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Them mooslems int got no relijun

Timothy Kincaid

November 18th, 2010

I ruffled some feathers here (and reaped a heap of accusations) by doubting the wisdom and appropriateness of the methods employed in proposing and planning a mosque that was perceived to be “at Ground Zero”. But – for those who got a bit carried away at that time – there is a difference between concern about the circumstances of a situation and downright bigotry.

An example of the latter category comes to us from Murfreesburo, Tennessee, where some local folk have been trying to block a community of Muslims from expanding their worship and cultural center.

Following a suit filed under the pretenses of concerns about traffic, water quality, and soil contamination, the court case soon devolved into bald bigotry. (AP)

But much of the questioning from plaintiffs’ attorney Joe Brandon Jr. during seven days of testimony since late September was about whether Islam qualified as a religion. He pushed his theory that American Muslims want to replace the Constitution with extremist Islamic law.

The argument was founded on the nonsensical assumption that all Muslims adhere to the most conservative and literal interpretations of their text, (LA Times)

At one point, he asked whether Rutherford County Commissioner Gary Farley supported hanging a whip in his house as a warning to his wife and then beating her with it, something Brandon claimed was part of “Shariah religion.”

The commissioner protested that he would never beat his wife.

The ironic part is that the objection to the mosque was funded by those who consider themselves good Christians, the Bible-believing, force-everyone-to-follow-my-doctrine type. It would have been amusing to have various parts of the Bible read allowed and accuse the plaintiffs of practicing slavery and stoning their children. I think it would have been fun to just ask Attorney Brandon whether he holds the Constitution or the Bible in higher regard and watch him squirm.

To their credit, the commissioners stood by their decision and local religious leaders defended the mosque. And, of course, the judge found no merit in the rantings of stereotype and hatred.

But that didn’t stop some politicians from capitalizing on anti-Muslim animus. (CNN)

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey publicly criticized the project during a speech in August.

“You could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, a cult, whatever you want to call it,” Ramsey, then a candidate for Tennessee governor, said at a rally.

The only valid criticism seems to be that one of the board members had posted pro-Hamas comments to his MySpace page. And that, indeed, does deserve public rebuke.

But at the end of the day, people have the religious and intellectual freedom to support Hamas. That such a view is contrary to decency does not mean that they lose their constitutional rights.

And besides, personally I have a hard time distinguishing between the attitudes of hard-core Muslim extremists who want to impose their religion on others, and their Christian counterparts.

Comments

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Erin
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

Situational concern?

Timothy Kincaid
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks, Erin. That was an awkward phrase. I revised it to say “concern over the circumstances of a situation”

Ray
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

I have a hard time distinguishing between the attitudes of hard-core Muslim extremists who want to impose their religion on others, and their Christian counterparts.

An understatement, Timothy.

Emily K
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

Despite our history of oppression, I doubt many Jews will come forward to defend the Muslims being targeted.

They seem to be under the belief that all Muslims love denying the Holocaust and rejecting Israel’s right to exist in its current state.

I would love it if all Jews (maybe even all Christians) could take the time to study Islam a little bit to understand the people they live next door to. I know I should do much more of the same.

Ben in Oakland
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

“besides, personally I have a hard time distinguishing between the attitudes of hard-core Muslim extremists who want to impose their religion on others, and their Christian counterparts.”

Of course there’s a difference.

Some of them are Muslims.

Some of them are Christians.

Timothy Kincaid
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

Take heart, Emily,

Other faiths have risen to the defense of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. The newly formed Interfaith Coalition on Mosques, which is composed of prominent Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and Southern Baptists and other Protestants, has filed a brief in the case.

The political views of Rowash — who hasn’t been called to testify and hasn’t commented publicly — and other board members are “totally irrelevant,” said Deborah Lauter, the director of civil rights for the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, which sponsors the interfaith coalition.

If all of the members of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro were public cheerleaders for Hamas, it would still be illegal to discriminate against them because the First Amendment protects freedom of worship, she said.

Emily K
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

This is good. It’s a good sign.

John
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

“I ruffled some feathers here (and reaped a heap of accusations) by doubting the wisdom and appropriateness of the methods employed in proposing and planning a mosque that was perceived to be “at Ground Zero””

I don’t recall you saying this (maybe it was in a comment), but it is just as bad as the positions of the bigots in Murfreesburo. How is likening terrorists to law-abiding citizens over shared religion NOT bigotry?

Also, the title of this post is extremely annoying.

Timothy Kincaid
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

John,

How odd. You don’t recall it, but that doesn’t stop you from assuming that it likened terrorists to law-abiding citizens.

Ben in Atlanta
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

Everyone may be familiar with the poetry of Rumi and Hafiz but may not know that the love poems are written to God and are about taking God as lover. Sufism is the mystical branch of Islam. To me they seem to be some of the most beautiful utterances ever made. That’s peace.

tristram
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

“besides, personally I have a hard time distinguishing between the attitudes of hard-core Muslim extremists who want to impose their religion on others, and their Christian counterparts.”

The difference is that the Christianists are going to be making the laws for the rest of us – right here in the USA, not in Yemen, Iran or Saudi Arabia (nor even in Iraq and Afghanistan where we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars and sent thousand of Americans to die to protect the rule of Islamic law).

btw – At the risk of sounding overly PC, I think your headline here is unnecessary and potentially demeaning.

Lindoro Almaviva
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

I recall clearly the heap of anger that was thrown because I somewhat started it.

The only difference between the situation in NYC and the situation in TN is that the people in NYC somehow were able to stop short of showing their true bigoted colors for all the world to see.

Maybe the people in NYC were a little better trained in how to mask their intent and dress it in a way that might fool those who are less inclined to dig deeper; maybe they just found such showing of outright hatred distasteful.

My mom always told me that there are 2 types of racists (and in this, I guess bigots and xenophobes might get the same application): Those who will have no filter and show their hatred for all the world to see (Like Fred Phelps and his church) and those who will be well mannered and even pleasant; like Maggie Galagher. The only difference between them is their outward behavior, not their ideas.

John
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy:

ANY opposition to the “ground-zero mosque,” even calling it “unwise” or “ill-advised” is likening the law-abiding citizens working on the project to terrorists. Opposition to it is based on the notion that the Muslims working on the community center are connected to the terrorists who destroyed the twin towers because of a shared faith. They have NO CONNECTION to 9/11, and anyone who thinks they do is a bigot.

