We have blogged about the curious embrace of Muslims by the hard left, despite their hostility to feminism, abortion, and LGBT rights. Now an article from Religious News Service looks at Muslim’s commitment to the Democratic party, whose progressive wing in particular is courting them.
After describing some cases when Muslim groups removed political material favoring feminism and the LGBT cause that was being distributed, the author raises the question and suggests some answers.
From Jacob Lupfer, What binds Muslims to the Democratic Party?:
How is it that Muslims, who tend to be more socially conservative, have such an easy political affiliation with the Democratic Party? What accounts for Muslims’ ability to accept serious differences in ways that other religious groups often cannot? And is there more tension to this partnership than we know about?
A 2015 Pew survey shows Muslims have a higher intensity of belief and higher frequency of prayer than most Americans. They also showed lower support for a range of progressive values such as women working outside the home, abortion and same-sex marriage. This led Peter Beinart of The Atlantic to conclude, “In their religious devotion and attitudes toward gender and sexuality, American Muslims resemble evangelical Christians and traditional Catholics far more than they resemble secular progressives.”
The author says that one reason might be that Muslims are content with holding to their own convictions and practices without trying to force them on everyone else. Like Christians do.
The problem with that is that it completely ignores the Islamic theology of Sharia law! All people, including non-Muslims, are to be ruled by Islamic law. That is a basic tenet of Islamic belief.
Mr. Lupfer then comes up with a better explanation:
Another explanation is more tribal. In the present political environment, Muslims seem to be offered two stark choices: one party that is ever more hostile to them, and one party that affectionately welcomes them.Perhaps Muslims plant their flag in the Democratic Party coalition not because of shared beliefs about LGBT rights (or the ideal top marginal tax rate), but rather due to a shared embrace of a browner, more pluralistic society. You play for the team that wants you, not the team that hates you.
I think that this explains why Muslims vote for the Democrats. With the immigration issue, Republican-led wars in the Middle East, and the prospect of exerting influence in the progressive world of identity politics, this is clearly in their interest to do so.
But the real question is why Democrats are so accepting of Muslims. If it’s all right for Muslims to oppose abortion, feminism, sexual permissiveness, same-sex marriage, and transgenderism, why are conservative Christians demonized for doing so?
The same question could be raised about much more numerous members of the Democratic base: African Americans, Hispanics, and immigrants in general, all of whom are much more socially conservative on these issues than white people in general, and certainly more so than the white leadership of the Democratic party.
Mr. Lupfer touches on this issue:
But Democrats should not welcome Muslims into the party while requiring them to leave their beliefs about marriage and sexuality at the door.
Some argue that’s exactly what has happened. There is a real concern that accepting Muslims as a minority — for their brownness, as it were — deforms Islam into an ethnic identity that accords with a victim ideology acceptable to the social-justice left.
Isn’t there more than a little condescension when progressives accept Muslims–also African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians–for their “brownness” while ignoring their beliefs? Isn’t this patronizing? Or racist?
Let me pose a different question: Would it be possible for white evangelicals, Catholics, and other conservative Christians to form a coalition with Muslims, Hispanics, Asians, and African-Americans to promote a pro-life, pro-sexual morality agenda?
Photo, “March against Islamophobia, Minneapolis, September 17, 2016” by Fibonacci Blue via Flickr, Creative Commons License