Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I can no longer support the red states or the blue states. I am now a member of a purple state, a blending of the two colors. I see both the red and blue camps as having healthy aspects and 'sicko' aspects. Many on both sides are often entrenched ideologues spending far more time and energy attacking their 'opponents' than understanding them. Brainwashing and dogma are not reserved for a single color.

For a fascinatingly critical and balanced account of the war on terror, the Islamic Fundamentalist problem and the Bush solution, please take the time to read the Gay Liberal author Bruce Bawer's book, WHILE EUROPE SLEPT: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West. This book will at the very least inform you as to what is going on in Europe with regard to the growth of Islam and the calculated and successful erosion of democratic freedoms in the West.

U.S. born Bawer is no friend of Bush or right wing Conservatives. He has lambasted Christian Fundamentalism in his book STEALING JESUS: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity, and has been a very outspoken critic of Republicans in general as well as an advocate for Gay rights, writing Place at the Table: The Gay Individual in American Society.

He moved to Amsterdam in 1998 to marry his male partner, thinking he would escape the ignorance and violence of the backwards Reaganistic cowboy-American culture. What he found in Europe shocked, terrified and shook him from his slumber. He has shifted from being a brainwashed Progressive to what I call a thinking and informed 'Middler', respecting the so called Conservative assessment of Islam and world events. And please don't confuse the assessment with the solution. Too man people don't like an ideological solution and think they must ipso facto toss out the evaluation of the problem. This is faulty and potentially dangerous logic.

Far too many so called Progressives are operating without the facts, assuming that "religious tolerance" is at the heart of all religions, and that equal rights are fundamental to all of the world's religious systems. That is not ture. Few on the liberal side have taken the time to actually examine the Muslim religious ideology and the reasoning behind the so called war on terror. Few liberals even know that the Muslim ideology has no concept of 'equal rights'. Bawer finds it disturbing that liberals defend a religion which routinely violates human rights, or ignores those around them that do:

"One of the most disgraceful developments of our time is that many Western authors and intellectuals who pride themselves on being liberals have effectively aligned themselves with an outrageously illiberal movement that rejects equal rights for women, that believes that gays and Jews should be executed, that supports the coldblooded murder of one's own children in the name of honor, etc., etc." from Bruce Bawer, While Europe Slept

I would add to this that these same 'tolerant' liberals do not hesitate to vent bitter venom toward the narrow minded doctrines of the conservative Christians! Isn't this odd, and incredibly hypocritical? We call those who are critical of Islamic ideology racists, and those who are critical of Christian ideology enlightened.

It seems to me that if we can find the moral acrimony to openly critique the Christian Fundamentalists, we ought to be free to challenge the Muslim Fundamentalists. Add to this the documented fact that Christianity has six very small, known terrorist organizations compared to over forty large Islamic terrorist groups worldwide. Furthermore, Islam has millions of sympathizers who support these organizations financially and prayerfully.

Few Progressives, who pride themselves on being 'informed', know the radical and fundamental differences between the evolution of and interpretive stances within historical Judaism, Christianity and Islam. For example, Islam has no concept of an allegorical or metaphorical approach to their holy scriptures. One such group existed for a brief time in the early days of Islamic development, the Mutzalites, but they were quickly quashed. Muslims must take the Holy Qu'ran literally or suffer dire consequences, and many Qu'ranic texts repeatedly encourage and command war on infidels, as well as taxation and discrimination against Jews and Christians, and death to apostates, adulterers and homosexuals. These texts are not fuzzy, but incredibly explicit, and to be taken literally. They are sometimes conveniently ignored, but never allegorized or dismissed as 'old testament' laws replaced by 'new testament' grace. It is true that there are Qu'ranic texts which seem to soften these texts of terror, but they are always left open to interpretation as to who is 'just'.

Those few Muslims who do allegorize the Qu'ran, specifically the Sufi mystics, are tolerated, persecuted and sometimes executed in some Muslim countries. This small, persecuted minority is what most liberals chose to see as normative Islam. In spite of our jaded Western desire to idealize the world's religions, not all religions are equal, anymore than all political systems or business organizations are equal. Each organization has to be assessed by it's teachings, practices and results. Religions are not immune to reasonable questioning and critical evaluation. I remind the reader that we rightly and routinely apply needed critiques to the Christian religion, why not the others? Are they too exotic, or perhaps they provide the fairy tale foil with which we can compare the bad Christian religion, or maybe it's our polite tendency to give the benefit of the doubt to the stranger?

Judaism and Christianity once literalized war, thankfully that happened in an era without nuclear and biological weapons which could obliterate entire cities. But these two religions have drastically changed over time. Islam has not. Its goal is world domination, and has been since it's inception. In a March 1997 interview, Peter Arnett records Osama bin laden who says "the goal of jihad is to exalt God's word [the Quran] to the heights, in other words, until the message of his Holy Book goes around the world." While millions of Muslims reject bin Laden, millions see him as the next Islamic leader or Caliphate to replace the Ottoman Empire which ended in 1922. Imagine what might have happened if the Old Testament Hebrew invasion of Canaan or Spanish Inquisition had happened when weapons of mass destruction were available. What a horrific image - now imagine what might happen if an Islamic state like Pakistan, Iran or Saudi Arabia had nuclear capabilities.

To the uninformed liberal, this will sound like shrill over-reactive fanaticism. That is how the gay, Progressive Bruce Bawer once heard such comments, until he lived in countires where he has observed the Islamic Fundamentalists successfully at work. This is not a misguided fanatic blowing up an abortion clinic. This is a burgeoning group of international networks, albeit some at odds with one another, based on a 1,400 year old mandate to conquer the earth for God.

I am no fan of GW Bush, but neither can I support the naive idealism and uninformed liberalism that has no clue as to what is actually said in the Qu'ran. Too many of us 'liberals' are just simply intellectually unaware of the teachings, size of and influence of Islamic Fundamentalism. I once fit that description, but took the challenge to read the Qu'ran for myself, and read it as the literal, non-allegorized, perfect, absolute Word of God. I wanted to find peace, a reason to call Islam 'just another religion', justification for criticizing the Republican war mongers - instead I found some sympathy for their concerns. Damn!

Bawer's book will shake you to your core and cause you to question your 'let there be peace on earth' assumptions. Even if we disagree with his interpretations, we need to let him reveal a modern situation that most liberals likely know little or nothing about.

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