False gods, acquiescence, and Garland, Texas

stay quiet

I intend for this to be my last posst on Pam Geller and the Garland shootings unless something else happens. Many have said that my motto is “often wrong but never in doubt” but now I am developing some doubts about my position as articulated here: Geller had the right to do what she did, she’s not to blame, but I wouldn’t have done it.

My change of view comes in two parts.

What are my obligations as a Christian in this affair?

Last week when Bill O’Reilly was stealing perfectly good oxygen and bloviating he had this to say:

Rev. [Franklin] Graham reflects the Christian point of view that you don’t demean other people unnecessarily. Jesus would not have sponsored that event.

Reasonable at first blush but then you look deeper. Geller wasn’t demeaning people unless you mean mental deficients who have anger issues and no impulse control. What she was demeaning was the “special snowflake” mindset so prevalent among Muslims that they feel they have a god-given right to have their benighted tomfoolery taken seriously. People who can’t handle being poked fun at have no place in American society and the same can be said of any religion or value system. If Islam truly says, and unlike millions of other people on the internet and at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue I am not an imam, that it is licit to physically attack anyone who ridicules Mohammed, a human being, then the full weight of law enforcement should be brought to bear to eradicate that belief in the same way that we dealt with communism in the first half of the last century.

Then a couple of RedState commenters made a very good point (h/t to indylawyer and NightTwister). Is it true that Jesus would have disapproved of the event? I don’t pretend to be able to establish a mind meld with Jesus Christ in the manner of Bill O’Reilly but the evidence is a lot less than clear cut. As a Trinitarian Christian, you have to start at the nature of Christ Himself. He is God Incarnate. He’s not some mild mannered 1st Century AD 12-step Guru. He is The Word — God — made Flesh. As Islam sees Jesus Christ as something less than that then as a Christian one has to ask: did God lie and did Christ lie or is Islam bull*** on toast? For me, at least, this is a no brainer.

If Islam is false, then how did God deal with false religions? Did he play along or did he actively oppose them? We get a hint in a couple of places. For instance when the prophet Elijah (by the way, go ahead and draw cartoons of Elijah, which Islam also recognizes as a prophet, and you are perfectly safe) challenged the priests of Baal to spiritual combat (1 Kings 18):

25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “There are many of you, so you go first. Choose a bull and prepare it. Pray to your god, but don’t start the fire.”

26 So they took the bull that was given to them and prepared it. They prayed to Baal from morning until noon, shouting “Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound, and no one answered. They danced around the altar they had built.

27 At noon Elijah began to make fun of them. “Pray louder!” he said. “If Baal really is a god, maybe he is thinking, or busy, or traveling! Maybe he is sleeping so you will have to wake him!” 28 The prophets prayed louder, cutting themselves with swords and spears until their blood flowed, which was the way they worshiped. 29 The afternoon passed, and the prophets continued to act like this until it was time for the evening sacrifice. But no voice was heard; Baal did not answer, and no one paid attention.

How did this end? With a group hug and an apology from Elijah for making Baal’s priests all hurty-pants and sandy-crotch because he laughed at them? Hardly.

40 Then Elijah said, “Capture the prophets of Baal! Don’t let any of them run away!” The people captured all the prophets. Then Elijah led them down to the Kishon Valley, where he killed them.

And then there is the nonsense of the Golden Calf.

In fact, old testament prophets made something of a spectator sport of destroying the idols and altars of false gods without consulting with anyone’s feelings. As the actions of these prophets was inspired — by definition — by God it seems that God is not particularly averse to offending people when they worship a false god.

If you are more on the hippy side of the Christian spectrum, consider this. Jesus clearly says that  “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” If so, then do we believe a God who is willing to sacrifice his Son, and a Christ who was willing to undergo His Passion, to save man would be willing to send a large swath of mankind to Hell rather than hurting their feelings. Sounds doubtful.

I don’t pretend to know what Jesus would have done in Garland. But I am fairly sure that he wouldn’t have been outside shooting the place up and he wouldn’t be condemning people for poking fun at a mere man who has been given the attributes of the Deity by his followers.

What about Pam Geller?

I’m not a big fan of Geller. But that really isn’t the point,is it? The point is whether I should support what she did AND why she did it. Mark Steyn has a rather amazing piece at his website on the subject. As most of you know, Steyn was subjected by an extended period of lawfare by Islamists who were determined to break him for speaking the obvious truth.

But Islam is telling you that subject’s closed off. Not long after 9/11, some theatre group in Cincinnati announced a play contrasting a Palestinian suicide bomber and the American Jewish girl she killed. Local Muslims complained, and so the production was immediately canceled – because all the arty types who say we need “artists” with the “courage” to “explore” “transgressive” “ideas” fold like a cheap Bedouin tent when it comes to Islam. The Muslim community complained not because the play was anti-Muslim: au contraire, it was almost laughably pro-Palestinian, and the playwright considered the suicide bomber a far more sensitive sympathetic character than her dead Jewish victim.

But that wasn’t the point: the Muslim leaders didn’t care whether the play was pro- or anti-Islam: for them, Islam is beyond discussion. End of subject. And so it was.

So what kind of novels will PEN members be able to write in such a world?

Can Islam be made to live with the norms of free societies in which it now nests? Can Islam learn – or be forced – to suck it up the way Mormons, Catholics, Jews and everyone else do? If not, free societies will no longer be free. Pam Geller understands that, and has come up with her response. By contrast, Ed Miliband, Irwin Cotler, Francine Prose, Garry Trudeau and the trendy hipster social-media But boys who just canceled Mr Fawstin’s Facebook account* are surrendering our civilization. They may be more sophisticated, more urbane, more amusing dinner-party guests …but in the end they are trading our liberties.

So yes. I support Geller. Not only did she have the right to do what she did. She had an obligation to all of us to demonstrate the true nature monster we are fighting. It is an Islam that incites its adherents to kill opponents, that is silent to or grudgingly in opposition to religious violence, that actively employs the virtues of a pluralistic society in order to prevent its true nature from being known. I’ll leave it to others to decide how large a portion of the Muslim world this description encompasses but it is a helluva lot more than two converts sharing a cheap apartment in Arizona.