Lost Choi
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy,
Dan Choi chained himself to the White House fence YET AGAIN this week. This silly stunt of his is getting real old. What I find curious is that Box Turtle didn’t cover it, and your DADT story didn’t mention it. Could it be that even Box Turtle is getting annoyed and tired of Choi’s antics too?

Lindoro Almaviva
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

Could it be that even Box Turtle is getting annoyed and tired of Choi’s antics too?

You know? I find this offensive. You might not like his actions, but at least Choi IS soing something to keep this in the public conscience and doing something about it on his own style. What are you doing about it besides bitching about it? What is the HRC doing? Oh yes, the HRC said that they didn’t need to do anything because the White House had a plan and they got it covered, right?

I understand that Choi’s actions might not be to some people’s liking, but given the fact that he is doing something, rather than bending over and playing the White House’s sub boi, and given the fact that he put his life on the line of fire to defend not only HIS freedom, but ours; he can do whatever he wants. There are more than one way to skin a cat, and lemme remind you that the HRC has not even picked up a knife yet.

Lost Choi
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

Lindoro,
Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
Choi keeps doing this same act over & over and it’s not working. The media isn’t even covering it anymore. Even Box Turtle didn’t cover it. Does Choi believe that by continuing this same act that he will suddenly achieve different results and suddenly DADT will be repealed because of it? If so, then Einstein and I would point out this is insane.
If you “find it offensive” that I point out this insanity, then I suggest you do other things with your time than read this blog.
Perhaps YOU could do something about it, other than complaining about my posts. I have posted previously about all the groups/events/activities that I am and have been involved in. You can read them on Box Turtle. But what have YOU done? Complaining about me, HRC, and others doesn’t count. And doesn’t help.
Lindora, what are YOU going to do?

Erin
November 18th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, I was asking you to elaborate on the statement. What exactly was the concern?

MIhangel apYrs
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy
I was listening to a feature on BBC radio 4 yesterday, where west bank palastinians are allowed 1 week per year to pick their olives off their own trees, and how the groves are vandalised and destroyed, how sewage is streamed through them, etc

These people hold title to the land (vaakidated by the UN), but the illegal Jewish settlers insist the land is theirs, given by god.

This is why Hamas is supported since no other organisation will actually DO anything to help them.

It is for readers t odecide how they’d react…

Jon
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

“I have a hard time distinguishing between the attitudes of hard-core Muslim extremists who want to impose their religion on others, and their Christian counterparts.”

Absolutely true. But as someone who lives in the middle east and sees the real fruits of Islamic fundamentalism I think it is far more of a concern than Christian fundamentalism. Part of the problem is that Islamic culture doesn’t have any church(mosque)/state separation; it’s something that is inconceivable in the Islamic world-view, whereas church/stat separation does exist in the west and even has a biblical rationale behind it. (“Give unto Ceaser” and all that.)

Another difference is that Islam has at it’s core Jihad (Holy War – used to rationalize suicide bombers) whereas Christianity doesn’t have anything of the kind.

These two things makes Islam, and fundamentalist Islam in particular, a VASTLY more serious worry than fundamentalist Christianity will ever be. And I speak as an Atheist, not as a Christian.

Aeval
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Another difference is that fundamental islamist’s main target isn’t christians nor other infidels, from their perspektive, but other muslims.

Islamic radicals believe in the need to spread their version of Islam all over the world and see the vast majority of Muslims as infidels and therefore as targets.

Christian islamophobia plays along with the Islamic radical’s agenda, by targeting their fobia and fearmongering on all muslims.

Which actually makes fundamental christianity and radical Islamic more or less the same….

I see your point Timothy Kincaid, and agree to it.

BlackDog
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

@ Jon: If you speak as an Atheist and not as a Christian…then why are you repeating the same things the Fundamentalist Christians who want to go to war with Islam are saying?

Jihad is not any more the core of Islam than going on Crusade is or ever was the core of Christianity…and certainly, where Jihad IS a part of Islam it is not so in the an expansionist warfare context.

The Prophet Muhammad spoke of the greater and the lesser Jihad. The greater Jihad is internal to the believer and is the struggle to bring the Self into submisson to God. The lesser Jihad is the struggle to defend or expand the faith in the external world.

Those who preach Jihad as “Holy War” are doing so for very secular reasons, because they want power…and that’s NO different than those Christians who say that the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq are part of a struggle against the forces of Satan.

And yes, there ARE those Fundamentalist Christians who would impose their will on the rest of us and kill or subjugate anyone who opposes them, if only they could get away with it.

As someone who lives in America (and lives in reality) I’m far more concerned about Fundamentalist Christians than I am about Muslims of any sort. I know, I KNOW, from my own personal experience that there are Fundamentalist Christians out there who believe that everybody who doesn’t follow their specific beliefs serves demons or the devil and they believe that Christians are called to take “Dominion” over everybody else.

Having seen the fruits of this, I believe that anyone who denies it’s a threat or claims that Islam is somehow a bigger threat is either crazy, a Dominionist, or working FOR the Dominionists. Ever watch Jesus Camp? The evidence is there, and it’s not that hard to find. I’m a LOT more concerned about Christianists trying to take away people’s rights than I am about some mythical Muslim invasion or something.

Remember 9/11 was done by terrorists, not Muslims, there’s a difference. (Osama had already been kicked out of both Saudi AND the Sudan, remember? Not all Muslims even in Fundamentalist countries support that shit!) Some terrorists may BE Muslims…but as the Hutaree and other incidents in the last couple of years have shown…not to mention the Oklahoma City bombings…there are Christian terrorists too.

elaygee
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

How nice that Emily K took it on herself to speak for and about all Jewss Everywhere. Seems like an awful lot of self loathing roiling about in her.
Speak for yourself Emily and no one else. Last I heard, Jews didn’t have a meeting to appoint you spokesperson.

L. Junius Brutus
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Emily K: “I would love it if all Jews (maybe even all Christians) could take the time to study Islam a little bit”

I think studying Islam would do you some good, since you seem to know next to nothing about the religion. Read the Koran, read the hadiths that orthodox Muslims consider canonical, and then come with a judgment.

Lindoro: “My mom always told me that there are 2 types of racists (and in this, I guess bigots and xenophobes might get the same application): ”

I guess you finally found out (after three months) what a “racist” is. Let me remind you that in the Ground Zero mosque thread, you started out by calling all the people opposed to the project racists (and saying that you were so “mad” that you wanted to slap us all until your hands were sore). I guess we have been demoted to “bigots and xenophobes” now.

