“100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!”
Here’s Maryam Namazie’s answer to that question.
“100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!”
Here’s Maryam Namazie’s answer to that question.
By now, you have all been inundated with endless television and radio specials on the legacy of 9-11 and how America was changed forever. While America may have been changed, did the American people actually learn anything from that tragic day? Did WE in fact, change? Judging by the fact that numerous hate mongering religious extremists such as Perry and Bachmann exert such influence over the political and cultural landscape, it appears not. We are no different a people than we were before 9-11 and that is not a good thing.
Through the endless babbling of news commentators, pseudo-experts in terrorism, political hacks and responses from the man on the street, a still, small voice could be heard. A voice that called for reason to prevail and for a return to our roots as a nation; a nation that was founded on secular principles and the wisdom of the Enlightenment. That voice was soon squelched; smothered by paranoia, hate and ignorance.
We were all given a choice and we chose wrong as a nation. 9-11 could have been the beginning of an American Spring, a chance to throw off superstition and bigotry and embrace rational thought and humanist values. Instead, we collectively chose a path of darkness. Our descendents will look at the events of 9-11 as an opportunity wasted.
A message lost.
One of the best commentaries I’ve heard to date from any atheist on the massacre in Norway.
While working on several articles concurrently, a lengthy comment from a reader of a past post (Where is the atheist outrage?) grabbed my attention as it touches on a few points that I will make in upcoming posts. Consider this a preview of sorts, of things to come. I responded to points and accusations the reader made, correcting errors of fact and logic as well as acknowledging what, if any, valid points the reader might have made.
“More atheist hypocrisy I see. Atheists always clamor about separation of Church and state and here they are now wanting to deny others their freedom of religion.”
In the fourth sentence of your comment, you make reference to the sin of lumping all Muslims together. I couldn’t agree with you more. Perhaps you could demonstrate some coherence and consistency in your argument by applying the same standards to yourself. Specifically, you have lumped all atheists together with the use of the pronoun “they”. I am hardly representative of the atheist demographic, as a brief jaunt through my posts would reveal to any but the most ignorant reader. In addition, I do not deny anyone their “freedom of religion”. I merely assert my free speech right to protest; a right – I might add – that is also covered by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
“These are American citizens who pay their taxes and live peacefully among the rest of society; why should they not be allowed to build the religious complex? What rational arguments do you have?”
To be sure, I have no rational or even legal argument for preventing the building of any religious structure, whether by litigation or force. Applying pressure via protest, boycott, education and media coverage, however, is an undeniably valid and useful alternative that has been in use for millennia in order to effect change that could not be accomplished in other ways.
“You refe (sic) to “they” as if all Muslims are the same. It’s like saying all Americans are racists and terrorists or all blacks are criminals.”
The post was written “off the cuff” and does not fully convey my thoughts on a rather complex issue. While I do not specifically refer to all Muslims as being the same, it is more than understandable how anyone could take this to be my meaning, especially considering the tone of the piece.
“Atheists, like other far right conservatives, and most atheists are far right conservatives, especially when it comes to war and aggression against other, especially nonwhite nations, are completely ignorant of the historical realities of 9/11.”
Where to start? You are either a liar, astoundingly ignorant or you are insane. Of course, it is within the realm of probability that you are a combination of two or more of these.
First off, the overwhelming majority of atheists are left of center, with a great many of them being far left, liberal loons. Scan briefly through the majority of atheist blogs and this becomes painfully obvious in a very short span of time.
Second, your assertion that atheists are white racists -insofar as you connect them to a vast right-wing conspiracy to wage “war and aggression” against “nonwhite nations” – is insane, to put it mildly. Atheism is the lack of belief in a god or gods. No more, no less.
“9/11 had nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with American aggression in the Middle East. America brought it upon themselves. Why would “Islamic terrorists” come all the way to the US to fly planes into some buildings? Why not a closer country in Europe with the same values as the US, like England, Switzerland, etc. Why the US? Very simple, US is a terrorist nation. Read “Imperial Hubris,” the author is a former CIA agent who readily admits US foreign policy is the culprit, though he, like you ignorant atheists, wants perpetual war. After all, America needs to control the whole world; you are the master race after all, aren’t you? Like Pat Condell’s hypocrisies, this post is nothing but irrational, emotional drivel without a shred of truth or enlightened understanding. For people who claim to commit to free though and reason, you talk from sheer ignorance about religion and politics. What do you know about Islam besides what you hear in the mainstream media and right wing talking heads? What do you know about those who suffer from the actions of your beloved nation and its closest allies other than they are dark skinned, Arab and mostly Muslim? What would you do if you were the target of American aggression? Would you just lie there and take it or would you fight back? Just 4 years before 9/11, America bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory resulting in the deaths of millions from lack of medicine and America bombed an Afghan refugee camp, again resulting in deaths. I am sure your kind cheered and justified it as a pre-emotive strike against would be terrorists, if you even knew about this. Americans and British, and much of the western world, have an immense propensity for not knowing of the crimes against humanity, of the genocide and murder committed by their own nations and allies, much less caring. Then when you are hit back, you whine and cry and think you didn’t deserve it. Sure the US didn’t deserve 9/11 and England didn’t deserve 7/7, if the rule is an eye for an eye, they deserved much worse.”
As with the rest of your bizarre screed, you don’t really make an argument; so much as you vomit up a disjointed, rambling kaleidoscope of emotional and uninformed leftist rants.
If you take bin Laden at his word, 9/11 had everything to do with Islam. Yes, there were token mentions of Israel, imperialism and the Palestinians sprinkled here and there, but only someone unfamiliar with the tenets of Islam would accept those sparsely used (and lame) excuses as the real motivation behind the attacks. The majority of his tapes, videos and writings show the true inspiration for his murderous calling, and it is Islamic imperialism.
You suggest reading material to enlighten me. I have already read the book. The author is misguided and ill-informed, as were many of the intelligence personnel I have had the misfortune to encounter in my time. I offer some advice for future reading material to you in return. Specifically, I suggest you read chapters 4 and 6 of “The End of Faith”, by Sam Harris.
I am an Arab-American and a former Muslim. I was raised Muslim and I have worked in the Middle East as a security contractor and private soldier. Prior to that, I operated there while with the U.S. military back in the 1980’s.
As terrorism has been of special professional and personal interest to me, there is very little you are going to be able to educate me on in that field. In regards to the history and politics of the world, I believe I am more than capable of holding my own against most people, especially someone such as you.
I have close Muslim relatives that I love dearly still living in south Lebanon and in the United States. I wish them no harm, while at the same time, holding their religious beliefs in contempt. There are good Muslims, there is no good Islam.
I would like to touch on the subject of ethnic discrimination and racism. I have been the victim of racism (by white Christians) on a scale that would drive many people to hate the United States and Christians in general. I have been severely beaten many times and lost job opportunities due to ignorance spawned by racial prejudice. Despite my negative experiences at the hands of a small (and unrepresentative) group of unenlightened individuals, I am very proud of my country (most of the time) and do not hate Christians at all. I do not hate Muslims, either. I do, however, hate Islam. I hate it in the same way that I hate totalitarian communism and Nazism. If you had an inkling of what Islam is really all about and if you were of sound mind you would loathe this ugly cult of death.
To say that the men, women and children who died during the attacks of 9/11 “deserved it” is disgusting and shows a lack of ethics and compassion that would rival the worst of any Islamic terrorist. Anyone who would willingly hand over the civilized world to the barbarian elements of this planet in the name of political correctness and multicultural dogma is to be held in contempt.
Take your misplaced indignation and faux morality and cram it.
The latest video from Pat confronts those that give in to political correctness and multiculturalism in order to have peace at all costs. He’s right.
Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has released a partial list of acceptable “Islamic” hairstyles for men. In a bold fashion leap forward to the mid-20th Century, flat tops and Elvis-style pompadours are in!
