September 12th, 2010

me at yd
  • drcruel

Terry Jones got me thinking:

Let's suppose-just suppose-that there was a Christian wingnut preacher. There are, in fact, quite a few Christian wingnut preachers, but for this example let's take Fred Phelps, so I don't have to go and google a ton of his quotes to prove what a wingnut he is. As a brief refresher, he incites violence against gays and celebrates the deaths of our soldiers, believing that God is punishing Americans for our ungodly, unbiblical lifestyle.

Fred Phelps is a Christian, and to argue otherwise would be as silly as trying to argue that Osama bin Laden is not a Muslim. Similarly, we cannot argue that either man is not devoutly religious, and to make the argument that either man lives in accordance with the tenets of his faith, as practiced by the majority of people who practice their respective faiths, would be ludicrous.

Now let's suppose-just suppose-that Fred Phelps went very slightly crazier than he already is and, like the Christian terrorists who bomb abortion clinics, beat gays to death or lynch blacks who marry inter-racially, began to view himself not only as the voice of god but as god's instrument of divine justice. And suppose he hijacked an airplane and flew it into a building. Can you imagine anybody objecting to the placement of a YMCA a few blocks away from the site of the demolished building, even if it did contain a prayer room for Christians?

I can't. In fact, I can't imagine a rational person objecting to the construction of a church with Christian iconography all over the outside of it even if the proposed construction site was only a block away. It would be absurd, even for someone like me who considers belief in the supernatural to be mere superstition and religion to be the most destructive force in human history, to attempt to tar all Christians with Mr. Phelp's brush. Similarly, there is no rational argument being made-or, indeed, that could be made-against the proposed Muslim community center.

I've heard opponents of the community center refer to it as a "victory mosque." It's not a mosque, but its eventual construction will indeed be a victory-of peace over war, of acceptance over bigotry, of American values over American xenophobia, and, most importantly, of freedom of religion over the kind of religious hatred and zealotry that brought about 9/11 in the first place.
  • paft

Ignoring the Elephant

From The Daily Beast:

One important question that is rarely asked about the ground zero controversies—or about the surge in anti-Muslim feeling among Americans, which a Washington Post poll on Wednesday put at its highest since 9/11—is simply: What took so long?

The Daily Beast has an article by Scott Malcomson entitled “Islamophobia’s Slow Boil.” It’s what I call a “conundrum” piece, and it illustrates why what’s often called “the mainstream media” has been steadily losing credibility with its readers and listeners. Faux naivete just doesn’t play well after awhile.

A “Conundrum Piece” involves the writer putting forth what he or she believes to be a conundrum -- usually something that only qualifies as an unanswered question if you unfocus your eyes and refuse to look directly at the obvious. The author then spends several hundred words “solving” the supposed conundrum by pointing out the view through the southern facing window, the picture next to the hall door, that bit of cobweb caught on the ceiling, anything other than the big gray wrinkly animal with the trunk standing in the middle of the room.

In this case, the question he claims to be answering is, “Why did it take nine long years for Islamophobia to get up a head of steam?”

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A dispatch from the present times.

I seem to find my television machine and computing device inundated with people from the 14th-18th centuries. On the one hand, people tell me that I can't trust Muslims because of things like, you know, Cordoba. And that they're fighting and caring about a long-dead caliphate and living in the past. And yet it is these very same people who mull and brood over the past, bringing up old fights and generally actually having some kind of emotional reaction to 10th century geopolitics, or the like. Hell, they still argue about the Crusades as if we're really all that invested in defending them. Wow. That just floors me.

I mean, are you kidding me? You know what it is? Both of these "sides" are stuck in the past. 21st century Americans are somehow licking wounds over medieval wars, and extremist terrorists are doing much the same. It's like the creationists and ardent atheists in schools. Fringe sects monopolizing or screwing up the general pool for everybody else. You know, normal people. People who think about 13th century Islam and don't give a shit. Don't have any feelings about it. Normal folk. And yet somehow people watch the moving picture device and start babbling about Cordoba. Do you know how ridiculous you look when you do that?

Do you?

And let's get something else out of the way while I'm on my soapbox. Your fear isn't impressive. It isn't a virtue. It isn't a reason. I'm about sick and tired of listening to people talk about how afraid or paranoid they are. You know that's pathetic right? You understand that fear is a shameful thing, right, for good red-blooded American men, right? You understand that "I'm afraid" is acceptable coming from a nine year old, but from a grown man? Are you kidding me? What do I feel and think when I hear you talk about all of your fear? I think "What a weak and stupid, pathetic man. Put some pants on." The world is a big and scary place. You might want to reach down and grab a pair before you sneak out of your hole and go to your meaningless job.