James Leroy Wilson's one-man magazine.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


"Bush Putin has eliminated or co-opted all other centers of political influence. There is a puppet legislature, a weak judiciary, and a neutered press. The Evangelical Russian Orthodox Church has become a tool of the state. Symbols of empire and the Cold War Soviet past, including smearing of dissenters as unpatriotic the anthem, have been restored. And, as in Cold War Soviet times, the leadership is constantly telling the people that they are threatened by foreign enemies— Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Russia Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltic states, the United States—as well as by internal extremists rebels." - The New Yorker

Everywhere I look, we Americans are saying bad things about the extremism, aggression, or human rights abuses of foreign countries. Meanwhile, at least two of the three leading Presidential candidates are war criminals who support an unprovoked invasion and illegal occupation of Iraq - but people are more angry at the third for being an "elitist," as if that's the bigger crime even if it were true. It's like we project onto others the evil that we don't want to see in ourselves.

Another example of this comes from Martin Marty:
William Franklin Graham famously called Islam a wicked and evil religion, but I don't think he called for its extinction through violence, as in war. Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo, a wild politician, did call for the bombing of Mecca to shatter the Muslim center. Now, Parsley—as in Rod Parsley—is the flavor of the month among the controversial clergy being spotlighted in the camps of the three presidential campaigners. Parsley, pastor of Ohio's mega-est megachurch, twelve-thousand-member World Harvest Church in Columbus, calls for "destroying" Islam.

Parsley is most explicit in his well-selling Silent No More and in broadcasts to large and presumably assenting audiences. While Americans know that some who claim Allah would like to destroy Christian civilization, citizens often overlook the tit-for-tat or tat-for-tit (that is, "who started it?") calls for war from militants on both sides. As reported in Mother Jones (March 12), Parsley says there is a war and he wants bigger war, as America can only "fulfill its divine purpose" by seeing to it that Islam, "this false religion, is destroyed." Though he spells out no specific strategy, he writes things like, "We find now we have no choice. The time has come" to destroy "this anti-Christ religion," inspired by demons who spoke to Allah.

Shall some Muslims be spared—the moderates down the street or anywhere else, for example? No: "mainstream believers" in the "1,209 mosques" in America drink from the same well as do the extremists whom all citizens condemn. Screaming that he does not want to be "another screaming voice moving people to extremes," Parsley has plunged into presidential politics in the hope that he will find policies that will help "destroy" or lead to the "destruction" of Islam, the goal of his war.

It seems to be the most militant and bloodthirsty of Christians who are most condemnatory and afraid of Islam for being militant and bloodthirsty.

People on opposite ends of a conflict often have similar personalities and values - only their dogmatic beliefs are different, and it is the dogma that is the source of the conflict.

If liberal and Christian societies face a threat from Islam - whether through mass immigration or terrorism from extremists - this can be mitigated through defensive measures on our borders and coasts, and in immigration laws. But a Holy War against the world's 1 billion Muslims as a means for the United States to fulfill its "divine purpose?" This is the talk of fanatics. The more influence they have, the more understandable that Iran would want to develop nuclear weapons. The Soviet nuclear deterrence kept the craziest anti-communists from getting elected and pushing the button. With neocon advisers and support from people like Parsley, what is to deter a President McCain from all-out war against Islamic states?

And how would we be any better than the terrorists we claim to be fighting?

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