Americans who want to hijack these same values away from other countries. The Bush administration, besides having never apologized to the Iraqi people for the moral debaucheries of Abu Ghraib, seemed not even to recognize that it was the moral aspect of Abu Ghraib (not the torture) that so soured the Iraqi attitude toward American assistance in their democratic experiment.
Muslims and Christians have a great deal in common, but we Americans seem to go out of our way to avoid drawing this distinctive similarity. I remember the look of surprise when I explained to an Iraqi husband and father that he had a beautiful family, and that my most prized possession was also my family.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has this to say about the Constitution of the United States:
76 And again I say unto you, those who have been scattered by their enemies, it is my will that they should continue to importune for redress, and redemption, by the hands of those who are placed as rulers and are in authority over you—
77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in abondage one to another.
80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose...
This does not mean that every nation must adopt the Constitution of the United States. In fact, the people of Iraq adopted a Constitution all their own.
This sentiment does, however, mean that such Constitutional liberties are right for all people to enjoy--that all people are children of God with the inherent right to choose how they will worship and what they will think and be.
It's time that the real America stand up and that we let those we are trying to help learn that we are not foisting licentiousness on them, but that we truly want them to enjoy the blessings of liberty, as is every person's God-given right.
Then maybe they'd believe that we're serious about helping them achieve their liberty. They may not want our immorality (which some among us call freedom), and I don't blame them. But every person understands what freedom is--and every person wants to enjoy it.