Monday, July 25, 2005

Religion or Political Ideology?

Here’s a bonus 5th that I almost missed. Jack Wheeler demolishes the notion that Islam should be respected because it’s a religion. Let Jack explain:

In other words – is an ideology of hate and violence any more acceptable and excusable if it is disguised as a “religion”? The answer is yes – because this is precisely the moral slack we cut for Islam. … Communism was never seen as a religion – and thus conservatives were not morally disarmed against it. … Think instead of how conservatives across the board find it far more difficult to denounce the evil of Islam than the evil of Communism. This has to be abandoned. … That is to come to grips with this moral truth: All religions are not created morally equal. There are evil religions. The Aztec religion of human sacrifice and cannibalism was one. If Nazism were a religion it would be.

But until the world’s Moslems rise up in moral outrage at the terrorist evils being committed in the name of Islam – and without exception, including Palestinian terrorism – we must stop according Islam the respect due any normal religion, and look upon it with no more regard or respect than one would towards Communism or Nazism.

Jack is active in conservative politics since he helped on Reagan’s campaign for governor. Coming from a major figure in the conservative camp, this is a hopeful sign. I wrote about the problem of denial among conservatives last September. Now, Jack, you read my article? Perhaps not, but nevertheless, this is something that many are independently realizing about the continual denial of the root cause of the Islamic threat.

In another sign of hope, Lou Dobbs took a poll of his viewers and found that 80% believe the War on Terror, should really be named the War on Radical Islam. And that’s on CNN!

7 Comments:

Blogger Always On Watch said...

Jack Wheeler said, "But until the world’s Moslems rise up in moral outrage at the terrorist evils being committed in the name of Islam – and without exception, including Palestinian terrorism – we must stop according Islam the respect due any normal religion, and look upon it with no more regard or respect than one would towards Communism or Nazism."

Hear! Hear!

As a Christian, it took me some time to come to the above understanding. And when my Christian friends spring the freedom-of-religion argument, I counter with similar statements about Communism and Nazism. I have, at times, used the Church of Satan to make my point, but Wheeler's citation of the Aztec religion is much better as it has more appeal across the different Protestant denominations.

I'll remember this reference for future use.

Jason, thanks for finding this.

PS: I do wish that some Christians would not invoke Rapture eschatology: "When the tribulation comes, we'll be safe, in the Rapture." Since the publication of the "Left Behind" series, the Rapture form of interpreting Revelation has soared. Drives me bats! I have yet to come up with a persuasive argument for the Rapture believers because I don't believe as they do. Guess I'll have to explore some other avenues on that one.

7/25/05, 10:00 PM  
Blogger beakerkin said...

This concept is in the Great Divide by Alvin Schmidtt. He writes an entire chapter on the lack of separation between Church and state in Islam.

Our problem may be that viwing Islam through the lenses of our own religions is causing many to misunderstand what we are dealing with.

7/25/05, 10:00 PM  
Anonymous bbbinke52 said...

In your essay, you make much of our secular government and scientific progress. Surely you realize that that the conservatism of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan has been co-opted by the religious conservatism of George Bush and the Christian right. The attack on science is disturbing, as is the insistence that this is a Christian nation at its core. And I fear that much of Bush's support comes from people who wouldn't mind waging a holy war against Islam.
While radical Islamist are the biggest physical threat to the world at the moment, fundamentalist religion elsewhere, as here and in Isreal, is also a threat to progress and modernity.

7/28/05, 3:42 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

I’m not so sure Mr. Bush can be grouped with those religious conservatives who want religion to be a determining factor in government. I’ve talked about it here and pointed out that he may be the first president that’s said non-believers are as American as anyone else.

I do worry about those who want a greater role for their particular religion but so far most of the matters have been minor nuisances. The Islamic jihadis are more than a nuisance as we’ve learned on 9/11 and ever since. If they had more powerful weapons I don’t doubt they’d use them in a heartbeat.

I think many people, from the most devout to the most secular, have a renewed appreciation of how well the separation of church and state has served this nation. I wonder how other people – especially those who are personally religions – feel on this issue.

7/28/05, 4:10 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

That link didn't work. Let me try again. I’ve talked about it here and pointed out that he may be the first president that’s said non-believers are as American as anyone else.

7/28/05, 4:13 PM  
Anonymous George Carty said...

The fact that Islam is a religion - specifically an Abrahamic faith - is important for reasons going beyond mere political correctness. The Abrahamic faiths are more resilient than any other religion, or any secular political ideology.

Nazism was a pure ideology of conquest (while Communism and political Islam desire conquest, it is not essential to the continuance of the ideology). This meant it was fatally discredited by military defeat. (The fact that the West Germans needed the Anglo-Americans to protect them from Soviet vengeance didn't hurt either). Communism was discredited by economic failure, .

Abrahamic religions are far tougher. Christianity survived centuries of persecution by the pagan Roman Empire, ultimately converting said empire and wiping out paganism in Europe - even in areas never actually conquered by Christian armies. Islam expanded mostly by conquest, but it also converted Malaysia and Indonesia, which were formerly Buddhist and/or Hindu and were not actually conquered by any Muslim army. Judaism survived 2000 years of purges and pogroms.

If anything Islam is the strongest of all religions or ideologies. Loads of Christians living as dhimmis in Muslim-controlled territories converted to Islam, but conversion from Islam to Christianity was almost unknown even under pain of death (eg in post-reconquista Spain). The Spanish monarchs were forced to resort to outright ethnic cleansing to eliminate Islam from Spain, as the Moriscos - Muslims supposedly "converted" to Christianity at swordpoint - kept on practising Islam in secret (like the Conversos' secret practice of Judaism, but much more widespread).

In short, I think it would be almost impossible to destroy Islam unless you're willing to genocide a fifth of the world's population. THAT, not naive political correctness, is the reason why liberals and moderates are so unnerved by anti-Muslim polemics...

8/7/05, 2:04 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

George, your argument boils down to “I can’t face the problem of Islam because the solution would be too horrible to imagine.” I’m sorry, George, but facts must be faced – period. I happen to disagree with you about the intransigence of Islam and I wrote about it here. However, no matter how bad the problem is, we can’t lie to ourselves.

8/7/05, 4:47 PM  

<< Home