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Muslims, Christians, & Religious Liberty

Peter Beinart has a piece in The Atlantic in which he discusses growing anti-Muslim hostility among conservative Christians.  [1] He singles out conservative Christians (Catholic and Protestant) who don’t want to extend religious liberty protections that they enjoy to Muslims. Beinart says this is preventing conservative Christians from joining with natural allies in Muslim communities. Beinart:

Last year, a man named Daniel Haqiqatjou warned [2] that, “Expressing any negative attitude toward homosexuality is now seen as hate speech, and the purveyors of that speech are sanctioned, boycotted, and can even face criminal charges in certain countries. It should not be underestimated how such steep consequences and strict policing have influenced the religious conversation on homosexuality.” The words could have been uttered by Ted Cruz. But Haqiqatjou uttered them at the annual Imam’s Conference of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America. Haqiqatjou worries that Islamophobia is leading American Muslims to embrace a left that does not actually respect Muslim religious beliefs.

“There has been this tendency to racialize Muslims,” he noted, “for Muslims to adopt this civil rights discourse for themselves and clearly that has moral traction because if you can think of yourself as the newest group that’s been stigmatized then you can use the language of civil rights, which has a lot of currency. But that has theological implications because Muslim is not a race, it’s a set of beliefs that you subscribe to.”

In the Trump era, however, few American Muslims seem to care. They’re willing to support the progressives who defend them against the present onslaught. “I’m not popular in the American Muslim community for speaking out on certain social issues,” Haqiqatjou admits, “because people say this is not a priority for Muslims” right now.

I think this is a very risky path for Christians in the United States. They may not like the fact that there are Muslims in America, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are Muslims in America, and they have a right to a place of worship. As Russell Moore has stated clearly, a government powerful enough to deny a Muslim congregation the right to build a mosque is a government powerful enough to deny the same to Christians. When you defend the right to religious liberty for Muslims, you are defending the same for Christians. I would even say it’s to the strategic advantage of Christians to have Muslims in their corner, precisely because the liberal establishment doesn’t like going up against minorities of which they approve.

Seems to me that non-Muslims on both the secular left and the religious right need to understand that Muslims in America are a test case for both sides. If the left is eager to protect the rights of Muslims to live as Muslims outside of the mosque, then it needs to come to terms with the fact that this means Christians are covered by the same principles. And if the right is eager to protect its own freedom of religion, it had better not let daylight get between itself and Muslims on this issue. You don’t have to agree with Muslim theology to believe that in America, they have a right to be wrong.

Russell Moore has written: [3]

The state must also protect citizens from the state itself. A government that can regulate worship and conscience is a government that can do anything. One can’t claim to be for “limited government,” while at the same time proposing that the government be in the business of regulating worship and conscience.

Like other freedoms, there are limits to how our freedoms can be exercised, and government has an obligation to protect its citizens from violence and harm. It should carry out this obligation faithfully. But the state also has an obligation to protect citizens from the state itself. Stripping a religious community of civil liberties is an act of aggression by the state against its citizens.

Moreover, the idea that religious freedom should apply only to Christians, or only to religious groups that aren’t unpopular, is not only morally wrong but also self-defeating. A government that can tell you a mosque or synagogue cannot be built because it is a mosque or a synagogue is a government that, in the fullness of time, will tell an evangelical church it cannot be constructed because of our claims to the exclusivity of Christ. Those voices (though a distinct minority, to be sure) that claim to be Christian but seek to restrict religious freedom for others are perhaps unknowingly on a campaign to destroy religious liberty. They would set the precedents that will be used to destroy churches, and they will give the opponents of religious liberty the charge that the issue isn’t about freedom at all but about seeking government approval of one’s religion.

This is true.

The world of American Islam is a very complicated place. In this piece from a decade or so ago, I wrote about how difficult it was to cover Islam in America.  [4] Far too many liberal journalists are willing to accept at face value the claims made by Muslim leaders that their groups seek peace and tolerance. It is simply not true, and journalists (as well as others) had better be aware of who is funding these organizations. That said, one doesn’t have to be CAIR’s useful idiot to realize that however deceptive or otherwise unworthy the activists are, there is still a precious First Amendment principle at stake here.

UPDATE: Reader George, who is a professor and a believing Christian, writes:

Yes, Yes a thousand times yes. I am amazed at Christians who say stuff like “We cannot allow them to get established here because they will take over and set up a caliphate”. Do they not realize that this is basically what people with Christianophobia say about us. They will use that same reasoning to justify the removal of our religious freedom.
Now I think we should allow religious freedom simply because it is the right thing to do. But I cannot believe the short-sightedness of Christians who want to give those who hate them the tools to take away their freedoms.
One final comment. People with Christianophobia tend to be white, wealthy, highly, educated and male. In other words they are very powerful and well connected. Christians who use their social power against Muslims today will provide these powerful people with the legitimation needed to pass anti-Christian legislation. I do not know how we get through to Christians who do not see this problem but keep writing Rod and I hope someone breaks through to them.

