Posts Tagged ‘Bill Maher’

Denial is a River

April 22, 2013

Denial is the major river in Liberal Land, at least in regards to Islam as a possible motive for terrorism. It is truly remarkable the mental gymnastics that some commentators will undergo to deny that the Religion of Peace is perhaps not so peaceful. If backed into a corner that will admit that some violence is committed by fanatic Muslims but will assert that other religions have their fanatics that are just as violent. Consider this exchange between Bill Maher and one Brian Levin. I don’t usually have much use for Bill Maher but he has his head screwed on right here.

There are hypocrites and fanatics in every religion, but the Christian or Buddhist fanatics are not blowing people up. I do disagree with one statement of Maher’s, that Christianity may have been more of a problem  in the Middle Ages. The truth is that throughout the Middle Ages Islam was an aggressive expansionist ideology. We must not forget that the Crusades were a belated Christian response to centuries of Muslim aggression against Christendom.

Melissa Harris-Perry does not think the Tsarnaev brothers’ religion is not relevant to their actions.

According to her guests, the only reason why anyone would want to blame Islam for the recent atrocity is the preserve a sense of “otherness”. Why is it so hard for them to connect the dots? Why can they not realize that noticing a pattern that almost every contemporary terrorist attack is committed by Muslims is not being prejudiced or islamophobic.

Marc Ambinder at The Week thinks that it is insane to blame Islam for terrorist attacks committed by Muslims.

We are still speculating about virtually everything right now, but I feel as though I need to explain why I find the quick and easy conversation about Muslims being radicalized in America to be so illogical and laced with bigotry.

Of course, there is a global violent jihadist movement, loosely organized, that wants to recruit young men to influence policies at home and abroad and perhaps usher in the global caliphate. That ideology motivates some Muslims to kill innocent people.

But you’re allowed to be a radical Muslim in America. You’re allowed to believe that the Qu’ran proscribes the most elegant set of laws. You’re allowed to believe that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. And you can say, in America, pretty much anything you want. Not everything, and after 9/11, a little less, but you can still make very unpopular arguments.

So just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the only factor that motivated these two brothers from Chechnya to set off bombs and kill police officers is their decision to accept some form of radical Islamic teachings as their foundational belief system. (I highly doubt this is the case, but let’s just throw it out there.)

We ask: “We have to look at the whole issue of radicalization. What prompts someone raised as an American to cause such carnage?”

I don’t think that he realizes that freedom is the problem for some people. Yes, you are allowed to be a radical Muslim in America, but you are also free to be a more moderate Muslim, or a Christian, or a Jew or even an atheist. To people who believe that sharia law should be imposed, this freedom is hateful and even against the will of God. To them, the only just and good society is one in which either everyone is a Muslim or one in which the Muslims dominate and non-Muslims are submissive.

Let’s move on.

It’s a horrible habit: A Korean-American shoots fellow students at Virginia Tech, and suddenly, we’re forced to pretend that it’s OK to blame Korean-American family structure and culture for putting him over the edge, ignoring the millions of Korean-Americans who have never considered taking up arms.

The murderer Andrew Cunanan was, in Tom Brokaw’s famous words, a “homicidal homosexual.”

See? The gay made him do it.

But when a white kid murders dozens of children, we don’t ask whether the predominant Christian religion in America somehow radicalized him, or whether his upbringing was somehow less American than anyone else’s. Stupid questions! Glad we don’t ask them.

I don’t recall anyone arguing that Korean family structures or homosexuality is a cause of mass murder. There are not large numbers of Korean-Americans or homosexuals flying planes into buildings, placing bombs to kill people, or trying to ignite their shoes. If there were, the question of whether Korean culture or homosexuality encourages violence would be a legitimate one. The predominant Christian religion in America does not preach hatred and violence against non believers. I doubt there is a single priest, minister or preacher, with the exception of Fred Phelps, at any church in America who has called for the extermination of any group. There are any number of Imams both here and abroad who do preach violence at their mosques.

It is far more plausible that American gun culture, the way that Americans are uncomfortable with people who are different, the gaps in the mental heath system, and a hundred other things, some of which cannot ever be controlled, pushed these two men over the edge. If it was Islam, or a hidden network of radical jihadists, then these types of events would not be rare in America. That they are is the answer to whether Islamic radicalization is a problem that Americans can and must contend with by stigmatizing Muslims.

What is it about America that so alienates young men?

What is it about their community — Cambridge, lower-middle class, American popular culture — that isolated them and encouraged their pursuit of a different way to add meaning to their lives?

So, its our fault. We have immigrants from all over the world in this country. Why is it that only people from predominantly Muslim countries feel so alienated that they turn to jihad. There are not large numbers of Mexican-Americans or Chinese-Americans engaging in violence. Surely, someone just arrived from India or Africa would feel a certain culture shock and perhaps some alienation. Young men native to the United States who commit crimes and atrocities are rarely of any religion, McVeigh was an agnostic. Yet, somehow when a young man does turn to religion and commits an act of terrorism, the religion he turns to is Islam, never Hinduism or Rastafarianism.

He concludes.

Bias against Muslims is real and it hurts. And the easiest way to radicalize un-radicalized people is to treat them like enemies.

Bias by Muslims hurts a whole lot more. I do not think it is right to blame every Muslim for terrorism, but there is a connection there that we ignore at our peril. How many more people must be killed before Brian Levin, Melissa Harris-Perry, and Marc Ambinder will admit there is a problem?

