Friday, November 05, 2010

Religion and politics

As those who struggled through all, or even a portion of my extensive MSS on the Abrahamic religions are well aware, I have been unsparing in my critique of all three, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I have constantly sought to relate documents and original beliefs, on the one hand, to present practice, on the other. I have concluded that singing Kumbaya, aka the Rodney King approach--"Let's see if we can all get along"--is not working. It is certainly unfair to the millions and millions of people who have suffered and died because of the these three sets of dogmas. (My texts can be found at [Abrahamica], and at The latter is the more accessible version.)

In my own fashion, then, I have been an "equal opportunity" offender. A plague on all three houses, I say. However, many secularists, including such New Atheists as Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris, seem to have it in for Christianity in particular. By contrast, secularists seem to let Muslims off with a pass, even though that faith with its many residues of Arabian backwardness, is in some ways the most dangerous of the three. To be sure, defenders of Islam are seeking to ward off what they regard, perhaps rightly, as a fear of the Other that has been engendered by 9/11 and other incidents. However, these eirenic observers do not show signs of knowing very much about Islam. I do--having taught myself with some labor in order to fulfill my triadic mission.

Some new thoughts are prompted by the dismaying election results last Tuesday. In all the analyses that have been published, I have not seen much discussion of the likelihood that many Tea Partiers and others are reacting against what they perceive as anti-Christianity--something that is not aimed just at Christian beliefs and practices--but against themselves, whether they are believers or not. That is to say, an attack on Christianity as an ethnicity and a heritage, if you will. It cannot escape them that the anti-Christian sentiment is coming mostly from the Northeast and the Pacific rim, home to many outspoken non-Christian and post-Christian citizens.

When one criticizes Judaism, Jews are naturally apprehensive that the critique is aimed at them personally. One should therefore expect that some persons of Christian heritage (of which, I suppose, I am ultimately one) would feel that their group is being singled out by a secularism that mainly has Christianity in its sights. The left-liberal pass--ignoring female genital mutilation, "honor killings," and execution of homosexuals--that is given to Islam has a similar effect. If the effects of religion, at least Abrahamic religion, are on balance deleterious (as I have argued in extenso), that conclusion applies with full force to Islam, just as much as to the other two.

Many are the twists and turns of political correctness. Its latest incarnation seeks to protect Muslims as an embattled minority. This perspective is much too narrow. In some fifty countries in the world, Muslims are a majority--one that limits the rights of non-Muslims, sometimes persecuting them. However, the PC left cares little for the plight of Christians and Jews in those lands--not to mention Zoroastrians, Baha'is, Hindus, Buddhists, and animists, who do not enjoy even the limited tolerance granted to Christians and Jews.



Blogger Thomas Kraemer said...

I agree with your observation that "many Tea Partiers and others are reacting against what they perceive as anti-Christianity" because I constantly meet Christian Republicans who claim to be victims of religious discrimination even though they are clearly in the majority. Their idea that Christians are "victims" of the secular left, because Children are being forced to see ungodly images of gay marriage or abortion, is a meme that is being echoed everyday on Fox News and other Christian Republican media outlets.

Ironically, the method of using political propaganda to convince people they are victims and therefore must fight for their rights is a method that Christian Republicans regularly accuse liberals of exploiting to gain black civil rights, women's rights, gay rights and environmental protections, which they disagree with from a religious viewpoint.

Instead of arguing with Christian-Republicans, I point out to them that they are assuming the role of "victims" and asking for "special rights" in the same manner they accuse liberals of doing. The more intelligent religious conservatives will acknowledge an understanding of their hypocrisy because they value taking individual responsibility, but then they quickly revert back to their religious beliefs as being absolute, which trumps any tolerance by them of alternate viewpoints.

1:38 PM  

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