Well over 200 years ago, one of the founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, stood in a city called Philadelphia and announced to the public at large that if an Imam wished to preach here, he could. Cut to 29 September 2009, and a republishing of a Cal Thomas editorial in the Spokesman-Review , he presents Imams living in this country as “the scary other;” certainly in light of 9/11/2001 it can come as no surprise. Almost 3,000 people died in a single day because of an Islam belief that followed the course of radical jihad.
However, it is what Mr. Thomas has to say in the course of his editorial that has me shaking my head: “Democracy is not a revelation, and democracy does not equal freedom, for in democracy you have apartheid, you have slavery, you have homosexuality, you have lesbianism, you have gambling, you have all the vices that are against the spirit of truth…” If this had been written by a “Christian,” would Mr. Thomas go haywire? The author of this Facebook excerpt Imam Abdul Malik is deemed an “enemy of the state” in Mr. Thomas personal opinion because of his “thumbs down” on Democracy and all the human failures it allows; esp. where Thomas freaks at the idea that Democracy can be “Islamized.” OK?!?
Let us remind Mr. Thomas that Christians made decades of public pronouncements that this country wasn’t a “democracy” at all and instead a republic. The evils to be found in a “democracy” IE demos, the people and the inherent socialism behind it. —Effectively, any Christian has already made the argument that democracy doesn’t equal freedom long before the Imam Malik from Brooklyn, NY made his Facebook declarations. And any “Christian” out there has discussed the vices of this society from gambling to gay rights and sought gvt intervention to oppose anything that would keep this nation from being next door to heaven. In short, such activists only sought to Christianize democracy. Quite frankly, beyond the Imam’s belief, I don’t see much difference between himself and radical activist “Christians” who have certainly turned out in massive numbers to either: oppose abortion, oppose the Obama administration. Or small “church groups” consisting of families who carry protest signs from one soldier’s burial to another condemning them for “defending” homosexuality in this nation and “Thank God for 9/11/2001.” But, I guess as long as they are “Christians,” they can’t be the enemy. Nor could they have the capacity for terrorism that is only possible in Islam. Say again?
PBS had a special on Christian terrorists post the Dr. George Tiller death. Radical anti-abortionists who do more than simply oppose a legal operation for its “immorality.” They go so far as to engage in vandalism, threats of violence, create websites that have hit lists of abortion providing doctors to be eliminated, they have prayed for the deaths of judges who rule against them. Surviving doctors who perform late term abortions have called them terrorists because of the safety precautions these doctors must now take in order to stay in operation. Well, when you create a fear factor that literally changes how people conduct their personal lives; wouldn’t that be terrorism?
How about Timothy McVeigh? How about the “militias” that suddenly sprang up proclaiming their utter opposition to the gvt? How about “Christian Identity” that made common cause with racism? Excuse me, but democracies do allow some extremely radical types to operate with a degree of freedom in this nation. Mr. Thomas just doesn’t want to include Islam, however.
Seems Imam Malik does have a point about the history of this nation, whether Mr. Thomas wants to acknowledge it or not. What is Jim Crow after all, but racial apartheid? Who created Jim Crow if not racist Christians? Democracy didn’t always mean freedom in this nation; the Whiskey Rebellion was one such example. Civil Rights came only because of a long and intense struggle and ultimate sacrifices. Democracy in this nation did allow slavery. Slavery only ended effectively with a civil war and an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
And those who had the most objections to minorities achieving an equal status put on white robes, pointed white headgear and white masks. They burned crosses in a very twisted and radical perversion of how they came to see Christ. In their time, the Ku Klux Klan were terrorists; as the Neo Nazis that came after them.
Thomas does have a point to make about that it only takes a few to wreak havoc. But it always that “scary other,” not those who believe as I do.
Thomas then goes on to refute the “deceptions” of Muslims where it concerns the infidel. Now that does sound a bit like Fundamentalist Mormons who engage in deceptions of their own because one shouldn’t actually tell the truth to one’s Christian neighbor deemed an infidel. Never mind the commandment against bearing false witness.
Granted that Iran’s president Ahmedinejad probably does not care to tell us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about his nuclear ambitions. And there is without question that he is a very scary guy. However, Thomas goes to great and convoluted lengths to “tie in” Muslims living in this nation with the crazy guy who is president of a country who has been a declared enemy for more than 20 years. Exactly why do these Muslims live in this country if Iran’s ruling party has long called us a Great Satan? You’d think they’d make common cause with the purists and stay well away from “corrupting influences.” Or is there another reason why they’d come to this nation? Well, try economic reasons for one. Try gvt oppression for another. Try guys like the late and not so great Saddam Hussein who butchered his “enemies” except for those who got away successfully and sought refuge in this nation. Never mind the very legitimate reasons that these people could be here, they are all now suspect terrorists. And all because of a Facebook statement by a single Imam. Or because of crazy dude Ahmadinejad.
And finally, let us even go a little further and posit that there must be something terribly wrong with the current administration that somehow (with very dark whispers here) makes excuses for Ahmadinejad and his nuclear ambitions. Uh, those nuclear ambitions were very much evident long before Obama ran for the presidency. Exactly what excuses did GW come up with as to why he wasn’t prepared to resolve them over a period of 8 years? Interesting that Thomas spent more time whining about “liberals,” Dems and abortion than he could find time for with regards to GW’s foreign policy failures.
Fear factor: “Are we being infiltrated and surrounded by people who want us dead and our country destroyed? Try a little experiment, Google “Islam near” and then type in the name of any city or town. When I tried the small town of Bryn Mawr, Pa., 10 Islamic-related sites came up. In larger cities, there are as many, or more. Deception is part of the terrorist’s battle strategy…” Or is what Thomas’ calling for in his dark heart of an editorial a new apartheid; a call to arms by racists; an xenophobia that could easily lead to violence against a people who surely don’t all agree with Imam Malik.
The wonders of democracy, Thomas; is that allows freedom of religion, precisely, freedom for all religions. Even though the capacity for evil does exist in the hearts of men, men are still free within a democracy to change what they deem wrong in society. To over time correct the social ills that can come endemic with the human condition. In that respect, Imam Malik is wrong about what democracy is capable of. It may allow social vices, but it also allows men to act for the greater good. And that is how progress is made. Thomas on the other hand makes clear that he wants to be part of the social ills rather than part of the solution to them.