The complete list of mullah approved hairstyles will be released at the upcoming Modesty and Veil Festival in Tehran this month.
I can barely contain my excitement.
To see what’s banned, check out Religion Clause HERE.
The Taliban are the most extreme example of what happens when church and state become one, yet, we have fundamentalist Christian Taliban hard at work to create a theocracy here in the United States while our soldiers die fighting to prevent that horror from happening again in another land.
It enrages me to know that there are SOBs back here in the States trying to undermine everything that our men and women in Afghanistan are dying for.
In case you need a reminder of the sacrifices being made…
You go Pat. This video reflects what I’ve already said before, but much more eloquently. This more than makes up for his earlier video in which he was roundly criticized by myself and others for implying that there is such a thing as “moderate Islam”.
Molly Norris is the Seattle dog walker-cartoonist that came up with the concept of “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” with a simple cartoon. Those who followed the events subsequent to her cartoon going viral know that only 2 days after an interview she had with Dave Ross of KIRO radio on Friday, April 23rd, 2010, she changed her mind and decided to back out, stating fear as the reason.
Taking a position and then changing one’s mind is no “sin”. In fact, lack of certainty is often a sign of an open mind, not cowardice. Fear is also an understandable reaction to the very real possibility that one may be killed for expressing one’s ideas. I certainly do not condemn a young woman for being afraid.
However, I have some issues with Ms. Norris. Not because she backed down, but because she followed up with attempts to undermine others who chose to publicly express our opposition to religious censorship by grossly misrepresenting her initial position and misrepresenting her initial stated reason for backing out in the first place…fear. When one compares the statements she made in her radio interview with what she now states she said, it’s difficult to come to any other conclusion than that there is an intentional effort to mislead.
Here’s a portion of her April 23rd, 2010 radio interview with Dave Ross:
DR: “…. Really Molly? You sure you wanna do this?”
MN: “Yeah, I wanna water down the targets.” (The intent and desire for mass participation is clearly stated –not just implied.)
DR: “Yeah, so how does ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day’ work?”
MN: “I haven’t really, um, organized it yet, I…I…I posted it on Facebook and I have gotten a couple drawings of Mohammed, but I guess I oughtta follow through and really, um collect them and, ya know, put them on a deck of cards or something…“ (A reasonable person hearing this would take this comment to mean that she intends to distribute these images commercially.)
Molly Norris lost her nerve and two days later, declared that she was distancing herself from the project and was not involved at any level. After reading so many negative posts and comments assailing her character. I gave my own take on the situation and made a statement I would later come to regret:
“She has since become frightened of the possible ramifications of her actions and is now distancing herself from the whole idea. It’s unfortunate that she has decided to back down from the project, but seeing as she is not a celebrity with vast resources to hire security protection, it is understandable. She made her point and I respect her decision to bow out.”
Of course, others took up the cause and Molly’s star began to fade…and Molly wasn’t going to have any of that.
Instead of moving on, she launched a campaign to force the spotlight back on herself. With a new page on her site, she backpedaled from her original position and disowned her earlier comments. As stated before, she wasn’t just content to misstate her original position, but also felt a need to draw attention away from the fact that she backed down because of fear of Muslims. Now she presents her change of heart as being due to concern over offending Muslims.
“My cartoon was the beginning and end of expressing my personal views about Comedy Central’s South Park censorship. If I had wanted my one-off cartoon to be the basis for a worldwide movement to draw Mohammed, then at this moment I should be thrilled,” Norris tells Comic Riffs today. “But instead I am horrified! My one-off cartoon that was specifically about Comedy Central’s behaviour vs. Revolution Muslim’s threat leading to a slippery slope of censorship in America is not good for a long-term plan. The results have shown to be vitriolic and worse, offensive to Muslims who had nothing to do with the censorship issue I was inspired to draw about in the first place.” Molly
She also writes,
“I regret going on the Dave Ross radio show on April 25th, before my cartoon went viral; my ego took me there.”
