Thursday, September 9, 2010

On Denouncing Islam

Kelsey Pince, a friend and fellow blogger, responds to my previous post, eloquently (and patiently), via her iPhone:
The president and others speaking out understand that we're fighting the perception of being at war with Islam. The Quran burning would be seen as proof in many minds that we are, thus putting moderate Muslims in the unfortuate position of trying to defend a country that seems to hate all Muslims. Finally, having legitimate concerns about an occupied peoples reponse to this kind of provocation doesn't negate the idea that Islam is by nature peaceful.
Kelsey brings up a salient point: we are at war in two largely-Muslim countries. In this case, she's right, we have a complicated and fraught relationship with Islam. One that I didn't acknowledge in my short post.

Kelsey raises another, even more salient point: the physical text of the Koran is viewed, by Islam, as the literal Word of God:
Because it is the word of god, the only part of god believed to be sent to man, it's a closer comparison to Jesus himself than the bible. Burning the quran is roughly equal to someone burning Jesus.
According to the Christian holy book, "someone" crucified Jesus, that poor bastard. Some (many?) think that someone is the Jewish people. We rightly condemn these troglodytes for holding a grudge under the auspices of a ridiculous notion. In fact, we, the Urbane and Erudite, lampoon the nutty beliefs of Christians and Jews all the time. Think: anti-evolution (and science), anti-homosexuality, anti-sex, anti-abortion (and woman), transubstantiation, etc, etc, etc. Actually, these are mostly nutty Christian beliefs. All, except for transubstantiation, are shared by Islam.

And that's my point. There's a sensitivity and an over-accommodation by the left (and many on the right) toward the anti-liberal* religion of Islam that (again, rightly) is not offered to the anti-liberal religion of Christianity. Crazy is crazy. The only difference, if I call Islam crazy, I'm worse than those aforementioned troglodytes. I'm a monster.

I know that would-be Koran burner in Florida isn't worked up into a lather over the illiberality of Islam. He's a Christian pastor, for Christ's sake. But if I, an atheist, proposed to burn Korans for the cause of reason, would I receive thunderous applause? Disregarding the crudeness of the act -- I respect books too much to burn them -- is there not a unique acceptance of the wacky principles of this particular religion, even among the secular, that would result in a wave of disgust against me?

As for Kelsey's first point, we are not "at war with Islam," but we ought to be at war, intellectually, against the anti-liberal aspects of Islam (and those of Christianity, and every other anti-liberal philosophy). Any other response is cowardice, pure and simple. Political correctness demands that we treat all beliefs equally in public discourse. If so, why argue over our values in the first place?

*By anti-liberal, I mean in opposition to reason and individual rights.