In Conservative Religious Victories This Week…

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Godbag kills a woman because he doesn’t think ladies should be involved in politics. Nothing new to see here.

The guy who shot Pakistani human rights advocate Zilla Huma Usman has been implicated in six previous murder cases, but was never convicted because of lack of evidence. If only he were female, he could have been imprisoned, beaten or killed at little more than the word of an upstanding man.

Instead, he was acquitted of killing four sex workers before shooting Usman.

In other godbag-related news, an Alabama man received probation for driving his car into an abortion clinic.

While some wingnuts will go into hysterics over the threat that Islam poses to “Western values” while simultaneously supporting religiously-motivated sexist, homophobic, regressive legislation, at least bed-wetter Dinesh D’Souza is consistent — he can admit that American conservatives and the Taliban have quite a bit in common, and should work together to subjugate women, gays, and other less-than-ideal groups in the name of religion. He blames secularism for pissing off Muslim extremists, and for turning moderate Muslims toward extremism.

For many Western liberals—and even some conservatives—the war on terror is a clash of opposed fundamentalisms: Christian fundamentalism vs. Islamic fundamentalism. So, in this view, Christian and Muslim religious fanatics are once again fighting each other, as they have done in the past.

From this perspective, the best solution is for America to stand up for the principles of secularism and oppose both Muslim fundamentalism and Christian fundamentalism. But in reality secularism is not the solution. Secularism is the problem. It is the West’s agenda of secularism that is alienating traditional Muslims and pushing them toward the radical camp.

Right. Iraqi citizens who have had their country invaded, their homes destroyed, their children slaughtered and their entire lives upended are actually mad because I wear pants and don’t go to church regularly.

Try American dominance, forceful invasions, financial backing of corrupt regimes, bombing the hell out of majority-Muslim countries for decades, interest in oil over human lives, torture, cultural hegemony, and a creeping capitalist economy that puts a McDonald’s in every city and a Pizza Hut next to the pyramids.*

It pisses people off when you kill their children, destroy their countries, force them to evacuate and put them in refugee camps. It pisses people off when you strong-arm other nations to get your way (and to get your oil). It pisses people off when you start preemptive wars across the region in which they live. It pisses people off when you routinely malign their culture, their religion and their way of life as backwards, evil and at odds with modernity. It pisses people off when you wage a religious war against them.

But, yeah, blame the fact that we supposedly don’t rely on religion to justify bigoted legislation and state-sponsored segregation.** Secularism: That’s really the last straw.

Top two stories via Feministing.

*Yes, there is a Pizza Hut next to the pyramids in Egypt. And a KFC.
**Are we talking about the same country here? Last I checked, the U.S. was one of the most religious nations in the world. If secularism was the problem, you’d think Islamic extremists would go after the Swedes or the Danes.


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34 comments for “In Conservative Religious Victories This Week…

  1. February 26, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    The Swedes and Danes, well, they mean well with their evil secularism, but they’re European, and Europe used to be mired in state religions mandating everything in sight, which is why our silly forefathers said hey, maybe we shouldn’t have a state religion, then people will be happy here!

    But that was bad, because it led to black men thinking they were equal with white men and women of all races thinking they were equal with white men.

    And that’s just not a good idea, in the long run, I mean – human rights for every human in the country? That pisses off fundamentalists here and abroad, but the fundies abroad are bad fundies, while the ones here are good fundies.

    It’s very simple, you’ve just got your head in a pot-smoke cloud, your dirty SECULARIST hippie.

    I saw D’Souza on the Colbert Report, and I was like, WTF? the whole damn time. I write down most books featured on TDS and TCR, but that one, I gave a pass to. He was just crazy. It was the first time I’d heard of him, and I couldn’t believe people take him seriously!

    Communists, liberals, jews, blacks, women, those in power need a scapegoat and people after progressive values (change), are the easiest ones available.

