The burkha-logic of NOM

In his New York Times column, Frank Rich calls that NOM ad (see the previous post) a "camp classic," which it is, and sees it as "the bigots' last hurrah," which I'm afraid it isn't.

The ad alludes to several cases of Christian chauvinists "suffering for their faith" because they ran afoul of anti-discrimination laws. None of those cases has anything at all to do with same-sex marriage, mind you, and none of them is really explained in the ad. Big thanks to konrad for supplying the link to this remarkably patient and sensible video, which explains not just the particulars of each of these cases, but also the strategy of turning each of them into an urban legend. (I liked that video so much that I've added the Waking Up blog to the too-long list there to the right. Do check it out.) 

There are a host of other things we could discuss about that fascinatingly awful ad. The difficulty of casting, for example. Or the question of whether its "gathering storm" motif is intended as a Nazi reference (maybe, but allusions to Churchill might be a stretch for these folks).

What I find most striking in this ad, though, is how explicitly it demonstrates the phenomenon of what we've referred to here as the persecuted hegemon.

It's not unusual to encounter American evangelicals who simultaneously hold two contradictory beliefs about their faith and its relationship to the larger American culture. These beliefs are opposite and incompatible, yet both are, equally, essential to these evangelicals' sense of identity. They are beliefs not just about the larger culture, but about who they consider themselves to be.

Belief A: America is a Christian nation, the majority of which is composed of godly, Christian people. Christians therefore ought to be allowed to express this majority faith both officially and unofficially — with Christian prayers in public schools, Ten Commandments (Protestant formulation) placards on courthouse walls, and pervasively sectarian Christmas greetings on the lips of every store clerk — and religious minorities will just have to deal with the fact that they're outnumbered.

Belief Not-A: Christians are a persecuted minority, the righteous remnant in the Sodom and Gomorrah of 21st-century America, a nation so sinful and decadent that it deserved the attacks of 9/11 and the devastation of Katrina (God has bad aim). Public expressions of faith by Christians are always retaliated against, yet brave Christians demonstrate their courage in the face of adversity by continuing to thank their creator at awards shows and sporting events, to invoke his blessings at election rallies, and even to take the radically counter-cultural step of sending greeting cards on Christian holidays.

Skim through the literature or the Web sites of religious right groups such as, for example, the Family Research Council, and you'll see them switching back and forth between assertions about Belief A and Belief Not-A, sometimes in the same paragraph. It's kind of like watching Faye Dunaway at the end of Chinatown — "My sister! My daughter! My sister! My daughter!"

Yet while these folks may be two-faced, in a way, they're not duplicitous — they really, sincerely believe both things. They believe that their sect has — and ought to have — hegemony in their culture. And they believe that they are "persecuted."

The scare quotes there are necessary, since this use of the term persecution wouldn't be recognizable to first-century Christians, or to 17th-century Anabaptists, or contemporary Chinese Christians or Falun Gong adherents or Tibetan Buddhists. But set that aside.

I suspect that American evangelicals' persecution complex is an inevitable side effect of sectarian hegemony. Once you believe that your faith requires cultural dominance, and that it deserves it, then any threat to that dominance — even just the unwelcome reminder of the existence of alternative points of view — is perceived as a threat, as a kind of persecution. Thus, for example, Hannukah is perceived as a threat to, and an attack on, Christmas.

The persecuted hegemon is thus an oxymoronic creature driven by an oxymoronic principle: non-reciprocal justice. For these folks, turnabout is never fair play, turnabout is merely backwards. Thus when others respond to them in kind, or even simply remind them of the Golden Rule, they take offense, as though this constitutes an injustice toward them.

We've seen how this plays out on the national scene two, three times a month. Some pious dignitary remarks that homosexuality is just like pedophilia or bestiality — a statement regarded within the hegemony of the sect as wholly innocent and inoffensive. Someone outside the sect will reply, accurately, that this is an offensive lie, a vicious slander. That response will be perceived, within the sect, as "religious persecution." The response — any response other than "thank you, sir, may I have another?" — implicitly rejects the legitimacy of the hegemony and rebels against the privilege enjoyed by the sect. (A big part of that privilege, it turns out, is the expectation that one can say offensive things without others taking or expressing offense. This has become far more important as a hallmark of American evangelicalism than, say, Sabbath-keeping.)

This points to the key confusion of the persecuted hegemons. They are unable to distinguish between challenges to their hegemony — to their privilege — and threats to their faith itself. This is a spiritually perilous confusion, particularly so for Christians who claim to follow a crucified outcast.

The word I'm stretching for here, Stanley Hauerwas would say, is "constantinianism" — the inversion and perversion of Christianity that occurred when a religion of slaves and women and the poor became a religion of emperors and empires. Constantinian faith requires and assumes the establishment of an official, privileged religion. It comes to believe, in the language of the First Amendment, that its own free exercise depends on such an establishment — that its free exercise is incompatible with the free exercise of any other religion (or of no religion at all).

We've illustrated this before with the religious practice of wearing burkhas — or, more accurately, the religious practice of requiring the women one controls to wear burkhas. That practice is intrinsically hegemonic, intrinsically constantinian. It cannot be left as a matter of individual freedom or conscience. It's not sufficient for those who believe in that practice for only the women of their household or congregation or sect to be clad in burkhas. That still leaves open the possibility that one might be exposed to the immodest displays of the wrists and ankles of other women in the market or the public square. The logic of the burkha requires that all women — every woman that every man might see — is fully sheathed so as not to assault the eyes of the faithful.

We see this same burkha-logic at work in that "gathering storm" ad produced by the National Organization for [Our Kind and Only Our Kind of] Marriage.

"Some who advocate for same-sex marriage," the intern says, "have taken the issue far beyond same-sex couples."

"They want to bring the issue into my life," says the closeted actor (subve
rsively playing up a bit of a lisp) who can&
#39;t believe he's doing this for a paycheck.

"My freedom will be taken away," emotes the young woman.

The script for this ad purportedly has no grievance with others living however they want to live — but only insofar as their freedom doesn't impinge upon our right to live in a world where we never have to see them, or to acknowledge their existence. That "takes away" our freedom to live as privileged hegemons. And since we can no longer distinguish between our faith itself and the privileged status of that faith, we perceive this as religious persecution — as an injustice against us.

Your freedom threatens my freedom to live in a world in which people like you are not free to do the sorts of things you might do with your freedom. "And I am afraid."

That's burkha-logic in a nutshell.

  • Diez

    MadGastronomer: I intended to equate support for Gay Marriage to support for homosexuality in general, but I can see how they can easily be two separate issues. The fact that I automatically assumed the one equated to the other just reveals more about my upbringing. :-P

  • mike timonin

    “Unitarian Universalism is not a Christian denomination, mmmkay?”
    At the same time, UU is not NOT a Christian denomination. I (a UU Christian) was actually having this conversation with my minister the other day. What I like about our congregation (and the other UU congregation I have experience with, in an entirely different part of the country with radically different people) is that you cannot make assumptions about the other members of the congregation. At all. If I attend a Christian church, I can probably assume that most of my fellow congregants agree with me on at least the basic tenets of my faith, or they would not be at that particular church. But in a UU congregation, you cannot even assume that your fellow congregants disagree with you on the basic tenets of whichever faith you hold.
    Ok, wait, though, you CAN assume that, regardless of your faith, your fellow congregant thinks it’s ok for you to have that faith, and may even be interested in talking about why you have the faith that you do. They probably won’t try to convert you to their path, but they also won’t welcome attempts to convert them to your path. I like that.
    The final note, I later heard said minister explaining UU to a non-UU. We attract people who are not 100% satisfied with the faith that they hold or do not hold. Buddhists who are solidly Buddhist attend a Buddhist temple; Christians firm in their convictions attend a Christian church; Muslims who agree fully with Islam attend mosques; atheists who truly do not believe do not attend any religious services – we get the people who are dissatisfied with what they are offered elsewhere to one degree or another, who do not fit well where they thought they should be, and are looking for someplace which fits better. And I like that too.

  • ako

    Diez, I don’t know how much help I can be, not being a Christian.
    But I’m a lesbian, I’ve got gay relatives, I have gay friends, and I’ve connected with a number of people in different gay communities in several different countries. And I haven’t seen anything about being with a member of the opposite sex that looks or feels evil to me. The only stuff I’ve seen in same-sex relationships or the gay community that seems evil is stuff that also happens in the straight community.
    I don’t know much about Biblical interpretation, so I can’t help you there (although I have learned some interesting things on this blog about the story of Sodom, and why it makes sense to read it in ways other than as a condemnation of homosexuality). But I do know that, despite the picture of gay life I’ve heard some of the anti-gay crowd present, plenty of gay couples end up in happy, fulfilling, mutual long-term (or even lifelong) relationships founded on love. And it doesn’t seem to be against nature or inherently harmful.

  • 1982_Cygni

    Don’t think it’s just Protestants and Mormons who support this ridiculous “homosexuality is unbiblical” bigotry. During the 2008 election, EWTN, cable’s #1 Catholic fundamentalist channel, one of their priests commented on EWTN Live about Obama’s response to religious questions about gay marriage, etc. Apparently, someone cited Romans 1: 25-27. Obama said that he supported civil unions, but not marriage, and that the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospels was more important than “an obscure passage” in Romans. Good for Obama, although I wish he’d give gay marriage a chance (as well as have a Truth and Reconciliation Commission or a Senate Subcomittee Hearing about what the U.S. Armed Forces did at Gitmo, which was VERY much against the Gospel, and possibly Romans 1). This priest, Father Francis (?) responded, reminding us that the Golden Rule says: “Do unto others as they would do unto you.” This, he intrepreted to mean two things: (1) homosexuality amounts to consensual rape or sodomy, and (2) the Golden Rule means that we nag every gay person we know into “repenting” or going to a homosexual reprogramming group.
    Thankfully, Father Francis left the network a few months later because he fell in love with a widow, to which I say–GOOD. BRAVO. Perhaps when and if he gets married, Father Francis will see that there is a whole wide, multicolored world outside the largely white, triumphalist, medievalist world of EWTN’s headquarters in Ironside, Alabama.

  • Fred Davis

    It should probably be pointed out at some point that from a legal point of view, the functional difference between a man having a wife and a man having a male slave, in the period and culture that most of the bible originates from, would have been… the wife would probably have been able to hit another wife’s slave and only get away with a small fine?
    And that is exactly where I think the ban is sweeping problems under the rug. Because there are women who need protection from being made to wear a burkha.
    Well to be fair if the worst their parents are doing to them is making them wear a burka… there’s that bit in Anansi Boys where Fat Freddy recalls that time his father convinced him that it was a common american custom to dress up as your favorite president on president’s day, and Fat Freddy spent the entire day at school dressed as lincoln. Which was a bit crueler than if he’d just been made to wear a sheet over his head for the day.
    I’m missing a logical leap here; is it that being made to wear a burka by parents = other, actually shocking, kinds of behaviour on the part of the parent? In which case the problem has nothing to do with the burka, does it?
    And the reason why the “protecting them from parentally mandated hijab” justification doesn’t work to well, is that what the law does is allow schools to A href=”http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article497073.ece”>expel students who follow hijab, rather than do anything that would actually protect them or help them.
    Now imho, it’d make more sense to not deny these oppressed girls an education but to actually offer them support, and give them an education they could use to get away from their parents and become independent.
    The expulsion element of the law very much says to me that the issue that got it made is not “is the girl oppressed?” but that the headscarf is seen as disrupting or in some way threatening to the process of education for other students by the schools.

  • http://clockworkegg.etsy.com MadGastronomer

    Fred Davis, Anansi’s son in Anansi Boys was Fat Charlie, not Fat Freddie. You identify with him that much?
    Diez: And, contrariwise, not everybody who is accepting of homosexuality is in favor of same-sex marriage (a term that I, as a bisexual, find both more accurate and preferable). Some support civil unions, some favor doing away with all legal marriage and substituting legally binding contracts.
    Your church and the people you have met there may, indeed, have saved your life, but they have also taught you things that are not true, and things that are very much debatable, and things that are actively harmful to you. Once they were very good for you; now they are very bad for you. Perhaps it is time for you to find a new church or other group, and to save your own life?

  • ako

    Well to be fair if the worst their parents are doing to them is making them wear a burka… there’s that bit in Anansi Boys where Fat Freddy recalls that time his father convinced him that it was a common american custom to dress up as your favorite president on president’s day, and Fat Freddy spent the entire day at school dressed as lincoln. Which was a bit crueler than if he’d just been made to wear a sheet over his head for the day.
    I’m missing a logical leap here; is it that being made to wear a burka by parents = other, actually shocking, kinds of behaviour on the part of the parent? In which case the problem has nothing to do with the burka, does it?