John: “ANY opposition to the “ground-zero mosque,” even calling it “unwise” or “ill-advised” is likening the law-abiding citizens working on the project to terrorists.”

No, because it IS ill-advised. The imam Faisal Abdul Rauf admitted as much, in claiming that he wouldn’t have done this if he knew what the response would have been. Furthermore, this imam is in favor of Sharia law (which includes killing you and me), considers the US an accomplice to 9/11, refuses to condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization and says that the “concerns” of terrorists should be listened to – something supporters of the Ground Zero mosque love to ignore. Ideologically, this man is pretty much an Islamic fundamentalist. Ignoring it won’t make it go away, though. Sorry. (Do I get to be called a racist for my troubles?)

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Junius said “Furthermore, this imam is in favor of Sharia law (which includes killing you and me), considers the US an accomplice to 9/11, refuses to condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization and says that the “concerns” of terrorists should be listened to.”.

Well, I don’t know about your first and last point but I know you’re lying about the rest. He did not say that the U.S. was an accomplice to the 9/11 attacks, he said that the U.S. helped to create the climate that motivated the attackers – that’s a whole lot different then being an accomplice. He also has condemned Hamas’s terrorist actions.

So, yes, when you have to lie to justify your claims that the ground zero community centre shouldn’t be built then you are a racist.

L. Junius Brutus
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

BlackDog: “then why are you repeating the same things the Fundamentalist Christians who want to go to war with Islam are saying?”

Maybe because things that fundamentalist Christians say are not necessarily false. Islam really does not have a separation of church and state.

“Jihad is not any more the core of Islam than going on Crusade is or ever was the core of Christianity…and certainly, where Jihad IS a part of Islam it is not so in the an expansionist warfare context.”

What nonsense! Jihad was practiced from the day Islam was founded. Not so with the Crusades, which first came a millennium after the founding of Christianity and were (mostly) to *reconquer* lands lost to the Muslims. Spain is a crusader state. On the other hand, the Muhammad waged wars of aggression, and so did all of his successors. How do you think Islam spread? Accidentally? No, it was the exact “expansionist warfare context” that you claim was not part of Islam, that spread Islam. Oops, I guess it was part of Islam. It is not without reason that Jihad has been called the sixth pillar of Islam. It is not without reason that Islam calls the non-Islamic world the “Abode of War” – against which Muslims are to wage war until they have conquered it. Inconvenient but tre. Quick, call me a racist to justify not paying attention to these facts and arguments.

“The lesser Jihad is the struggle to defend or expand the faith in the external world.”

Ah, even you don’t agree with the things you have been spewing. Because here you admit that Jihad is a struggle to “expand the faith”, whereas just three sentences before, you claimed that it had absolutely nothing to do with “expansionist warfare context”. Damn.

“Those who preach Jihad as “Holy War” are doing so for very secular reasons, because they want power…”

Do you suppose that the people who blow themselves up to kill children and pregnant women are also doing it for very secular reasons? Or are they doing it because their prophet taught them to do such?

“As someone who lives in America (and lives in reality)”

Whatever “reality” you live in, probably does not have a blue sky.

“Remember 9/11 was done by terrorists, not Muslims”

Muslim terrorists. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they seem to go together rather well. And you’re welcome.

“Not all Muslims even in Fundamentalist countries support that shit!”

Mostly because they think the Jews are responsible for 9/11.

“there are Christian terrorists too.”

The Oklahoma City bombings were not carried out in the name of Christianity. The terrorist attacks that can be connected to Christianity are far and few in between, wheras there are daily attacks in the name of Islam. That is because Jesus taught love and peace, wheras Muhammad taught war and hate.

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

I forgot to add that I agree with the imam that the U.S. helped to create the climate that motivated the 9/11 attackers.

justsearching
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

I agree with Jon’s assessment. There are more Fundie Christians in America, but it would be a wildly mistaken characterization of Christian Fundamentalism to suggest it’s dangerous in the same way as Muslim Fundamentalism. Fundies might protest in annoying ways, use their numbers to enact anti-civil right legislation, and strongly voice opinions others strongly disagree with, but Christian Fundamentalism, unlike Muslim Fundamentalism, can not be said to include a call to violence against those who don’t agree with you. (There might be Christian Fundie nutjobs who want to kill to enforce their views, but it is not intrinsic to any significant brand of American Christian Fundamentalism.)

Blackdog, you can find parts of the Quran that emphasize Jihad as an internal struggle, and you can find other parts that suggest outright military action. The New Testament for Christians does not contain anything that is comparable to the concept of Jihad, and so Jihad can fairly be deemed more intrinsic to Islam than the Crusades can be to Christianity.

I’d disagree with your contention that those who defend the “Holy War” reading of Jihad are only seeking power. They are seeking power, an absolute theocratic power, one that fits in with a certain religious viewpoint, a viewpoint many pick up when they are radicalized in certain mosques or training centers.

“Remember 9/11 was done by terrorists, not Muslim.”

They committed acts of terrorism explicitly in the name of Allah. They were radical Muslims motivated, in large part, by religious beliefs. They certainly don’t represent all Muslims, but they certainly were Muslims.

L. Junius Brutus
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

elaygee: “Speak for yourself Emily and no one else. Last I heard, Jews didn’t have a meeting to appoint you spokesperson.”

Careful now, Emily doesn’t take kindly to people disagreeing with her. You will agree with her, or she will post the most vile slanders and lies about you – in the name of love, tolerance and diversity. Last time I refuted something she said with facts and arguments, she posted a fact- and argumentfree response simply calling me a pedophile. She really is tolerance, love and diversity incarnate.

Priya: “I know you’re lying about the rest. He did not say that the U.S. was an accomplice to the 9/11 attacks, ”

Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf: “The United States’ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened”. Apparently, you think that the words “lie” and “truth” are synonymous.

“He also has condemned Hamas’s terrorist actions.”

And he also refused to call it a terrorist organization. Rauf: “Look, I’m not a politician. The issue of terrorism is a very complex question.” Wow, blowing up pregnant women and children in buses (which Hamas does) is a complex question? This man is a true moderate!

I guess this makes the statement I made about “refus[ing] to condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization” truthful.

L. Junius Brutus
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Priya: “I forgot to add that I agree with the imam that the U.S. helped to create the climate that motivated the 9/11 attackers.”

Welcome, Congressman Paul.

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Justsearching said “Christian Fundamentalism, unlike Muslim Fundamentalism, can not be said to include a call to violence against those who don’t agree with you.”.

Depends on the christian fundamentalist, some certainly do – remember Orson Scott Card.

Justsearching said “The New Testament for Christians does not contain anything that is comparable to the concept of Jihad”.

Riiiight. The Old testament is part of the christian religion too and it does call for non-believers to be put to death. Christians often try to distance themselves from the majority of their bible, if they want to claim they repudiate it let’s see them drop the old testament entirely from publication with their new testament.

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Junius, you lied about what Rauf said, I don’t accept any of your claims as the truth.

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Saying the U.S. polices were an accessory to the attacks is a whole lot different than claiming the U.S. assisted in the planning and implementation of the attacks themselves(an accomplice) which is what Junius the liar said.

L. Junius Brutus
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn: “Junius, you lied about what Rauf said, I don’t accept any of your claims as the truth.”

Except that I literally quoted your dear imam, saying exactly what I said he said. There was nothing about “creating the climate” (which you claimed he said), the statement was very direct about the US being an accessory to 9/11. I guess you are the liar, by your own standards. I wouldn’t call you a liar, because you probably simply made a recollection error.

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

My comment wasn’t in quotes Junius you liar. You said that Rauf claimed the U.S. was an accomplice to the 9/11 attacks. That was total BS and it was not a quote in any way, shape, or form.

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Junius said “the statement was very direct about the US being an accessory to 9/11.”.

Again you lie, he said the U.S. POLICIES were an accessory to the attacks, not the U.S. itself. Your claim that he said the U.S. was an accomplice to the 9/1l attacks was a gross distortion of what he actually said. My statement that he said the U.S. helped create the climate that lead to the attacks was an accurate paraphrase of his comment.

L. Junius Brutus
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Priya: “My comment wasn’t in quotes Junius you liar. ”

And neither was mine, Ms. Double Standards.

“Again you lie, he said the U.S. POLICIES were an accessory to the attacks, not the U.S. itself.”

Distinction without a difference. One can’t be an accessory without the other. If the US were an accessory, that would need to be reflected in its… *gasp* policies. The point is where he (and you) lays blame for the attack. Apparently, you two think that the US should let terrorists dictate its policies. “Here, we’ll do everything you say. Are you happy now, Mr. Bin Laden? No more terrorist attacks? Praise be to Allah!”

Furthermore, you are rather fond of the words ‘lie’ and ‘liar’. Is this your version of Tourette’s Syndrome? Perhaps you should go to bed, and yell “LIAR! LIAR! LIAR! LIE!” at your pillow until you are rid of it. You and Emily seem to think that a debate is about calling the other person every name in the book. It is not.

justsearching
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

@Priya- You neglected what I put directly after the material you quoted. I was talking about sizable groups within Christian Fundamentalism, not individuals. As for Orson Card… I couldn’t find any quotes from him issuing fatwas against his political/religious enemies.

You’re comments on the OT are correct. But you’ll find very very few Fundie Christians who will embrace all of the OT. (They pick whatever suits them.) And my point is that no Fundie Christian group/church/sect etc., to my knowledge, seeks to kill their opponents and justifies this by referring to the Old or New Testaments. The material (in the OT) is there to be used in that way, but currently it is not.

I’m not religious, but I don’t view all religions as equally bad. I’d be more content, for example, if much of the world were Jainist, Buddhist, Quaker etc. rather than Christian, Muslim, Hindu. And the latter three have their more pleasant variants, along with their god-awful versions too.

Aeval
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

“And my point is that no Fundie Christian group/church/sect etc., to my knowledge, seeks to kill their opponents and justifies this by referring to the Old or New Testaments.”

Anti-abortion violence?

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

I said ““My comment wasn’t in quotes Junius you liar. ”
Junius said “And neither was mine, Ms. Double Standards.”.

No, I never claimed your statement that Rauf said the U.S. was an accomplice to the 9/1l attacks was a quote, you said my paraphrasing was a quote – that was a lie.

I said “Again you lie, he said the U.S. POLICIES were an accessory to the attacks, not the U.S. itself.”

Junius said “Distinction without a difference. One can’t be an accessory without the other.”.

No, its a huge distinction. You said Rauf claimed the U.S. was an accomplice to the 9/11 attacsk, which is to say the U.S. sat down with the terrorists and directly assisted in planning and implementing the highjacking and piloting of the planes into the WTC. To say the U.S. was an accessory to the attacks is to say the same thing. To say the U.S. policies were an accessory to the attack is to say the U.S. indirectly helped create the climate that motivated the attackers, thats a world of difference from claiming the U.S. directly helped plot and assist with murder. My paraphrasing was accurate, yours an outrageous distortion of what Rauf said intended to create hate and anger where none is justifiable.

Junius said “Apparently, you two think that the US should let terrorists dictate its policies.”.

Another typical outrageous lie about what people think/say. I, and I’m sure Rauf, think no such thing, we think the U.S. should have fair and balanced foreign policies and that would help limit the anger and desire for revenge against the U.S.

You can’t make your racist case without wildly distorting what people say/think so you come up with paraphrasing like “[he] considers the US an accomplice to 9/11″.

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Justsearching said “I was talking about sizable groups within Christian Fundamentalism, not individuals.”.

I’d agree with you on that.

Justsearching said “As for Orson Card… I couldn’t find any quotes from him issuing fatwas against his political/religious enemies.”.

I don’t have the exact quote, but it was something to the effect of “Any governement that tries to change the definition of marriage is my enemy and I will seek to overthrow that government by whatever means possible.”.

Justsearching said “And my point is that no Fundie Christian group/church/sect etc., to my knowledge, seeks to kill their opponents and justifies this by referring to the Old or New Testaments. The material (in the OT) is there to be used in that way, but currently it is not.”.

That’s not true, the Phelps clan does this, as do the the Christian Dominionists/Reconstructionists who advocate the death penalty for gays based on the old testament.

I’m not religious, but I don’t view all religions as equally bad. I’d be more content, for example, if much of the world were Jainist, Buddhist, Quaker etc. rather than Christian, Muslim, Hindu. And the latter three have their more pleasant variants, along with their god-awful versions too.

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Ooops, I should have deleted that last paragraph in my post above, that was a quote from Justsearching I felt no need to respond to.

justsearching
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Phelps gloats over the deaths of others, celebrates their supposed fates in hell, and is an insensitive bastard, but, to my knowledge, he doesn’t actually advocate going out and killing or maiming your religious/political opponents.

justsearching
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Calling for the existing political powers to criminalize (and bring in the death penalty) for homosexuals is an awful opinion to have and request to make, but carrying out killings without any legislative/judicial check is far worse.

