Roy Edroso pretends to laugh at my joke ("Tee hee") and lobs the sarcasm: "Because libs are so cowardly they cannot dispute Muslim articles of faith. Which Savan proves by just having done so."
But Savan did NOT do so in the paragraph that precedes my joke. Savan savaged Americans. First, she said:
Regardless of what the Muslim world may or may not believe, this whole seed fixation is profoundly un-American.In other words: Put the beliefs of Muslims to the side; I want to talk about American values. Then:
It says that genealogy is destiny, that a man is Muslim regardless of what he espouses or believes. It’s all about descent—and nauseatingly close to the “one drop rule” of the post-Reconstruction South. That rule held that if a person had any African or Indian ancestry whatsoever, he or she was classified as “colored” and subject to anti-miscegenation laws, voter disenfranchisement, and segregation at large. At least eighteen states adopted some form of the rule; Virginia’s 1924 law, for instance, was called the Racial Integrity Act.Having purported to limit herself to American values (as opposed to universal truths), she goes through a litany of historical wrongs, committed by Americans, a comfortable and familiar place for readers of The Nation. This is the point at which I asked my question whether she's "paying enough attention the the way she is expressing contempt for Muslim beliefs."
I think she thought that she'd limited her inquiry at that point to American values and American racism. Although some Muslims are Americans and could presumably be swept up into an inquiry about American values, Savan has specifically set aside what Muslims believe. Plus, she's switched to talking about race. What interested me is something I don't think she meant to do but only unwittingly implied.
Did Edroso even understand my point? I deliberately write in an elliptical style sometimes. You have to think a minute to get it, and I don't think Edroso did. The writing may look simple, but there is a challenge in that simplicity that you'd better be sure you see and meet before you decide you've done the easy reading and are now in a fine position to call me stupid.
I'll be heavy-handed so he can rethink his insolent attitude toward me. I think that Savan didn't mean to say that the Muslims are repellent if they believe that a person is a Muslim because his father is a Muslim. She only meant that Americans violate American values if they perceive someone — such as Obama — as Muslim because his father is a Muslim. I would guess that she subscribes to the cultural relativism that accepts Muslims (even American Muslims) viewing their religion as a genetic matter. I don't think she wanted to deal in higher level philosophy about individual freedom and autonomy (which is the subject that I went on to talk about, quoting James Madison).
So, Roy, imagine that an editor at The Nation had responded to Savan's draft with these direct questions: Did you mean to imply that you are disgusted by a Muslim's belief that religion is inborn? Did you mean to say that that Muslim belief is like racism, because it looks like you may have implied that? I think you probably meant to say that Muslims should be judged by Muslim values and that you are leaving that judgment for other Muslims, and that you only mean to say that Americans are judged by American values and that you are all about being very critical of Americans who say that Obama was a Muslim — right?
Do you think Savan would have answered yes or no to those questions? If she answered yes, don't you think the editor would be likely to say: Could you rewrite this to make that really clear? And if she said no and wanted to make that absolutely clear, don't you think that the editor would have killed the piece?