    I think my phrasing ended up being needlessly confusing.
    My point with people being made to wear a burkha was what being made to wear it means. If it means the standard “You dress how I tell you, young lady!” argument, that’s pretty standard parental behavior, which I may disagree with, but I feel no need to interfere with. I don’t find “You cover that hair!” to be fundamentally different from “That skirt needs to be longer!” or “Wipe that makeup off!”
    But, as with any other issue, there’s typical parental authority and then there’s the minority who will use these things as an excuse to turn abusive. People have beaten their daughters for not being covered enough, and some of them are Muslims who claim to be doing it in the name of Islam. Men have beaten their wives over leaving a bit too much skin uncovered, and some are Muslim men who claim to be doing it in the name of Islam. Which means it’s true, as you say, that hijab and burkhas are largely a side issue, and addressing problems of domestic violence is what really needs to be done. It also means, in a fairly literal sense that there are women who need protection from being made to wear a burkha, because in certain specific circumstances, being made to wear a burkha means being beaten into submission until she complies.
    I sometimes confuse people by being overly-literal. Sorry.

  • Jeff

    Some pious dignitary remarks that homosexuality is just like pedophilia or bestiality — a statement regarded within the hegemony of the sect as wholly innocent and inoffensive. Someone outside the sect will reply, accurately, that this is an offensive lie, a vicious slander. That response will be perceived, within the sect, as “religious persecution.”
    We saw this from the Vatican last week. Pope Benny said some stupid and offensive remarks about condoms, and when he was called on it, the Vatican cried “religious persecution”! Exact. Same. Thing.
    ===============
    The logic of the burkha requires that all women — every woman that every man might see — is fully sheathed so as not to assault the eyes of the faithful.
    Especially bus drivers!
    ===============
    that typical Department of Motor Vehicles
    That STEREOtypical DMV. DMVs have instituted a lot of changes (including doing a lot of the paperwork on-line) that makes them much more pleasant (especailly compared with, say, getting tech help from the neighborhood Sprint store).
    ================
    Who knows how much potential might have been lost because of that. An Einstein or Bill Gates reduced to farm work.
    To be fair, the Amish have a practice called “Rumspringa”. Teenagers can go out “into the world”. They can experience it, to be in it, so that if they decide to return, it’s with the knowledge of what they’d be giving up. In this way, the Amish can interact with the “English” without a lot of “coulda shoulda woulda”.
    ==============
    our future king
    I had heard speculation (which is just gossip writ large) that Chuck might abdicate in favor of his sons…
    ===============
    they’re public displays of unfrenchness, like having black skin
    Huh? I never got the feeling that Surya Bonaly, for example, was “unFrench”.
    =============
    Hang out here, too; ask questions, listen thoughtfully
    [Singing] Look for the hapax label
    When you are reading blog or post or comment[/singing]
    =====================
    There was a post Fred did on this very thing a short while ago, I can’t remember the title but there was something about eating seafood I think.
    The Abominable Shellfish As with most posts, this one is great, and the comments are, as always, fun reading.

  • Buhallin

    Diez,
    I’m not gay, but I am an atheist… If you’ll bear with me for a minute, you might find some of my reasons for that reassuring.
    One of my major problems with Christianity is the plethora of “THIS is right!” proclamations. You’re evangelical – the Catholics think you can’t get into heaven without both faith and works. Mormons think the lot of you are doomed because you don’t have the follow-ons they came up with. There are a great many versions of God out there. Everyone finds one they agree with, and they find this verse or that chapter to support their version of God.
    So the question you have to ask is which God do you believe in? For me (and this is where it might get relevant for you) I question the correctness of Christianity based on my preference for logic, reason, and scientific proof. If there IS a God who created me, then he created me to question the evidence of His existence. If he’s truly the omniscient being suggested by the bible, then he created me KNOWING that I would deny his existence, and he’s planning on consigning me to an eternity of painful, burning agony for being exactly what he created me to be, and knowing I would deny him.
    If you tell that story in science fiction with clones and the like, you’ve got the makings for a pretty evil supervillain. All the handwaving about “free will” doesn’t change that.
    So, I refuse to believe that any God worth worshiping would do that. If the God of the fundamentalists exists and has done exactly that, then he is just as evil as a poorly-written SF villain and not worth my worship out of anything but fear.
    Try looking at it that way… Christianity claims, at its core, a loving God who forgives. Does that match with a God who would create you as someone with constant drives to violate His most important decree?
    Dunno if that helps any, but it’s my experience.

  • Leum

    Ok, wait, though, you CAN assume that, regardless of your faith, your fellow congregant thinks it’s ok for you to have that faith, and may even be interested in talking about why you have the faith that you do. They probably won’t try to convert you to their path, but they also won’t welcome attempts to convert them to your path. I like that.

    So Slacktivist is really more of a UU blog than a Christian blog? this certainly seems to be our philosophy.

    To be fair, the Amish have a practice called “Rumspringa”. Teenagers can go out “into the world”. They can experience it, to be in it, so that if they decide to return, it’s with the knowledge of what they’d be giving up. In this way, the Amish can interact with the “English” without a lot of “coulda shoulda woulda”.

    I’ve heard it’s something of a trap, though. You’re sent out into the world with no knowledge of how to interact with it, so you feel alone and friendless. And you feel like doing all the forbidden things so you probably end up miserable from overdrinking and partying so that the Amish way seems infinitely better. Not to mention that you risk being completely cut off from your family if you do leave. And that you have an eighth-grade education so you can’t get a job.

  • mike timonin

    So Slacktivist is really more of a UU blog than a Christian blog? this certainly seems to be our philosophy.
    More or less. I think we’re leavened a little more heavily (can one leaven heavily?) with Christians than the typical UU congregation. The other thing that Slacktivist is like is a mustard seed – no, wait, I mean an [insert fandom] convention. But, then, to some extent, many conventions, slightly re-purposed, would work as UU meetings as well.
    Additionally, there are some differences between UUs and this blog. Less singing, for one. Also, fewer debates over how much ceremony is too much ceremony. Also, no coffee hour.

