Today in history: George Washington on religious freedom

To Bigotry No Sanction, to Persecution No Assistance…

-George Washington

On August 17, 1790, President George Washington wrote a letter to Moses Seixas and the Jewish congregation of Newport, RI. Washington did so in response to a letter sent by the group when Washington visited their city. The account is on the Library of Congress website and provides important historical context for debates over freedom of religion for Muslims.

On August 17, 1790, the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, presented a congratulatory address to President George Washington on the occasion of his visit to their city. Both the address, written by Moses Seixas, and Washington’s response appeared together in several newspapers. They encapsulate Washington’s clearest articulation of his belief in religious freedom and the first presidential affirmation of the free and equal status of Jewish-American citizens.

And here is part of what he told the congregation:

All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

I suppose those opposed to Muslim houses of worship would appeal to Washington’s condition at the end – that they conduct themselves as good citizens by providing “effectual support.” I don’t believe religious freedom can be used as a means to protect subversive activities. Thus, one would need to demonstrate that individual projects or religious groups have treasonous plans in order to make a case that religious freedoms should be set aside.

Washington’s words also are in sharp contrast to the spin on religious freedom offered by some on the Christian right (e.g., Bryan Fischer), namely that the founders only intended to stop the government from taking sides in Christian denominational disputes, and knew nothing of tolerance for other faiths. Moses Seixas congregation was not a denomination of Christianity.

Not all founders considered themselves Christian. Thomas Jefferson edited the New Testament producing his own gospel by omitting the supernatural aspects of the life of Jesus. His references to religion were not directed at Christian denominations exclusively but religion in general. So on this day in history, let’s reflect on the common grace of God and the First Amendment.

To Bigotry No Sanction, to Persecution No Assistance…

  • David Blakeslee

    I suppose those opposed to Muslim houses of worship would appeal to Washington’s condition at the end – that they conduct themselves as good citizens by providing “effectual support.” I don’t believe religious freedom can be used as a means to protect subversive activities. Thus, one would need to demonstrate that individual projects or religious groups have treasonous plans in order to make a case that religious freedoms should be set aside.

    There appears to be a pattern in other Western Democracies to exploit the freedoms enshrined in liberal democracy to undermine the values of liberal democracy. I am thinking of England , Germany and the Netherlands in particular.

    If we fear Dominionists in Christianity, Sharia law exists in fact in many Muslim countries.

    Build your Mosque…anywhere you are permitted. Let us speak openly about what you endorse, tolerate and turn a blind eye to.

  • Michael Bussee

    All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support

    He sounds like Judge Walker.

  • Michael Bussee

    Keith Olbermann Special Comment: There Is No ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ – 08/16/10

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZpT2Muxoo0

    Equal rights for all — or just for those who agree with our religious beliefs?

  • Mary

    Perhaps a small section near one of the entries into the community center can recognize the loss of 9/11. Something along the lines of ” hope and motivation of those who practice Islam in ” this center ” are devoted to peaceful practices” – and then with a quote from the Quran.

    Just trying to smooth things over. They have every right, just as you or I, or anyone else, to practice their religion. The diplomacy of building a community center close to “ground zero” can be used as a great opportunity to bring people together.

    I am so tired of the ignorance.

  • David Blakeslee

    The Dome of the Rock sits on the old Jewish Temple site. Don’t know the history of it all…but that seems a little much.

  • David Blakeslee

    I am on a roll,

    If we are concerned about Dominionists and the Family…and their effects on politics. I think we should be worried about Sharia law as well.

    Nothing intolerant about looking closer and seeing what the implications of the values are for non-Muslims.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    David – I am concerned about both.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    “…as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights…”

    This is the theme that pulls together two hot news items.

    “Thwarting the will of the people! denying the vote of the people!” is the cry of those who truly believe that others enjoy inherent natural rights only at their own indulgence.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    David,

    I see them as two manifestations of the same thing: a desire to bring about God’s physical kingdom on Earth (and to subjugate the masses).

    Currently in America, Christian Dominionism is probably the greater immediate threat, but they both share the same theocratic goals and intents.

  • David Blakeslee

    Timothy,

    I cannot imagine any form of Christianity forcibly bringing about “God’s Kingdom” on earth in America. There are too many sects which would rise up against it, it is too “diverse” a religion. Not to mention vocal secularists.

    Those who attacked New York and DC and Pennsylvania, sought a very direct route to disrupting our democracy: attacking financial markets, military sites and apparently political sites. There was a long list of Muslim leaders who endorsed the attack. Only a few who condemned it. We know that Sharia law exists in many countries currently.

    When you think of the ratio of Christians to Muslims in America, you would think that Dominionists would be prevalent and have engaged in numerous attacks to support their political goals.

    Not much (1-2 planned attacks) happening there.

    But the much smaller number of Muslims in America have engineered some pretty devastating attacks.

    Again, build the Mosque anywhere the law allows. But let’s have a frank discussion about how some Mosque’s practice the Religion of Peace.

    Tolerance, not indulgence.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Currently in America, Christian Dominionism is probably the greater immediate threat, but they both share the same theocratic goals and intents.

    Can you be serious, Timothy? And you think those opposed to same-sex marriage are ringing the fear bell? Islamic extremists have the demonstrated will, the means and the people to carry out horrific attacks here on our soil. They kill innocent people in the name of Allah, in other words. Theirs is a kingdom built by jihad force. If a few Dominionists want to bring God’s kingdom on earth, it is through assimilation that they might envision it, i.e., a gradual takeover of government and institutions. But there could never be enough of them to do it.

    David is right.

    Again, build the Mosque anywhere the law allows. But let’s have a frank discussion about how some Mosque’s practice the Religion of Peace.

    I haven’t seen and Christians beheading people for taking God’s name in vain, have you?

  • David Blakeslee

    The Latter Day Saints engaged in a massacre in Mountain Meadows in 1857. Does anyone know if they erected a church or a temple near the site of this massacre?

    It appears, on the contrary, that the LDS church has clearly and repeatedly condemned this attack in recent years.

    Build the Mosque…speak freely!

    Religion of Peace.

    Jesus said something interesting, “You will know them by their fruit.” This is true of Scott Lively, Brian Fischer and Sempa.

    It is terrifyingly true of the 911 attackers and those that followed. It is terrifyingly true of the Imams that protected and facilitated their attacks.

  • Eddy

    Weird observation: While reading up on the Mountain Meadows Massacre, although the Massacre proceeded in stages, the final stage where the women and children were also slaughtered occurred on Sept. 11 (9/11), 1857.

  • Lynn David

    Warren…. Thomas Jefferson edited the New Testament producing his own gospel by omitting the supernatural aspects of the life of Jesus. His references to religion were not directed at Christian denominations exclusively but religion in general. So on this day in history, let’s reflect on the common grace of God and the First Amendment.

    Unless you are in Texas where they wrote Thomas Jeffersoin out of the history of the United States.

  • Lynn David

    Or Thomas Jefferson even….