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Justsearching, yes, he advocates the death penalty for gays, I’m astonished that you don’t know that. As for Christian groups/churchs/sects that want to put their enemies to death and use the old testament to justify it, see the second paragraph of this post:

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2008/01/06/1249

Priya Lynn
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

I would however agree with you Justsearching that Islam is a much more despicable religion than Christianity.

BlackDog
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

You know, last I checked, I’ve never had a problem with a Muslim attempting to force their beliefs or their religion on me. I’ve had a lot of problems with Pentecostal Christians attempting to force me to become part of their religion.

Yes, there are theocratic, violent Muslims. No, Islam and terrorism are not mutually exclusive. I never said they were. However, the Quran explicitly condemns the killing of civilians in war, so while the terrorists may be Muslims, they’re not necessarily good Muslims. By the way, I’ve read more than enough about Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols to know that while maybe they DIDN’T slap any sort of “Christian” label on the Oklahoma City bombing, they were themselves very far-right Christians. The Detroit Free Press covered this extensively. Badly enough, those guys tested some of their explosives a couple hours from where I live.

Jesus taught love and peace? Maybe, but I sure don’t see all that much love and peace from His followers these days. I see them opposing anti-bullying legislation AND healthcare AND gay rights etc. etc. Not all of them do this of course, but a large number, for sure, large enough to be noticed, and opposed. So, You could possibly say from the actions of His followers that Jesus taught hate. Niether Moses nor Jesus nor Muhammad taught only love OR hate.

Maybe they taught both, or niether? Who knows what THEY actually said. Funny enough they themselves didn’t write it down. So If you want to read the Bible or the Koran or the Torah you can find messages that go both ways. Maybe that’s the problem? At least the Jews seem to have an authoritative sort-of approved reading of their scriptures that tones down the hate aspect. I can’t say as I’ve personally ever met any especially bigoted or hateful or violent Muslims though…though obviously they are out there. I being a typical American haven’t met any.

But I have met some pretty bigoted and hateful Christians, and I’m a bit more concerned about them than I am about Muslims because they are people that I know and some have threatened me personally, and the Muslims have not. (I have, btw, personally known quite a few Muslims.)

I’m rather sure that in order to be harrassed, or threatened, or killed by Muslim fundamentalists I would most likely have to go to the middle east.
(The only time I’ve been to that part of the world I was there as a USAF airman deployed to Saudi so this isn’t just a hypothetical for me.) The odds of being killed in a Muslim-perpetrated terrorist attack stateside are pretty small. Factor in the lack of successful attacks here since 9/11 on top of that and maybe you can see why I think anybody who buys into the Muslim fundies being such a big threat watches FOX News too much.

I have however, been harrassed, stalked, and threatened by Christians, expressly because they desired to force me to become the same kind of Christian as them and I didn’t cooperate. The law had to get involved (more than once) to make them stop. I carried a gun in my car for almost a year because of these people, and constantly being on edge like I was during that time isn’t a good feeling. The anger, fear, hate, and stress of something like that eats away at a person’s soul if you ask me.

Maybe you’ve just met different Christians than I have and maybe the ones you know are all peace, love and flowers but that is not the case for everyone. I happened to marry a Pentecostal woman with mental issues who joined a particularly cult-like little group after we split up.

I’ve had a number of issues with Fundamentalist and Pentecostal Christians in the last ten years. So I am FAR more concerned about the influence of Fundamentalist Christianity in this country than I am about anything Muslims might do. Whether it be terrorist attacks or any other illegal acts, just that Muslims did it would certainly provoke an overwhelming law enforcement response and maybe even be justification for some military action if it could be traced to someone the government wants to take out.

The wrongs that I’ve seen Christians do? not so much. The hell with “no one cares” it’s more like “no one even notices” usually and even fewer say anything. I’d feel pretty alone in that if it wasn’t for the blogosphere. So that’s the reality that I live with, and the sky actually is pretty gray right now.

BlackDog
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

@ Priya: Personally, the more I look at what’s going on in the world these days I’m starting to think religion itself is pretty dispicable. I don’t mean a belief in a god or gods, I mean organized religion.

I’m not an Atheist, actually I’m an agnostic. The directions I see Christianity going in scare me, especially with the situation in Africa, and I don’t see Islam as doing any better, their nutcases are just more…explosive.

I’m pretty disgusted by it all, really, and I don’t feel like discussing this anymore. I think I’m gonna go to bed. It’d be nice to think things are going to get better, except they ain’t.

L. Junius Brutus
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

BlackDog: “You know, last I checked, I’ve never had a problem with a Muslim attempting to force their beliefs or their religion on me.”

What an egocentric view of the world, as if everything revolves around you and who is or is not bothering you. How about moving to an Islamic-majority country of your choice and seeing whether Muslims will force religion on you or not. There are plenty of Christian-majority countries that are free, now try to find an Islamic-majority country that is.

“Yes, there are theocratic, violent Muslims.”

Like the ‘prophet’ Muhammad.

“However, the Quran explicitly condemns the killing of civilians in war, so while the terrorists may be Muslims, they’re not necessarily good Muslims.”

I am pretty sure that you have never read the Koran. If you did, you would know that waging wars of aggression, and making second-class citizens and slaves of native peoples. The caliph Umar was assassinated by a Persian who could not stand the sight of the children from Zoroastrian children who had been enslaved by the Muslims. Terrorism per se might not be approved, but aggression and violence certainly is.

“By the way, I’ve read more than enough about Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols to know that while maybe they DIDN’T slap any sort of “Christian” label on the Oklahoma City bombing, they were themselves very far-right Christians”

Quite possibly, but it was not Christianity that drove them to their actions. Their Christainity is about as relevant as the color of their hair.

“You could possibly say from the actions of His followers that Jesus taught hate.”

Idiotic statement. Unless you can show that Jesus did teach hate, no action of any supposed follower of his can prove that he did teach hate.

“I’m rather sure that in order to be harrassed, or threatened, or killed by Muslim fundamentalists I would most likely have to go to the middle east.”

Or to Europe. Just talk to Theo van Gogh. Oh wait, he was butchered by a Muslim for telling the truth about Islam – in a city where Spinoza could freely speak his mind hundreds of years ago, no less. Well, if you’re in Europe, have a talk with Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist.

“Maybe you’ve just met different Christians than I have and maybe the ones you know are all peace, love and flowers but that is not the case for everyone.”

