Go and read "Marx, Communism, Totalitarianism; Muhammed, Islam, Terrorism", by Rusty Shackleford, over at the Jawa report blog. I recently had an interesting discussion over at Daniel Levesque's blog Raving Conservative, regarding the separation, in our minds, of evil people, from the religious contexts they use to perpetrate evil.
My position, in a nutshell, was that evil people would seek any context they need to transmit their passions and appetites, regardless of religion. These contexts include non-religious ideological venues like Communism.
Mr. Shackleford raises an interesting and specific point about Islam, which separates it from other world religions. He argues, in his own words, that the total submission doctrine, embedded firmly in Islam, guides the individual's behavior, from a simple spiritual framework, into a socio-political and ideological mandate. Because of this, the individual is duty bound, to exercise his religion at the political level.
Putting aside this point for a moment, just what are the forces pressuring us all?
The Battle Lines of the Culture WarThere is a culture war. It is being waged on several fronts.
The Intolerant Secular Front
We have had a slow but steady increase in hostility against world religions, by progressives who have convinced themselves that religion, in general, is bad for humanity. They manifest their fears and activism in organizations like the ACLU, which routinely defends terrorists, while suing Boy Scouts. Accusing all religions of being evil, is a simple view, with a simplistic conclusion. It is also ironic that many of the people, so intolerant of religion, are the first to lecture everyone else on being diverse and tolerant of general cultural differences, in a superficial fashionable way.
Artists get into the act, by pushing buttons they know will detonate the emotional ire of their targets, in the name of free speech. Andres Sarrano immersed a crucifix in urine, and Chris Ofili defamed the Virgin Mary, with cow dung. The protests against these expressions were angry, but peaceful. Christian mobs did not burn museums to the ground and murder their patrons, like the cartoon Muslims, or the Muslims who vented homicidal rage over the fake Michael Isikoff Koran flushing story, published in Newsweek.
There are vocal individuals who feel that historical religious references, found in the halls of government or printed on money and government documents, are just arbitrary vehicles for religion to proselytize to the masses. Michael Newdow is an example of someone with one of these modern skin conditions, which bruises at the very thought of God. Personally, I think people like this are just media thrill seekers.
There is one sure way to breed anger in religious people. Tell them they are delusional. Tell them you wish to destroy their religion, for their own good, because you are convinced, through your own intellectual superiority, God does not exist.
The Moral Daisy Cutter
Sex and violence sell. They sell so well that the electronic and media driven institutions, that have made sex and violence big business, have slowly edged the bar of intensity up and over, to stimulate the profit margins to their limits. The appetites have followed suit. Modern media technologies, such as satellite, television and internet, provide a transmission medium, to feed this garbage into repressive nations. For decades, people in these nations, unfortunately, have used religious institutions as tools to express their anger over our open society, by portraying our society as morally bankrupt.
In my opinion, as angry as people may become, over the material we see in our marketplace, they always have the tools of that marketplace, and egregious obscenity legislation to punish the purveyors. Education is the key to moderate moral behavior, not restricting freedom of expression. Moral strength and freedom of expression have lived happily together in this country before. They still can.
There is one sure way to breed anger in religious people. Tell them they cannot make moral decisions for their own families. Tell them they have no right to know when their daughter is getting an abortion. Tell them that their children will be immersed in government mandated, homosexuality awareness classes, without their knowledge or consent.
There is one sure way to breed anger in all free people. Tell them the problems above, will be solved by forcing everyone into the submissive, first millennium retrograde religious repression of Islam.
The Intolerant Fanatic Front
Extremism is the ideological tool of the intellectually uninspired. Extremist behavior is not rational; it is emotional. When abortion protesters bombed clinics, they damaged their cause to save lives, by taking life.When local officials turned fire hoses on peaceful civil rights demonstrators, they proved, with imagery, they were taking away those civil rights. When environmentalists burned SUV dealerships, polluting the news with all that smoke, they defined themselves as environmentalist whackos. Extremism always gives your enemy a piece of evidence, to break your credibility in the arena of public relations.
Now we have Islamic extremists, murdering people and burning embassies over cartoon images. Even the abortion bombers and environmentalists did not have a goal orientation this petty and foolish. In free nations, where there is freedom to communicate, you can never win enough ideological points, to turn the public your way, through acts of violence, unless that public is weak minded, willing to be cowed by terror. This means you, Spain.
There is one sure way to breed anger in all free people. Tell them that their expression of free speech will soon be answered, with the bloody, explosive intolerance of a fanatic.
There is one sure way to breed fanaticism. Cower before it, then refuse to answer it with swift justice.
Ideology ~ Religion?
There is no doubt that we have seen other world religions, used historically, in an ideological and socio-political context, as the Roman emperor Constantine did, late in the age of the empire.
In deference to Mr. Shackleford, and the current theatre of our culture war, does the structure and language of Islam itself, not merely the actions and political power brokerage of specific individuals, facilitate the behavior we are seeing frequently now?
Given the current landscape of Islamic governments, over a millennia of stagnation, Muslim on Muslim violence and the frustrating apathy of Muslim bystanders, these are definite points to ponder.Given the facts, there is one sure way to piss off Insolublog. First, the NYT saying that defamation of a Christian crucifix, is a free expression of art. Next, the NYT accuses Christians, protesting the Broadway play 'Corpus Christi', of being homophobic bigots. Now, the NYT tells the free world that the defamation of Muslims with cartoons is a gratuitous assault on religious symbols.