  • David Blakeslee

    Thomas Jeffersoin is a great American!

  • David Blakeslee

    Let’s not add naivete to the soup of tolerance:

    In truth, apart from a brief cultural renaissance, Cordoba, during its five centuries of Islamic rule, was not especially tolerant of nonbelievers. And, like most medieval cities, it was plagued by coups, assassinations, and right-wing clerical intolerance; it was a place where books were both burned and written. But that is not the point of citing Cordoba. Surely Feisal Abdul Rauf knows all that and more: Cordoba is as much a mythical construct of a long-ago multicultural paradise so dear to elite liberals as it is a fantasy rallying cry to Islamists to reclaim the lost Al-Andalus.

    Found here: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/244120/cynical-brilliance-imam-rauf-victor-davis-hanson

  • David Blakeslee

    Ahhh…

    In the West the mosque would be a symbol of tolerance, in the Islamic world it would be seen as a symbol of Islamic triumphalism:

    Abroad, the message would, of course, be interpreted quite differently: To the radical Islamists, a mosque rising near Ground Zero well before a new World Trade Center is constructed is a message of Islamic triumphalism — in the long tradition of minarets on the conquered Santa Sophia in Istanbul, the eighth-century Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem rising on the site of the destroyed Jewish Second Temple, and the great mosque at Cordoba retrofitted from the gutted Christian Church of St. Vincent.

  • David Blakeslee

    Moral myopia at Ground Zero

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/19/AR2010081904769.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

    Radical Islam is not, by any means, a majority of Islam. But with its financiers, clerics, propagandists, trainers, leaders, operatives and sympathizers — according to a conservative estimate, it commands the allegiance of 7 percent of Muslims, i.e., more than 80 million souls — it is a very powerful strain within Islam. It has changed the course of nations and affected the lives of millions. It is the reason every airport in the West is an armed camp and every land is on constant alert.

    This is an opinion piece chocked full of reasoned perceptions and it is by a former psychiatrist.

    It is troubling to me how quickly and easily this controversy became defined as about BIGOTRY and PREJUDICE…

    It reminds me of other debates at this site.

  • Debbie Thurman

    It is troubling to me how quickly and easily this controversy became defined as about BIGOTRY and PREJUDICE…

    It reminds me of other debates at this site.

    You don’t mean it. :)

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    David – Thanks for the link. My view is essentially the same as Krauthammer’s – they have the right to build but they should not do so. I disagree with Krauthammer than no one is questioning the right to build. Bryan Fischer and the far right is doing this. So it is important to get both parts of the message – they have the religious freedom to build but they have already failed at their stated goal of building bridges if they proceed.

  • David Blakeslee

    Thanks Warren.

    It is disheartening that Christians in positions of leadership in political advocacy organizations do not understand the

    1. Rules of Engagement in a Constitutional Democracy

    2. Understand that Christianity is a non-coercive faith.

    I will post this on Fischer’s link on his site so he can make a correction.

  • Debbie Thurman

    My buddy, Paul Greenberg, weighs in with a very thoughtful commentary.

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Aug 20, 2010 at 8:51 am

    “It is troubling to me how quickly and easily this controversy became defined as about BIGOTRY and PREJUDICE…”

    That’s because when you listen to many of those opposed to the islamic cultural center (which includes a mosque) you can quickly see the bigotry and prejudice in the comments. People who misquote the Quran and see all islam as the radical islam Krauthammer refers too. There are people who are opposing the building of mosques all over the country (not just at ground zero).

    It seems clear to me that many americans need to learn a great deal about the islamic faith and muslims. I think an islamic cultural center would be a good way to accomplish that.

  • David Blakeslee

    Ken,

    It seems clear to me that many americans need to learn a great deal about the islamic faith and muslims.

    I am not sure this is true, unless you mean by “many” a few hundred.

    The tolerance of the American people is immense, toward all people of faith. I would not presume to demand further education of a nation’s people that is already overwhelmingly taken to heart the message of tolerance.

    The presence of a Islamic “cultural” center in the immediate vicinity of 911 is not some standard to demonstrate “tolerance.” It is an odd, tone deaf, and absurd intrusion that is understandably inflammatory.

    But hey…build it where ever you want…and we’ll keep talking about the 7% who continue to kill innocents all over the world and ask, “what are the other 93% doing to stop them?” Or, are the 93% intimidated by the 7%?

    7% (Radical Islam) of the Muslim world (1.57 billion translates to 110 Million?) is a pretty big number, when you look at the funding and the organization behind it all and most of all, the strategy (individual suicide attackers aimed at demoralizing and terrorizing a population).

    Most revolutions are accomplished by a small minority who are willing to take extraordinary risks to change the minds of a passive majority.

  • Lynn David

    Facts don’t calm debate over New York Islamic center

    By WILLIAM DOUGLAS

    McClatchy Newspapers

    NEW YORK — There’s no shortage of opinions – or theatrics – at the site of a proposed Islamic center and mosque two blocks from where the World Trade Center stood before two hijacked jetliners crashed into its twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

    It’s a deliberate Muslim thumb in the eye to survivors of the terrorist attacks to build the facility on such hallowed ground, declared Andrew Sullivan, a star-spangled, red, white and blue hard-hat-wearing union worker as he stood outside the site one day this week.

    “The whole connotation of putting a mosque on conquered lands has overtones here,” said Sullivan, who runs a blog called Blue Collar Corner and is seeking signed pledges from union members that they won’t work on the center/mosque project.

    An agitated and animated Anthony Hernandez expressed a different view as he took time from his lunch hour to visit the proposed site of the Cordoba House – or Park51 – Islamic center and mosque.

    “What hallowed ground?” said Hernandez, a New York City government employee as he pointed to the Dakota Roadhouse bar next to the proposed project site.

    Also nearby: a strip club called the New York Dolls gentleman’s club, an off-track betting parlor and smaller mosque that’s been there for four decades. The New York Daily News recently tallied the businesses within a three-block area of the World Trade Center site – 17 pizza shops, 18 bank branches, 11 bars, 10 shoe stores and “17 salons where a girl can get her lady parts groomed.”

    “This is a false argument. There’s nothing wrong with having a mosque here,” Hernandez said. “This is religious freedom. This is the United States.”

    The debate over the project spilled off the streets of New York and onto the national political scene last week after President Barack Obama declared that the developers seeking to build the center have every right to do so at that location.

    Since then, opponents and supporters have dug in – sometimes regardless of the facts – and political candidates have latched on to the mosque flap as a talking point as the November elections approach.

    On the streets of New York, however, it seems clear that no amount of talk will persuade one side or the other about whether the Cordoba House project should move forward.

    A swirling 24-hour news cycle, the raw emotions of many New Yorkers who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, the inability of some to differentiate moderate Muslims from al-Qaida and other terrorist groups, and the Constitution’s overarching protection of religious freedom seem to make the search for a middle ground impossible.