 

144 Comments (Open | Close)

144 Comments To "Muslims, Christians, & Religious Liberty"

#1 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On April 13, 2017 @ 3:21 pm

As a Muslim, I have never understood the visceral anti-Muslim animus some conservative Christians hold.

Let me see if I can clarify this for you. Suppose US Christians said the following.

i) There is no separation of church and state. The US is a Christian country and must be run as Christians see fit in accordance to their religious laws.

ii) Muslims may live in the US but they are banned from becoming President, vice-President, Governor or in general, holding powerful positions in the US.

iii) Muslims may not proselytize their religion in the US.

iv) A small number of seats (3) will be set aside in Congress for Muslims. Muslim all over the country can only vote for these candidates, and they are banned from voting for other candidates.

v) Muslim men who marry Christian women will be put to death. Christian men however may marry Muslim women if they choose.

vi) Muslims who insult Christianity or Christians will be put to death.

***************
These are similar to sharia laws imposed on non-Muslims in the 56 Islamic countries the world is blessed with (see Umdat-al-Salik). Even cesspools like Somalia constitutionally ban the promotion of any religion other than Islam in their countries, even as they queue up at US embassies to get green-cards to come here.

Are you in favor of having these laws in the US? If not, why is OK for Muslims to promote this bigotry and apartheid against non-Muslims in Islamic countries?

Furthermore, to turn your question back to you, what accounts for the visceral hatred against non-Muslims in Islamic countries? Why are Yazidi being enslaved and raped by Muslims? Why have Hindus and Buddhists been exterminated in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kashmir by Muslims? Why is there so much Jew hatred in Islam? Why are Christians being killed and ethnically cleansed all over the Middle East?

Given this behavior of Muslims, why should we not treat you the way you treat us in the 56 Islamic cesspools that foul our planet?

#2 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On April 13, 2017 @ 3:37 pm

@Rob G, while the Dominion Theology/Christian Reconstructionists are a tiny backwater, they’re just a handy example of a mindset that has a fair number of fellow travelers.

How do I know this? I’ve been reading Rod’s various blogs for a while, and I’ve read a fair amount of: the Enlightenment was the worst thing to happen to western civilization, a desire for secular liberalism to fall apart, or the religious will out breed the seculars.

#3 Comment By Will Harrington On April 13, 2017 @ 3:37 pm

Autreck

I am confused. It seems you basically deny that we shoud owe anything to the country we live in. If this is so, then why argue for or against anyone’s rights? If it is not so, then it appears that you want a militant christianity that does dominate society and prevents other beliefs from having any say. In other words, you want Christians not to ally with Muslims, but rather emulate Islam. Clarification please? The first interpretation I can sympathizw with, even though I disagree. The second interpretation I would staunchly oppose. I rather suspect there is a third interpretation.

#4 Comment By mdc On April 13, 2017 @ 3:38 pm

File under: The Ben Op is a species of political liberalism (and that’s a good thing!)

#5 Comment By Will Harrington On April 13, 2017 @ 3:59 pm

Abdullah

From the point of view of the average christian conservative, they probably know little about the invasiona and conquests of the early Islamic Empire. They, or their parents do remember Iranian Shi’ites taking American hoatages. The overthrow of the Shah was probably the first time Iran had entered their awareness. After the fall of the USSR there began an increasing trickle of terrorist attacks committed by Muslims in the name of Islam. Then came the unforgivable, 9/11. Terrorism continued. Fair or not, this is most Americans experience with Islam. For most people, they are so wrapped up in their own world that the guy down the street who is a Muslim and a doctor doesn’t register, but the terrorist on the news who threatens the security of their world? That registers.
Like L said previously, American Muslims have a real problem within the Islamic community and you must find a way to deal with it. The left will either demand you become secular materialists or they will destroy you. You have to find some way to convince those inthe middle and on the right that you are as unthreatening as the Amish and are willing to put the law of the land before Sharia. Those are the two big necessary goals and I hav no idea how you can do it.

#6 Comment By Bridger On April 13, 2017 @ 4:54 pm

The problem is we don’t know where tolerance should end and foolishly extend it to the mortal enemies of Western civilization.

It’s insane to import masses of Muslims and give them religious freedom or put them on an equal footing to the founding, dominant faith of America. To do so is to argue that all major religions are essentially equal, but Islam is arguably the most intolerant and aggressive of all religions. Sure, Muslims can be free to pray in their mosques but they should not be allowed to proselytize or become politically active. The founders created a nation for a kindred people and culture – not for those radically unlike us and antagonistic to us as Muslims generally are.

