Perspective: re-learning the Founders’ original First Amendment argument**
[caution: contains the word "bowdlerized"]
Last week, Doug Feith and Seth Cropsey co-authored a very interesting and important op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, “A Foreign Policy Failure to Acknowledge the Obvious.” It is about President Obama’s denial of the Islamist threat. In it, they zero in on two “strategic misjudgments” the administration has made: [f]irst is the refusal to accept that the terrorism threat is part of a larger problem of Islamist extremism. And second is the belief that terrorism is spawned not by religious fanaticism but by grievances about social, economic, and other problems for which America bears fault. This is largely right. … Still, the essay goes awry in significant ways.
Let’s start with the authors’ intimation that “religious fanaticism” causes terrorism. To be sure, that’s a better explanation than the Left’s “blame America first” approach. Yet, it still misses the mark. The real cause is ideology, not religion. The distinction is worth drawing because, for the most part, Islamist terror is not fueled by Muslim zealousness for Islam’s religious tenets – for instance, “the oneness of Allah.” We Westerners recognize such beliefs as belonging to the realm of religion or spirituality. To the contrary, Islamist terror is driven by the supremacism and totalitarianism of Middle Eastern Islam – i.e., by the perception of believers that they are under a divine injunction to impose all of Islam’s tenets.
Most of those tenets do not concern religion or spirituality, at least not as Westerners interpret those concepts. Instead, sharia is largely concerned with controlling what we see as secular affairs – political, social, military, financial, jurisprudential, penal, even hygienic matters. Of course, the fact that we separate church and state in the West does not mean our moral sense is without influence – indeed, profound influence – over how we conduct secular affairs. But in the West, we reject the notion that any religious belief system’s tenets should control those affairs. In the United States, we reject the establishment of a state religion – such official primacy would suffocate freedom of conscience, a bedrock of liberty.
Feith and Cropsey correctly take to task both Obama and his mostly non-Muslim advisers for fashioning their own bowdlerized version of Islam.
But what, pray tell, is this ideology’s problem with Western principles…? What has been its problem with the governments of predominantly Muslim countries? The answer is found in one word: sharia. …Sharia is Islam’s societal framework, its legal code. The classical interpretation of sharia is the backbone of the ideology we are talking about. … It is sharia that rejects liberal principles, including the fundamental right of people to make law for themselves ….
Sharia is the tie that binds terrorists to all other Islamists. To admit this is difficult. It means our ideological foes number in the hundreds of millions among the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims – we cannot reasonably marginalize them as a “small minority.” … The challenge is bigger than terrorism, but to describe it as “extremism” is to miss it. The challenge is sharia. [much, much more — RTWT]
I find this commentary spot-on. It points out some of the terminology errors I’ve made, myself, over the years when discussing the topic.
Our enemies are those who would impose sharia in the US. It is the legal system of a totalitarian ideology enforced by tyranny.
It is anti-constitutional. It would be the end of individualism, classical liberalism, the republic and the end of freedom of anything.
It is as great a threat to America as any of the totalitarianisms of the last century**, perhaps more so, due to our leaders’ inability to face facts with anything approaching honesty, reason, or courage.
If you haven’t read the article, go back and do it … now.
(What? Oh, right.)
This isn’t about religion (I don’t give a flying fig what one believes as an individual).
It’s about freedom. You know, your freedom of conscience, your right to believe what you friggin’ want to believe.
Eat-me-lastism is suicide; and it is cowardly, hiding behind the skirts of those whom you have condemned to be eaten before you.
via Holger Awakens
Just what we need … a Dark Ages with nukes.