Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Ready, set, outrage. I haven't checked everywhere yet, but I'm sure it's all over the right side of the internet, and Fox.
Obama goes to Turkey and says "We're not at war with Islam."
Side bet: number of times you'll hear or read "weak on terror," "selling out," "giving away the store," "apology," and, of course, "see, we told you he's a Muslim."
Of Islam, as is the case with many things about which I'm only too happy to opine, I'm no scholar. It does seem to have a dim view of women, and Sharia law is damn harsh. As religious extremism goes, radical Islam is as bad as it gets, and then some. But I'm willing to accept that not all Muslims support flying planes into buildings or the wearing of suicide belts or the beating of women. Likewise, I'm aware not all Christians believe that I will burn in hell for all eternity (or if they do, some feel sort of bad about it), nor want to replace our government with a theocracy and turn our classrooms into Sunday school. Many. Not all. I know Christians who are content with their personal relationship with their beliefs and don't feel the need to impose them on anyone else. Likewise, I'm certain many Muslims are the same; maybe even most. Just as some Christians seem able to refrain from stoning their disobedient children to death as called for in the Bible, so, I assume, are many Muslims able to contextualize and ignore certain parts of the Koran.
Indeed the US is not at war with Islam, and I think it's good to point it out. God knows there are plenty of Christians in this country who see the desire for maintaining separation of church and state as some sort of attack on their faith, and we know where that leads. So reminding the world that it's not Islam, per se, but its most radical and dangerous elements with whom we have a problem is a potentially fruitful endeavor in my view. After all, if it's true -- and it is -- that our best hope of fighting terrorists is in gaining cooperation from those who might point them out before they pull the trigger, then dispelling the myth is worth doing.
So. Good for Barack Obama for saying what he said, knowing the vitriol it will engender in some of his countrymen. If it sinks in around the world, we'll be the better for it, even as he takes the predictable and wholly loony crap about it back home.