  2. February 26, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    “Communists, liberals, jews, blacks, women, those in power need a scapegoat and people after progressive values (change), are the easiest ones available.”

    Should read… the most obvious ones. I fought with the wording of that sentence for so long and went with the wrong version. D’oh!

  3. ako
    February 26, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Secularism, not Christian fundamentalism, is responsible for producing a blowback of Muslim rage.

    So Dinesh D’Souza just sided with Osama Bin Laden against secularism?

    Or does he want to appease the terrorist by sacrificing our freedoms?

  4. February 26, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    There’s a Starbuck’s inside the gates of China’s Forbidden City.

  5. Chris
    February 26, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    Dinesh D’Souza is a sleazy, pathetic windbag. I’ve loathed him for years. I too saw him on the Colbert Report and was disgusted. He’s really just a gentler, more academic version of Ann Coulter. Oh, and since he’s Indian, he can get away with a lot more, on the theory that us guilty lefties will hesitate to unleash fullthroated criticism of a minority.

    I agree, if secularism is the problem, why aren’t the Muslim extremists attacking Europe with full force? Heck, what about Cuba, North Korea, and the PRC? Why aren’t hijacked planes being flown into the Forbidden City? Oh, wait, because they also “hate our freedom.” Since Cuba, North Korea, and the PRC are notably lacking in “freedom” I guess it makes sense for the Muslim extemists to go after us. Hatred of freedom must be a bigger priority than hatred of secularism. But I’m still perplexed as to why Europe isn’t a bigger target. What about Canada? New Zealand, anyone?

    In re Kaitlyn’s comment, I’ve actually semi-seriously entertained a theory for a number of years that paradoxically it was Europe’s long retention of state churches that actually turned the population largely secular, largely due to the alienating and distancing effects of an official state cult. If you get mad at the government, you kind of get mad at the government’s approved cult, too. The priest or minister, rather than being a spiritual advisor, transforms into an agent of the state in many respects. Those who want to climb socially or in the business world or get good government jobs or go into politics flock to the state cult, so that it begins to sag with insincere and uncommitted members. The state cult develops a reputation of stodginess, conservatism, elitism, etc. and so average citizens start to avoid it and only go to church for big functions like weddings, funerals, and baptisms. The church, being an arm of the establishment, opposes progressive changes in law and policy, and since those changes benefit the vast bulk of the citizenry, that vast bulk begins to view the church with contempt, as a supporter and apologist for inequality and repression. There’s more to it than that, and I’m sure the idea isn’t original to me, but that’s it in a nutshell.

    In contrast, here in Amuhruhkuh, none of those factors applied (or only partially and weakly) and the separation of church and state allowed for a flowering of both old and new cults, so that any old renegade preacher could strike off and start his/her own. Religion became a refuge from life’s harsh realities and eventually took on the roles that unions, guilds, and political parties/movements filled in Europe. Our imperfect but still impressive governmental neutrality and separation of church and state has actually served to strengthen religion here and led it have a far greater role in politics than the framers of the Constitution would have been comfortable with. Meanwhile, in old Europe, where churches received the official imprimatur of the state, people stopped caring and going and paying attention. Weird how it worked out, in a way.

  6. Bitter Scribe
    February 26, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Even for Dinesh D’Whoozis, this is strange. It’s like he can’t stand for Christian culture to be blamed, even indirectly, for anything and so must heap blame on secularism.

  7. Henry
    February 26, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    Yup, he’s a jackass, even we know it. Then again I’m not religious, so you know, yay secularism.

    I agree, if secularism is the problem, why aren’t the Muslim extremists attacking Europe with full force? Heck, what about Cuba, North Korea, and the PRC? Why aren’t hijacked planes being flown into the Forbidden City? Oh, wait, because they also “hate our freedom.” Since Cuba, North Korea, and the PRC are notably lacking in “freedom” I guess it makes sense for the Muslim extemists to go after us. Hatred of freedom must be a bigger priority than hatred of secularism. But I’m still perplexed as to why Europe isn’t a bigger target. What about Canada? New Zealand, anyone?