This article overlooks the fact that progressives hate Christianity since it was the religion of Western civilization and they hate the latter and anything connected to it with a passion which is why they embrace Islam. Similarly, this is why Islam has shrewdly made common political cause with progressives since they see in them an idiocy which could prove useful now and in the future.

The relatively peaceful, inert form of Islam we see in America today when they are only 1.5% will change when they become 10% then 20% then 40%. Look at Kosovo in the early 90’s when Muslims reached a plurality in Kosovo province. Just look at Western Europe today. They are always peaceful and friendly when they are a small minority. They practice situational ethics.

Even if the vast majority of mlims in USA are genuinely “moderate” there’s a good chance their future progeny will not be. Ilam is not a religion you should play the odds with and everyone who has loses. Spain is the only nation in history who was able to disgorge Islam after being invaded and colonized.

#7 Comment By Hound of Ulster On April 13, 2017 @ 4:56 pm

…or that humans are so horrible that they will twist ANYTHING into a reason to be horrible to each other, including God

#8 Comment By Potato On April 13, 2017 @ 5:45 pm

As a Muslim, I have never understood the visceral anti-Muslim animus some conservative Christians hold. It seems that in their irrational hatred for Muslims…

I mean, not to put too fine a point on it, Abdullah, not all that long ago (2001) Muslims bombed New York City and declared that they did so specifically for Allah. Since then there have been a number of terrorist events conforming to the same pattern.

I admit that maybe we need to take a broader view, and recognize that not all Muslims approve of these actions. But I really don’t think that a certain amount of “animus” is completely out of line, or all that hard to understand, really.

#9 Comment By An Anachronistic Apostle On April 13, 2017 @ 6:08 pm

If you didn’t think real oppression was coming you wouldn’t have written The Benedict Option. You’re actually, seriously advocating we fight it by getting involved in political battles?

You must remember that the Lord wistfully reflected upon whether or not there would be faith in the crucified Son of Man remaining in the world, upon the occasion of His return.

What He didn’t question was the existence of campaign buttons, political stratagems, men’s hearts failing them for anxiety … and a proposal or two of an odd coalition, in order to save one’s skin.

#10 Comment By Agnikan On April 13, 2017 @ 6:12 pm

Rob G. wrote:

“I didn’t read all the commments, so perhaps someone has already touched on this, but it’s necessary to note that the American idea “religious liberty” was formed almost entirely with Protestant Christianity in mind.”
_____________

[5]
by Thomas Jefferson

“The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it’s protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.” The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it’s protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.”

#11 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 13, 2017 @ 7:38 pm

Janwaar, who has perhaps understandable scars about Islam, being from India, albeit he is an atheist, not a Hindu, has indulged the same sort of ad hominem generalizations that Newt Gingrich is fond of.

At the time the United States was founded, MOST Christians lived in countries with an Established church, and varying degrees of civil disability for those who did not belong, even other Christians, much less Jews, Muslims, and Hindus. That did not prevent Christians from building a very different relationship of church and state on this continent.

Regimes in 56 countries with Muslim majorities and traditions stretching back to a variety of Muslim caliphates may have very restrictive laws that impose grievously on other faiths… that does not prevent Muslims enjoying the liberties we have nurtured here in the USA.

Why are Yazidi being enslaved and raped by Muslims?

Why were Yazidi still living, prosperous and accepted, through several Caliphates, the Ottoman empire, and Arab National Socialism, so that they were there, ripe for enslavement, when Daesh burst on the scene?

#12 Comment By Jesse On April 13, 2017 @ 7:39 pm

“I mean, not to put too fine a point on it, Abdullah, not all that long ago (2001) Muslims bombed New York City and declared that they did so specifically for Allah. Since then there have been a number of terrorist events conforming to the same pattern.

I admit that maybe we need to take a broader view, and recognize that not all Muslims approve of these actions. But I really don’t think that a certain amount of “animus” is completely out of line, or all that hard to understand, really.”

So, how much “animus” should Muslim’s have for American’s, considering American’s have killed hundreds of thousands of otherwise innocent Muslim’s in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and a ton of other countries?

#13 Comment By JonF On April 13, 2017 @ 9:28 pm

RE: The relatively peaceful, inert form of Islam we see in America today when they are only 1.5% will change when they become 10% then 20% then 40%.

Except that as far as the US goes there’s no
“when” about it. Islam will remain in the lower single digits, percentage wise. The vast majority of our immigration comes from non-Islamic regions of the world (Latin America and East Asia), nor is there any reason to think that huge numbers of Americans will be converting to Islam in the future.
And post no bills on the future of Islam. Christianity was once a fiercely intolerant religion, locked in an embrace with the state until suddenly it wasn’t any more. The present is never a guarantor of the future.