Actually, the have been, but I do know that there are some really scummy self-proclaimed Christians out there. I can’t tell you how much I despise these people, that is probably more than any person here. The problem with this people is that they are not following the commandments of Jesus. Hateful and violent Muslims, on the other hand, are doing exactly as Muhammad preached, and did. Islam is rotten at the core, Christianity is not – though it may be rotten at the periphery. To repudiate violence, Islam would have to repudiate Muhammad and his successors, while Christianity would only need to repudiate some miscreants whom 95% of Christians already condemn and despise.

L. Junius Brutus
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Priya: “No, I never claimed your statement that Rauf said the U.S. was an accomplice to the 9/1l attacks was a quote, you said my paraphrasing was a quote – that was a lie.”

No, I didn’t.

“No, its a huge distinction. You said Rauf claimed the U.S. was an accomplice to the 9/11 attacsk, which is to say the U.S. sat down with the terrorists and directly assisted in planning and implementing the highjacking and piloting of the planes into the WTC. ”

You could say the same thing about US policies being an accomplice to the 9/11 attack. For a government to do anything, it needs to be reflected in policy. And I never said that he claimed that the US had any part in the 9/11 attacks. It is reprehensible enough to say that the US is to blame for the 9/11 attacks.

“Another typical outrageous lie about what people think/say. I, and I’m sure Rauf, think no such thing, we think the U.S. should have fair and balanced foreign policies and that would help limit the anger and desire for revenge against the U.S.”

Again, distinction without a difference. Rauf thinks that terrorists like Bin Laden should be given what they want, so that they won’t have anger and a desire for “revenge” (???) against the US. Wanting a fair and balanced foreign policy is good, but the US already has it. To insert the demands of terrorists into this discredits your own cause, and it rewards people of ill will.

“You can’t make your racist case ”

Ah, I have been promoted again, from xenophobe to “racist”! So tell me, against what race is my “racism” directed?

Shannon Spencer Fox
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn wrote:

I don’t have the exact quote, but it was something to the effect of “Any governement that tries to change the definition of marriage is my enemy and I will seek to overthrow that government by whatever means possible.”.

It took some digging to get this, including going to the… ugh, Mormon Times website, but the original article by Orson Scott ‘Remember When My Books Were Good?’ Card can be found here. And yes, that’s pretty much an exact quote from the article.

And, really, people are having trouble thinking of murderous hardcore Christian groups? Really? Dr. George Tiller would like a word, along with Randall Terry and ‘Operation Rescue’… Bill Hick’s talk of irony of pro-life groups murdering doctors, indeed.

Timothy Kincaid
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

The exact Card quote is:

How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

While the spirit of the quote is virtually the same, there are a few differences. Card attributes the call for overthrow to “married people” rather than himself and places it in the “how long until” future.

Neither version are a particularly strong illustration of a statement that contradicts “Christian Fundamentalism, unlike Muslim Fundamentalism, can not be said to include a call to violence against those who don’t agree with you.”

Card doesn’t exactly call for violence against ‘those who don’t agree with him’, but rather the destruction of a government. While that destruction may be presumed to include violence against something or someone, it does not appear to clearly be directed towards “those who don’t agree with” him. Or so it seems to me.

Perhaps an example of a representative of Christian Fundamentalism who explicitly calls for violence against those who don’t agree with him might prove to be a more effective illustration.

L. Junius Brutus
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

“And, really, people are having trouble thinking of murderous hardcore Christian groups?”

Maybe that is because there are comparatively (very) few Christian terrorist organizations and attacks. That’s what happens when a peaceful and loving man is at the center of your religion. Fundamentalism is not the Christian mainstream. Fundamentalist Islam is unfortunately the Islamic mainstream. Just to give you an example, this is from a Pew survey of Pakistan in 2007:

Do you agree with:
Segregation of men and women in the workplace (85)
Stoning people who commit adultery (82)
Whipping and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery (82)
Death penalty for people who leave the Muslim religion (76)

http://pewglobal.org/2010/07/29/concern-about-extremist-threat-slips-in-pakistan/5/

What we consider to be ‘extreme’, Muslims generally regard as being very mainstream. And that’s the problem with Islam.

Emily K
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

I thought this article series (in the Wall Street Journal no less, not exactly a liberal, everybody-love-one-another bastion) was really informative.

Timothy Kincaid
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Emily,

Thanks for the link. It was indeed informative.

And I could not help but empathize with the frustration of those who don’t find “much prospect of a moderate Islam in the Muslim world” but still take on the burden to “be at the forefront of those who reject violence and terrorism” and commit to “actively reinterpret the violent parts of the religious text.”

It is a difficult position in which they find themselves and I wish them much much success.

Emily K
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Yes, I empathize as well. I think socially progressive and accepting American Christians are feeling a similar burden when it comes to progressive social values. They feel their religion has been stolen from them by the likes of Dobson and Robertson, and even Gallagher and Fischer.

I also would love to read this book, “Memories of Muhammed: Why the Prophet Matters” – it seems like a great way to learn about the Muslim Prophet.

L. Junius Brutus
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

Interesting. There is no reference to Asma bint Marwan or Abu Afak (who were killed at Muhammad’s orders for criticizing him). Incredibly, there is not even a reference to Muhammad’s 6-year old wife “Aisha” (or “Aishah”), whereas his first and 40-something wife “Khadija” is mentioned 16 times. It’s interesting because Aisha was his favorite wife. There is one reference to “stoning,” which is a reference to the practice in the Bible. There are two references to “apostasy”, one claiming that only “later Muslim jurists” put te death penality on that alleged crime, even though authoritative hadiths clearly show Muhammad saying that apostates are to be killed. By the way, if anyone “stole” Islam away from the peaceful and loving people, it was Muhammad.

And for anyone who does not want a whitewashed version of Muhammad, tailor-made for Westerners who know absolutely nothing of the man, they could consult the sources that Muslims and Islamic jurists use, and where all the things we infidels think is nasty come from: the hadiths.

Here you can find the hadiths: http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/

The hadiths that Bukhari and Moslem judgded to be true are considered authoritative in Islam.

Ben in Atlanta
November 19th, 2010 | LINK

The battle on the field of Kurukshetra depicted in the Bhagavad Gita also represents internal conflict.

My question is what constitutes malpractice in any religion?

For me it’s when words and actions don’t agree. To get a little biblical for a second “The word is in your mouth”.

I don’t always manage but try to “Keep the door of my lips”.