    Well, it’s not as though there hasn’t been any radical Islamic activity in Europe. In any case, the reason we’re the main target is that we’re the strongest adversary, the ones most capable of stifling a radical agenda.

    Of course secularism and “godless” culture are part of their problem, but that isn’t an indictment of secularism. Frankly, I don’t give a fuck why they hate us. Only an idiot would make common cause with Islamic fanatics because they don’t like some aspects of our own culture.

    That’s one thing that’s never made sense to me: Why aren’t more leftists on board with the whole war? As fired up as you all get regarding religious nuts here at home, I’d think this stuff would be right up your collective alley.

  8. kate
    February 27, 2007 at 1:09 am

    Why aren’t more leftists on board with the whole war? As fired up as you all get regarding religious nuts here at home, I’d think this stuff would be right up your collective alley.

    I for one would say because leftie tradition is grounded in deal making a diplomacy which can strengthen bonds and thus strengthen and lift people to better lives. Wars kill people, destroy cultures, destroy communities, bankrupt nations and usually lead to years of brutality in the aftermath.

    That stuff kinda runs counter to all that humanist love and peace stuff us lefties get all excited about.

  9. Henry
    February 27, 2007 at 1:35 am

    One more thing, why shouldn’t egyptians be able to get deep dish pan pizza and fried chicken? I mean. it’s one world, and all that stuff.

    Not really trying to irritate anyone, I just love fried chicken.

  10. February 27, 2007 at 1:42 am

    Last I checked, the U.S. was one of the most religious nations in the world.

    You mean one of the most religious nations in the first world. The world includes a lot of hyper-religious places like India and Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Nigeria and the Philippines and Mexico. On a regional scale, North America is second in its level of secularism only to Europe (including Russia) and Sinitic Asia.

  11. JM
    February 27, 2007 at 4:56 am

    Because some lefties believe that just because you have the biggest weapons, you don’t actually have the right to use them whenever you want. At the very least, an actual reason for all this loss of life is required. (And no, Saddam tried to kill my dad, religion is bad, and even though Iraq is actually pretty secular, it’s not like we can attack one of the theocratic states in the region because they’re either our allies like Saudi Arabia or look on paper like they might have some military strength like Iran, so what’s the diff, does not count).

  12. February 27, 2007 at 7:15 am

    There’s a McDonald’s directly opposite the square from the Pantheon in Rome. It’s easier to find the McDonald’s – there are signs.

  13. February 27, 2007 at 8:34 am

    Get the Impeach W postage stamp at http://cat.dmocrats.org

    a widdle cat will lead them. just take a black ink pen and black out the letters you don’t want to see on the stamp :)

  14. exangelena
    February 27, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Henry – my perspective as the great-granddaughter of nonwhite immigrants who arrived in the US in the early 20th century, on why Muslim immigrants to the US are different from those in Europe.
    1.) US population size and square footage (or mileage) – we’re simply better able to “absorb” immigrants than say, the Netherlands, or even a larger European country like France.
    2.) Since the 1960s, huge numbers of our immigrants have been from Latin America and East Asia. Even most immigrants from the Middle East and South Asia tend to be minority religions: Christian, Jewish, Bahai, Sikh, etc.
    3.) Although this may be somewhat controversial, our greater respect for religious freedom than in Europe. We don’t really have a brand of aggressive leftist secularism that they have in Europe. For example, I read somewhere that John Ashcroft of all people filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of a Muslim girl who was kicked out of school in the Bible belt.
    4.) The US has struggled with issues of racial equality for centuries and has begun to improve, whereas I doubt that small countries where 99% of the population are from the same ethnic group (like in Europe, or even in places like Japan or Korea) has had the same experience. Sure, they usually pay lip service to antiracism, but it’s not like having to go through it themselves.
    5.) The US has an extremely long history of immigration and even if you hate immigrants, it’s sort of a fact of life that not everyone is from the same ethnic group, not everyone will have the same religion as you, not everyone looks like you and not everyone speaks the same language. Nation does not as clearly equal race as it does in Europe.
    I’ve also read commentators say that most Muslim immigrants in the US are wealthier, more successful and less alienated than in Europe, and that it sure would be a shame if we start treating them like crap.