#14 Comment By VikingLS On April 13, 2017 @ 9:40 pm

NFR: What, 500+ years ago? That’s all you got? You really think Christians will do this again?
— RD]

Potato has also told us that the problem in Cologne wasn’t Muslim men, it was ALL men.

She claims to be Catholic, yet told us that Catholics teach all non-Catholics go to Hell, NOT A Catholic teaching.

Years ago I was in DC and walking behind a bag lady who was talking to herself. I heard her say to herself “if the whole World sucks your nipples, and you let them do it, whose fault is that?”

Think about it.

#15 Comment By Mike Schilling On April 13, 2017 @ 9:44 pm

As a Muslim, I have never understood the visceral anti-Muslim animus some conservative Christians hold.

They worry that you will treat Christians the way Christians used to treat Jews.

#16 Comment By l’autre J On April 14, 2017 @ 3:06 am

Yikes. The people who brought us Malmö and Rotherham vs the people who brought us Roe and Obergefell. Can’t they both lose?

It seems the people who brought us Auschwitz get to lose first.

#17 Comment By Franklin Evans On April 14, 2017 @ 3:48 am

To the several attempts to answer Abdullah’s question: As a Muslim, I have never understood the visceral anti-Muslim animus some conservative Christians hold.

I acknowledge the attempts with respect. I cannot let them stand for the most part, because there is a fundamental error of omission in most of them.

Item: The remnants of the specifically religious animosity between Christianity and Islam drive out the modern, rational motivations for nations’ demand to control their interior affairs, and the utterly easy approach towards maintaining that control by naming an enemy and convincing the citizens of the evil nature and intentions of that enemy. Look closely at the motivation in most Muslim countries for criminalizing Christians. You will find that they fear any Christian is amongst them for the sole purpose of converting them and their children away from Islam. Sound familiar?

Item: Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs have been at each others’ throats for centuries. They would be still at the drop of a hat. Modern generations have no clue about its origins. They simply keep it fueled and aflame. Sound familiar?

I should elaborate further, but insomnia at 3:30am is cautioning me against it.

Religious identity is the foremost justification for violence against others, right here, right now. It transcends race, politics and ethnicity. I’ve spent my entire adult life intimately aware of the potential for violence against me because of my religion. That it hasn’t happened to me beyond a couple of instances that were minor and without further consequences is a direct function of having spent the vast portion of that time lying about my religion by silence or vague claims of affiliation with something mainstream, and as a public Pagan living in places where the vast majority of my neighbors just didn’t care. That is not a spurious claim, having documented stories of Pagans whose lives were lived in quite the opposite dimension.

Potato, that animus is completely out of line, and I reject any rational justifications for it. All you have to do is sit back and observe while I turn that table on Christians, parade documented story after story of Christians harming Pagans, in front of Christians who deign to hold a dialogue with me. Their first three responses will be “Well, those aren’t true Christians” or “I’m offended that you judge all Christians by those few” or “Well, those aren’t true Christians.”

If I’m not permitted to promote that criticism — and I’m surely not entitled to do so — then I am damn well going to demand that we listen to Muslims who reject anyone’s assignment of guilt by association.

#18 Comment By JonF On April 14, 2017 @ 7:04 am

There are not “56 countries” under Shari’a law, unless that definition is any legal system which has been influenced by Islamic jurisprudence. An by that standard there are scads of countries, the US among them, also under “Biblical Law” since their legal systems were, historically, influenced by that tradition. Even nations like Saudi Arabia which so claim to be under Shari’a are using a bastardized version of it to accommodate things like automobiles and contraception that did not exist in the golden age of the Caliphate.

#19 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On April 14, 2017 @ 10:28 am

Why were Yazidi still living, prosperous and accepted, through several Caliphates, the Ottoman empire, and Arab National Socialism, so that they were there, ripe for enslavement, when Daesh burst on the scene?

By this logic, the fact that there were millions of Jews and Gypsies in Europe for Hitler to persecute proves that Christians, Jews and Gypsies were soulmates in Europe until Hitler showed up and decided to persecute them for some mysterious reason.

#20 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On April 14, 2017 @ 10:45 am

They worry that you will treat Christians the way Christians used to treat Jews.

I would agree with this sentence if you delete the word “will”. Unless you have been asleep for a long time like Rip van Winkle, you must be aware of the condition of Christians in these wonderful Islamic countries we are blessed with. You can comfort them by telling them that Christians once used to persecute Jews so it’s not quite cricket for them to complain about being killed, forcibly converted, raped and ethnically cleansed.