 

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An April Fool

April 1, 2012

Last Saturday, March 24, there was a “Reason Rally” in Washington DC. One of the featured speakers was Richard Dawkins. It might have been more appropriate to have this event today.

1 The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.” (Psalms 14:1)

I hope any atheist reader will forgive my little joke and I’m sure they have heard some variant before. Yet, Dawkins is a fool. Consider his remarks at the rally.

But even the laughs turned into malaise as the event drew to a close. Famed atheist headliner Richard Dawkins labored through a speech that quickly grew bitter.

“Do you really believe that when a priest blesses a wafer, it turns into the body of Christ?” he said, ridiculing Catholics. “Are you seriously telling me you believe that?  Are you seriously saying that wine turns into blood?”

Hawkins challenged his fellow atheists to expose people who still cling to their faith in spite of their doubts.

“Mock them, ridicule them in public, don’t fall for the convention that we’re far to polite to talk about religion,” a frustrated Dawkins continued, “Religion is not off the table. Religion is not off limits. Religion makes specific claims about the universe, which need to be substantiated.  They should be challenged and ridiculed with contempt.”

Does he really believe that he will get people to come around to his ideas by mocking their deeply held beliefs? Does he really imagine that treating people with contempt will improve their perceptions of atheists? This is, after all, the man who coined the term “bright” to describe non believers and couldn’t understand why believers might find the term offensive. Because it implies that they are “dim” perhaps?

He wasn’t the only obnoxious person at that rally.

But as gloomy rain clouds hung low over the Washington Monument, the rally quickly degenerated into open mockery of religion and people of faith.

“F— the motherf—-, f— the mother—- pope,” sang Musician Tim Minchin as he played profane songs on the piano for a laughing and cheering crowd.

Few religions remained unscathed while cruel spokesmen of reason roundly ridiculed Mormons, Buddhists, Christians, and Muslims.

As the event continued, it became clear that the leaders of the movement were not clamoring for equality, but rather superiority.

“When it comes to religion, we’re not two sides of the same coin and you don’t get to put your unreason on the same shelf as my reason,”  HBO’s Liberal comedian Bill Maher said to the crowd via a video monitor. “Your stuff has to go over there on the shelf with Zeus and Thor and the Kracken.”

I can tell they are on the side of reason by their calm and rational discussion. Actually, they sound like intolerant bigots. I suppose if their kind ever got into power, they would start building the coliseums to feed the Christians to the lions again.

I don’t believe that the attendants at this “Rally for Reason” really represent the majority of people who happen not to believe in the Deity. Rather, this is a subset of people who relish controversy for its own sake and who enjoy offending as many of their fellows as possible, rather like the Atheist equivalent of the Westboro Baptist Church.

 

Waiting for the Call

March 23, 2012

Bristol Palin is waiting for President Obama to call her after Bill Maher made some derogatory remarks about her. After all, he called Sandra Fluke when Rush Limbaugh called her a slut, and he, unlike  Bill Maher, actually apologized.

Dear President Obama,

You don’t know my telephone number, but I hope your staff is busy trying to find it. Ever since you called Sandra Fluke after Rush Limbaugh called her a slut, I figured I might be next.  You explained to reporters you called her because you were thinking of your two daughters, Malia and Sasha.  After all, you didn’t want them to think it was okay for men to treat them that way:

“One of the things I want them to do as they get older is engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on,” you said.  “I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens.”

And I totally agree your kids should be able to speak their minds and engage the culture.  I look forward to seeing what good things Malia and Sasha end up doing with their lives.

But here’s why I’m a little surprised my phone hasn’t rung.  Your $1,000,000 donor Bill Maher has said reprehensible things about my family.  He’s made fun of my brother because of his Down’s Syndrome. He’s said I was “f—-d so hard a baby fell out.”  (In a classy move, he did this while his producers put up the cover of my book, which tells about the forgiveness and redemption I’ve found in God after my past – very public — mistakes.)

Silly girl. Only liberal women are offended by such remarks and only conservative men get in trouble for saying them.

She goes on.

If Maher talked about Malia and Sasha that way, you’d return his dirty money and the Secret Service would probably have to restrain you.  After all, I’ve always felt you understood my plight more than most because your mom was a teenager.  That’s why you stood up for me when you were campaigning against Sen. McCain and my mom — you said vicious attacks on me should be off limits.

I don’t think he would. I think Obama would put up with a lot for a campaign contribution of $1,000,000. Of course Bristol gets it, that is the whole point of this blog post.

Yet I wonder if the Presidency has changed you.  Now that you’re in office, it seems you’re only willing to defend certain women.  You’re only willing to take a moral stand when you know your liberal supporters will stand behind you.

But…

What if you did something radical and wildly unpopular with your base and took a stand against the denigration of all women… even if they’re just single moms? Even if they’re Republicans?

I’m not expecting your SuperPAC to return the money.  You’re going to need every dime to hang on to your presidency.  I’m not even really expecting a call.  But would it be too much to expect a little consistency?  After all, you’re President of all Americans, not just the liberals.

That, of course, is just the problem. Obama really is the President of just the Liberals. That is why he is the most polarizing president in recent memory.

Isn’t it odd, though, that the ones would lecture us all about civility are the ones who are the least civil?


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