Ms. Norris was perhaps correct about her ego (maybe it took her to later interviews as well), but this interview with Dave Ross happened on April 23rd, not the 25th. A simple 30 second check of the station’s website and podcast schedule confirms that.
She obviously has a poor opinion of others’ abilities to discern truth from bullshit. No matter, most folks would just shrug this off as someone trying to cover her tracks and save face. Good enough.
However, Ms. Norris couldn’t resist taking this to the next level. She asked “that this ‘day’ be called off.” Molly Norris was uncomfortable, so the rest of us better just STFU.
No such thing was going to happen, of course. The event was a done deal and had the support of some of the most influential theist and atheist voices on the web and in print. And happen it did.
I lauded the young woman initially for her bravery in coming out against Islamic bullying. I supported her publicly when she became frightened and backed out due to security concerns.
I now criticize Ms. Norris for not leaving well enough alone and for making a shameful and deceptive public display in which she impugned the integrity of thousands of free-thinkers who decided to stand up to Islamic threats against free speech and expression.
“Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” was one of those events that were inevitable. Eventually, at some point in time, it was going to happen with or without Molly Norris. Free thinkers just can’t be kept down and they won’t be silenced. Ms. Norris got frightened. I get that, but she shouldn’t have asked the rest of us to share her reaction to fear and then condemn us publicly if we don’t.
On May 20th, 2010, millions of Muslims worldwide cried out like infantile idiots over scribblings that were not in any way directed at them, but at an idea that is anathema to those who cherish freedom; the idea that religion is off-limits to criticism and that those who dare to criticize it should be silenced or killed.
It’s guaranteed that most Muslims came away from the day’s events with nothing but an increased hatred for the West and contempt for democratic institutions. It doesn’t matter, that was a done deal anyway. The coalescing of the Islamic world into a definitive, destructive force against the West is a process that was begun 14 centuries ago and was only briefly interrupted by the Crusades and then later, by European & Soviet colonialism.
If we didn’t convince the Muslim community that we were right, then what was the purpose of all of this? What was the point?
As with the “Don’t believe in God?” billboards, this was a way for so many of us to let others in our community know that they are not alone. We’re in this struggle together. That’s the point.
Together we sent out a message to those who would rely on violence to force their way of life on us:
As the build-up to tomorrow’s “event” reaches something of a frenzy, I’m being inundated from every corner of the universe with imagery of the “Prophet”.
I’d like to comment on some of the drawings that I’m seeing out there. Some of these drawings are just offensive and disgusting, and I don’t mean (only) from an aesthetic standpoint, but morally.
I take no issue with anyone drawing Mohammed in any way they see fit, but it is also my right to comment on these expressions of “free speech”.
Many of these works are clearly inspired not so much by a desire to protest Islamic bullying, but are motivated instead by a deep hatred of Arabs and/or disdain for Middle Eastern culture.
It’s my hope that as some of these works come to light that people are discerning enough to see the difference between the two, and moral enough to state that this kind of bigotry is counterproductive and harmful to all parties.
I support the event unconditionally, but ugliness is lurking in the shadows…
I’m sure this comes as a real shock to my readers, but Muslims don’t like me very much. Quite a few of them do like to follow me online, however. I wonder why. That’s okay, little buddies, I can and do follow you, too.
One Pakistani gentleman who is watching me likes something posted by a fellow Muslim on Facebook. (See partial screenshot to your left)
Now, I don’t have a problem with the Muslim boycott of Facebook on May 20th. If they want to do that, fine by me.
But look at the lower left of the screenshot and the reference to Jews. Please, tell me…what do Jews have to do with any of this? I’m no fan of the Zionist state, but this is ridiculous, and unfortunately, all too familiar a sight.
Also, note that this person is trying to get other Muslims to report other Facebook users who disagree with their point of view and get them banned. Nice. They were partially successful with this tactic on YouTube. I’m not aware of their level of success, if any, on Facebook.