  • Leum

    Additionally, there are some differences between UUs and this blog. Less singing, for one.
    Guys think we can take mike up on this challenge?
    I am the captain of the Pinafore

  • mike timonin

    Leum, I’m pretty sure that’s too ceremonial.

  • hapax

    And if the God who saved my life and gave me the very opportunity to live and enjoy it said that I shouldn’t partake in those sorts of activities, I was not compelled to argue.
    Diez, I’m coming in very late to the discussion, and so many have said so many wise and welcoming things, that I have practically nothing to add.
    But I’ve never let that stop me. And I do live in the Bible Belt, and I identify as Christian, although of the Episcopalian flavor, not Evangelical, so I’m not sure if that resonates with you. Still…
    I take my cue from St. Peter — so brash, so headstrong, so passionate, so clueless, so terrified that he actually denied even knowing the Teacher he swore to die for a day earlier.
    And when he had the chance to come face to face once again with the same Lord who loved him, saved his life, and gave him the opportunity to enjoy it, Jesus didn’t turn from him, punish him, scold him, or give him a list of Thou Shalt Nots.
    I’m sure you know the story: (John 21)
    15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
    “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
    Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
    16Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”
    He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
    Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
    17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
    Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
    Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

    (And if you want to know what the risen Lord thinks when his disciples turn around and point to someone else and ask, “Yeah, but what about HIM?” finish the chapter…)
    So I think that the only thing that I need to worry about hearing from God is “hapax, do you love me?” And I already know that the followup instructions don’t have anything to do with my genitalia.

  • Hashmir

    I haven’t the faintest idea if anyone will ever see this, but…
    It will likely be hard for me to change churches, though. Even with all of my book-larnin’, it’s hard for me to overcome the indoctrination that any church that condones homosexuality is just teaching out of ‘the abridged bible,’ only taking the passages they like and leaving out all the rest because it makes them feel bad.
    In an effort to avoid retreading ground covered by others, I would offer some very simple advice: Interpret it for yourself.
    You see, if you don’t believe in a holy text (or anything), you are left with one recourse. You must look around, analyze everything, see what others think, and constantly check every philosophy and every idea you find or invent against the real world and your own feelings. In the end, what you think is true is what you think is true, nothing more nor less.
    But if you do believe in such a text, you must look through it, analyze it, see what others think, and constantly check every philosophy and every idea you find in it against the real world and your own feelings. It’s unavoidable. If the Bible is the Word of God, then it was still communicated to human beings before it was written. And it is still interpreted by human beings.
    So you see, you can’t escape human interpretation. If you don’t interpret it yourself, then you’re just accepting some other human’s interpretation. And that’s ok. Responsibility and privilege go hand-in-hand, and in a just universe, capability joins them. If God holds you responsible for your actions, then he must grant you the privilege and capability to discern what is right.
    So don’t bother changing churches, if you’re not moved to do so. But if the Bible is your starting point for the truth of things, then you are simply going to have to sit down with it and figure out what it says, because in the grand scheme of things, no one else knows that any better than you do.
    (Disclaimer: I am an agnostic atheist. God may in fact hate nothing more than people trying to figure out the Bible for themselves. It may be possible to think about it for yourself, come up with the wrong thing, and be doomed to eternal torment. In the event that this should happen while following my advice, I hereby vow that I will feel like a jackass.)

  • http://profile.typepad.com/ShifterCat ShifterCat

    @Maggie: I recall reading an article about the Hasidim in Canada, and one young woman (who had adopted some Orthodox Jewish practices, but not others) said that dressing modestly made her feel that her body was more special, both for herself and her boyfriend.
    @Dylan: Of course girls have all the responsibility! Girls are the gatekeepers, don’t'cha know! Boys are the keymasters conquering knights.
    @Izzy: My favourite simile for God’s Message* vs. the people writing it down is “your software is only as good as your hardware”. It certainly explains crap like four-legged insects and hares chewing cud, doesn’t it?
    @Diez: I hope you don’t need me to tell you this, but for all that’s holy, don’t join an “ex-gay” ministry. Not only can a person not change their sexuality, but pretending to do so damages other people.
    *presumed genuine for the sake of argument.

  • Jenny Islander

    @Hashmir: Word. The key that separates this way of examining the Bible from the lunacy that can arise from “Sola Scriptura” is the phrase “what others think,” that is, theology. It used to be called the Queen of the Sciences and it can give your brain quite a workout. You have to begin with certain base assumptions (“God exists,” at the very least), but the way that these statements are unpacked can have enormous implications. I experienced it as something like calculus, but with angels.
    I’ve let loose the teal deer before regarding the Education for Ministry course, which, despite the name, is for anybody who wants to dig into the roots of Christianity and contemplate its implications for daily life. (My fellow students included assorted Anglicans, some Lutherans, a recovering RTC, a Catholic, a Presbyterian, a Quaker, an agnostic, and several who preferred not to discuss their religion.) By the end of the course, you will have read the entire Bible, studied as much Church history as can be crammed into one year, and plunged into theology at the deep end. More details here:
    http://www.sewanee.edu/EFM/index.htm

  • random atheist

    “God may in fact hate nothing more than people trying to figure out the Bible for themselves. It may be possible to think about it for yourself, come up with the wrong thing, and be doomed to eternal torment.”
    I dunno, I can’t think any God worth loving and worshipping would create humans with the ability to think things through for themselves, then punish them for using that ability. Just like I can’t think any God worth loving and worshipping would create gay people, then punish them for being gay.
    And I’d like to second ShifterCat’s point about the ex-gay ministries. I read an appalling paper once on the damage they can do to people. I think it was called “Youth in the Crosshairs” or something of that kind. Anyway, it was available online, so you might find it if you Google it.