I believe the Buddhist response is to ask yourself if what you have to say will improve on the silence. I’d have to give that one a sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Craig
November 20th, 2010 | LINK

I refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of any position that condemns one (or any) religion based on that religions own belief structure. One of the fundamental rights in this country is ‘freedom of religion’ – but, that MUST apply to all or it is valid for none.

Is it true that some followers of Islam would like to see the USA Islamicised? Yes. The same way it is true that fundamentalist Christians think we should all adhere to their way of thinking and interpretations of what is ‘right and wrong.’ I do not reject one any more than I reject the other. THEY ARE BOTH WRONG. But, if we allow one then we MUST allow the other.

Now, I wish all decisions made by consensus would be secular. But, if they have the votes then those who strive for Islamification have the right, under our current system, to make any changes they want. And if the oppressed feel that there is a need to fight the oppressor, then they should follow the advice of Thomas Jefferson and rebel against that government which denies them ‘fundamental human rights.’ But, is that what these people who are anti-Islam are suggesting, rebellion, civil-war, or a religious war Christianity against Islam fought right here in the streets of the USA. Instead of having a religious discussion and debate, let’s have a discussion based on modern morality with (God forbid) some common-sense.

Every religion thinks that every other religion is wrong – I, simply, make the logical conclusion that they are ALL wrong. If you want to hold a belief, then hold-it, close and PRIVATE. I do not need to know what your belief is nor do I want to. But, until all religions are yesterdays news then each has the same rights as all the others.

L. Junius Brutus
November 20th, 2010 | LINK

“I refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of any position that condemns one (or any) religion based on that religions own belief structure. ”

I guess Scientology can’t be condemned. Or fundamentalist Islam. Hell, if someone wants to do anything, he just has to invent (or find) a religion that condones it, and you will not condemn that religion. My religion is the religion of murder. I want to be able to kill anyone I don’t like. Be consistent and don’t condemn my religion.

“One of the fundamental rights in this country is ‘freedom of religion’ ”

Another graduate of the Sarah Palin School of Constitutional Law – who thinks that criticism and/or condemnation of a religion violates freedom of religion! And don’t criticize anything I say, or that will impinge on my freedom of speech.

“But, if they have the votes then those who strive for Islamification have the right, under our current system, to make any changes they want. ”

Interesting. You do realize that this ‘Islamification’ infringe on people’s freedom of religion, speech, conscience, as well as a host of other things? Apparently, you think that trampling on freedom of religion is only OK if it’s part of Islamization. How ironic. Your position shows the problem of unilateral disarmament.

“Every religion thinks that every other religion is wrong – I, simply, make the logical conclusion that they are ALL wrong.”

Now that’s an argument! Also, atheists hold that religions are wrong, whereas religionists hold that atheism is wrong. I guess they are all wrong! There is and is not a god! Urban VIII thinks that Galileo is wrong, Galileo holds that the pope is wrong. I think that 2+2 is 4, my friend thinks that it’s 5. How could we ever say that anyone is right or wrong when there is… disagreement?!? Hail to the Gospel of Relativism.

“But, until all religions are yesterdays news then each has the same rights as all the others.”

Of course, that is unless the Islamization that you defend with an appeal to freedom of religion takes hold – and you think they have a “right” to do that.

Emily K
November 20th, 2010 | LINK

Craig, I think that the [secular] US Constitution comes into play when it comes to popular votes that would have unconstitutional things come into play.

For example, all of the Haredi Jews living in Brooklyn could vote to make it illegal for a woman to walk down their street wearing a tank top or a shirt that exposed her midriff. But I believe that this would be invalidated by city/state/federal law that would prohibit this type of discrimination: as long as the woman is decently clothed, she may walk down a public street in Brooklyn, no matter what the members of the neighborhood think.

I think that sodomy laws are still officially on some books in certain states – possibly approved by a majority of conservative Christians – but these laws cannot be enforced because the SCOTUS has ruled such laws unconstitutional.

This also shows how important a secular government is, especially so that unpopular minorities can be protected. In Israel, a very powerful voting bloc is indeed the ultra-orthodox Haredi Jewish population. As a result of their having so much clout, marriage is controlled by their religious standards. That is Israel, however. Their system, though democratic, is different from ours.

Graham
November 20th, 2010 | LINK

“What an egocentric view of the world, as if everything revolves around you and who is or is not bothering you. How about moving to an Islamic-majority country of your choice and seeing whether Muslims will force religion on you or not. There are plenty of Christian-majority countries that are free, now try to find an Islamic-majority country that is.”

All of those Christian-Majority countries are really secularized contries. The Christian right in those countries are constantly trying to make them less free. This is nothing new. Ultimately Christianity couldn’t stop the enlightenment though. Just because Christianity couldn’t stop the progress toward freedom, justice, and rationality in the west doesn’t mean it hasn’t/isn’t trying. After all, it was the christians who tried to destroy the classical foundaitons of western civlization, only to see them re-emerge in the renaissance. Go to a christian country that hasn’t been developed and secularized, like jamaica, and tell me how loving and peaceful the folks there are…

Graham
November 20th, 2010 | LINK

“Now that’s an argument! Also, atheists hold that religions are wrong, whereas religionists hold that atheism is wrong. I guess they are all wrong! There is and is not a god! Urban VIII thinks that Galileo is wrong, Galileo holds that the pope is wrong. I think that 2+2 is 4, my friend thinks that it’s 5. How could we ever say that anyone is right or wrong when there is… disagreement?!? Hail to the Gospel of Relativism.”

Your mis-characterizing what he’s saying. He’s not stating that all truth claims are equally valid; all he’s saying is that all relgious claims are equally false, that is to say, totally false. Obviously he believes that his view that they’re all BS is true while their claims are not. No relativism there.

L. Junius Brutus
November 21st, 2010 | LINK

Graham: “All of those Christian-Majority countries are really secularized contries.”

That is true, because Christianity is compatible with a separation of church and state. Is Islam? There used to be one secular Muslim state, Turkey, which kept the Islamist hordes at bay through repeated military coups. But now, even that country is Islamizing at a rapid pace. Why? Because a separation of church and state is alien to Islam. Muhammad was both God and Caesar.

“Ultimately Christianity couldn’t stop the enlightenment though.”

Many Enlightenment thinkers were Christians, and a significant number were priests. Think of the Abbé Sieyes, whose pamphlet was instrumental in pushing France toward revolution. Not that there was no significant opposition. But you can’t compare it to Islam. A Voltaire could work pretty much freely in 18th century France, while people who make much milder criticisms of Islam in our very day are not safe, even in nominally secular countries like Egypt and Turkey. It helped that Jesus did not command his followers to kill anyone who leaves his religion, like that wonderful man Muhammad did.