The best thing Muslims could do on May 20th is express themselves openly and legally without trying to censor others. I’m not asking them to STFU…just to respect other’s right to express themselves openly and freely without being threatened with harm.
UPDATE: Looks like the bastards get their way in Pakistan…read about it here on Jihad Watch.
Here is an interview with Pam Geller and Mike Ghouse on the Sean Hannity Show, concerning the planned mosque at Ground Zero.
If you have read any of my writings, either here or on other blogs, you know I’m no fan of Fox News. I find them to be little more than a tool of the Republican Party/Tea Party and a mouthpiece for Christian extremists. However, sometimes they cover subjects that others are afraid to cover.
The planned 13 story mosque at Ground Zero is one of those stories that have not been covered enough in the media. If not for Fox News, there’d be almost no coverage at all.
I’m still stunned by the brazenness of this act. The ideological source of the 9/11 tragedy will be located at the very site in which this act of inhuman barbarism was perpetrated. It’s like putting up a billboard depicting a rapist’s face right across the street from where his victim lives. To me, this is just unthinkable and it’s intolerable.
This is unquestionably the biggest outrage committed against the United States of America and its citizenry since the attacks of 9/11. If anyone can think of a more insensitive act that could be perpetrated by “moderate” Muslims against the United States, then I am all ears. Please, enlighten me. They want special treatment and understanding when they go apeshit over a few cartoons, yet they say we are out of line to complain about a mosque being built on the ground where so many people died because of the jihadist message that Islam preaches.
To the arrogant, self-assured primitives who see no consequences arising from your actions, know that there very well could be negative consequences. I call on you to abandon this destructive notion of forcing your ideology on a culture that cannot and will not accept it without a struggle. Back off. Do not build this mosque on Ground Zero.
Finally, I ask my fellow atheists…where’s the anger? Where’s the outrage? If a Christian so much as sneezes we all pile on. The hypocrisy sickens and disgusts me.
At least 30 schoolgirls were poisoned in their classroom by an unknown Taliban assailant in the city of Kunduz today. This is the third such attack in the area in less than two months. You can read the whole story here.
Followers of the “religion of peace” are at it…still. Check out the video at the bottom of this post. And yes, that’s “Allahu akhbar” you hear being screamed by the group both during and after the attack. Disgusting. Wanna know what’s almost as disgusting? The multi-culturalist whiners that refuse to acknowledge the truth about this bullying, brutal cult of death. Read the story below…
While giving a lecture on artistic freedom at Uppsala University, cartoonist Lars Vilks was savagely attacked by a group of Muslims who attended with the sole intention of disrupting the lecture and preventing the artist from speaking.
Lars gain international notoriety in 2007 after a newspaper published a cartoon of his depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a dog.
Mr. Vilks has been under constant threat of death and assault, but this was the first successful assault perpetrated against the artist.
I’ve got many issues with this piece, but I’ll just touch on three:
1) “Islamic atheism”? Wow, talk about oxymorons…
2) Nowira gushes about a period of enlightenment, (specifically citing the works of Muhammad_ibn_Zakariya_al-Razi) yet completely ignores the centuries-long persecution of Zoroastrians in Persia. Granted, the 10 century wasn’t AS bad as the ones prior to and afterward, but that hardly makes for an extended gilded age of tolerance for all non-Muslims.
3) Completely ignoring her own religion’s law of abrogation, she claims that if current Muslim scholars just look to the past for inspiration, they could put Islam back on track. In other words, Islam can be fixed.
“It might be reasonable to suggest then that the problem of Islam does not lie in inherited texts and traditions, but in interpretation.”
Points 1 & 2 are interesting, but it’s point 3 that really sticks in my craw. Most Muslim scholars divide the Qur’an in two sections. There are the verses from Mecca when Muhammad was weak and he was more likely to negotiate and compromise, and the verses from Medina, when Muhammad’s influence and military strength were much greater. Guess which verses were more militant and called for lots of killing, torture and persecution? If you guessed the latter, you guessed right. How do Muslims justify these inconsistencies? They do it via the law of abrogation, in which later dictates of the “Prophet” negate or replace (abrogate) earlier verses. This is justified by at least 4 verses in the Qu’ran.