    Polls in New York and nationally indicate that the majority of Americans oppose building the center. Less clear, however, is what people outside New York really know about the location or what the plans call for – a 13-story, $100 million multi-use facility that’s modeled after the city’s popular 92nd Street Y. It would house a pool, gymnasium, a 500-seat auditorium for public events, and a Sept. 11 memorial, in addition to a prayer space.

    Also unclear is what they know about the men behind the project – local Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and developer Sharif Gamal. Rauf, for one, receives high praise from Jewish groups and the State Department as a leading moderate Muslim.

    New York attorney Michael Grossman doesn’t care about polls, pools or whatever would be inside the Cordoba House. He just doesn’t want it so close to ground zero.

    Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/08/20/1785186/facts-dont-calm-debate-over-new.html#ixzz0xFmZS1Ii

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Aug 21, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    “I am not sure this is true, unless you mean by “many” a few hundred.”

    No, I mean a lot more than a few hundred. More like millions.

    “The tolerance of the American people is immense, toward all people of faith. I would not presume to demand further education of a nation’s people that is already overwhelmingly taken to heart the message of tolerance.”

    Really, perhaps you should tell that to the people in FL, TN, WI (and elsewhere) who have all opposed having Mosques in their communities.

    America has had a long history of intolerance towards minorities, going back to the founding of the country. Examples of this intolerance can be found in the US Constitution itself.

  • Evan

    David Blakeslee,

    I think Islamic radicalism is a creature of globalisation. International terrorism has become endemic in many states as a form of radical defense against the forces of globalism which threatened the political influence of local cultures. Some cultures mimic other dominant cultures (take the Japanese), others like Islamic culture do not cave in, but respond to the subtle influence of foreign cultures by going back to their roots in order to renew their relevance (radicalism). In a way, it’s a counterreaction to modern life itself, which they perceive as a decadent creation of the West (lack of social structure, gender equality, money worshipping, lack of common beliefs, etc). How to counter this? Violence and unity of belief.

    Most revolutions are accomplished by a small minority who are willing to take extraordinary risks to change the minds of a passive majority.

    Radical Muslims might see themselves as revolutionaries, but I think they’re just the radical bloody hand hidden behind the nice pacific face of official Islamism. I mean, many Muslims might disagree officially with the radicals on violent means, but they don’t really disagree on their purposes. A culture can assert itself using both pacific and violent means and can use one to pretend it’s not also playing the other too.

    But in the long run, Islamism wins because it enforces a social structure of gender relations and family which outperforms the West demographically. They are growing everywhere and using Western materialism to feed their tightly knit communities. I know for a fact that many Muslims go abroad to work and find non-Muslim wives to convert to their beliefs and so grow the number of Allah followers. I’ve known personally Muslims who did that and who explained to me what they’re doing.

    So, I don’t think this is about minorities starting a revolution. It’s the same culture using different means to achieve the same goal.

  • Lynn David

    I think when you speak of Islam, you can go all over the place with the religion. Being a radical in Islam might mean you are seeking a more democratic form of government in a state (like Saudi Arabia). If there is a problem with the religion it is that Islam is stuck in the gnosis of the Koran and some later Hadiths which came about in a short time. By contrast, the Jewish faith and its child, Christianity, came about over a greater period of time representing various human experiences. The Jewish spiritual experience went from an overtly nationalistic one to one less so after the various defeats of the states of Israel and Judah over the years. This culminated in a spiritual viewpoint that broke nearly completely with that of the temporal state (except that, yes, Christians over the intervening millenia have always imbued their governments with their religion).

    But Islam, in a time 600 years hence the birth of Christianity, had at its root conflicts between traders led by Mohammad and those in other towns. Add to that rules of engagement for conficts (fair though they may be), sharia law, and even taxation rules concerning those conquered and you have a religion, which unlike the direction Judaism and Christianity took, ties spirituality to a temporal state.

  • David Blakeslee

    Add to that rules of engagement for conficts (fair though they may be), sharia law, and even taxation rules concerning those conquered and you have a religion, which unlike the direction Judaism and Christianity took, ties spirituality to a temporal state.

    That is a very light touch on a very oppressive and violent past.

  • David Blakeslee

    If calling millions of your neighbors “bigots,” an application of loving them? Seeking to understand them? Is it an act “tolerance?”

    Nope.

    I have no idea how many people in the US actually hate Muslims, or are terrified of their religion or are suspicious of their motives, or just don’t want a 100 million dollar mosque near ground zero.

    Bigot! “you” cry; it is an effective form of stifling stimulation and thoughtful debate.

    In a moment “you” feel superior and “your” neighbors are stunned an confused. In the quiet space, “your” moral superiority swells as “you” imagine the terrifying mob, of “your” own creation, that “you” have silenced.

    It is all so much self-stimulation for self=gratification.

    Yell it again, “Bigot.” Ahhh…

    The same is true of Fischer…

    Can’t you see how many mosques are built, how many Muslims are very safe, how much effort we have successfully made after 911 to protect Muslims from from misplaced retribution?

    That is a tremendous act of will for a culture and a nation, and I am proud to be a part of it.

    It is more than an act of tolerance…it is the ability to resist a terrifyingly “normal” and dangerous urge.

    …and hundreds of millions of Americans have done it for nearly a decade!

    Proud of my flawed, but very good neighbors.

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Aug 24, 2010 at 10:44 am

    “If calling millions of your neighbors “bigots,” an application of loving them? Seeking to understand them? Is it an act “tolerance?””

    I wasn’t calling millions of americans bigots. I said millions of americans need to learn a great deal about the islamic faith and muslims in general.

    Nor did I say everyone opposed to the islamic center was a bigot. What I said was I see a great deal of bigotry in the comments against the center.

    In the future David, if you are unclear what I am referring to, you can simply ask me to clarify.

    “That is a tremendous act of will for a culture and a nation, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

    You mean when the government started rounding up muslims by the 1000s in the weeks after 9/11? Are you saying because americans didn’t start burning down every mosque or assaulting/killing every muslim you are proud of the restraint? Keep in mind there were many assaults on muslims after 9/11 (and some Siks because there were some morons out there that didn’t know the difference). You seem to think we should be proud that there weren’t more attacks. I think there should have been greater outrage about the ones that did happen.

  • Evan

    LD,

    I would put things in context first. Religions are all answers to the same major problems. A species like ours needs mental constructs complex enough to keep together large communities in obeyance of rules of conduct and with a sense of purpose. So they served an important evolutionary purpose until now.

    The fact that there are differences between religions reflects the fact that different communities found different ways to address the same underlying problems which trouble the human race. And if one culture’s fief will challenge another religion’s fief on certain rules, which were meant to keep instincts under control and thus maintain social cohesion and order within their communities, they will get head to head.

    Islam’s problem with the West is that the West, which they think is decadent, is knocking on Islam’s doors via globalism. Islam is basically an anti-modern culture, with a worldview which was developed during their medieval time. They don’t want to yield to secularism like the West, because they think they will end up similarly dissolute. It seems to me that many folks in the West would like to gently push them towards modernisation, by allowing equal gender opportunities, some degree of human rights…, using politico-economic incentives. I think some fractions from Islam perceive this as an intrusion into their world, so they react with a reverse force, that of radicalisation.