#21 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On April 14, 2017 @ 1:59 pm

There are not “56 countries” under Shari’a law

It is worth noting that none of the usual apologists for Islam responding to my post denies the existence of apartheid-style laws against non-Muslims in Islamic countries.

Here for example is the glorious, multicultural constitution of Somalia:

[6]

Article 2: Islam is the religion of the State. No religion other than Islam can be propagated in the country. No law which is not compliant with the general principles and objectives of Shari’ah can be enacted.

Article 30: The teaching of Islam is compulsory in both public and private schools.

Article 88: Any citizen is eligible for the position of President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, provided he or she meets the eligibility requirements of being a Somali citizen and a Muslim.

*********
Similar laws are there in most Islamic countries, but apparently all these Muslims have sadly misunderstood the True Meaning of Sharia as has been revealed to the regulars on this board! Also, you know, the Crusades.

#22 Comment By Bridger On April 14, 2017 @ 2:37 pm

“And post no bills on the future of Islam. Christianity was once a fiercely intolerant religion, locked in an embrace with the state until suddenly it wasn’t any more. The present is never a guarantor of the future.”

Christian religious intolerance is in the distant past. Islam has changed little since it burst onto the scene in the 7th century. It’s incapable of positive change since it’s considered perfect as is and the successor religion to Judaism and Christianity. The Koran commands it’s followers to be intolerant of non-Muslims. The New Testament does not. Some Muslims ignore this while others, like the Wahabbis, do not.

#23 Comment By Richard McEvoy On April 14, 2017 @ 4:20 pm

Those who actually practise their religion are generally a lot less intolerant than those who merely identify with it for their own personal gain.

#24 Comment By VikingLS On April 14, 2017 @ 4:57 pm

I teach Muslims for a living, and have for a number of years now. I also lived in Turkey for half a year, and in heavily Muslims neighborhoods in Russia, and the USA.

Just a few observations in no particular order.

Most Muslims don’t fit neatly into either political box in the USA. They tend to favor big government and a strong social safety net, (a lot of their home countries don’t have an income tax) which doesn’t fit well with Republicans, and support said government enforcing their morals, which doesn’t work for Democrats. Anybody thinking that Muslims are some great untapped political resource is going to be disappointed.

I have never had a Muslim in the real world be anything less than polite about Christianity, even in one case when they really were hoping I’d embrace Islam. I can not say the same thing about atheists, liberals, or neopagans, even though at this point I probably know more Muslims than any of the former. On the contrary many of them have been quite complimentary, and some cases told about how much they enjoyed visiting Churches.

(The caveat to that is that most of the Muslims I know also made the effort to learn another language.)

As several people mentioned already, people who say that Islam needs a reformation needs to study what the early years of Protestantism were like. Islam is having a reformation now, and it has a lot of Cromwells. What you want is for Islam to have an age of enlightenment. It can’t be presumed this will occur in Islam.

Islam often is discussed as if it were a spectrum with Jihadis representing the most devoted members of the faith and secularists representing the other, and some golden mean called “Moderate Muslims” are supposed to lie in between. This is probably wrong. Jihadis tend to be recruited from Muslims who didn’t know much about Islam before. It’s not the traditional faith anymore than Cromwell’s Puritans were an actual expression of traditional Christianity.

Most of the Muslims I know, particularly Gulf Arabs, are a lot like American southerners, into many of the same hobbies, and with similar attitudes towards moral and religious questions. The respective attitudes of the American left and right regarding Islam strikes me as deeply ironic.

Muslims actually are a very small minority in the USA, but due to their dress and concentration in certain areas are more conspicuous than their numbers would suggest. That doesn’t mean they don’t wield more influence than their numbers would suggest, but that’s true for a lot of minorities.

The Golden Rule is not situational. Jesus did not say “do unto others as you think they would do unto you.” Christians need to stand up for the religious liberty of everybody, even if you don’t think they would do the same for you.

The some of the response Abdullah is getting here really isn’t all that unreasonable, but it could be applied to a lot of other people as well. (i.e. why don’t people like gay men? Maybe it has less to do with finding gay sex icky, as it has to do with the emotional immaturity a lot of gay men seem to expect other people to tolerate) I don’t know where you really stop with this unless (please don’t throw me in that brier patch) we do away with PC altogether.

“Not all Muslims are like that” really would deserve a “obviously, now let’s talk about the ones that are, and don’t try changing the subject again” were it not for the unfortunate tendency of other people to argue more or less that all Muslims ARE like that.

If all Muslims were “like that”, I’d be dead by now.

That said, Islamism is a real thing, and seems to be able to outcompete other ideas in the Islamic world right now anytime a power vacuum occurs. At this point anybody (I’m looking at you John McCain) who insists that liberal democracy is just waiting to happen in the middle east, should be treated as seriously as we would Ken Hamm in a class on evolutionary biology.