* When we cancel a message, or throw it into oblivion, we replace it with one better or one similar. Do you not know that God has power over all things? 2:106.
* When we replace a message with another, and God knows best what he reveals, they say: You have made it up. Yet, most of them do not know. 16:101.
* God abrogates or confirms whatsoever he will, for he has with him the Book of the Books. 13:39.
* If we pleased, we could take away what we have revealed to you. Then you will not find anyone to plead for it with us. 17:86.
Whether the good professor wants to acknowledge the facts or not, the truth remains that there is the theoretical Islam of the university and the Islam of the mosques, madrassas and streets.
Abrogation is a real religious concept that’s commonly accepted and taught. Many Muslims, even “moderate’ ones, feel violent jihad is justified, even if they don’t have the nerve to carry it out themselves.
Nowira ends her piece with the following:
“There is little doubt that Islamic scholars have the task and the responsibility to review tradition and re-emphasise(sic) the human values of tolerance and freedom of thought. They do not have to look far for these values. All they are required to do is to reach deep into their own cultural coffers to retrieve the pearls and discard the dregs.”
The attributes of tolerance and intellectual curiosity that Nowira applauds in al-Razi are secular, not Islamic and she does admit that. However, she seems to credit the mullahs of that time and not the men such as al-Razi who bucked the establishment and spoke their minds. That men like al-Razi happened to be heard despite Islam is a testament to the human will and intellect and nothing more. Of course, the fact that these men were powerful and influential when their works were published didn’t hurt, either. No matter how you cut it, Muslim clerics deserve no credit for the works of secular genius.
I remember standing alone at night on my parent’s porch back in the late summer of 2003, mourning the break-up of my first marriage. My uncle came out to join me, and said something that has stuck with me to this day. “You don’t miss your wife; you miss something that never was. It’s tough to deal with, but get over it and move on.” He was right. My marriage was a sham and I was reminiscing about a relationship that existed only in my mind. It was good advice. I got over it and moved on.
Nowira wants to resurrect something that never existed and her admiration is (at least partially) misplaced. It’s time for intellectuals in Muslim societies to face the reality of what Islam is. If they truly want to see free thought establish a foothold in their countries, they need to get over Islam, “move on” and start leading from a secular perspective.
More evidence that what I have been telling left-wing, multi-culturalist loonies is true; give the Muslims an inch and they will take a mile.
Now they are trying to build a mosque near Ground Zero. As if we haven’t had enough shit to deal with from the “Religion of Peace”already.
Nice. If the American public dares to complain about the insensitivity of it, the Muslims will claim racism (Islam isn’t a race, assholes) or that Americans are just intolerant in general.
Ironically, it’s exactly because of American tolerance that the 9/11 hijackers were able to train here, live here and eventually, kill here.
To the insensitive knuckle draggers who want the wail of the Muslim call to prayer and the shadow of your minaret of death to reach the very ground where so many died at the hand of Islam I can only say this to you: fuck you. Fuck you from the very bottom of my heart.
How’s that for sensitivity? Bitches.
Read more about this on Jihad Watch.
Written by The Godless Monster, this post was originally published on the blog LaughingInPurgatory on Monday, April 26th, 2010. If you have not visited his blog, I suggest you give it a look.
Sometimes stepping outside of ones normal environment puts issues into a sharper focus…
On April 15th 2010 a hitherto unknown senior US District Judge (Barbara B. Crabb) from the Western District of Wisconsin ruled that the statute establishing the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional as it is “an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function”. All hell is now breaking loose, and calls for the impeachment of the judge have come from every Bible thumping pundit in the nation. The Obama administration, in an ill-advised attempt to appease the far right, intends to support the concept of a National Day of Prayer. On April 22nd, the Justice Department filed an appeal to have the ruling overturned.