    Discussing this in terms of good and bad is pointless in my view, because what is good for them is thought of as bad for us. Violence is good for the West in some contexts and good for Muslims in other contexts, for different reasons. Strongly differentiated gender roles is good for them, (officially) not so good for us. Building a mosque in a symbolic area in the West is good for them and for your liberals, but bad for those who think you cannot separate Islamic faith from terrorist motivation and their role in 9/11.

    Using rational arguments, like the ones you brought here with each religion’s historical background, is not going to change minds, in my opinion, because the reasons for which they support each view are not based on reason.

    In the long run, I don’t think the West and Muslim culture can really share the same flat. I mean, this is not just one particular difference between them, there are many of them all over the Western world: bans on building mosques in Switzerland, bans on Muslim women wearing the burka in public in France and right-wing anti-Muslim politicians gaining ground in Europe (the Netherlands). What these phenomena show is that West & Islam = not compatible. It’s either one assimilates the other or they keep separate with minimum crosstalk, ie globalisation fades.

  • David Blakeslee

    Keep in mind there were many assaults on muslims after 9/11 (and some Siks because there were some morons out there that didn’t know the difference). You seem to think we should be proud that there weren’t more attacks. I think there should have been greater outrage about the ones that did happen.

    What is “many assaults?” More than usual?

    There are “morons” all over the place…do you think education would help that tiny minority behave better?

    In a context of over 300 million citizens I think it is slanderous to the overwhelming majority of well-functioning well behaved citizens to implement the “outrage” you suggest.

    I think your goal is micromanagement at its best, and is very unlikely to improve anything; and may make things worse.

    In a society that asks the religious to withhold their voices in public square, there are those who bombard us with micromanaged moralisms about the way we think and talk.

  • Lynn David

    David Blakeslee…… That is a very light touch on a very oppressive and violent past.

    You mean I posted that?! I was so tired and was going in and out that I didn’t think I posted that. Light touch past? I was speaking less about history and more about the form Islam took on from its scripture.

    Evan….. The fact that there are differences between religions reflects the fact that different communities found different ways to address the same underlying problems which trouble the human race.

    Yeah, true. So I guess we can ultimately fault Mohammad for not fully understanding the Jewish scriptures he plagarized.

    Islam’s problem with the West is that the West, which they think is decadent, is knocking on Islam’s doors via globalism.

    Have you seen Dubai?

    Islam is basically an anti-modern culture, with a worldview which was developed during their medieval time.

    At one time it wasn’t. It was the most modern, scientific culture prior to 1000 CE. What happened is that those in power saw it slipping away in that time and forced a return to Quranic gnosis.

    Using rational arguments, like the ones you brought here with each religion’s historical background, is not going to change minds, in my opinion, because the reasons for which they support each view are not based on reason.

    Huh? What I brought up in my last post is why I see Islam as a spiritually inept religion. One that lacks what any rellgion should embody – tolerance.

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Aug 24, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    “What is “many assaults?” More than usual?”

    Yes, significantly more than usual. Are you saying you don’t believe there was significant increase in anti-muslim assaults after 9/11?

    “do you think education would help that tiny minority behave better?”

    No, I don’t, but then I never said that either. I do think education would help millions of americans who know little to nothing about muslims, except for the prejudiced misinformation that came from the so-called “Christian Right” and re-enforced by cable news channels.

    “In a context of over 300 million citizens I think it is slanderous to the overwhelming majority of well-functioning well behaved citizens to implement the “outrage” you suggest.”

    And I think it is reprehensible, that there is more “outrage” over a planned islamic center (and other mosques in the US) than there was about crimes against muslims.

    And I’m not attempting to micromanage anything. I’m merely arguing for the rights of a minority against the whims of a (mostly mis-informed) majority. What is it you are trying to accomplish in this discussion David?

  • Evan

    Lynn David

    I was trying to put things as simple as possible. There’s a lot more to this debate, because Islam itself is divided among different interpretations and legal schools.

    So I guess we can ultimately fault Mohammad for not fully understanding the Jewish scriptures he plagarized.

    I think there was a competition of sectarian groups back then in the region and they were all trying to come up with their own improved version of “the scripture” to guide their communities. So no one could really start from scratch, you had to start from a given tradition and come up with a new spin.

    The fact that he did come up with something different could be because there was a need to adapt scriptures to other circumstances that were prevalent in the region.

    Have you seen Dubai?

    I wasn’t there, but last time I’ve heard of Dubai it was a global business on the brink of financial default. But I tell you what I’ve seen. I’ve seen Arabs driving Rolls Royce cars through the desert and had quite a laugh because there were no roads around, but they rolled like tycoons.

    So Dubai is an oasis that was built using money from the oil-guzzling West. In Arabic tales there is this image of plenty and wealth that the hero finds in an unexpected oasis city. It’s the projection of centuries of poverty in the Arab world that they could finally build using oil money from the West.

    I live in Belgium, a country with a big Arab-Muslim minority. Even if they didn’t become rich here, every man must buy a Mercedes to prove his status of wealth. So, while all the Westerners who have more money than Arabs here buy small, economic cars to show how thoughtfull they are about the environment and spending, Arabs who are poorer have to buy Mercedes because centuries of poverty cannot be erased from their minds. Dubai is part of the same phenomenon. They’re using the thirst for oil in the West to fulfil this oasis fantasy and to fulfil every man’s dream of being a wealthy prince with four wives.

    At one time it wasn’t. It was the most modern, scientific culture prior to 1000 CE. What happened is that those in power saw it slipping away in that time and forced a return to Quranic gnosis.

    Modern times started in Europe with the Northern Italian city-states developing some sort of autonomous local democracy. That never really took place in any part of the Arabic world.

    Huh? What I brought up in my last post is why I see Islam as a spiritually inept religion. One that lacks what any rellgion should embody – tolerance.

    You also said that Mohammed copied Jewish traditions, but apparently he didn’t took the tolerance part.. Tolerance is a Western idea that came into being because of religious conflicts in Europe between dissenting Christian camps. It’s the result of the wars between Catholics and Protestants in Europe, who couldn’t settle their differences of faith so they had to agree on a political solution. BUT, that was a negotiated solution between divisions of the same Christian faith. You could still get burned for being a non-believer. I think the idea of tolerance for atheists came later on, you can find it in Locke’s Letter on tolerance. It was about religion, not the tolerance of today. It surely wasn’t about tolerating women in men’s clothes or gays. So it’s easy today to speak of Islam as not knowing tolerance, compared to the West, because the West is no longer defined based on faith.

  • Lynn David

    Evan… You also said that Mohammed copied Jewish traditions, but apparently he didn’t took the tolerance part..