  15. exangelena
    February 27, 2007 at 10:06 am

    Oh yeah, and before a white liberal starts telling me off for it, I do recognize that things in the US aren’t perfect in regards to immigrants and racial issues. But I also recognize that they’re not as bad as conditions in Europe, we haven’t had a bumper crop of homegrown terrorists. Ian Buruma’s “Murder in Amsterdam” is a great book on the topic of Muslim immigrants in Europe.

  16. zuzu
    February 27, 2007 at 10:44 am

    That’s one thing that’s never made sense to me: Why aren’t more leftists on board with the whole war? As fired up as you all get regarding religious nuts here at home, I’d think this stuff would be right up your collective alley.

    Iraq wasn’t a nation run by religious nuts until we turned it into one.

  17. February 27, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Last I checked, the U.S. was one of the most religious nations in the world. If secularism was the problem, you’d think Islamic extremists would go after the Swedes or the Danes.

    No, no it’s ok, you can keep them.

  18. February 27, 2007 at 11:03 am

    exangelena, you do a pretty big mistake in talking about Europe as a whole, instead of the individual countries. There are huge populational and cultural differences between the European countries.

    Although this may be somewhat controversial, our greater respect for religious freedom than in Europe. We don’t really have a brand of aggressive leftist secularism that they have in Europe. For example, I read somewhere that John Ashcroft of all people filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of a Muslim girl who was kicked out of school in the Bible belt.

    Are we talking about the same Europe here? The Europe where quite a few countries have state churches? There is quite a bit of respect for religious freedom in Europe, including freedon from religion, which is something that seems somewhat lacking in the US. And you would never have any European journalist ask a European politician to prove that he is not suppporting the enemy, just because he is a Muslim.

    The US has struggled with issues of racial equality for centuries and has begun to improve, whereas I doubt that small countries where 99% of the population are from the same ethnic group (like in Europe, or even in places like Japan or Korea) has had the same experience. Sure, they usually pay lip service to antiracism, but it’s not like having to go through it themselves.

    I think you need to read up on the ethnic mixture in many European countries, especially England, France and the Netherlands. Of course, since ethnic background is not registered, it’s a little hard to say, but even in countries like Denmark at least 5% of the population have a different ethnic background. It’s obviously much higher in countries that have many citizens from former colonies.

    Oh yeah, and before a white liberal starts telling me off for it, I do recognize that things in the US aren’t perfect in regards to immigrants and racial issues. But I also recognize that they’re not as bad as conditions in Europe, we haven’t had a bumper crop of homegrown terrorists.

    I assume we are talking Muslim terrorists here, because the US certainly have a bumper crop of Christian Identity terrorists. There isn’t many US Muslim terorists though, that’s true.
    Nor do Europe have a bumper crop of homegrown terrorists – there have been some cases, but most of these are first generation immigrants (not exactly ‘homegrown’), and they are a small fringe group among the rather large number of Muslims in Europe.

    It’s also worth noticing that Europe have had a few wars in recent decades – the whole Yugoslavia thing springs to mind – where Muslims have been invovled in one side of the conflict. This spills over into other countries, and takes a long time to go away.

  19. zuzu
    February 27, 2007 at 11:11 am

    Are we talking about the same Europe here? The Europe where quite a few countries have state churches?

    You know, I saw a movie a few months ago about a huge mafia trial in Sicily, and it just blew my mind to see a crucifix hanging on the courtroom wall.