The neocon fixation with allying with anybody who opposes Russia, not matter who they are, keeps getting Americans killed. That needs to be thrown in their face as hard as possible as often as possible until they either knock it off, or, and this is more likely, become the pariahs they absolutely deserve to be. Allies need to be vetted with utmost care, always.

Anyway those are my rambling, probably inconsistent thoughts.

#25 Comment By ChadR On April 14, 2017 @ 6:04 pm

There could be a civil government that protects the religious rights of Christians in particular without feeling the need to cater to the desires of other religions in general. However, that is just not going to happen in a country like the USA that has (unfortunately) embraced religious pluralism at every level, promotes it within its educational system, and has even enshrined it in its constitution (Article VI, Section 3).

Honestly, I would not be surprised at this point if I saw some American Christians standing arm-in-arm with worshipers of Moloch, Ashtoreth, and even Satan in the guise of “protecting our religious freedoms.” If things have gotten so bad here that conservative Christians feel the need to ally with their spiritual enemies–yes, we’re not on the same team, folks–in order to protect themselves, it’s probably time to pack up and emigrate to greener pastures like our Christian forefathers often did when it became clear to them that the religious climates they were in were only going to grow worse.

#26 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 14, 2017 @ 7:56 pm

It is worth noting that none of the usual apologists for Islam responding to my post denies the existence of apartheid-style laws against non-Muslims in Islamic countries.

What’s so noteworthy about that? Only a fool would argue with you by denying known facts.

By this logic, the fact that there were millions of Jews and Gypsies in Europe for Hitler to persecute proves that Christians, Jews and Gypsies were soulmates in Europe until Hitler showed up and decided to persecute them for some mysterious reason.

Well, it is a fact that millions of Jews did live in Europe for some centuries before Hitler hit on the idea of killing them all. When Edward I expelled them from England, he gave orders that none were to be harmed, although his fractious subjects often honored this command in the breach. It appears that Christian anti-Semitism stopped somewhat short of a duty to propagate a Final Solution — although the First Crusade set a vicious precedent.

It is also true that Polish magnates turned administration of their estates over to Jews… which probably provoked a good deal of resentment against Jews among illiterate peasants, since the only Jews they daily came into contact with were squeezing the lord’s dues out of them.

#27 Comment By Franklin Evans On April 15, 2017 @ 2:04 am

Viking, it is a very safe assumption that the vast majority of neopagans you encounter who are ready to bash Christianity (and Christians) were traumatized by Christians in the name of Christianity, and very likely as children by their own parents.

I would freely speculate that some significant portion of atheists have had similar experiences. I boggle at your inclusion of “liberals” in your premise.

It must be noted and emphasized that the total populations of neopagans and atheists is very small in comparison to Christians or Muslims. I’m not making an argument about numbers. I am demanding that people be willing to examine the motivations and experiences of people before leaping to the conclusion that Rod’s Merited Impossibility can stand in for any of those other stories.

#28 Comment By Isidore The Farmer On April 15, 2017 @ 8:58 am

Yes, I can’t possibly understand why Christians are concerned about mass Muslim migration:

[7]

Welcome to the future Russell Moore would love to bring to your neighborhood, all in the name of his Constitution-Centered Gospel.

#29 Comment By VikingLS On April 15, 2017 @ 9:29 am

“I would freely speculate that some significant portion of atheists have had similar experiences. I boggle at your inclusion of “liberals” in your premise.”

@Franklin

You are now telling me that I don’t know what happened to me in my own life? Seriously?

Look Franklin, here’s the deal, you get to criticize my faith, and I get to do the same to you.

Period.

Are we clear?

#30 Comment By VikingLS On April 15, 2017 @ 9:34 am

@Franklin

BTW the neopagans I knew who attacked Christianity most consistently and seemed to delight in making sure I heard them did NOT come from religious households.

This despite my making it very clear to them that I didn’t have a problem with their beliefs.

This probably has as much to do with the general obnoxiousness of young people, but come one, you know how hostile much of your community is to Christians.

#31 Comment By VikingLS On April 15, 2017 @ 9:46 am

@Franklin

Oh and finally, when you post some story about people mistreating neopagans, the Christians here don’t tell you that the neopagans probably did something to deserve it.

I know you mean well, but come on, don’t try and tell me I don’t know what I’ve experienced. I would never tell you that.

#32 Comment By Rob G On April 15, 2017 @ 9:50 am

Agnikan, the Jefferson quote shows merely what was to be tolerated. The Christian milieu in which the idea itself grew was Protestant.

“I’ve been reading Rod’s various blogs for a while, and I’ve read a fair amount of: the Enlightenment was the worst thing to happen to western civilization, a desire for secular liberalism to fall apart, or the religious will out breed the seculars.”