    I didn’t say he copied Jewish traditions, but plagarized parts of the Bible and put his own spin on it (then his followers call his spun passages correct and the Bible wrong – like when Jesus was born under a tree, or was it inside the tree trunk). Not necessarily tolerance, but what you need to feel (not before a god, but before your neighbor) before you come to tolerance – that is, humility. If anything that is what the later books of the Old Testament were tending. In Jesus, it became somewhat personified. I wouldn’t say tolerance is necessarily a western concept. Polytheistic societies were probably the epitome of tolerance. Though by definition they probably wouldn’t be tolerant of monotheistic religion whose god gave no quarter for other gods – pretty much what happened in Rome concerning early Christianity.

  • Evan

    Polytheistic societies were probably the epitome of tolerance.

    THey had more gods in which they believed – how is that tolerance?

    Sometimes in the past, peoples who built empires had to allow religious practice of other beliefs than their own, for political purposes, to keep the annexed territories calm. That was not polytheism, ofc, although some of the conquered peoples may have been holding polytheist beliefs. The Romans had polytheist beliefs, but that didn’t mean they tolerated other gods in Rome. But they did allow other peoples to practice their sometimes monotheistic faith, like the Jews.

    Early Christians probably preached and practised humility because times were tough. You had to get small or get squashed. When many powers are fighting for territory in the same areas and empires and dominations are crumbling, people are looking for their compass in the world, for security in beliefs which emphasise salvation of the self (possibly in another world). THis is what early Christianism and Stoics had in common: they both witnessed the colapse of the Roman empire. Where to run…, where to get salvation…. Become humble, practice inner strength, salvation of the soul in another world, etc. Nothing to do with active toleration, much to do with becoming indifferent to the folly of the world and seek individual salvation in a confused world, IMO.

    Mohammend’s followers believe they are the last and ultimate version of prophetic monotheistic faith, a improved and updated Christianism, as it were. For this, and other reasons, they don’t think they should budge.

  • ken

    Lynn David# ~ Aug 25, 2010 at 6:53 am

    “I didn’t say he copied Jewish traditions, but plagarized parts of the Bible and put his own spin on it (then his followers call his spun passages correct and the Bible wrong – like when Jesus was born under a tree, or was it inside the tree trunk). ”

    I’m curious as to what you are basing this claim on Lynn. What are your sources of information about islam and mohammed? Do you also believe that Jesus was just a man (albeit very influential one) who put his own spin on the jewish faith?

  • Evan

    THen again, the Roman empire was probably the first case of globalisation. They didn’t care so much about other people’s beliefs as long as they kept it within their homes and out of Rome. They cared about territory, resources and dominance that would help Rome grow bigger and maintain its status as center of the world.

    It was globalisation pushed by military power, followed by economic supply lines and commerce. The Romans looked down on other peoples and their petty beliefs, that’s why they “tolerated” them, they didn’t think they would pose any threat unless they caused political uprising. They weren’t important as much as resources, territory, cheap labour and slaves, populations that could be enrolled in their military.

    Globalisation, economy, military power and beliefs. Many similarities with what happens today, although a very different situation. They didn’t have stock exchanges in Rome as powerful as the one in New York.

  • David Blakeslee

    Ken,

    What is it you are trying to accomplish in this discussion David?

    I am trying to get a man who is prone to rhetorical flourishes, exaggerations and cliches to ground his comments in the context of a tolerant society full of millions of well-behaved people doing the right thing everyday.

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Aug 25, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    “I am trying to get a man who is prone to rhetorical flourishes, exaggerations and cliches to ground his comments in the context of a tolerant society full of millions of well-behaved people doing the right thing everyday.”

    Well, in that you will fail. Because I don’t see the US as a tolerant society. I see a long history of intolerance. Starting back in the colonial days. And I’m reminded of that intolerance every time there is a discussion about a group that doesn’t consist of white christians (and sometimes even then).

    Certainly there are countries that are even less tolerant than the US, however, simply because the US isn’t as bad as the worst, doesn’t make it good. And to be clear David, I’m not saying every man, woman and child in the US is intolerant. I’m saying when you look at the nation’s history, the nation is intolerant.

  • David Blakeslee

    Not surprised…just feels good to push back against you on the thread.

    More for other readers to consider:

    Religious bias

    There were 1,606 hate crime offenses motivated by religious bias in 2008. A breakdown of these offenses shows:

    * 65.7 percent were anti-Jewish.

    * 13.2 percent were anti-other religion.

    * 7.7 percent were anti-Islamic.

    * 4.7 percent were anti-Catholic.

    * 4.2 percent were anti-multiple religions, group.

    * 3.7 percent were anti-Protestant.

    * 0.9 percent were anti-Atheism/Agnosticism/etc. (Based on Table 1.)

    Found here: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2008/incidents.html

    Note the overall number, 1606 in a nation of over 300 million. Some of these are no doubt repeat offenders. Such a tiny group.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Well… there were some other hate crimes tracked, including

    Of the single-bias incidents, 1,617 offenses were committed based on sexual-orientation bias. Of these offenses:

    * 58.6 percent were the result of anti-male homosexual bias.

    * 25.7 percent were motivated by anti-homosexual bias.

    * 12.0 percent were prompted by anti-female homosexual bias.

    * 2.0 percent were the result of anti-heterosexual bias.

    * 1.7 percent were motivated by anti-bisexual bias. (Based on Table 1.)

    I find the 2% anti-heterosexual (I guess around 32) incidents interesting. We don’t talk about them much, but I’m glad to see them acknowledged and represented. I believe that we have to understand that bias and violence are never acceptable and that all people can be victims.

    We all share the burden of opposing hate crimes no matter who commits them.

  • David Blakeslee

    From 2001:

    # Anti-Semitic crimes comprised the majority of religious bias incidents. 1,043 were reported, a slight decrease from 1,119 in 2000. Overall, crimes against Jews and Jewish institutions comprised 10.7% of all the bias-motivated crimes, and 57% of the religious-based crime incidents.

    #

    Anti-black bias was the most prevalent racial motivation, with 2,899 incidents (29.8% of all hate crimes); anti-male homosexual bias was the most common sexual orientation motivation, with 980 incidents (10.1% of all hate crimes).

    #

    We do not yet know how many of the 2001 reported hate crimes were “backlash incidents” directed at individuals in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. We do know that the number of reported “anti-Islamic” crimes increased from 28 in 2000 to 481 in 2001, which represents an increase of over 1600%. In addition, the number of hate crimes directed at individuals on the basis of their national origin/ethnicity doubled — from 911 in 2000 to 2,098 in 2001.

    Found here: http://www.adl.org/Learn/hate_crimes_laws/HCSA_FBI.asp

    What amazes me the how constant the anti-jewish hate crime numbers are…making up about 60% of all anti-religious hate crimes year after year after year.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Oh, and David, those numbers (all of them) are significantly understated. Not all police departments participate, not all track well, far too many dismiss or downplay OBVIOUS hate crimes and don’t report them. And, sadly, a great many people don’t tell the police; their community may not have a good relationship.

    I’m fairly certain that less-popular minorities fear going to the police lest they magically find that they are at fault. And I’m sure some in the majority (white, Christian, etc.) may be embarrassed.

  • Lynn David

    Evan…. THey had more gods in which they believed – how is that tolerance?

    Not everyone worshipped every god. And in some societies there were household gods which were common to only a few families, here and there. In that respect, ancestral spirit worship in China is at the forefront of tolerance. One only has their own set of ancestors, although villages would share common ancestors as one goes back in time.

    ken….. I’m curious as to what you are basing this claim on Lynn. What are your sources of information about islam and mohammed? Do you also believe that Jesus was just a man (albeit very influential one) who put his own spin on the jewish faith?

    There are any number of sources concerning Mohammad and the Qur’an from western authors about taking stories from the Bible and simply retelling them. And if you listen to a Muslim go on about the differences you will soon learn that they believe the Jews have lied in their Torah and other works. For instance, no prophet in Islam is capable of sin – thus Moses striking the rock thrice to form the spring was a damnable lie by the Jews to besmirch their own ancestor… go figure. As to Jesus…. yes.

    David Blakeslee….. Note the overall number, 1606 in a nation of over 300 million. Some of these are no doubt repeat offenders. Such a tiny group.

    Indeed! I would guess that the larger percentages of those offenses would be against property also. But that is only .00057% of the population among the 1732 victims of religious hate crimes. Compared to the 1672 non-straight victims of hate crimes and at .0167% (based on a population of 10 million non-straights), gay peoples experience hate crimes at a rate nearly 30 times that of people due to their religion. (That’s even 4 times higher than the rate the non-white population [total 100,000,000? & 4105 victims] faces – which is .0041%).

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Aug 25, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    “Note the overall number, 1606 in a nation of over 300 million. Some of these are no doubt repeat offenders. Such a tiny group.”

    So David, you think that as long as someone doesn’t actually do something that rises to the level of a hate crime that means they aren’t intolerant? Rising to the level of a reportable crime is the bar you use to determine intolerance?

  • David Blakeslee

    By 2003 Anti-Islamic Hate crimes are down to 30% of post 911 levels:

    The most recent FBI report on hate crimes, issued last November and covering 2003, found that anti-Islamic crimes remained at the about same level — 149 — as the year before. The FBI report was drawn from information submitted by more than 11,900 law enforcement agencies around the country.

    Found here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7809537/

  • David Blakeslee

    Lynn David and Timothy,

    points well taken…you should see the following legal article which highlights that “per capita” sexual minorities experience hate crimes at an alarming rate compared to nearly all other groups:

    http://www.law.ucla.edu/users/williamsinstitute/publications/HateCrimes.pdf

    That said…we are talking about a Mosque and accusations of bigotry and intolerance.

  • David Blakeslee

    Timothy,

    Oh, and David, those numbers (all of them) are significantly understated. Not all police departments participate, not all track well, far too many dismiss or downplay OBVIOUS hate crimes and don’t report them. And, sadly, a great many people don’t tell the police; their community may not have a good relationship.

    Duh. But we can’t have a fair-minded common discussion unless we use the statistics systems that are available.

    Your observation is used by some to justify further moralizing about what an intolerant nation we are…

    The numbers are small, as currently counted. The vast and overwhelming majority of citizens do not engage either anti-Islamic or anti-homosexual behavior.

    Pretty cool country; especially compared to Islamic countries: for homosexuals and nearly every other religious sect.

  • ken

    Anti-Islamic hate crimes dropped significantly in 2002. down to 155 reported incidents. In 2008 (last year data is available) down to 105 incidents, which is still twice the pre-9/11 reported incidents. It is possible that this increase in 2008 could be due to greater reporting of incidents to the police, ex: through the efforts of muslim support groups encouraging muslms to report such incidents (much the same as how the ADL and other groups encourage jews to report hate-crimes).

    You can get the FBI statistics for various years here:

    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm#hate

  • David Blakeslee

    Ken,

    Now your getting it…105 nationwide. That is a little over 2 incidents per state. Hate crimes against Jews are many times higher….and they never blew up anything in the US and then asked to build a Synagogue in a building damaged by the explosion.

    For your contemplation: http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/08/04/afghanistan.mutilated.girl.update/index.html

    How long would the New York Imam last if he went to Islamic countries and openly rebuked the 7% who apply Sharia law this rigidly?

    What about a cultural center devoted to the misogyny practiced regularly throughout the middle east?

    The small percentage who practice most virulently sway the masses.

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Aug 26, 2010 at 10:06 am

    “Now your getting it…”

    But you are not. Hate crimes are an indication of intolerance towards a group, but it is NOT the measure that determines intolerance (i.e. you are only intolerant if you have committed a hate crime). Reported hate crimes against muslims have more than doubled since prior to 9/11 (admittedly some of that increase may be due to greater reporting or other factors). This fact indicates there is significantly more intolerance of muslims in the US than prior to 9/11.

    “How long would the New York Imam last if he went to Islamic countries and openly rebuked the 7% who apply Sharia law this rigidly?”

    Probably not very long. How does this relate to a discussion of intolerance in the US?

    “What about a cultural center devoted to the misogyny practiced regularly throughout the middle east?”

    I’m not sure I understand the question. Are you trying to imply the center being proposed supports misogyny? If so what are you basing this on?

  • David Blakeslee

    Ken,

    Wishing you well. The facts do not support your assertions. The flaws in the practice of the Muslim faith by a small, but very influential minority are not robustly and repeatedly condemned by the majority…because they fear for their lives.

    That majority will build mosques, but in such a way as to not arouse the ire of the the dangerous minority (perhaps a “crimes against humanity” section). In this regard they are complicit.

    Build the mosque, confront the values and the hypocrisy. Robustly defend yourself against those who imply you are Intolerant or a Bigot.

    Islam, as it is practiced in much of the middle east and outside the United States, is oppressive to women, other religions, and scientific inquiry.

    We criticize Christians here…we can criticize Muslims too.

  • David Blakeslee

    I just had a great idea:

    Lets build a fundamentalist church150 ft from the spot Matthew Shepherd was beaten to death.

    We will put in a section chronicling all the fundamentalist theories about why the murder took place (drug sales gone awry, etc). There will be an education center which will routinely teach why Christianity forbids homosexual behavior. We will bring in psychological professionals from NARTH and Lively to talk about the “roots” of homosexual behavior and it’s political consequences.

    Disgusting idea…can’t you see it the offense has nothing to do with intolerance or bigotry?

    It is the confrontation of hubris…rightly done.

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Aug 26, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    “The facts do not support your assertions.”

    Which assertions are you referring to?

    “The flaws in the practice of the Muslim faith by a small, but very influential minority are not robustly and repeatedly condemned by the majority…because they fear for their lives.”

