Some ideas are so dingy you assume people must be kidding. When lunatics like lawyer, author and Fox News contributorAndrew McCarthy bleat that a secret cabal of atheistic “liberals” like the president and his loyal army of Muslim terrorists are working together to realize their common goal – the imposition of “Sharia Law” on the American people, well what else can you assume?
This wild nonsense has been escalating for years. Ten years ago we heard that 19 highjackers were merely the vanguard for “hundreds of millions” of crack suicide troops, anxious, even gleeful, to martyr themselves killing Americans. They hate our freedom, our way of life and democracy. They hate semi-naked women and sausage biscuits so passionately they will gladly die to hurt us.
President Bush made conciliatory comments even while mobilizing America for a permanent “War of Terror” by calling Islam a religion of peace. But his followers knew he was speaking tongue-in-cheek. He had to say that to keep the damn liberals from freaking out. Bush could say whatever he wanted, but Rush Limbaugh never repeated that hippie talk. Ann Coulter went so far as to suggest we should literally launch a new crusade, specifically to convert Muslims to Christianity at gunpoint.
It’s only gotten worse since then.
One particularly nutty Web site, Jihad Watch, says there are two kinds of Islam: “Terror Jihad,” which blows up buildings as on 9/11 and “Stealth Jihad” which disarms its enemies by not blowing things up. The stealth Jihadist pretends to be nice and neighborly. Then, when your back is turned, Presto! he builds a mosque. Next thing you know, it’s Sharia Law.
How do they think Muslims can enforce their religious code in America? Breed like rats until they are the majority, then get elected to Congress and change the Constitution? Never mind the logistics, friends; they’ll put Sharia on us if we don’t kill them first. We must nuke the enemy in order to preserve the peace.
Today, as plans come together to build “Cordoba House” a sort of Muslim equivalent to the YMCA, complete with a mosque, on the south end of Manhattan, two huge city blocks way from the old World Trade Center,hysterical right-wing media turned that into a “mosque at ground zero.” As if there hadn’t been mosques in New York city before. Sarah Palin told her numbskulls that the very idea of a mosque in Manhattan is “a provocation” and “a stab in the heart.”
A mosque is just too painful for 9/11 survivors to see, we are told. I imagine the sight of a Christian church might be painful to American Indians. Surely French Huguenots feel a stab in the heart when they see a Roman Catholic church under construction.
Crusaders of the Hal Lindsey variety remind us that Islam’s Holy Koran is replete with instructions to the faithful to kill infidels. It is common to hear Islam portrayed as a shadowy system of government, bent on world domination and terrorism, not a religion at all. If the Koran is full of sociopathic calls to murder, can we not say the same thing of our own Holy Bible? Have you read the Old Testament? Kill the women, kill the children, slaughter the cattle and leave them to rot. Not one shall be left alive. They shall surely be stoned. Suffer not a witch to live. Slit the lamb’s throat and spill his blood on the holy alter of God. Excuse that as you will, but you can’t deny it’s there. As Christians we have to each come to terms with it.
We manage somehow. We don’t go from getting saved at the alter call to gunning down infidels next week because it’s in the Bible that we should. At least most of us don’t; Eric Rudolph did. As believers, we just assume the Lord was in a really bad mood that day and skip ahead to the nice parts, like “love one another, for love is of God…”
Why is it so hard to imagine that Muslims generally take their holy book with a grain of salt, just as we do?
As I write, many Americans are urging Israel to attack Iran. We send money to radical Israeli politicians, urging them to go for the throat and show no mercy to Palestinians. House Republicans promise to join the attack. Aside from a few half-hearted, vague promises to pull out a few troops far in the future, the president has shown none of his campaign dovishness. We surround Iran on two sides. Whatever rank and file Democrats may believe, Democrats in power are just as hawkish as the Republicans. Meanwhile American school kids are taught the blatant lie that government spending and World War II ended the Depression that freedom caused.
Crusaders are thirsty for Muslim blood, Israel is governed by genocidal lunatics, both of America’s political parties are completely sold on endless war, the people are convinced that war brings good living and prosperity and the military industry sees dramatic profits on the horizon. And you wonder why on earth Iran would want a nuclear bomb?
The Lord once promised, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” He must have known when he said it that he probably wouldn’t have to make good on it. How many peacemakers do you know?
Religious tolerance isn’t something we do because it’s an alleged founding principle; who cares about the traditions and principles of dead men? We practice tolerance because we are decent; we are not dogs. We act like we weren’t raised in a shed out back. Recent debate about the religious liberties of American Muslims has not only cast tolerance aside, but unearthed deeper issues from the darkest parts of the human soul.
The dispute about Cordoba House – which upper-class politicians and pundits have deceptively (and opportunistically) dubbed the “Ground Zero Mosque” – has simply got to stop. It’s no longer funny. After last week’s column, one McDowellNews.com reader promised to bomb the mosque. Imagine that. Readers are publicly threatening, promising to commit acts of murder and terror mere “steps away” from Ground Zero.
Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin, Jay Sekulow, Bill Bennett and hosts of lesser pundits plumbed new depths of depravity, manufacturing a scandal where there was none. They did everything they could to get the unwashed masses’ panties in a collective wad about the Cordoba House, and it worked. To America’s everlasting shame, the people let themselves be reduced to a ravening mob.
In a regrettably rare moment of right-mindedness, the president accurately and correctly framed the situation. He said he has no dispute with people exercising their constitutional religious rights on private property in accordance with local laws and ordinances. Part of that statement is so important it deserves a line of its own, without qualifiers.
There. The most beautiful words in the English language. And the opportunistic and treacherous Republican intelligentsia completely missed it. Republicans and Tea Partiers, I implore you: you cannot, must not, simply cannot demand that government force be brought to bear against the exercise of property rights.
