March 17, 2011

Religion + Power = Danger

Behead those who insult islamWhen I see Muslim protestors calling for violence against whoever drew the latest "offensive" cartoon or wrote the latest book they didn't like, I initially marvel at how incredibly violent this "religion of peace" seems to be. Not only is their treatment of women abhorrent, but they seem to leap to violence at the slightest provocation. All it seems to take is someone criticizing their silly religion.

This initial thought about the violent nature of Islam is almost always followed by another, one that helps put Islam into a context with which I am much more familiar:
Given the same state power, Christians would behave every bit as badly. That is, Christians would be doing most of the same things in the name of Christianity as these Muslim protestors are doing in the name of Islam.
I think this is a fair assessment for at least two reasons. First, history shows that when Christianity enjoyed the same sort of state power that Islam has in many Muslim nations, Christians did in fact behave every bit as badly. If the Pope still had an army, there is little question that he would be even more detrimental than he is at present. Second, in listening to what modern Christian extremists say, one can learn a great deal about what they would do if only they had the power to enforce their will. Give Pat Robertson, Bill Donohue, Mike Huckabee, or Fred Phelps the power to make and enforce laws, and see what happens.

Islam is a problem. But a big part of what makes it so problematic is the power attached to it. The more power attached to any particular religion, the more troublesome it becomes. Those who have managed to infuse the American military with evangelical fundamentalist Christianity have known full well what they are doing. They are looking to Muslim nations with envy.

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