Right on cue, a Princeton Seminary professor recently suggested for the Huffington Post that the revolution in Egypt was actually a time for pondering how American “hegemony” might be overthrown throughout the Middle East. He also lamented how many fellow left-wingers are PEPS, i.e. “Progressive Except on Israel.”
The revolts in Egypt and Tunisia are special challenges to the Religious Left. For much of 30 years it has said nearly nothing about human rights abuses in the Arab world, not even under pro-Western regimes. To do so would distract from exclusive focus on Israel as the primary regional villain. Critique of Arab regimes also might risk critically examining political Islam, especially Sharia, which the Religious Left emphatically wants to avoid. Such examination might impair its version of interfaith dialogue. And it would distract from focus on the American Christian Right as the primary theocratic threat to global peace and justice.
Accordingly, Princeton theologian Mark Lewis Taylor was impatient with questions about whether Islam can generate an Enlightenment transition into modern democracy. He was far more interested in the “Christian Question,” which is: “Can Christians, especially in the U.S., discern the extent to which their own nation is an economically and militarily exploitative power in the Middle East/West Asia, and then voice and organize as part of a counter-power to that U.S. hegemony?”
Presumably Professor Taylor does not confine America’s hegemonic exploitation just to the Mid-East but was focusing on America’s crimes in that region in reaction to the latest Egypt events. He complained that American celebrants of the Egyptian revolt were failing to “acknowledge the politics of abuse the U.S. has long tolerated in Egypt for its interest in controlling oil prices and maintaining alliance with Israel.” He particularly faulted Egypt under Mubarak for “servicing both U.S. politics of oil price control and alliance with Israel.”
It’s not clear why Taylor tagged Mubarak’s Egypt, which is not a major oil producer, as an agent for suppressing America’s oil bill. Almost certainly Taylor is more disturbed by Egypt’s role as an “ally” with Israel, or more factually, not being an open belligerent. He was also troubled by Egypt’s ostensible fraternity with the “transnational elites” that similarly exploit “Main Street” USA as part of “U.S. neocolonialism.” Taylor forlornly wondered whether U.S. Christians would “find their voice to name this U.S. imperialism?”