  • Caravelle

    The expulsion element of the law very much says to me that the issue that got it made is not “is the girl oppressed?” but that the headscarf is seen as disrupting or in some way threatening to the process of education for other students by the schools.
    Yep, that’s the “proselytizing” argument.
    Damn, I was starting to make my peace with the whole thing (you know, at least the segment of girls who are forced to wear headscarves but either don’t want to or don’t realize they’d prefer not to because they’ve never tried and whose parents won’t take them out of the public school system… well, they’re better off at least) but finding myself with a forumful of people who agree with me as a matter of course (surprising enough in itself) is just making me angry again.
    Diez : Aw, thank you for your response :)

  • http://www.kitwhitfield.com Kit Whitfield

    Diez: I’ve been away from the thread for a day so I’m late coming in, but I just wanted to say that you have no reason to judge yourself harshly. Everything you’ve said on this blog speaks of a warm, conscientious, decent human being; who you’re attracted to is not a choice, but those things are. Where you have a choice, you choose like a good person.
    I’m an agnostic who has no problem with homosexuality, so I can’t say anything from inside your faith, but I find it hard to believe that if there were a God, He’d create you gay, direct your love in that direction and then want you to deny yourself. What is God, if not love? And if your natural tendency is to love men, I think it would be a terrible denial of love to refuse it when it’s offered.
    I hope things go well for you. You’ll be in my thoughts. :-)

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156e58e6e8970c McJulie

    Not sure who first wrote this, but :
    “God may in fact hate nothing more than people trying to figure out the Bible for themselves. It may be possible to think about it for yourself, come up with the wrong thing, and be doomed to eternal torment.”
    Yes, but it might also be possible that God in fact hates nothing more than green cheese, and all those who eat it are doomed to eternal torment.
    If we are going to speculate wildly on the nature of God, we can speculate all sorts of horrible scenarios for damnation. But honestly, if the universe really works like that? We’re all doomed anyway. Your statement assumes two things:
    1. That God is all-powerful, capricious, and cruel.
    2. That we could possibly know, without a doubt, exactly what such a God wants us to do.
    While I acknowledge that #1 is *possible*, I don’t believe that #2 is.
    Think about it. *Everything* we think we know about God or gods is based either on our own direct revelation, or on somebody else telling us the story about their own direct revelation. There is no possible objective standard for God. There is no objective knowledge of God. Just your own experience of the divine, or somebody else’s experience, related to you.
    Which leads me inevitably to this: even if there is a God in charge of the universe who is as legalistic and harsh as some people’s stories make him out to be, how can I *possibly* trust anyone else’s view of him? If I’m really completely eternally doomed if I guess wrong, then trusting someone else’s guess seems literally insane.
    And… since I’m in the position of having to trust my own instincts about God either way, my instincts about God are that, if he exists at all, loves us and wants us to show love to each other. So that’s what I try to do.
    If I’m guessing wrong, so what? I had no way to guess any better. And at least I didn’t spend my life *trying* to be a jerk.

  • http://liberalhyperbole.blogspot.com/ Randy Owens

    mike timonin: Additionally, there are some differences between UUs and this blog. Less singing, for one.

    Are you sure? We do have those Friday (not-so-)Random (not-exactly)Tens, after all.

  • Jeff

    Are you sure? We do have those Friday (not-so-)Random (not-exactly)Tens, after all.
    As well as random snippets of Flanders and Swan, Tom Lehrer, plus whatever band the random denizens are high on this week.

  • Caravelle

    As well as random snippets of Flanders and Swan, Tom Lehrer, plus whatever band the random denizens are high on this week.

    Or whatever earworm they’re trying to exorcise by passing it on to us.

  • mike timonin

    hmmm. Perhaps less collective singing then? Or less singing of hymns with alternates for “God” included? All of that is hedging though – I concede, there is much of a musical nature about the comments here.
    Still no coffee hour, though.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/hackard Andrew

    The dichotomy resolves itself when you realize that they’re using “Christian” in two different senses.
    When it suits their purpose to be inclusive, to point out the supermajority of Americans who call themselves “Christians,” then anyone professing a Christian belief is one of their fellow travelers.
    However, when it suits their purpose to be oppressed, to point out the “assault” on their “values,” then “Christian” means specifically those people who share their fundamentalist beliefs, and not all those low-calorie Christians who think that maybe there’s room in the world for various beliefs, and that the core tenets of Christianity are tolerance and forgiveness.
    It’s code, and the people who understand the code aren’t confused. Everyone else, well . . . the message isn’t really for them, is it?

  • Nenya

    Diez, I’d just like to say that you have a wonderful way with words, and from what little you’ve posted here, you seem a kind, intelligent, and gentle person. Someone I would be very happy to know. If you’re at all inclined to stick around here, we’d love to have you. Although you may not get much from the boobies… ;)
    Also, if it takes a long time for you to settle all this (I’m rooting for you to end up happily gay and Christian, but whatever you decide I hope that you are happy and feel you’ve acted with integrity), don’t worry. It can take a long time to figure this stuff out. (For any statistics you may be collecting, I’m a bisexual woman
    of evangelical/Pentacostal/holiness extraction, mystical temperament, and mildly liturgical current practice–i.e. a queer Episcopalian. It’s taken me a dozen years to become emotionally “okay” with same-sex attraction, and I still haven’t dated any women. Other people, one hears, are a little more socially assertive than I and so actually get laid… ;))
    Just know that MANY people have been where you are now, and while there are a number of different conclusions they have come to, those of us who believe profoundly and gladly that there is nothing God hates about being gay–in fact, that he rejoices in the variety of sexual orientations he has created–are not found only on this blog. So, not that “lots of people believe this” is the same thing as “this is right or reasonable,” but just know that pro-gay Christians are not some fringe cult who just want orgies. I mean, orgies are great if you’re into that sort of thing, but that might be more Izzy’s style than yours. :D
    I also wanted to say that your coming in here and the responses that have been given to you have absolutely made my night. :) If this place is a UU congregation, then by God I may have to become a UU. :D

  • Hawker Hurricane

    Andrew: I first noticed the phenom back in 1996. A very narrow minded Christian stated that, since Christians were a clear majority, the non-Christians (such as myself) should sit down and shut up. Within 2 minutes, he was denying that Catholics, Mormons, Anglicans, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Lutherans except for Southern and Missouri Synods, American Baptists, and a host of others were “Really Christian”. I pointed out that if they weren’t Christians, then Christians weren’t a majority, and they should sit down and shut up.
    But that wasn’t the only time I’d seen it.

  • Gag Halfrunt

    About French schools, students are not allowed to wear religious symbols. A veil or headscarf worn by a Muslim girl is deemed to be a religious symbol but, IIRC, teachers will usually overlook Catholic students wearing inconspicuous crucifixes. I don’t know about France, but here in Britain hoodies are strongly associated with “anti-social behaviour”, and I doubt that students would be allowed to wear hoodies with the hood up in class.

