From a rational perspective, there are two basic arguments when comparing the merits of various religions. Argument 1), the anti/omni-theist perspective: “All canines have teeth and claws; all types of canine have attacked people; therefore, all types of canines with teeth and claws are equally dangerous, and all should either be allowed in the house, or all excluded.” Argument 2), the Hitchens-Maher Case: “All types of canines have attacked people; some types of canines have been domesticated to attack people less often; therefore, if you must have a canine in the house, it is better to have a German Shepherd than a timber wolf.”
President Obama’s made no secret that he follows the former argument when it comes to Islam — and today, at the National Prayer Breakfast of all places, he took the opportunity to remind religious Americans that all canines do, in fact, have teeth. Including those who carry the cross:
“Unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.
So it is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a simple tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.”
He then went on to list three principles to oppose those who would “hijack” religion for evil: “Humility, Separation of Church and State, and Following the Golden Rule.” Otherwise known as…”secularism.” There it is, straight from the President’s mouth: The way to oppose those who’d use religion to justify violence is non-religion. Which does feel a little obvious when you say it out loud like that. But it’s not quite as poetic as Micah 6:8, which Obama referenced when concluding his speech:
“If we are properly humble, we drop to our knees on occasion, we will acknowledge that we never fully know God’s purpose. We can never fully fathom His amazing grace. We see through a glass darkly, grappling with the expanse of His awesome love.
But even with our limits, we can heed that which is required, to do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with our God.”
And that is a pretty beautiful allegory.
Now, if we’d only learn to tell the difference between timber wolves and German Shepherds, we might be getting somewhere.
Still, though, all canines have teeth and claws, even the Good German Shepherds of Christianity — add to that just a touch of Obama derangement Syndrome, and you’ve got the makings of one fairly rabid mutt. AKA, the Tea Party. Following Obama’s speech, the rightest of the right wingers mounted the highest of horses to scream in defiance of Obama’s disgustingly secular message. And, also, for not calling Muslims out for being savages and declaring his intent to drone strike every one of them back to Allah. From Herman Cain’s web page, CainTV.com:
“My God. While ISIS is burning people alive, our president wants us to know we shouldn’t get all impressed with ourselves and think we’re any better than they are… Seriously, while the best he can say about ISIS is that he wants to “degrade” the possibly most sadistic killers the world has ever seen, he sure as hell wants you Christians to know that you’ve been pretty horrible yourself throughout human history.”
We’d probably argue that “probably the most sadistic killers the world has ever seen” line. See “Joshua at Jericho,” the forced-conversion massacres of Native Americans, and the Mountain Meadows Massacre perpetrated by Joseph Smith’s merry group of Mormons. And we’d say all of those would hold up pretty well to anything ISIS has done. In particular Mountain Meadows, where Smith spared only the youngest virgin girls…just so they could be taken back and added to the Mormon elders’ harems as rape-brides.
But hey…Christian Shepherds. Right?
“If Obama really knew his Bible, which he clearly doesn’t, he would know that you can’t even stretch the Scriptures to justify any of the atrocities he wants to attribute to out-of-control Christians.”
Ask Moses about that one. Or Torquemada, for that matter.
“One of the most horrific forces of evil that mankind has ever seen is on the loose in the Middle East right now. They are Islamic. They are monsters.”
True. But they may also depend on how you choose to define “evil.” Is evil sadistically cutting women’s heads off and raping them in the streets, and butchering thousands of innocents like Vikings or Spanish Missionaries? Or is it allowing yourself to be consumed by greed, expecting forgiveness later, as you pass legislation that will ultimately culminate in the extinction of the entire species? The sadistic murder of thousands in the name of money and God, or the banal murder of billions in the name of money, and expecting the forgiveness of God? How exactly does one define evil under those circumstances?
Our feelings, personally? Let the wolves run in the wilderness to do as wolves will, and keep the dogs outside in the yard. We’ve got a House to put in order.