We slept and woke up in a bizarro universe, where Democrats (God help us all) are championing property and religious freedom and the Republicans are brazenly and unashamedly demanding that big government use the violence and power at its disposal to prevent the free exercise of religion and the development and use of property.
The lies have barraged us in machine gun bursts. Cordoba House is blocks, not “a few steps” as the simple-minded and incurious Sarah Palin said – from the old World Trade Center site.
Andrew McCarthy said that Cordoba House is an example of Islamic triumphalism, the tendency to build mosques on sites of great victories. No it is not. It is an example of Islamic exercise of private property rights. Something that until last week Republicans used to claim to favor.
O’Reilly admitted the Muslims had rights to the property they own, but said it was “inappropriate” and “insensitive.” So now Republicans suddenly believe we should legislate based on “feelings” and being all “sensitive.” Do Republicans, of all people, now honestly mean to say that Americans must refrain from any act that hurts others’ feelings? Our freedoms end when someone gets their feelings hurt?
We discussed this business about hurt feelings last week. I said there were plenty of people who no doubt get their feelings hurt remembering massacres and injustices committed by Christians against Indians; American soldiers against Muslims. I asked if we should stop building Christian churches to spare the Indians’ feelings, or stop displaying the U.S. flag to spare the feelings of Filipino Muslims. I got lots of hysterical responses, but not one reader addressed that blatant double standard. No, we must abolish all religious liberty and property rights to spare the “families of 9/11” but we needn’t bother about the namby-pamby feelings of our victims; they deserved it.
No one addressed that point, because they can’t justify it. What can they say?
Bryan Fischer, of the American Family Association, an ostensibly Christian organization, said that “permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States.” He said he can literally see into the hearts of each and every mosque, every cleric, every worshipper, and he has seen that they are all animated by one goal; the overthrow of America and, of course, Sharia Law. Fischer has single-handedly judged more than a billion human souls and found them all wanting and damnable.
Not long ago, Christians found that sort of presumption to be not only objectionable, but blasphemous. No longer. Today we have a New New Covenant and the Golden Rule no longer applies to us.
Sarah Palin was near tears Monday night on Fox News, demanding that the president use his “clout” and “pull” to “encourage” the Muslims to choose another site for their mosque. O’Reilly had similar comments. It didn’t dawn on either of them that they might offer to purchase the old Burlington Coat Factory fair and square, just like the Muslims did, and use their property rights to put it to more “appropriate” use.
Why didn’t that occur to them? Because they want the issue to excite the dumbest voters into a rage that will endure through November. O’Reilly was practically dancing on his chair that 60 percent of Americans oppose the Cordoba House’s construction. Obama, O’Reilly said, is on the unpopular side of an issue that will “do him no good at all.” I don’t often say this, but good for Obama. For once he has taken the right side of an issue without weighing the political consequences.
It seems puerile to say this, but a lot of you seem to have forgotten it: Right is right and true is true, even if no one acknowledges it. Justice doesn’t need to be popular. If 60 percent of Americans are vehemently opposed to religious liberty and the free exercise of private property rights, then 60 percent of Americans are stupid and wrong.
I shudder for my country. We’re a hair’s breadth from a new national socialist republic of America. It sounds absurd, but what can you say when the majority of Americans are absolutely zealous about depriving the basic human rights of their fellow Americans?
You can object; you can say that denying them the right to build mosques on their private property is not the same as rounding them up into camps and gassing them. But how far removed is it? The majority of Germans in the late 1930s had no problem seeing Jews barred from commerce and run out of their homes. They probably wouldn’t have approved of the camps and the gassings, but once government learned that the people approved stripping the Jews of their rights, the camps and the killings were a natural progression. All it took was a general contempt among the masses for the Jews’ humanity, and government handles the rest. There is a general disregard for the humanity of Muslims in America today.
That’s an extreme scenario, granted, but I submit that you cannot use the dehumanizing, exclusionary rhetoric these Republicans have been invoking recently, whipping the uncivilized, unschooled and unsophisticated masses into a vengeful frenzy, without inviting bloodshed.
Are Democrats any defense against the rising tide of ethnic cleansing? Sensitive to the political winds, Democrats like Sen. Harry Reid are cynically jumping ship, opposing Cordoba House. Of course, he is a man who hates property and religious liberty. It’s no surprise if he acts spinelessly. But I tell you this: No man of principle wishes to see government force trump religious and property rights. Not one.
The day after his religious and property rights comments sparked a Fox News-proclaimed “firestorm,” the president said that he had no comment about the “wisdom” of building a mosque in Manhattan. Republicans quickly proclaimed that a “backtrack,” but his clarification was in no way inconsistent with the earlier comment.
Do you Tea Partiers see what you’re doing? Has it penetrated your concrete skulls that the one time Obama stands up for constitutional liberty you are cussing him and demanding big government move to crush the free exercise of property rights? Does that seem at all ironic to you?
You’ve had your emotions manipulated. You’ve been played for fools. As we discussed last week, the war enthusiasts, frustrated with their inability to sell Obama on attacking Iran, now hope to present him with a fait accompli by getting Israel to attack. They hope to force Obama to join the bloodbath already in progress. Former U.N. ambassador and infamous vampire John Bolton has publicly invited Israel to let some blood before the weekend. The neoconservatives are pulling all the stops, and they hope to manipulate you into supporting it by getting you worked up over an issue no one in his right mind could possibly give a damn about.
If the Republican leaders and their fellow war enthusiasts across the aisle get their way, we could be quite possibly in the midst of World War III by next week. And if you spent the week before the war broke out sweating about some damn fool mosque, my friends, then shame on you. Shame on you.