    And yet Italy has no problem telling the Catholic Church to fuck off when they try to influence the laws.

  20. February 27, 2007 at 11:16 am

    And yet Italy has no problem telling the Catholic Church to fuck off when they try to influence the laws.

    Yes, it’s interesting isn’t it?
    In Denmark, the Church has absolutely no influence on politics. Politics on the other hand, have a great deal of influence on the Church.

  21. Bitter Scribe
    February 27, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Don’t forget the homonogizing effect of American popular culture for assimilating second-generation immigrants. Pop culture gets dissed a lot, and deservedly so, but one good thing it does is give Americans a common frame of reference. Thoreau (one of history’s most annoying twerps) said, à propos of a Maine-to-Texas telegraph, that “maybe Maine and Texas have nothing to communicate,” but teenagers from Maine and Texas can bond instantly with a discussion of, say, Britney Spears’s haircut. No matter who their parents are or where they came from.

  22. February 27, 2007 at 11:44 am

    I also think it’s worth considering the fact that most immigrants in Europe are refugees (at least if you ignore intra-EU immigration), while most immigrants to the US are non-refugees.
    Makes a big difference in how easily they will be integrated (I dislike using the word ‘assimilated’ in this context, since it indicates that all should become and think alike, borg-like).

  23. Sniper
    February 27, 2007 at 11:49 am

    On a regional scale, North America is second in its level of secularism only to Europe (including Russia) and Sinitic Asia.

    North American is not a nation. As a Canadian I can tell you that the level of religiosity in the U.S. blows my mind.

  24. Bolo
    February 27, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    Why aren’t more leftists on board with the whole war? As fired up as you all get regarding religious nuts here at home, I’d think this stuff would be right up your collective alley.
    –Henry

    Because this war involves killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people? People like you and me? And your family and friends? You don’t get that?

    But I also recognize that they’re not as bad as conditions in Europe, we haven’t had a bumper crop of homegrown terrorists.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_the_U._S.

    Have fun! Of course, that goes back to 1800, so just look at the more modern era.

    And here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_terrorism_in_the_United_States

    “According to the FBI, however, between the years of 1980 and 2000, 250 of the 335 incidents confirmed as or suspected to be terrorist acts in the United States were carried out by American citizens.”

    Oh no, we don’t have many homegrown terrorists here in the US… not at all.

  25. Bolo
    February 27, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Crap, the first link isn’t working for some reason. Try this one:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_the_United_States

  26. Bolo
    February 27, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Sorry for the triple post…

    I just want to add that I don’t think the “Terrorism in the United States” article is nearly comprehensive enough. I don’t see the Beltway Sniper or Unabomber listed and I know there have been lots of other failed attempts as well. See Orcinus and the SPLC for a more thorough listing.

  27. zuzu
    February 27, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    We got homegrown terrorists, they’re just not of the Muslim variety. Which means that few people will call them what they are.

    As a Canadian I can tell you that the level of religiosity in the U.S. blows my mind.

    And it *is* religiosity, really. Lots of show.

    George Bush doesn’t go to church, but he gets credit for being faithful and religious because he says he is. All the time.

    John Kerry, by all accounts a Mass-going Catholic, gets questioned about his commitment to Jaysus and how religious he really is, because he comes from a tradition where you just don’t talk about God all the time. And when he does talk about God, people criticize him for sounding fake.

  28. Sniper
    February 27, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    And it *is* religiosity, really. Lots of show.

    That may be, but I still had an inner meltdown when I saw candidates for some little local office (assistant clerk or something) questioned about their religion at a public meeting. Weird.

  29. wren
    February 27, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    I am very, very proud of my education, and loved all but about two days of my undergrad experience. But when I got my alumni magazine this month featuring an article by Dinesh D’Souza (’83, if I remember right), a little piece of my soul died.

  30. Henry
    February 27, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    Iraq wasn’t a nation run by religious nuts until we turned it into one.