  • ako

    The law targets religious symbols based on size; veils and headscarfs are banned from school, as are yarmulkes, but the only time crosses are banned is if they’re considered excessively large and ostentatious. Small religious symbols, such as the sort of cross most Christians are at all likely to wear around their necks, are fine. Which is definitely a disproportionate impact on Muslims, particularly Muslim girls and women.

  • http://mikailborg.livejournal.com/ MikhailBorg

    Here’s a data point I find curious: the blog of a married parent with a doctorate who spent an entire year with her face and body covered from family, friends, and even herself, using a burkha and similar garments. In her case, though, the garments all were made of sheet latex: she is a submissive latex fetishist. (No erotic pictures, but the text is certainly NSFW.)
    Perhaps the whole blog is fantasy fiction. Assuming it is not, I tried to decide what I thought of this woman’s choices… and eventually gave up the attempt and moved on. I can understand why people choose to wear various kinds of fetish clothing; but to bury one’s identity from the world for an entire year for 24-hour days is a desire that confuses me. I wouldn’t call it healthy, and yet she seems to be having fun, and it doesn’t break my leg or pick my pocket.
    It messes with my head a bit, in several different ways, which probably was the author’s intent. Real, or unreal? Wise, or unwise? Submissive, or defiant? Degrading or liberating? I’m sure there is no shortage of opinions on the matter :)

  • hapax

    Hmm. I’m a lot more likely to be wearing a hamsa than a cross, at least at work, for various and sundry reasons. Yet since I am neither Jewish nor Muslim, and my favorite one is rather small and discreet, would that be okay for me, but not for members of the other faiths?
    What about my labrys? Is it okay for feminists to wear but not pagans?
    (come to think about it — calling lonespark! — that would make PEACEFUL, religious display of the swastika verboten, but FASCIST, political displays a-ok!)

  • http://mikailborg.livejournal.com/ MikhailBorg

    *sigh* “http://www.latexlifestyle.blogspot.com/”, since TypePad is still being random about HTML.

  • ako

    Hmm. I’m a lot more likely to be wearing a hamsa than a cross, at least at work, for various and sundry reasons. Yet since I am neither Jewish nor Muslim, and my favorite one is rather small and discreet, would that be okay for me, but not for members of the other faiths?
    As far as I can tell, if it’s considered small and discreet, it’s acceptable, regardless of your religious views. If it’s not, it’s out. Muslim girls complaining about having to choose between their education and dressing in a way they found decent were told they could wear the Hand of Fatima as a substitute. Which isn’t exactly a solution, but people can pretend it is.

  • cjmr

    *looks up ‘labrys’*
    ummm…okay…why exactly is a double-bladed axe a lesbian and/or feminist symbol? I’m hoping it goes beyond my first impression, an admittedly literal reading–”the better to chop off men’s…ummm…parts with!”

  • http://mikailborg.livejournal.com/ MikhailBorg

    ummm…okay…why exactly is a double-bladed axe a lesbian and/or feminist symbol
    So *that’s* the story with Jennie Breeden’s t-shirt! (http://devilspanties.keenspot.com/d/20011011.html)

  • hapax

    cjmr, I’m told it goes back to Minoan Crete, supposedly a matriarchal society. Like most symbols, it’s a lot more important what it means right now to the person who displays it, than the historical authenticity of its origins.

  • Jenny Islander

    Actually, IIRC, it’s supposed to be a Batman T-shirt. Just stylized from having been drawn so many times. But I may be wrong.

  • http://buckfush530.livejournal.com vandamashiva

    Lee Ratner:
    However, I do not think she completely understands why France and many other countries adopted such a strict policy of separation of religion and state than the one adopted by America/Canada. When seperating religion and state, some religions give in more easier than other religions. Separating Catholicism or Islam from the State is a lot harder than separating Protestant or Orthodox Christianity from the State. This is because when Protestant/Orthodox Christianity are state religions, they are pretty subservient to the secular authorities of the State authortities usually and will back down without much of a fight. Roman Catholicism and Islam are different because when those two religions are the State religions, the religious authorities operate independently of the state and can put up more of a fight when it comes to loosing their official permission. Islam seems to be a particularly hard religion to separate from the state becuase theoretically it is supposed to be as much as a political system as a religious system. So when you have a religion like this to separate from the state, you need to be a bit more adamant and heavy-handed.
    MASSIVE OVERSIMPLIFICATION. The most advanced fundamentalists in the midst of organizing a capitulation of the state and the installment of a Christian theocracy is arguably the US, with a coalition between extremists of the Protestant and Eastern Orthodox bents, both with rabid anti-Catholic strands. Historically, Protestant denominations have lagged behind the Catholic Church and Orthodox denominations in terms of how controlling they were over their populations, largely because so few Protestant denominations HAD states under their control (the Anglican church is the only official example that comes to mind, and that’s a clear exception because violent history forced massive compromising between various Protestant sects and Catholics).
    Furthermore, the fact that you subdivide Christianity but treat Islam as monolithic is telling. Prior to the closing of Ijtihad (reinterpretation of the Qu’ran which stopped occuring under after the fall of Baghdad to the Turks), the largest division was probably between Shia (lacking state control and generally arguing against it), Sunni (having state control and generally arguing for it), and Sufic (lacking state control and nearly basing their religion around reject the state’s religious authority). As you’re probably aware, those three separate branches still exist, but the ideological revolution of the closing of Ijtihad made them less markedly distinct, at least within this domain. Now Sunni Islam and Shia Islam act almost as separate centers within the Ummah pulling followers of those specific sects to their respective spheres with Sufism dancing a merry jig around them as a pan-Islamic pseudo-religious philosophy. The major ideological strains coming out of the post-colonial/neo-colonial era have been Legalist, Fundamentalist, and Islamist, with the implications of secular-leaning dictatorships and legalism under colonial rule permitting a radical shift towards the rightwing and nationalistic extremes of Fundamentalism, ultimately developing into an even more radical outlier of Islamism, arguably a fascistic movement, and the primary group within which you are referring to all Muslims.
    I hope that cleared some things up a bit.

  • Amaryllis

    Apropos of nothing much, my daughter attended a Catholic high school which had a handful of Muslim students. And I always found it an interesting fashion statement when they wore the hijab with their Catholic-schoolgirl-uniform plaid kilts.

