Monday, August 14, 2006

Divided Loyalties

Mark Steyn: “Grant for the sake of argument that these [anti-West, anti-Israel (of course), anti-sanity (well, that’s my editorial comment) BBC etc.] reports are true -- that when the bloodthirsty Zionist warmongers attack all those marvelous Hezbollah social outreach programs it drives British subjects born and bred to plot mass murder against their fellow Britons. What does that mean?

“Here's a clue, from a recent Pew poll that asked: What do you consider yourself first? A citizen of your country or a Muslim?

“In the United Kingdom, 7 percent of Muslims consider themselves British first, 81 percent consider themselves Muslim first.”

Let us pause, and consider. At first reading, that seems quite dangerous and disloyal. But I asked myself the same question, modified. Am I first an American, or first a Christian. The answer has to be, for me, first, Christian. Made me a little uncomfortable. But then I rationalized it, quite sincerely, by realizing that they are the same thing. By which I mean that American values and Christian values are in close harmony. Not so, between British and Moslem values.

Pluralism: a Western concept. It derives both from the roots of earliest Christianity -- insofar as it is possible, live in harmony with all men -- and from the long struggle away from the Medieval perversion of intolerance that brought about the many religious wars of Europe. Islam has intolerance at its core. It must dominate, and there has been no Moslem Enlightenment or Reformation to mollify its adamantine heart.

The danger of being Moslem first and British second is that it means being Moslem only and anti-British. I could be either Christian or American first, and there would be no measurable difference in my conduct -- in my soul perhaps, but.... And the danger of being anti-British, while Moslem, has been made plain in the current news cycle -- something about air safety. Unfair? Yes. Moslem need not mean anti-British. But given that the core values of each are not in harmony, the dissonance must be more than unsettling. We have no problem, in this country, using bigoted religious caricatures in our teledramas and cinematic entertainments. But they must be Christian caricatures: purse-lipped bigots disapproving of dancing and beverages of any description. Our values allow such disrespect and unfairness directed against ourselves. Islam? ... Come to think of it, maybe I wasn’t unfair.

Christian missionaries brought Bibles and hospitals. Moslem missionaries bring shoe bombs and burqas. Unfair? Yes. But that is the mood of the day, and the news of the day. It takes no courage on my part to sit behind my initials and before my anonymous keyboard, loudly trumpeting my criticisms of an alien faith. But the ugly truth is that it would take courage to criticize Islam publicly. And not just social courage, but physical. This fact points out the anti-British, anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Western, anti-civilization, anti-human aspect of Islam as it chooses to present itself, non-anonymously -- except of course for the terrorist masks.

Questions of loyalty are always touchy. Parents avoid it by saying they love their children equally. Hmm. Like Solomon would have divided children equally, I guess. It excludes the idea of merit. There was a simpler time, when the king was the representative of God, so loving one was loving the other. But that was theory, too. The problem is resolved for us, living in freedom, by understanding that our country has no claim on our conscience, only on our behavior.

Islamism would have both. It will have nothing of divided babies -- it wants the whole thing, dead or alive. Not of course schoolbook Islam, which, we are told, is about behavior only. But Islamism isn’t really a religion, anymore than Nazism was a political movement. They are -- I use the present tense advisedly -- excuses. Excuses for what?

Do I really have to say?


No comments: