Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Islam = Treason?

When I’m looking for wingnuttery to have a little fun with, I can always be sure to find something crazy at any website associated with Alan Keyes. Today’s example is this column at RenewAmerica by Pete Fisher in which he argues that we should actually evict all Muslims from the US. Yep, you read that correctly. But we’ll get to that in a minute. We’ll start from the beginning, where he is upset by what he saw at a rally by some radical Islamic group from Queens, NY:

Identified by Kilafah flags they are also noted for their nasty remarks about Jews, Christians, homosexuals, Israel, Danes and anyone else that has shown contempt for Islamic actions around the globe. However, this rally sparked something in me that really stuck in my craw, and should for every American. They held signs that said “Islam will dominate” with pictures of the Islamic flag hanging over the White House.

Plain and simple, this is treason. Any group calling for the domination of the nation where they reside in should be high treason. These people should be arrested, the group dismantled and outlawed, and the individuals sent to prison.


Now, I happen to fully agree with him that the notion of Islamic domination of the nation is extremely frightening. But I believe that about the domination of any religion. I’ve seen Christian organiations displaying an American flag with a cross emblazoned across it at rallies. Somehow I doubt that would strike Fisher as treason. For that matter, I’ve heard lots and lots of religious right types call for Christian domination of the United States. The call for the establishment of a “Muslim America” is frightening; so are demands from the religious right that America be declared a “Christian nation”.

Send letters to your Senators and Representatives to begin losing the PC image and begin fighting back with the support of the American people behind them. We need to oust groups such as this, even if it comes to banishing Islam altogether, as Islam bans other religions.

Well Pete, I think that this is un-American. America is a nation open to all religions. America is a nation that promises religious freedom to all. If someone is breaking the law and engaging in or threatening violence, then by all means we can of course throw them in prison. If they’re not citizens, we can deport them. But we cannot simply throw out all the members of a religion because others of the same religion behave badly. The vast majority of Muslims in the US are probably US citizens, which means they have the same rights you have. We aren’t going to throw out all Christians because some who use that title bomb abortion clinics, and we can’t throw out all the Muslims because some of their radicals blow things up.

Comments

  1. #1 Steve Reuland
    April 28, 2006

    Identified by Kilafah flags they are also noted for their nasty remarks about Jews, Christians, homosexuals, Israel, Danes and anyone else that has shown contempt for Islamic actions around the globe.

    Unlike the good Christian Right, who has never made any nasty remarks about Jews, homosexuals, Muslims, Europeans, or anyone else who has shown contempt for, or simply been indifferent to, the Christian Right’s agenda.

  2. #2 Evil Bender
    April 28, 2006

    It’s sad, really. For so many people, intolerance is only something bad when other people are intolerant.

  3. #3 KeithB
    April 28, 2006

    Rats. I need a new irony meter.

    Someone on an Alan Keyes associated website claiming that Muslims are bad because they say bad things about *homosexuals*??

  4. #4 Ian Gibson
    April 28, 2006

    In regard to the United States being referred to as a Christian nation:

    Does Johnson v. McIntosh (1823) have any bearing on the consideration of the United States as a de facto Christian nation? Is this an example of the kind of thing the religious right might have in mind when they refer to the U.S. as being a Christian nation?

    I would be interested in hearing legal experts opinions on this.

  5. #5 natural cynic
    April 28, 2006

    Of course the author shows his ignorance about Islam when he ends with “as Islam bans other religions.”

    The Koran and the hadith specifically state that Christianity and Judiasm are to be tolerated as People of the Book – religions that are precursors to Islam and religions that gave Islam many of its traditions. Only paganism is not to be tolerated.

    As to how that has worked out in the real world, YMMV.

  6. #6 Ebonmuse
    April 28, 2006

    I trust that Fisher will soon call for the expulsion of outspoken Christian theocrats, like Christian Exodus, as well.

  7. #7 Gryph
    April 28, 2006

    Now, I happen to fully agree with him that the notion of Islamic domination of the nation is extremely frightening. But I believe that about the domination of any religion.

    All things being equal however, I would much rather live under a Christian tyrant than an Islamic one.

    Often those of us who think about “Church vs State” issues make a great mistake in that we tend to treat all religions as if they have equal value. (either in a positive or negative way)

    A lot of this comes from an effort to be “tolerant”. And besides, if we were to criticizes a particular religion, we would sound like and be treated as bigots. We might even think that ourselves. So we tend to say our problem is withall religions.

    But all religious ideas do not have equal worth, or are an equal threat to civil liberties. For example, few would contest that the religion and worship of Moloch is “better” than Christianity.

    But if I were to say that Christianity was a much better religion than Islam, I’d be considered intolerant. And I suppose I am.

    The choices we often face are not going to be whether to tolerate religion or not, its going to be a choice of which Church we choose to tolerate. We don’t get off the hook from having to make a value judgment as to which religion is better than others. We will have to choose a side.

    I for one do prefer Christianity over Islam. I think Islam is a bad religion, at least as it is being practiced today. If you want to call me wrong-headed, prejudiced, etc., fine. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

  8. #8 Ed Brayton
    April 28, 2006

    Gryph wrote:

    All things being equal however, I would much rather live under a Christian tyrant than an Islamic one.

    I would agree, but not becuase of the nature of Christianity or the nature of Islam. At their core, both can be interpreted in equally barbaric ways. The difference between them is that Christianity has been changed enormously by contact with Enlightenment ideas. The Christianity of today is vastly different, except in the most reactionary of sects, than the Christianity of a few centuries ago. Prior to the Enlightenment, Christianity was just as bent on gaining political power and punishing infidels and heretics as much of Islam is today.

  9. #9 atari24
    April 28, 2006

    I would not live under any tyrant. You’re really splitting hairs saying an Islamic tyrant is worse than a Christian tyrant.

  10. #10 Roman Werpachowski
    April 28, 2006

    Prior to the Enlightenment, Christianity was just as bent on gaining political power and punishing infidels and heretics as much of Islam is today.

    To what extent the thing usually called Enlightenment is an outcome of Christianity?

    I think that the notion that man cannot just do whatever he pleases, that he is bound by morality and what is right to do, did not come by itself. It has been planted in our minds by religion.

  11. #11 Fredrock Flintstone
    April 28, 2006

    I think that the notion that man cannot just do whatever he pleases, that he is bound by morality and what is right to do, did not come by itself. It has been planted in our minds by religion.

    So I’m sure do most religious people. So what? Do you have any evidence that this is the case or does it just make you feel good to assume it?

    I think (warning, unsupported assertion based on what I believe is true to follow) that even if one demonstrated somehow that religion was the source of morality, the fact that every aspect of religion originated in the mind of man makes your point meaningless. Either way, the human mind invented morality.

  12. #12 Ed Brayton
    April 28, 2006

    Roman wrote:

    I think that the notion that man cannot just do whatever he pleases, that he is bound by morality and what is right to do, did not come by itself. It has been planted in our minds by religion.

    I think it has been planted in our minds by the necessity of living with others. We are societal creatures and we have to live with other people in some form of arrangement. You cannot live with other people without some agreed upon rules of interaction, such as “you don’t steal my stuff and I won’t steal your stuff”. Societies simply do not survive without such rules. So even if there was never any religions, it would still be necessary to invent such rules. Religion may, of course, cause such rules to be absorbed more readily.

  13. #13 Enigma
    April 28, 2006

    In regard to the United States being referred to as a Christian nation:

    Does Johnson v. McIntosh (1823) have any bearing on the consideration of the United States as a de facto Christian nation?

    You can, of course, always refer back to the Treaty of Tripoli as proof against this claim.

  14. #14 Jeff Hebert
    April 28, 2006

    Roman wrote:

    I think that the notion that man cannot just do whatever he pleases, that he is bound by morality and what is right to do, did not come by itself. It has been planted in our minds by religion.

    For this to be true, societies without any religion would have to be lawless anarchies. Yet this is not the case. Small tribes get along perfectly well without religion, and yet manage not to bash each other’s skulls in on a daily basis.

    Michael Shermer argues in “The Science of Good and Evil” that religion is an excellent mechanism for extending our inherent moral sense over a larger group than small tribes can hold. Over a certain threshhold (iirc it’s around 100 individuals), the ability of the human mind to consider “other” as “part of my family” fails. After that point you need something else to hold together a large group, to make its members feel they are part of the same tribe, and religion fits the bill perfectly, as do a number of purely political constructs.

    I believe most theists have the order of things backwards. We have a built-in moral sense first and then religion is fitted on the top of it, not the other way around. A mother doesn’t need religion to love and protect her child — some things are built in as a legacy of our evolutionary past.

  15. #15 Roman Werpachowski
    April 28, 2006

    Ed,

    you’re right when we are talking about what an individual can or cannot do. But there is also a question “what are the limits on what the society can do to an individual?”. And the notion that even society as a whole is bound by higher rules, was first brought to us by religion.

  16. #16 Ed Brayton
    April 28, 2006

    Roman wrote:

    you’re right when we are talking about what an individual can or cannot do. But there is also a question “what are the limits on what the society can do to an individual?”. And the notion that even society as a whole is bound by higher rules, was first brought to us by religion.

