Some exchanges of viewpoint are just too instructive to ignore. Consider this Ground Zero Mosque situation. A scrambled egg-head academic wrote a strangely reasoned piece in the StarTribune on how intolerance regarding the mosque is hurting our country. What snapped in me was his blaming Christianity for this intolerance and smearing the entire religion as some kind of irresponsible hate group. I’ve become sick of my religion becoming the punching bag for these morons and so I responded to the piece with a criticism of his premises. I reject the entire notion of Christianity at war with Islam. This mosque is a bad idea because a terrorist group with Islamic ties attacked us, US. They didn’t attack the Robert Shuller Crystal Cathedral. They didn’t fly a plane into Trinity Church in Manhattan. They didn’t attempt to kill the congregation at Rick Warren’s Saddleback church. They flew planes into symbols of OUR country and culture, not the Christian religion.
Missing the Point
On 9/11/2001, 19 hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and ostensibly one was slated for the Capitol. None of these were Christian institutions. They were all secular institutions. A violent radical fringe group that was driven by religious philosophy carried out this heinous act. With religious fervor they attacked our most non-religious sites. Most Americans understand this. The Professional Left, of which J. Brian Atwood is part of, does not understand this. He thinks there is some kind of divisive war between Christianity and Islam, as do his Fellow Travellers. Therefore, regardless of the stupidity of putting a grand mosque at a site that was damaged by falling plane debris from that fateful day (which makes it part of Ground Zero) he attacks Christianity. He whines that Christians are intolerant. Chrisitians are pig-headed. They are undermining the ‘no establishment of religion’ clause to the Constitution. J. Brian Atwood belongs to a group of people that would walk through fire and brave a sleet of arrows to stop a public prayer at a public school but suddenly they sure have had a revelation in regards to Islam. The Professional Left has decided that in order to combat Christianity, which has no dog in this fight, they will smear and slander a whole religion with a non-sequitor. They will call anyone who doubts the credentials and motives of a strange and suspicious organization intolerant. Meanwhile, remove Santa Claus from the city square, refuse to say ‘Merry Christmas’, and demonize those who worship quietly in their hearts. After all, it’s just a group of intolerant, hateful Christians, and not faithful adherents to the sharia.
A Collectivist Reply –
re: He thinks there is some kind of divisive war between Christianity and Islam
If there isn’t then why haven’t the Christians and Muslim leaders sat down and talked about this mosque situation? They could have hashed this out months ago! And please answer this question: Are you perfectly fine with a public prayer from a teacher at a public school? What if that teacher wanted the students to pray from the Quran? You are fine with that too?
To which I respond –
My argument is precisely that, since it isn’t a fight between Christians and Muslims, such a thing would not help. If it was a divisive war, such an action would settle the situation. It is a fight between a theocratic rump group and American secularism, not Christianity. Second, my argument is that the Professional Left (Robert Gibbs’ words, not mine) doesn’t care about freedom of worship when it comes to Christians but if an issue can be used against Christianity, they run screaming and flailing their arms in mock indignation. It is the sincerity of the Professional Left, as represented by Mr. Atwood, that I question, not any particular practice.
When I first read the collectivist’s response, I wondered if he’d been reading a different post than mine. No other post spoke of the imaginary divisive war between Islam and Christianity so it had to have been mine. As I tried to explain more clearly in the second post, Christianity wasn’t attacked on 9/11, our country was. I thought that was the entire point of my criticism, yet the collectivist didn’t get it. Then, he throws in some line about teachers preaching the Koran. Huh? I was confused. What the hell was he talking about? I was talking about the hypocrisy of the Left in pretending they gave a rat’s behind about freedom to worship, until it came to bashing Christians. Suddenly, they have a ‘come to Jesus’ moment in regards to religious freedom.
As I went on my weekly marketing run to Target (packed, by the way), I thought about my argument. Did I not explain that Al Quaeda chose its properties carefully. That the World Trade Center was the symbol for our money and capitalist power. That the Pentagon is a symbol of our military might. That the Capitol was a symbol of our democratic republic. That’s when it dawned on me. I’m not usually that slow, but I realized I’d just had a discussion with a collectivist. I wasn’t conversing with a reasonable, rational, sane person who thinks in linear, direct logic. I had put up an argument that didn’t jibe with the collectivist binary thinking. I should know better. But, I reasoned the thinking process is something like this.
To a Marxist, the world is divided into two camps; the bourgeouisie and the proletariat. To a modern Marxist/Socialist/Progressive, the world is divided into two camps as well; rich, white, Christian, straight men and everybody else. From their first college class to their last, every evil and ill known to humankind has come from rich, white, Christian, straight men. They are taught in women’s studies it is men who oppress. They are taught in gender studies classes, that straights oppress. They are taught in Geography and Economics, rich men oppress. They are taught in philosophy classes, Christian men oppress. They are taught in all classes, white people oppress. It is a kind of binary thinking, a mental checklist for deciding what side to take on an issue. If you want to know which side someone is on, you look to their attributes and you’ll find the oppressors.
So, when they approach a subject, they immediately think of the party involved and the attributes they have. In the case of the Ground Zero Mosque, they immediately went to ‘white people’ oppress. That’s why they have been running around tearing their hair out telling everyone who’ll listen that America is racist and bigoted. However, that isn’t flying. Their arguments have fallen on deaf ears because too many other people who are not white are saying the same thing. So, they are infuriated, but not defeated.
This particular writer was then trying a different approach. He was saying that Christians were oppressing Muslims. You see, in the leftist binary thinking model, you are either a Christian or not. Since Muslims are not Christian, it only follows that they are part of collective and therefore must be defended. Never mind that this isn’t a Christian/non-Christian issue. That is irrelevent. They must first decide who is to blame and an argument can follow.
So, rich, white, straight Christian men, and all who are snookered by them, are oppressing Muslims. Since Muslims are non-Christian, it must be Christianity itself that is to blame.
Normal, rational, sane human beings don’t think that way. We heard about the issue, thought about it in a kind of cost/benefit analysis way, and realized the mosque builders should consider moving it from that site to another. There has been no discussion of banning mosques or hunting down Muslims. That’s all hogwash. Reasonable Americans just said, sure you have a right to build a religious institution, just build it somewhere else. If you really want to be an agent of understanding, understand this, it’s hurtful and counter-productive.
But collectivist thinking models don’t quantify harm or qualify situations. They must first identify someone to blame, build an argument or rational for hating them, and then bully everyone else into agreeing. If we don’t agree with their hare-brained reasoning, we must be rich, white, Christian, straight men, or dupes of rich, white, Christian, straight men.
When you realize their simplistic model, more liberal logic becomes understandable, still wrong, but understandable. White cop, black professor, the police acted stupidly. Hispanics cannot be Republicans, because they’re not white. Protestors decrying Democratic policies, they must be hired by rich, white, Christian, straight men. Guy shoots up an army base, must be due to oppression that made him crack. Why do we need universal health care? Those rich, white Christian, straight doctors are robbing us blind. Need to reform the financial industry? Of course, those rich, white, Christian, straight bankers are cheating us.
It all fits, when you think like a collectivist.