Let’s hit the rewind button and go back several weeks, to March 31st. Several of my siblings and I accompanied my father on what will most likely be his last trip to the old country (Lebanon). The first night in-country was rather uneventful. After the long drive from Beirut to my aunt’s home in the small town situated next to the Israeli border, I quickly settled into my bed and tried to sleep. Between the time difference and my brother’s snoring, it proved to be a challenge.
I finally dozed off around 4:25 am when I was suddenly wrenched back into the land of the living by a familiar noise – the adhan, or Muslim call to prayer. “Same shit, different place”, I thought as I pulled my pillow about my ears in an attempt to drown out the piercing wail emanating from a distant minaret in a neighboring town.
It had been nearly 7 years since that sound had stirred me from my sleep. Back then, I was operating in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where I was employed as a private military contractor doing “force protection”.
After my morning ablution I stood at the back of my aunt’s home overlooking the valley and was surprised to hear another familiar sound – church bells. A tiny minority in this town, the Maronite Christians seemed determined to show the Shia majority that they are still alive and kicking and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, even in this Hezbollah controlled area. Even though I’m an atheist, I couldn’t help but mutter, “Good for them.”
It occurred to me at that moment that this was a sound I would never have heard in Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, Islam is the state religion and the practice of all other religions is expressly banned. The law of the land (Sharia law) is derived (more or less) from the Quran and is enforced by different agencies, including the Mutaween of the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.
One of the Mutaween’s duties is to ensure compliance with store closing requirements when the call to prayer goes out during the work day. Unlike Lebanon, the call to prayer in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a state supported function and compliance is not an option. All businesses, with the exception of medical facilities and transportation must shut their doors and close for approximately 30 minutes while the population scurries off to hide and avoid being herded to the nearest mosque by the bearded, whip brandishing Mutaween.
In Lebanon, there is no state religion. No one leader lays claim to their country being founded upon the principles of this or that religion or sect. The call to prayer that I heard that morning wasn’t the result of some governmental decree or law. It was a voluntary act from a private concern. No government, party or militia intervention whatsoever. Despite their name (Party of God), Hezbollah seems pretty intent on staying out of people’s private lives, at least when it comes to religion.
“Same shit, different place”? No, absolutely not. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
What in the hell does any of this have to do with a ruling by some judge in western Wisconsin? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything.
“Surely”, some may ask, “you aren’t implying these wholesome American Christians pushing for the NDP are cut from the same cloth as the nasty Islamofascists of Saudi and Iran?” Indeed I am. The difference between the two is not one of kind, but of degree. Given enough time and power, the Christian right would pull us down into a new Dark Age, just as the Muslim extremists have done with Saudi and Iran.
A common defense put forward by proponents of the NDP (or more correctly, the mandatory Christian Day of Prayer) is that it is open to people of all faiths. This is a complete and deliberately propagated falsehood. Even a cursory look at the groups and individuals behind this movement to usurp the Constitution shows quite clearly that this is a fundamentalist Christian effort to establish Christianity as the official religion of the land. Their own literature and public statements betray their real position, and have done so consistently for many years.
Two groups that deserve special attention are the National Day of Prayer Task Force and the Family Research Council.
In regards to the National Day of Prayer Task Force, it has gone to great lengths to ensure the NDP is an exclusively conservative Christian event. The following information was gathered from religioustolerance.org.
- During and after 1999…events and the Task Force appear entirely Christian based, with the vast majority from the conservative wing of Christianity.
- A regional index of events for the 1999 NDP listed 2 events sponsored by United Methodist Churches, one each by a Roman Catholic, Episcopal, and Presbyterian congregation. Among the many dozens of events, all of the remainder were either sponsored by Evangelical/Fundamentalist/ Pentecostal groups, or were organized by groups of unknown affiliation. There do not appear to be any events organized by Jewish groups. Event sponsorship by other religions appear to be absent, although some events welcome persons of all faiths to their gathering.