    But that’s the same question. What an individual can do to us and what a group of individuals (“society”) can do to us is essentially the same question. And I think your language is a bit vague here. If by “higher rules” you mean that there are certain principles that can distinguish legitimate from illegitimate actions, then I of course agree. But that doesn’t mean the same thing as a set of “higher rules” imposed on us by a religion under pain of future punishment.

  17. #17 Jeff Hebert
    April 28, 2006

    Roman said:

    And the notion that even society as a whole is bound by higher rules, was first brought to us by religion.

    What is your evidence for this? I am not doubting you, I just have never heard this claimed before and would like some reference to investigate it.

  18. #18 Roman Werpachowski
    April 28, 2006

    From Polish history: the first person to tell a Polish king “no, you cannot do whatever you wish to do” was a Catholic bishop (he died, as a result).

  19. #19 shargash
    April 28, 2006

    And the notion that even society as a whole is bound by higher rules, was first brought to us by religion.

    I suppose the “gotcha” in that statement is the word “higher.” With the word “higher” you’ve introduced god into your assumptions. Thus your argument is basically a tautology.

    Remove “higher” and it is simply false. Tribal societies from time immemorial have been bound be extremely tight rules, and most of those societies don’t have anything resembling a religion, per se. The rules didn’t come from on high or from the outside. They are an internal component of culture.

    This is reflected in the very language we speak. The English word “morality” is derived from a root that means “customs” (c.f. “mores”). In German, Sittlichkeit is cognate with Sitte, which means “customs.”

    The source of all morality is culture, which is to say it is bound up in the ways people deal with other people and the world around them. Religions just abstracted some of these things and packaged them up in a way that made palatable to other cultures.

  20. #20 Roman Werpachowski
    April 29, 2006

    Then perhaps it is not universal, but fits European history quite well.

  21. #21 Roman Werpachowski
    April 29, 2006

    Anyway, I just wanted to point out that Enlightenment and Christianity are not totally opposite things. In fact, an attempt to totally eradicate religion from the culture and society ended up as a Gulag system.

  22. #22 Michael "Sotek" Ralston
    April 29, 2006

    Christianity is compatible with the Enlightenment because it was forced to become so.

    If Islam were to be placed in the same situation that Christianity has been for the past few hundred years, it would become compatible with the Enlightenment as well.

    In other words: If you fear Islamic tyranny (which is different from saying “I do not want this to happen”), the wisest course of action would be to try to introduce the benefits of the Enlightenment to the areas which are currently breeding grounds for the tyrannic strains of Islam.

  23. #23 Roman Werpachowski
    April 30, 2006

    This sounds as if Enlightenment has been sent to us by aliens. Christianity predates Enlightenment, so it is more ample to say that Enlightenment is compatible with Christianity, than vice versa (although communism, which to some extent originates from Enlightenment, is not). For some reason, Enlightenment happened in Christian Europe, among Christian nations with Christian cultures. You can say it was an opposition to Christianity, but that is the same as saying it originated from it. You cannot be an opposition to something without being somehow influenced by it.

  24. #24 beervolcano
    May 1, 2006

    Any group calling for the domination of the nation where they reside in should be high treason.

    Oh, and this is a Christian Nation, by the way!

    If I had an irony meter, it would be pegged, surely.

  25. #25 beervolcano
    May 1, 2006

    Enlightenment happened in Christian Europe

    because that’s what they called it then and there
    it followed the Renaissance which also didn’t happen in China

    What did the arab scientists and scholars call their golden period during the middle ages when Europe was still feudal and stupid (and wholly catholic)?

    What did the Chinese call their golden period of “enlightenment” when all sorts of discoveries and inventions predated so many European ones by hundreds of years, like printing and compasses, etc?

  26. #26 Roman Werpachowski
    May 1, 2006

    And that’s why “modernization” in Arab countries and China means emulating Europeans?

  27. #27 Roman Werpachowski
    May 1, 2006

    What did the arab scientists and scholars call their golden period during the middle ages when Europe was still feudal and stupid (and wholly catholic)?

    It is a common misconception that Europe did not develop during the Middle Ages. In fact, it went through revolutionary changes (agriculture, development of cities, universities) in which Catholic Church had a leading role. Calling people who built cathedrals and founded universities “feudal and stupid” smells with prejudice for a mile.

    it followed the Renaissance which also didn’t happen in China

    Englightenment did not follow Reneissance, there was Baroque inbetween.

    You may note that the difference between Chinese or Arab “golden ages” and ours is that we have carried on, and theirs was just wasted.

    TO sum it up: I wouldn’t like to live in an Enlightenment world in which there was no Christianity. We had one attempt at realising such world and it didn’t work too good. Enlightenment gave man the courage to change the world and use reason, but Christianity taught man to know his limits and be humble.

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