  • Jason

    Here’s a data point I find curious: the blog of a married parent with a doctorate who spent an entire year with her face and body covered from family, friends, and even herself, using a burkha and similar garments. In her case, though, the garments all were made of sheet latex: she is a submissive latex fetishist. (No erotic pictures, but the text is certainly NSFW.)
    Perhaps the whole blog is fantasy fiction. Assuming it is not, I tried to decide what I thought of this woman’s choices… and eventually gave up the attempt and moved on. I can understand why people choose to wear various kinds of fetish clothing; but to bury one’s identity from the world for an entire year for 24-hour days is a desire that confuses me. I wouldn’t call it healthy, and yet she seems to be having fun, and it doesn’t break my leg or pick my pocket.
    It messes with my head a bit, in several different ways, which probably was the author’s intent. Real, or unreal? Wise, or unwise? Submissive, or defiant? Degrading or liberating? I’m sure there is no shortage of opinions on the matter :)

    While I find it hard to believe that is real, if it is real my take is that it is extremely unhealthy for a variety of practical reasons:
    a) By participating in her fetish, 24/7 she has sexualized every moment of her day. Considering that there are support groups and psychiatric treatment for sexual addictions and obsession. I think its safe to assume that this is not a healthy mental state.
    b) This is dangerous to her physically. There is no telling what that could do to her skin. She risks suffocation from the various hindrances to her breathing and injury from the various corsetry and restraints.
    c) It is generally thought by most humans (Christians, atheists, other faiths) that it is important to leave this world a better place than you found it. 24/7 participation in this fetish kind of precludes her from having a positive influence on the world as a human. Its kind of hard to do charity work when you have on an outfit that severely limits your movement. Also while there is nothing wrong with eccentricity or individuality, no one is going to listen to the opinions of someone wearing fetish gear full time no matter how well thought out they are. She is practicing a bizarre type of hedonism.
    That’s my opinion.

  • http://buckfush530.livejournal.com vandamashiva

    Both Unitarians and Universalists have Christian roots (maybe Universalists still consider themselves Christian these days) in the US, and I can’t speak for Unitarians elsewhere in the world. But I would not recommend that a Christian looking for a welcoming place necessarily try the UUs first.
    From the experience of growing up in a UU Church, it was the other way around. People who went there and also identified as “Unitarian”, seemed more along the lines of liberal-er Quakers or UCC Christians. On the other hand, “Universalists” were typically Philosophical Christians if Christian at all. Then there were people who identified as neither, who usually went there for social reasons and were generally atheists.
    UUs: the most complex religious community ever. Also, I don’t really recommend going there. They’re usually quite nice, but I’ve at least had some bad experiences of them turning cult-y on you, even after practically living in the church your entire life. Let’s just say RTCs aren’t the only ones that can go crazy and throw babies out with the bathwater, and leave it at that.

  • http://buckfush530.livejournal.com vandamashiva

    Sorry for the potential double post but:
    But, as with any other issue, there’s typical parental authority and then there’s the minority who will use these things as an excuse to turn abusive. People have beaten their daughters for not being covered enough, and some of them are Muslims who claim to be doing it in the name of Islam. Men have beaten their wives over leaving a bit too much skin uncovered, and some are Muslim men who claim to be doing it in the name of Islam. Which means it’s true, as you say, that hijab and burkhas are largely a side issue, and addressing problems of domestic violence is what really needs to be done. It also means, in a fairly literal sense that there are women who need protection from being made to wear a burkha, because in certain specific circumstances, being made to wear a burkha means being beaten into submission until she complies.
    I’m not sure if you’re making that argument, and I can understand both why you would agree or disagree with it, so please don’t be offended by the following. (I’m fairly certain you weren’t arguing it).
    Nonetheless, that train of thought reminds me of the Prop 5 debate decades ago in California, which would have fired all homosexual teachers, because some could have been pedophiles (it also would have fired teachers who “supported” homosexual teachers, so it went even further into insane witch-hunt-land). I’m afraid I just can’t follow that specific logic: some members of group X are associated with an illegal/immoral practice, so we need to disbar/remove/disempower/whatever all of them. It’s a scary ideology when followed to its conclusions (which ultimately seems to be how Gitmo was justifed within sections of the right-wing, that a few Muslims committed or supported terrorist acts so we need to lock up all/many of them).
    Fundamentally, it seems to skirt around the real issue, the illegal/immoral act. Instead of taking steps to prevent terrorism, lock up pedophiles, or stop sexual-related child abuse, we need to attack Muslims, gays, and hijab-wearers, regardless of how many people within those groups are involved in the specific problem, if any problem.
    On some level there seems to a degree of dehumanization (or at least a lack of empathy) going on here. All Muslims are implicated in terrorism, even if not all terrorists are Muslims. All gays are associated with pedophilia, even if not all pedophiles are gay. All hijab-wearers are assumed to be under coercion or actively abused (as an earlier comment by a supporter of the ban suggested), even if not all abused children are abused in the name of Islam.
    I suppose this is at least a some what faulty analogy, considering that legally at least the wearers of the various forms of hijab would be seen as victims of some one else’s illegal behavior.
    On the other hand, locking random people up to stop terrorism, firing random teachers to stop pedophilia, and forbidding various hair-coverings to stop child abuse all seem to fit into the same suite of seemingly reasonable but easily proven to be totally ineffective ways of tackling the problem.
    /my two cents