Accessed on April 24th, 2010
- One reference to the National Prayer Committee describes it as “a 25-year old non-profit corporation whose members represent a coalition of respected Christian leaders committed to mobilizing united prayer among U.S. Christians.”
- One reference to the National Day of Prayer Task Force describes its purpose as “calling America back to God by calling the Church back to prayer.”
- All of the speakers at the 1999 Concert of Prayer broadcast appear to have been Evangelical Christians, with the exception of Lloyd Ogilvie, the Chaplain of the U.S. Senate. He is a Presbyterian.
- The Task Force’s FAQ page states: “Americans of all faiths are encouraged to participate in the NDP according to their own traditions. However, the NDP Task Force [only] provides promotional materials and sponsors several events in keeping with the Judeo-Christian tradition.” In fact, they are not Judeo-Christian; they promote conservative Christianity only.
- The Task Force’s printed bulletin inserts refers to participants in the NDP “are to be a refuge that attracts the needy; a central point to which those from all walks of life can receive comfort, sustenance and protection as you point them to the all-powerful Savior. Because of Christ’s radiance within you, people and situations surrounding you should be changing for the better.”
- The Task Force’s bookmark cites 7 religious texts, all from the Bible. It also recommends that individuals follow “the example of Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:39)”
- No religious text other than the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) have been used to create the yearly theme.
- The NDP “Application for Volunteer Event Coordinator” asks for:
- A personal testimony “How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior.”
- The “local church or fellowship” that the applicant attends.
- “Ministries” that the applicant has served in.
- “Ministries” that I have served in.
Author: B.A. Robinson
One gets the distinct impression that only conservative Christians need apply for the post.
Copyright © 2005 Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
The leadership of the National Day of Prayer Task Force is a dead giveaway as well. John Bornschein , Executive Director of the NDPTF is a Christian minister and member of the fundamentalist Focus on the Family. From the Task Force website we get this description of John’s “calling”:
He and his team have been charged by Mrs. Shirley Dobson to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership in the seven centers of power: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.
Accessed April 24th, 2010
And, of course, there’s Shirley Dobson, the Chairman of the NDPTF and wife of pop Christian psychologist and author Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see a hint of religious inclusiveness here.
The other group that deserves some scrutiny is the far right Christian fundamentalist Family Research Council and its president, Tony Perkins.
Undeniable proof of the exclusively fundamentalist Christian slant of those who are pushing for a National Day of Prayer is the following quote from Perkins:
“Under this Administration’s watch we are seeing the First Amendment, designed to protect the religious exercise of Americans, retooled into a sword to sever America’s ties with orthodox Christianity.”
Accessed April 24th, 2010.
Nope, no Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist representation here, either.
As surely as literacy requirements for voter registration in the old “Jim Crow” South provided a back door by which whites could maintain an exclusive hold on power, so, too does the National Day of Prayer act as a back door by which unsavory types can establish their extremist version of Christianity as the exclusive and official religion of the United States of America. This isn’t conjecture. As I have shown; their own words conclusively convict them.
A nation under the yoke of religion can never be free, as has been demonstrated by every theocracy that has ever existed. Technically, Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, but it cannot survive without the support of the Wahhabi clerics. It is, de facto, a state operated by a religious elite and run by fear. Iran is the other example of what can happen when too much power is concentrated in the hands of religious fanatics.
Apologists and accomodationists have stated there is no harm done in letting the Christian neo-fascists have their one day a year.
My answer is an unqualified “No!” There are principles at stake which are greater than any one group’s collective ego. Whether a man rapes once a year or 5 times a day, he’s still a rapist. Besides, we all know that once he’s tasted success, the rapist won’t stop at once a year.
In the end, it’s not about religion anyway. Like the rapist, it’s about an insatiable and all-consuming desire to exert power and control over others. And power is exactly what the Christian extremists of this country have been attempting to grab for the last 30 years. A National day of Prayer is a validation of their ambition to control the citizens of this great republic.
There’s cause for concern when Hezbollah starts looking like the voice of reason on the issue of separation of church and state.