by Jay Johansen | Dec 2, 2004
I saw a letter-to-the-editor in a local paper (the Dayton Daily News) recently that warned about the danger posed by the Religious Right in America. "We can't allow our churches to become politicized, or allow our government to be turned into a theocracy," the writer warned. "The Taliban and the Islamic fundamentalists are examples of what can happen if we follow that path." You don't have to read that particular paper to hear such warnings: we've heard many such, especially since the 2004 election.
Yes, those religious extremists are all the same. Catholic extremists have hijacked just as many airplanes as Moslems. And we’ve all seen the news stories of innocent children killed by Baptist suicide bombers. Oh wait, that never happened, did it?
You don't trust American Christians because of the atrocities of Islamic terrorists? That's a little like saying that you don’t trust black people after seeing what was done by “other racial extremists” like the Ku Klux Klan. Or that you don't trust American Democrats after seeing what was done by "other political extremists" like the Nazis. I am occasionally embarrassed when an ally does something stupid, but I refuse to take the blame for the crimes committed by my enemies. Especially when they are crimes committed in the process of attacking me.
I’d be more justified in saying that I am afraid of what might be done in the name of fighting Christian extremists, after seeing how many Christians were killed for their faith in ancient Rome, Stalin’s Soviet Union, or in Moslem countries today.
Funny how persecution always seems to start with shrill warnings about the need to “save the country” from a dangerous minority. Are you trying to create a climate of hate against a religious minority?
© 2004 by Jay Johansen
Sondos Jul 23, 2014
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