Thursday, September 04, 2014

God Speaks. It's Not Entirely Comforting.

Are all of us liberals agreed: Christianity is bad, Islam is good? Not all of us do, not myself, and not Bill Maher, though he is much a liberal libertarian (if there is such a thing) than a liberal. Some other liberals/progressive activists, recognizing the political narrow-mindedness and extremism characterizing (accurately or otherwise) Christian fundamentalists, have concluded that all is well with Islam and Muslims themselves. They pose no threat to the West, they strongly imply, other than what has been forced upon them by the USA, Europe, or (of course) Satan himself, Israel. That's what Alternet's C.J. Werleman believes. He condemns atheists Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Bill Maher, critics of Islamist extremism, because "For them, Islam is the root of all Muslim rage against the West, the root of all barbarism, and the root of all conflict in the Middle East." I knew little about the views of Dawkins and Harris toward the Middle East, and know little more since reading Werleman's diatribe against them and American foreign policy and values. But I do know that Maher has, if nothing else, a realistic view of the region, as reflected in his remarks in a Real Time interview in April, 2013: I mean there’s only one faith, for example, that kills you, or wants to kill you, if you draw a bad cartoon of the Prophet. There’s only one faith that kills you, or wants to kill you, if you renounce the faith. An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing. Talk to Salman Rushdie after the show about Christian versus Islam. So, you know, I’m just saying, let’s keep it real. The Transportation Safety Administration undertakes major security precautions at every major airport in the U.S.A., primarily as a response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01, secondarily in response to perceived, or actual, threats from the East which have followed. As Maher has explained in the past, notwithstanding isolated acts of terrorism committed by Christian fundamentalists, the threat posed by such individuals pales in comparison to the danger of a massive attack by Islamic extremists. One does not have to believe most Muslims are coming after Americans, or that the conflict in the region is due solely to religion, to recognize a significant danger. Fear did not justify Gulf War II, largely unsuccessful, which was commenced primarily to ensure a free flow of oil to the West, nor guarantee victory in Afghanistan, a war launched against the forces which harbored al-Qaeda. Nor is it enough alone to justify bombing raids against ISIS in Syria, which would come with their own implications. But denying that Muslim fanatics harbor anger toward the West, and toward Jews and Christians, partly on a religious basis is as empty-headed as Christian fundamentalists denying climate change because they believe God wouldn't permit it. Maher angers Werleman by tweeting“This ISIS is some cocky m-fuckers. This is one I’m really rooting for us to kick their ass down their throats. America, fuck yeah!"  Profanity and chauvinism aside, the remark harbors some truth, as confirmed by God (below), who has tweeted "People are people, all men are brothers, and there's good and bad in everyone. Having said that, these #ISIS bastards have to die." And nearly echoing the comedian, the Almighty tweets "Just because some members of a particular religion are crazy, doesn't mean some members of other religions aren't also crazy."

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