Yesterday, Kim posted a piece about Al Qaeda’s latest propaganda tape. And as is often the case around these parts, the discussion went off on its own in ways I’m sure she never expected, and became a debate on comparative theology. As an agnostic, I felt I was a pretty good “neutral observer,” and poked through it.
I was not surprised to see the “Muslims aren’t doing anything that Christians have done in the past” argument brought up yet again. It’s a hardy perennial of a talking point, always making its appearance in such discussions.
I don’t like that argument for a couple of reasons. The first reason is what I like to call the “unclean hands” fallacy. It reminds me of how some permissive parents are afraid to tell their kids not to smoke/drink/have sex/drive fast/worship Satan, because they did the same when they were kids. It’s a form of egotism, to me; they would rather let their children suffer than be considered hypocrites.
Likewise, those of us who are of Christian heritage (even agnostics like me) are accused of having a double standard, because of the Crusades, the Inquisition and other ignoble events in Christian history.
And that is the key point: Christian history.
We (speaking of my Christian heritage, not personal beliefs) were like that once — but we aren’t any more. We outgrew it. We got over it. We now know that it was wrong, and have not made those mistakes again.
I don’t much care for Bill O’Reilly — he’s a bit of a blowhard — but he has one aphorism that really rings true to me: “you don’t excuse bad behavior by citing other bad behavior.” No parent worthy of that title accepts “well, I might have done X, but so-and-so did Y” as an excuse. And those who respond to Muslim atrocities by saying “other religions have done bad things too” ought to be horsewhipped.
Very bad things are being done in the name of Islam today. They are being done both against Muslims and non-Muslims. They need to be addressed today, not rationalized, not excused, not sloughed off.
The obligation to address this falls first on Muslims. This mess is theirs, it’s their house that needs cleaning. They have to take a stand against those who they accuse of “hijacking” their faith and take it away from them.
But they haven’t done very much on that front. Rather, they tend to simply say it’s bad and leave it at that. When pressed, they say that they simply can’t take sides against a fellow Muslim, even if that Muslim is woefully misguided and doing terrible things. This is usually followed by a recap of the Crusades and other Christian misdeeds (see above). And if you’re really lucky, you’ll get a denouncement of Israel and its “aggression” and “oppression” of Muslims, too.
So in the absence of Muslims cleaning their own house, it’s incumbent on others to rein in their most heinous abuses. Those “others” are us non-Muslims who aren’t overly keen about “submitting.” (Remember, “Islam” does not mean “peace,” it means “submission.”) We need to tell the non-extremist Muslims to get the hell out of the way and stay the hell out of the way while we do the dirty work they have not done themselves.
The War on Terror is better known as the War on Islamic Fascism. It is not a War on Islam, but on those elements of Islam that pose a direct threat to our lives and our way of life. It should be a joint effort, with the West backing Muslims who, by rights, ought to be the fiercest opponents of those extremists. But they’ve chosen to simply say a few bad things about them, leaving us to do their dirty work and clean their house for them.
That’s OK. We’ll step up and do it, because we don’t really have a choice. But those Muslims who have decided to shirk their own responsibilities should not think we won’t forget that when it came down to challenging the vipers in their own bosom, they chose to do nothing.