“After all, it was the christians who tried to destroy the classical foundaitons of western civlization, only to see them re-emerge in the renaissance. ”

This is not entirely accurate. Historians generally agree that it was the collapse of the Roman Empire and its successor states that destroyed the classical foundations of Western civilization, not Christianity. And those Renaissance people were *all* Christians. So it’s not as black and white as you would argue.

“Go to a christian country that hasn’t been developed and secularized, like jamaica, and tell me how loving and peaceful the folks there are…”

Jamaica has full freedom of religion, which no Islamic country, not even Turkey, has. Not that it is terribly civilized. Like I said, Islam is rotten at the core, and it is fundamentally incompatible with any form of civilization. Christianity is not. Christianity does not guarantee civilization, and I have never claimed that. It does seem to be (at the very least) less bad than other religions though. And Islam seems to be much, much worse than other religions in poisoning the minds of its adherents and destroying the countries where they live. There are many Christian-majority countries that are civilized. Find me a single Muslim-majority country that we can call civilized. You won’t find one. Even Muslims in countries where they are a tiny minority are a frequent source of crime, terrorism and trouble. Coincidence?

“Your mis-characterizing what he’s saying. He’s not stating that all truth claims are equally valid; all he’s saying is that all relgious claims are equally false, that is to say, totally false. ”

He seemed to say that he concludes that they are all false, not independent of the fact that there is disagreement, but because of it. What would the purpose of mentioning that all religions think that other religions are wrong be otherwise? That is how relativist arguments are generally structured. “Who are we to say that Muslims should not stone people to death? They think that we are wrong!” Or: “What gives us the right to impose Western values on other cultures?” Yeah, people can be wrong – a shock to some, I’m sure.

Graham
November 21st, 2010 | LINK

“That is true, because Christianity is compatible with a separation of church and state.”

Only compatible in the sense that it has conceded to the demands of secularism and adjusted accordingly. Even today we have a religious right which is actively trying to dismantle the separation, trying to push us in the other direction. It’ss more acute in the USA than elsewhere, and this is no coincidence; the US is more Christian than anywhere else in the west.

“Is Islam? There used to be one secular Muslim state, Turkey, which kept the Islamist hordes at bay through repeated military coups.”

Uh, I don’t know about repeated military coups so much as Attaturk.

“But now, even that country is Islamizing at a rapid pace. Why? Because a separation of church and state is alien to Islam. Muhammad was both God and Caesar.”

I didn’t say that Islam doesn’t have a political character. But christianity does as well,or at least some versions of it. Otherwise we wouldn’t have the dominionist movement.

“Many Enlightenment thinkers were Christians, and a significant number were priests. Think of the Abbé Sieyes, whose pamphlet was instrumental in pushing France toward revolution.”

Those were liberal christians, who rejected the orthodox doctrines. There are liberal muslims also, although they are less prevelant in the Islamic world due to the social/political situation there.

“Not that there was no significant opposition. But you can’t compare it to Islam. A Voltaire could work pretty much freely in 18th century France, while people who make much milder criticisms of Islam in our very day are not safe, even in nominally secular countries like Egypt and Turkey.”

Because 18th century France had been affected by the renaissance, and classical ideas about democracy etc. were replacing the christian doctrine of the authority of the church and the divine right of kings. The church didn’t support that, they reisted it. The church lost though, and so France has Laicité.

“It helped that Jesus did not command his followers to kill anyone who leaves his religion, like that wonderful man Muhammad did.”

Jesus may not have, but he wasnt’ the only person to contribute to the corpus of christian though. Luther told his followers to murder Jews, for instance.

“This is not entirely accurate. Historians generally agree that it was the collapse of the Roman Empire and its successor states that destroyed the classical foundations of Western civilization, not Christianity. And those Renaissance people were *all* Christians. So it’s not as black and white as you would argue.”

They may have been Christians, but their work was reviving the graeco-roman heritage, which the Christians did willfully destroy. Look at the library of alexandria, the murder of hypatia…of course they were Christians, because everyone was then, but they were beginnig to explore the ideas that would lead us all away from dogma.

“Go to a christian country that hasn’t been developed and secularized, like jamaica, and tell me how loving and peaceful the folks there are…”

“Jamaica has full freedom of religion, which no Islamic country, not even Turkey, has.”

Right, freedom of relgion that allows Christians to roam the streets in search of gays and lesbians to murder. Find me one Jamaican clergyman that will condemn the persecution of gays in that country.

And anyway, secular leaders like Mosadeq have bene removed by us, and that’s contributed to the failure of secualrism in the mid-east. Remember, the last thing the west has wanted historically has been the development and progress of those countries.

“Christianity does not guarantee civilization, and I have never claimed that. It does seem to be (at the very least) less bad than other religions though.”

I can agree with that.

“And Islam seems to be much, much worse than other religions in poisoning the minds of its adherents and destroying the countries where they live. There are many Christian-majority countries that are civilized.”

Because the west has moved away from Christianity and towards secularism. Many of the Christians in those countries are more or less just nominal christians anyway. The devout ones are stil quite scary. Is what Martin Ssempa is doing civilized?

“Find me a single Muslim-majority country that we can call civilized. You won’t find one. Even Muslims in countries where they are a tiny minority are a frequent source of crime, terrorism and trouble. Coincidence?”

certainly not.

“He seemed to say that he concludes that they are all false, not independent of the fact that there is disagreement, but because of it. What would the purpose of mentioning that all religions think that other religions are wrong be otherwise?”

Simply to point out they since they are all dogmatic in their view they have “the truth”, the pragmatic solution for the state is to give no one any official status.

Ben in Atlanta
November 22nd, 2010 | LINK

“Find me one Jamaican clergyman that will condemn the persecution of gays in that country.”

I can give you a list of 15 ministers at our sister center in Kingston that will and do. The Sunday talks are archived.

Graham
November 22nd, 2010 | LINK

^well, that’s good to hear. so why is that in a country as devout as Jamaica that the message isn’t getting through?

Ben in Atlanta
November 22nd, 2010 | LINK

As in anywhere else it might depend on who you ask. I didn’t hear “Batty-man” once last time I was there. I didn’t stay in an all-inclusive resort either. I wanted a truer experience. If everyone always adhered to the gay travel boycotts nothing would ever change. Jamaica’s own LGBT population also needs support.

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