One can hold all or any of those three things separately. Themselves or together they do not necessarily indicate any connection with Dominion Theology, even at the fellow-traveler level.

#33 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On April 15, 2017 @ 11:13 am

@Rod G, perhaps, but if something is quacking it greatly increases the probability of it being a duck.

#34 Comment By Joanne On April 15, 2017 @ 11:45 am

“Reader George, who is a professor and a believing Christian, writes:
Yes, Yes a thousand times yes. I am amazed at Christians who say stuff like “We cannot allow them to get established here because they will take over and set up a caliphate”. Do they not realize that this is basically what people with Christianophobia say about us.(sic)”

This is a fallacious argument. It is the equivalent of: A repairman comes to my house and I think mistakenly he is a thief. When the thief comes to my house, I say to myself, “oh, it is just the repairman.” Because a belief is incorrect about one person or group, it does not follow that a similar concern or criticism is unwarranted with every other individual or group.

#35 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On April 15, 2017 @ 1:18 pm

To add to the previous post. When you read about the Discovery Institute’s willingness to dissemble to pursue political goals, or see US congressman Paul Broun state that we need to support Israel because of a promise God made to Abraham, or call the big bang and evolution lies from the pit of hell. It definitely seems like Political Christianity is a thing, obviously not as aggressive as political Islam, but it definitely seems to exist.

#36 Comment By Rob G On April 15, 2017 @ 2:12 pm

MH, you confuse “Political Christianity” with Dominion Theology. The vast majority of people in the Christian Right would not know a Dominion Theologian or Christian Reconstructionist if he walked down the street in a top hat. The connections are extremely tenuous, and the goals, such as they are, are not the same.

I speak from experience as one who grew up a fundamentalist Moral Majoritarian, and later came to know quite a few people in the Dominion movement, read some books, attended some lectures, etc. The two things are not the same. Fwiw, most of the Moral Majority types thought the Reconstructionists were slighty batty.

Furthermore, many on the “Religious Right” are not critical of the Enlightenment per se, just what they consider its extremes. The better-read ones differentiate between the Enlightenment’s Scottish (good) and French (bad) manifestations, and chalk up the American founding primarily to the former.

#37 Comment By Franklin Evans On April 15, 2017 @ 4:55 pm

Viking,

Damn, I was posting in haste, and you’re paying the price for it. I’m truly sorry about that.

My point, had I taken the time to be clear about it, was to accept your general statement as accurate, and to qualify it somewhat by introducing other (and significant) motivations for what you’ve observed. That you clarify your remarks as anecdotal is nice, but not actually necessary. You’ve witnessed a subset, and I do validate it.

My remark about liberals, again stupidly brief, was supposed to be: you present a premise based on religious belief (or opposition to it). I simply don’t understand how you can list “liberals” when your other labels have clear boundaries. I found that it weakened your point, hence “boggle”. I do hasten to add that it didn’t prevent me from accepting your core point.

It has been a truly hellish several weeks in Franklin-ville, and I’ve been very remiss in keeping that in mind when I write in reaction to you and others. I will try to do better from here forward.

#38 Comment By Gus Nelson On April 15, 2017 @ 10:58 pm

To Isodore the Farmer:

You don’t understand Russell Moore if you think he has a “constitutional” centered gospel. Read his book Upward and you’ll change your mind.

#39 Comment By JonF On April 16, 2017 @ 8:31 am

Janwaar Bibi

I note that the you did not address the content of my statement. Shari’a is a real thing of course, though there’s no single law code called that (Shari’a tends to be whatever any given Muslim jurist says it is) but the use of the word by anti-Islamic propagandists is as tenditious as anti-Christian rants about “Dominionism” by the more strident sort of atheist in the US. The likelihood that people in the US need to worry about falling under a tyranny of either boogeyman is around the likelihood we will adopt Communism or elect a KKK Grand High Dragon (or whatever they call themselves) president.

#40 Comment By VikingLS On April 16, 2017 @ 2:17 pm

@Franklin

No worries. You have no idea how many times I’ve stopped myself from posting “The reality is you people just like watch Orthodox Christians die!”

You have legitimate complaints with Christians and I know you struggle not to let that overwhelm you, which I appreciate.

As to “liberals” I really wasn’t setting up clear boundaries. It’s just something I think about when I see or here Christians railing against Muslims. Despite the very real and brutal treatment of Christians at hands of Islamists overseas, I have never personally heard a Muslim disparage Christianity, and I have known a lot of Muslims.

On the other hand I have heard a lot of liberals disparage Christians, so sometimes I wonder if Christians (who are’t supposed to be hateful towards anybody) who fixate on Islam aren’t straining out a gnat and swallowing camel.