  • ako

    I’m not sure if you’re making that argument, and I can understand both why you would agree or disagree with it, so please don’t be offended by the following. (I’m fairly certain you weren’t arguing it).
    Yeah, what you described isn’t what I was arguing at all (just to clarify). I was trying to explain why I’d been more literal than, in retrospect, I should have been, and made a statement that was technically true, but phrased in a way that really isn’t helpful for communication.
    To go to the pedophile analogy; I don’t believe in punishing gay people as a group, because some people molest children of the same sex, and some of the child-molesters identify as gay. Nor do I believe that efforts to catch pedophiles should focus specifically on the gay community. Among other things, that would lead to ignoring straight child molestors. I do believe that child molestation should be prosecuted, and shouldn’t be ignored, tolerated, or idealized, regardless of the genders of the people involved, their sexual identity, and any claims they might make about how it’s an important part of ‘helping’ the victim ‘realize their sexual identity’. And I’m disturbed by the (rare) case of someone being so opened-minded their brains fall out on this issue, and acting like an adult woman going after a twelve-year-old girl is anything other than sexual abuse.
    (For what it’s worth, I’m a lesbian.)
    Similarly, I don’t support punishing Muslims as a group, assuming that Muslim men abuse their families, assuming people who wear the hijab are coerced, banning the hijab, treating the hijab as a sign of abuse, or making efforts to prevent domestic violence entirely or disproportionately focused on Muslims. I don’t think Muslims are collectively guilty, and I do know that Christians, Jews, Atheists, and people of all or no religious background engage in domestic violence. I support treating instances of domestic where “She was going to go out without a hijab!” is the abuser’s excuse like a standard instance of domestic violence, and not treating religion as an excuse. Which means that the specific (and, I’m fairly sure, small) subset of hijab-wearers who get beaten into it should get protection, the same as anyone else being abused. And I’m overly-literal to the point where it sometimes gets in the way of communication.
    (For what it’s worth, I’m not a Muslim.)
    And if that’s not clear, I’m afraid I’m going to have to bow out of this conversation. Because reasonable-sounding people seem to be finding things in my words that I don’t intend, so something is obviously going wrong.

  • The Amazing Kim

    to bury one’s identity from the world for an entire year for 24-hour days is a desire that confuses me
    Perhaps she feels that she is expressing a part of her identity, not suppressing it.
    It is generally thought by most humans (Christians, atheists, other faiths) that it is important to leave this world a better place than you found it. 24/7 participation in this fetish kind of precludes her from having a positive influence on the world as a human. Its kind of hard to do charity work when you have on an outfit that severely limits your movement. Also while there is nothing wrong with eccentricity or individuality, no one is going to listen to the opinions of someone wearing fetish gear full time no matter how well thought out they are.
    Your argument is that she shouldn’t wear what she likes because other people might think her not worth listening to? Surely if she’s not heard, it’s the prejudices of the listener that are at fault, not the speaker’s unconventional appearance.
    If she’s in a teaching position, then her mastery of the subject matter should be her most important quality. If she writes journal articles, most of the readers won’t have a clue what she looks like. And if she’s a SAHM, at least her kids will be tolerant of fetish culture. And knowledgeable of tailoring of non-standard clothing fabrics.
    It’s quite easy to give money to charities without going to work for them, and even that’s more than most people do.
    Presumably she is making herself happy by engaging in this activity, and that’s more joy in the world than there was before. She’s not hurting anyone by getting her jollies.
    Plus, she’s probably contributing significantly to the patching skills of the local rubber specialist, and singlehandedly keeping the talcum powder and latex polish industry in business. And she’d save a lot of water, not having to wash her clothes. (Latex can only be cleaned by wiping with a slightly damp sponge.) I love a bit of latex clothing myself, but damn, does it take maintenance.
    As for skin disease, latex is fine as long as you’re not allergic. It can chafe, but so can anything. Plus, burkas are traditionally a loose garment.

  • Lee Ratner

    I think Caraville has a pretty good point with the “well meaning liberals” and the all religious symbols but we are really freaked out about the hijab ban in France. Many non-Western nations have norms and values that many people in the West, especially people of liberal/leftist bents but also people with rightest bents, find at very least worrisome if not vile and disgusting.* The treatment of women in many, but not all, Muslim-majority countries is one of these things. Many of us do not like it when we hear about a girl being flogged for flirting with a boy, who is often flogged to. We view the laws requiring women to at least whear a hijab if not a burkha or chador as controlling and authoritarian and think that the choice should belong to the girls or the women themselves.
    We do not like the above and often feel powerless to do anything about it. Most of us know that we can not use force, both direct (ex. Iraq) and indirect (ex. sanctions and diplomatic isolation) to get these nations to conform to our norms and values. We also know that the use of force only stregethens the forces of tradition in the Muslim world. Yet we also feel that engagement gets us know were because the authorities do not let in alternative voice in. So we dispair and wonder what we can do. This is why things like the hijab ban came about in France. This is something we can do and we feel that we are liberating Muslim girls and women because of this even if it is heavy handed.
    *The things we do not like are not limited to the Muslim world. We find a lot to criticize with how Hindu traditionalists treat couples celebrating Valentine’s Day or drinking beer in bars and other modern activities to. However, the Muslim world atrocities tend to get more press coverage and be more strident.

  • hapax

    Lee Ratner: Many of us do not like it when we hear about a girl being flogged for flirting with a boy, who is often flogged to.
    Speaking only for myself, I don’t “like” hearing about people — girls or boys — being flogged for flirting (or vandalism, or voting, or driving, etc.) out of outraged “cultural norms” but because, y’know, people being flogged.
    No, I don’t think invading and dropping bombs on a country that does this will help. But let’s not equate disapproval of beating and torture with the banning of headscarves, mmkay?

  • Lee Ratner

    I’m not really equating banning hijabs with disapproving torture but I admit that sloopy writing might not make that clear. What I’m trying to say is that lots of people outside the Muslim world, especially in the First World, feel frustrated at their perceived inability to do anything about the human rights violations that occur in the Muslim world or elsewhere. To overcome these feelings of an inability to do anything they latch onto things like banning headscarves as a way to help, at least in their perspective, Muslim women living in the First World. This makes them feel slightly better about themselves, that they have at least done something.

  • hapax

    To overcome these feelings of an inability to do anything they latch onto things like banning headscarves as a way to help, at least in their perspective, Muslim women living in the First World.
    Oh, I see. Yes, I understand the impulse. Except that such responses probably make things WORSE for women in the majority-Muslim countries, since it is all-too-easy to point to the French law as “proof” that “Western culture is anti-Islam”, which reinforces the Islamist agenda.

  • Lee Ratner

    You are right with the response making matters worse or at least not helping. I really do not know what to do about the situation in Muslim-majority countries. Most of them have terrible governments, with the exception of Turkey and maybe Malaysia, Indonesia, Tunisia, and even Iran being somewhat okay. Jordan and Morrocco seem okay but they are basically enlightened dictatorships. The Islamists are often the only credible opposition to what are at best ineffective but well-meaning governments to horrid dictatorships at worse. The Islamists are horrible in their own way with their harsh violations of human rights and virulent anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and flagrant sexism. I really do not know what can be done about it. The best solution seems to let the Islamists win and make their populace tire of Islam while having some sort of containment so they do not commit any terrorist acts outside of their countries.


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