    So you’ll be ok if/when we start some shit with Iran? Or invade Saudi Arabia? I ask only to see whether it’s the overall conflict you have an issue with, or just the Iraq portion.

    Because this war involves killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people? People like you and me? And your family and friends? You don’t get that?

    All war involves killing people. That’s not really an argument for or against war by itself. To the extent that we kill innocent people, I’d say that our record in this regard is certainly better than any previous major conflict we’ve ever been involved in, with perhaps the exception of wars fought on our own soil, all of which had little to no urban combat. It’s rare you see anyone talk about the injustice of our European campaign, and I’d say we killed way more innocent people then than now.

    I guess my question is: Is there any scenario, barring actual invasion of the U.S., where punitive military action/invasion is permissable?

    Sorry about the whole threadjacking thing.

  31. exangelena
    February 27, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    Hi Kristjan –
    Sorry if I was unclear or had any misconceptions.
    I didn’t mean irreligiousness as an insult and I agree that we need more respect for freedom FROM religion in the US (although there was a Supreme Court decision awhile back that put the right to evangelize over the right to privacy). And I was thinking mostly about European liberals who object to the conservative attitudes towards gays and feminists of Muslim immigrants.
    And in regards to religiosity in the US, we do not have a state church but we have more religious adherents than Europe. Various polls find upwards of 80-90% belief in God in the US, whereas in Europe, there are many countries where a majority of people do not believe in God.
    Not all countries in Europe are super-homogeneous now, but until relatively recently, most of them were close to 100% white. Even with an ethnic mixture in places like the British Isles and Belgium, everyone was white and their ancestors had lived there for millennia. I do not mean to downplay the tragedy of white-on-white ethnic conflict in Europe, but I think that it isn’t equivalent to centuries of enslaving, and then disenfranchising blacks and the genocide of Native Americans.
    As for the whole thing with Christian vs. Muslim terrorists, I thought that the thread started with a discussion of Muslim terrorists. I apologize if I made a faulty assumption.

  32. February 28, 2007 at 2:09 am

    As for the whole thing with Christian vs. Muslim terrorists, I thought that the thread started with a discussion of Muslim terrorists. I apologize if I made a faulty assumption.

    Both a Muslim terrorists and a Christian terrorist was mentioned in the original post, so I don’t think you can say that the thread started with a discussion of Muslim terrorists.

  33. giripriya
    February 28, 2007 at 10:41 am

    re: Pizza Hut next to the pyramids

    This is one thing I like so much about Kathmandu – it has yet to be invaded by the fast food monster. No McD’s, Starbucks, etc. Just local style fast food – buffalo momos(dumplings) and yak-cheese pizza. Yum.

  34. ako
    March 1, 2007 at 11:56 am

    I guess my question is: Is there any scenario, barring actual invasion of the U.S., where punitive military action/invasion is permissable?

    I can’t give a blanket answer, but for me, there’s certain things that would need to be established;

    1. It would have to save lives. War kills people. Invasions kill people. Punitive military action is likely to kill people. In order to justify that, I’d need a strong case for it saving more lives than it cost. This can’t be shown absolutely, but there’s more or less reasonable evidence-based arguments.

    2. There would have to be no better or more effective alternative to accomplish the same thing. It’s hard to definitiely prove that one course of action is the best option, but generally if all other reasonable options were exhausted or shown to be impossible, that would be pretty persuasive. There’s a lot of complicated territory in what’s reasonable, so it’s a bit case-specific.

    3. Military intervention would have to actually accomplish what was intended. There would have to be a reasonable way to get the desired results (or a close approxomation) by sending in an army.

    4. Long term consequences would have to be considered. How will it affect international law? What about diplomacy? Will it created new enemies? Will it set a precedent? What happens to the people we’re invading afterwards? There’s always negative long-term consequences, and sometimes they’re worth it. Sometimes they’re not. They’d need to be considered, accounted for, and preferably minimized or avoided.

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