[8] The girl in the Hijab smiling during this Easter flash mob in Beirut is closer to my experience with Muslims regarding Christianity.

#41 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On April 16, 2017 @ 10:52 pm

I note that the you did not address the content of my statement. Shari’a is a real thing of course, though there’s no single law code called that (Shari’a tends to be whatever any given Muslim jurist says it is)

In my original post, I did not write, as you asserted later, that there were 56 Islamic countries under sharia law. I am familiar with the debating tactic of asserting that no Islamic country is truly sharia-compliant (in the old days, my Marxist friends used to argue that True Communism has never failed because it has never been tried), and I have learned to make my points without making that assertion.

What I said was that the apartheid laws I mentioned are derived from sharia as described in the Umdat-al-Salik (an English translation is available under the title “Reliance of the Traveler” and it has been blessed by Al-Azhar as an authentic translation). I am happy to give you specific citations to particular parts of that book if you like.

Moreover, Muslim constitutions, like the vibrantly multicultural Somali one that I linked to, assert that they are sharia-compliant. Who are we to say otherwise? If a 350 pound dockworker with tattoos and a mustache tells me he is a woman, I am required nowadays to agree, since he “identifies as a woman.” If Muslims tell us their apartheid constitutions are sharia-compliant, we need to believe them. It would be deeply insensitive and Islamophobic to believe otherwise.

About the many-splendored nature of sharia:

If you pick two people at random on this planet, they will look very different from each other. However that does not mean that we cannot talk about a concept called “homo sapiens” or attribute qualities to homo sapiens. In spite of our diversity, one can assert that homo sapiens are mammals, they give live birth and don’t lay eggs, they walk upright, and are capable of speaking. The fact some people are in wheel-chairs and cannot walk upright does not invalidate those statements about the vast majority of humans, particularly if one is describing those qualities to distinguish homo sapiens from other species.

In the same way, there are indeed variations in sharia – for example, all four major Sunni fiqh demand that apostates be put to death but they disagree about how many chances the apostate must be given to “repent” before being put to death.

Similarly, Sheikh Qaradawi, a major Sunni cleric followed by millions of peaceful Muslims, once mused that sharia did not specify clearly what should be done to gays. Some authorities require gays to be stoned to death, he said, while others require them to be thrown from tall buildings (I gather the Islamic State follows the second school of sharia). Still others believe a wall should be built around them and then “collapsed over them.” Choices, choices.

When they cannot agree on how gays should be killed or how many chances apostates should be given to “repent” before being killed, who can accuse Muslims of not demonstrating vibrant diversity of thought? But I do not want any of this wonderfully diverse barbarism here. There are 56 wonderful Islamic paradises – what the world needs are some safe-spaces from this wonderfully vibrant and diverse religion.

#42 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On April 17, 2017 @ 8:55 am

JonF,

Regarding sharia: All the Sunni fiqhs and for that matter, the Shia fiqhs agree that (i) there should be no separation of mosque and state, and (ii) in a sharia-ruled state, Muslims are the top dogs, Christians and Jews are below them, while Hindus, Buddhists and other untermenschen are at the bottom.

This is why death compensation (“diyya”) in many Muslim countries depends on your religion and the diyya in Saudi Arabia for a Hindu or Buddhist is 1/16 that for a Muslim man (the Umdat-al-Salik specifies the ratios, although Muslim countries use a variety of ratios in practice).

I can understand why Muslims promote sharia law – it is for the same reason that South African whites promoted apartheid or why my Hindu ancestors were in favor of caste discrimination. There are also Jews who are sharia apologists – given the historical animosities between Jews and Christians, they believe the enemy of their enemy is their friend. Then there are intellectuals who enjoy being contrary.

Why are you an apologist for sharia, which is an apartheid system like that of the old South Africa?

#43 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 17, 2017 @ 11:15 am

On the other hand I have heard a lot of liberals disparage Christians, so sometimes I wonder if Christians (who are’t supposed to be hateful towards anybody) who fixate on Islam aren’t straining out a gnat and swallowing camel.

Having learned to disdain liberals, from a position well to the left of liberalism, and having a well founded distrust of religious triumphalism rooted in any belief system, I find VikingLS’s question well worth considering.

If a 350 pound dockworker with tattoos and a mustache tells me he is a woman, I am required nowadays to agree, since he “identifies as a woman.”

And you’re find with that Janwaar? If you are not, then the rest of your argument falls apart. David Koresh considered himself the embodiment of True Christianity.

#44 Comment By JonF On April 18, 2017 @ 12:19 pm

Re: Why are you an apologist for sharia,

Hmm. Have I quit beating my (non-existent) wife?

Pointing out propagandist excesses and outright falsehoods does not make me an apologist for anything, except maybe the truth.