    I strongly disagree with this statement. Simply because YOU have not heard moderate (and liberal) muslims condemning radicals terrorists, doesn’t mean they haven’t. There have been many muslim condemnations of the 9/11 attacks and other acts of terrorism. Not that this gets much press coverage. The news networks seem to prefer showing the latest bin laden clip rather than showing muslims as rational, peaceful people.

    So rather than claiming muslims have been frightned in to silence, maybe you should be asking why your news sources haven’t been reporting on moderate and liberal muslims.

    “Islam, as it is practiced in much of the middle east and outside the United States, is oppressive to women, other religions, and scientific inquiry.”

    Can you provide a source for this claim (that islam outside the US is oppressive to women and other religions)?

    As to your fundamentalist church example, do you have any evidence that those behind the building of the Islamic center support a fundamentalist interpretation of the Qu’ran?

    “Disgusting idea…can’t you see it the offense has nothing to do with intolerance or bigotry?”

    Yes I do see that. However, until you can show that those building the islamic center are extremists, I say your example doesn’t hold.

    Now lets change your example a bit shall we? Let’s say a christian group where to buy land near where Matthew Sheppard was killed, and planned to build a church, and a community center, maybe even a church school. And then gay activists started saying that putting a christian institution near where Sheppard was killed would be an affront to his memory. And when you ask then why, all they do is talk about Fred Phelps, Scott Lively, Jerry Falwell, Martin Ssempa, Narth, Exodus etc. And they say that this place will be used to instill children with a christian fundamentalist hatred of gays. Whenever you ask the activists why they think this group is like that all they do is quote Martin Ssempa’s condemnation of gays (or Bahati’s saying they should all be killed).

    Do you see how some might consider these gay activists as being ignorant and intolerant of christianity?

  • David Blakeslee

    As a Christian, Ken, I would deeply understand their confusion.

    I would suspend the building of the Center out of compassion.

    I would ask them, “What do you need from me to explicitly address your fears about who you think I am. I can condemn openly Fred Phelps and denounce his cult. I can condemn Scott Lively and his distortion of history, Jerry Falwell…I don’t know, he has made some mistakes, but also made some strides to repair his mistakes, Martin Sempa, I can condemn his anti-homosexual bill.”

    Your analogy breaks down because the Imam involved seeks millions in funding from “Fred Phelps” politicians in the middle east. Your analogy breaks down because, Islam, as it is practiced in most countries, is much worse than any form of Christian Dominionism anywhere in the world.

    Your analogy breaks down because you don’t know how stifling fundamentalist Islam is to woman, homosexuals, secularists, other faiths.

    Christianity and Judaism, with all their flaws, has found a way to embrace tolerance and with it democracy and scientific inquiry.

    Moderate Islam is flaccid…it cannot exist without secular democracies encouraging and protecting it. It has to hide in Muslim countries…just like Christianity and Judaism does.

    Egypt is the best the Muslim world has to offer…it is no democracy, and has been intimidated by a small minority of fundamentalists away from his libertine strivings under Sadat.

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Aug 26, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    “Your analogy breaks down because the Imam involved seeks millions in funding from “Fred Phelps” politicians in the middle east.”

    Who are these “Fred Phelps” politicians? And where did you get your information on them?

    “our analogy breaks down because, Islam, as it is practiced in most countries, is much worse than any form of Christian Dominionism anywhere in the world.”

    Again David, what is your source for this claim?

    “Your analogy breaks down because you don’t know how stifling fundamentalist Islam is to woman, homosexuals, secularists, other faiths.”

    I’m well aware of how stiflling fundamentalist Islam can be. Almost as stifling as fundamentalist christianity is in Uganda is on gays.

    “Egypt is the best the Muslim world has to offer…it is no democracy, and has been intimidated by a small minority of fundamentalists away from his libertine strivings under Sadat”

    What percentage of all muslims world-wide are in the middle east David? What percentage of muslims world-wide are the fundamentalists that you describe?

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Duh. But we can’t have a fair-minded common discussion unless we use the statistics systems that are available.

    True, but let’s keep in mind that they are an understatement.

    Your observation is used by some to justify further moralizing about what an intolerant nation we are…

    Not me. I think the US is less tolerant than some and far more tolerant than others. And it all depends on how you define “tolerant”. Some countries are more welcoming and inclusive of some specific minority groups, but at the same time do not have free speech guarantees.

    Over all, I prefer the US to the ones I know about.

    The numbers are small, as currently counted. The vast and overwhelming majority of citizens do not engage either anti-Islamic or anti-homosexual behavior.

    Yes. And that is wonderful.

    Pretty cool country; especially compared to Islamic countries: for homosexuals and nearly every other religious sect.

    Yep. We agree on that.

  • David Blakeslee

    Tried to walk in the analogy you created, Ken. Very unrewarding.

  • David Blakeslee

    Thanks be to Charles Krauthammer:

    And promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.

    Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the Tea Party? Why, racist resentment toward a black president.

    Disgust and alarm with the federal government’s unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism.

    Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.

    Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero? Islamophobia.

    Now we know why the country has become “ungovernable,” last year’s excuse for the Democrats’ failure of governance: Who can possibly govern a nation of racist, nativist, homophobic Islamophobes?

    http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/545172/201008261900/Crying-Bigotry-Last-Refuge-Of-The-Liberal.aspx

  • ken

    Are you going to answer my questions about the claims you made David?

  • David Blakeslee

    Best to you, Ken.

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Aug 26, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    “Best to you, Ken.”

    I take that is a “no”, you aren’t going to provide sources for the claims you made. That’s alright, I have a pretty good idea where you’ve been getting your information.

  • David Blakeslee

    Crying “bigot,” or “racist,” or “homophobe” in the public sphere is sort of like crying “fire” in a crowded movie theatre.

    Accusing others of the simplistic idea of “intolerance” is very similar.

    It just takes a few, to distort the identity of a loving, tolerant and generous nation.

    Just read a great article in Psychology Today, “My Lie.” The author distorted her confused and complex feelings about her relationship with her father into an accusation that he had MOLESTED (simple word) her.

    Her ideas were fueled by vague, melodramatic books, poorly researched, but full of accusations.

    Years later, she realized she was swept up in the hysteria…and she had amends to make. The damage she did was devastating.

    Good people disagree; we don’t need to use the words of bigotry and intolerance…but they are tempting in the face of people who confuse us.

    Ken, you make similarly wild and provocative claims, you make scriptural references in a simplistic and manipulative manner.

    The facts speak for themselves, America is an amazingly diverse and tolerant people…and many of these tolerant people are fundamentalist Christians who are rigorously applying Christ’s greatest commandment: love you neighbor as yourself.

  • David Blakeslee

    Thanks for checking in Timothy…I know we are closer than you once thought.

  • David Blakeslee
  • David Blakeslee

    It is important to note that proselytizing for some Muslim’s is not just about changing the heart, it is about coercisive use of political and legal systems:

    The Imam should be asked, no demanded, to clarify what kind of proselytizing he condones and expressly forbids.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/243536/raufs-dawa-world-trade-center-rubble-andrew-c-mccarthy

  • Mary

    It is important to note that proselytizing for some Muslim’s is not just about changing the heart, it is about coercisive use of political and legal systems:

    As was the goal of many christians not too long ago. Both groups scare me.

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Aug 27, 2010 at 11:27 am

    “Crying “bigot,” or “racist,” or “homophobe” in the public sphere is sort of like crying “fire” in a crowded movie theatre.”

    But what if the movie theater actually is on fire?

    What do you call a person who says they don’t want another person to move into their neighborhood based only on the color of the other person’s skin? Without knowing anything else about that person.

    What do you call someone who says they don’t want others in their neighborhood based only on knowing their nationality? without knowing anything else about them.

    what do you call someone who says they don’t want a couple in their neighborhood based only on knowing they are a same-sex or opposite sex couple?

    What do you call someone who says they don’t want others in their neighborhood based only on knowing their religion, and only that they christian or jewish or buddhist or islamic, not even knowing if they are orthodox, reformist, fundamentalist etc?

    And for the people who do make such judgments, would you describe them as tolerant people?

    “Ken, you make similarly wild and provocative claims, you make scriptural references in a simplistic and manipulative manner.”

    I have made one christian scriptural reference and I suggest you re-read the context of it. Because you have completely mis-characterized why I used it.

    And as far as people on here making “wild and provocative” claims in a “simplistic and manipulative manner” about another’s religion, you sir have far outpaced me on that score.

    “The facts speak for themselves, America is an amazingly diverse and tolerant people…and many of these tolerant people are fundamentalist Christians who are rigorously applying Christ’s greatest commandment: love you neighbor as yourself.”

    Like when they were wiping out the native americans? when they owned slaves? when women where regulated to 2nd class citizenship? when US CITIZENS where locked up for no other reason than being japanese? These (and many others) are hardly examples of “loving your neighbor.” The US has a long and jaded history of ignorance and intolerance. And this fervor over building mosques (and not just the one in NYC) is just another shameful example of that history.

    Now to be clear, I’m not saying there aren’t any decent people in this nation, but there are also a lot of intolerant people as well. And a lot of ignorant sheep who bleat out whatever the likes of Glenn Beck or Al Sharpton tell them to believe.

  • David Blakeslee

    Mary,

    Understood…but I don’t think Christians (in the last 300 years) have differentially taxed other religions, or used the wide array of coercive measures which are allowed under some forms of Islam. You may know that prior to Islam, most of Northern Africa, Turkey and parts of the middle east were strongly Christian. Now only small pockets remain.

    It is possible that Islam has this strong political agenda, much stronger or more overt that Dominionism. That political agenda may be stongly supported by the Koran, and so is difficult for the faithful to ignore. Dominionism is obscure, at best in Christian circles…and cannot be supported by the New Testament.

    I was listening to a moderate American Muslim the other day defending the Imam, she described herself as someone who attends irregularly and that it is not the center of her life….

  • David Blakeslee

    Ken,

    Now to be clear, I’m not saying there aren’t any decent people in this nation, but///

    I have never said you made this accusation.

    Like when they were wiping out the native americans? when they owned slaves? when women where regulated to 2nd class citizenship? when US CITIZENS where locked up for no other reason than being japanese? These (and many others) are hardly examples of “loving your neighbor.” The US has a long and jaded history of ignorance and intolerance. And this fervor over building mosques (and not just the one in NYC) is just another shameful example of that history.

    In your narration of American history you left out the Salem Witch Trials. I think this is instructive of what you are missing generally: That America, like all people, can be lemmings to evil, but they self-correct…which is what is so amazing about this democracy.

    Your examples have you locked into your perceptions of 60 years ago, 100 years ago 150 years ago and so on…

    In that regard you slight millions of citizens and politicians who have first rightly corrected past wrongs, but also who have worked hard to keep those corrections in place and teach them to the next generation.

    Compare the Japanese camps to our reaction to the attacks on 911. This is a mature and loving nation.

  • Mary

    Understood…but I don’t think Christians (in the last 300 years) have differentially taxed other religions, or used the wide array of coercive measures which are allowed under some forms of Islam.

    Really?

  • Timothy Kincaid

    David,

    The facts speak for themselves, America is an amazingly diverse and tolerant people…and many of these tolerant people are fundamentalist Christians who are rigorously applying Christ’s greatest commandment: love you neighbor as yourself.

    America is, indeed, more diverse and tolerant than most nations in history. But that is of no importance, value, or use to those who are the victim of such intolerance as exists.

    I agree that some fundamentalist Christians are rigorously seeking to love their neighbor. Absolutely.

    However, a good many others are seeking to convince themselves that “loving their neighbor” means treating him abominably (so he’ll come to see his sin and repent) and also that other scripture demands that they hate sin, hate hate hate it. So all of the tolerance just melts away. They get to treat their neighbor abominably, and still feel righteous.

    From my personal perspective, I don’t have much use for either the “tolerance” or “love” of most conservative Christians. Because in real practical terms, so many seek to hurt my freedom, dignity, and ability to live my life that they outnumber the ones who do love.

    I’d just rather have nothing to do with them than have to go through the unpleasant experience of being subjected to their idea of “love”.

    But – rant, aside – yes, overall this country is more tolerant than not. And if you are straight, white and Christian then you meet very little intolerance in your daily life.

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Sep 1, 2010 at 8:57 am

    “In your narration of American history you left out the Salem Witch Trials. I think this is instructive of what you are missing generally: That America, like all people, can be lemmings to evil, but they self-correct…which is what is so amazing about this democracy.”

    I left out a great many examples of institutionalized intolerance in this country. I was just giving examples how it hasn’t gone away over time not attempting to write a book. Although you are right I should have mentioned the witch trials, because it’s over 300 years later and the US is still conducting witch hunts.

    “Your examples have you locked into your perceptions of 60 years ago, 100 years ago 150 years ago and so on…”

    My observations are not just from 60 years or so, they are also from last week watching the Islamic center protests, from 10 years ago when the anti-islamic fervor started. I was showing a progression of how the intolerance isn’t going away (“self-correcting”), it is just shifting to new targets. The US always seems to be looking for the next “Goldstein” to hate.

    “Compare the Japanese camps to our reaction to the attacks on 911. This is a mature and loving nation.”

    Okay. lets compare. After Peal Harbor the US rounded up all the Japanese on the west coast and locked them away without trial. After 9/11 the US started rounding up muslims. Some of whom were deported without trial or even the opportunity to contact relatives to let them know what was happening. The US created holding centers (like at Guantanamo Bay) where muslims where held without trial or even the opportunity to defend themselves against the charges (until the US Supreme Court ruled that had to have a hearing) and now 6 to 8 years later some of those people are getting their trials.

    Certainly not exactly the same (the japanese weren’t tortured), but some pretty chilling similarities. I don’t see much “maturity” or “loving” in either situation. Or in the way the islamic religion is being misrepresented today.


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