December 7, 2015

"White House officials said Sunday that they hoped to enlist the help of Silicon Valley executives to stem the reach of Islamic State propaganda."

"While that seems sensible, the recent attacks in California and Paris should not be used as a pretext to mandate a weakening in encryption technology developed for routine telecommunications."

From a NYT editorial that's mostly complimentary, "President Obama’s Tough, Calming Talk on Terrorism."

That paragraph is squirreled away in the least likely to be read paragraph, #9 out of 11. The preceding paragraph should also be read as a criticism: "The president said nothing during his remarks about improving the administration’s efforts to counter the Islamic State’s highly prodigious propaganda operation...."

Another vaguely negative thing is: "A new Authorization for the Use of Military Force should not be open-ended and must be written with greater specificity than the one that remains in effect, which Congress passed with the explicit purpose of targeting the culprits of the Sept. 11 attacks." (And I agree with the NYT that there needs to be a new authorization, specifically about the fight against ISIS.)

The last 2 paragraphs stress Obama's lecture to Americans that we shouldn't discriminate against Muslims in general, but no mention of what surprised me: his lecture to Muslims that they need to step up and promote a moderate, benevolent interpretation of Islam and actively refute the radical, violent version. In the past, Obama, like Bush, has said that the ISIS ideology just isn't Islam at all. He said:
If we're to succeed in defeating terrorism, we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies rather than push them away through suspicion and hate. That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. It's a real problem that Muslims must confront without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and Al Qaeda promote. To speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.
It's a very unusual thing for the U.S. government to involve itself in choosing which interpretation of religion is the true and correct one. There's no reason to think that the U.S. government is taking the position that Islam is the true religion, so it's odd to contemplate what counts as the true version of a set of beliefs that you can't and won't even say is true. But that's what we seem to be doing. With good reason... but our reason is our own self-interest, so I can't see why our government's view of the matter has any persuasive power. What if during World War II, we tried to fight the Nazis with propaganda that the Nazis didn't have the proper interpretation of German nationalism? 

122 comments:

Temujin said...

At this point, almost no one in America, or anywhere else in the world is listening to the President, and certainly not looking to him for direction on handling Islamic Radicalism. Hell- we're all waiting for him to catch up. The only ones holding their breaths while watching that speech last night were the staffs at NBC and the NY Times.

Did you watch the Prez last night? Did anyone? Were you looking for comfort? Or were you just hoping he finally got it? I would not have hired this man to manage a shoe store (with apologies to shoe store managers).

traditionalguy said...

Contrasting Obama to WWII leaders is hopeless, because Obama and Jarrett want us to loose rather than hurt a peaceful German's feelings.

What if in WWII we had not fought every way possible to beat them to developing The Fusion Bomb, but instead threatened England that the US Air Force would shoot down any British airraids sent to bomb German Nuclear Facilities.

Bill Harshaw said...

During the Cold War the US govt tried to support and promote leftists who weren't communists, giving hidden subsidies to leftist publications and organizations. While political ideology is different than religion, because there's no First Amendment rules, the strategy seems to me to be similar.

tim maguire said...

I don't think your characterization is quite fair. I've been of the opinion for years that this fight is the responsibility of moderate Muslims and that they have failed miserably. In your excerpt, he is not talking about true Islam, he is talking about acceptable Islam and about supporting Imams who prefer acceptable Islam. The Nazi equivalent would be to support the Nazis who espoused an interpretation of German nationalism more in keeping with our interests. And I don't see any problem with that (there were Nazis less nutzies than Hitler, or at least less bold and war-mongering).

lgv said...

Obama has said what hasn't been said before, but needed to be said. He could have been even more forceful or pro-active. The terrorism can only be stopped by Muslims. It is time for the Muslim community to quit turning away and acting surprised. All the bombs that we can include in the carpet won't win the war. It can only be won by Muslims and Muslim governments like Saudi Arabia and other gulf states.

If the Islamic community fears Islamaphobia, then it should get rid of the fear by not looking complicit or even surprised every time this happens.

The "I thought they were just showers" type of meme won't cut it.

Christopher said...

Obama really does operate under the belief that the American people are just one step away from killing any and all Muslims, doesn't he?


As for the speech itself, judging by media reactions from the Left and right this will have no effect except to goose gun sales.

Paco Wové said...

"I can't see why our government's view of the matter has any persuasive power"

Well, exactly. That's what's so exasperating about these continued lectures. I sincerely doubt any Muslim anywhere cares what Obama thinks the one true Islam is. It is as if the Chinese government started lecturing the U.S. on democratic procedures.

Rob said...

In other media reaction to the speech, Scott Pelley on CBS spoke of "closing the loophole" that allows those on the no-fly to purchase guns. That's a loophole? I pondered whether this coukd be explained by Pelley's obeisance to the Democratic talking point du jour or whether it was simple stupidity, but then I realized, why can't it be both?

Michael K said...

Mush from the wimp. This will be a day that Democrats, unless they have a death wish and they might, will start to pull way from Obama and object to his policies.

He is completely out of step but may not realize it.

Trump will go up another 10 or 15% after that speech.

The Drill SGT said...

So he's not trying to hide that the terrorists are Muslim, and he wants nonterrorist Muslims to actively propound a good version of Islam, with the right values. It's "the responsibility of Muslims around the world to root out misguided ideas that lead to radicalization," he says, and "the responsibility of all Americans, of every faith, to reject discrimination" against Muslims, a "betrayal of our values [tjat] plays into the hands of groups like ISIL."

The problem is that Mohammed locked Islam down and threw away the key to version control when he produced the Koran.

A foundational belief of Islam is that the Koran represents the perfect, direct, and last word of Allah. Any deviancy from the Koran's teachings is heresy, and the required punishment is death.

Given that, it's impossible for this outsider to see that there can be an Islamic Reformation.

And impossible for individual Muslims to turn against their radical cousins without turning against the Ummah. Again, Death...


Henry said...

"While that seems sensible, the recent attacks in California and Paris should not be used as a pretext to mandate a weakening in encryption technology developed for routine telecommunications."

This is the same New York Times that thinks that denying constitutional rights to citizens on a secret FBI watchlist is okay. Color me unimpressed by their gravitas.

mezzrow said...

What if during World War II, we tried to fight the Nazis with propaganda that the Nazis didn't have the proper interpretation of German nationalism?

To start with, all my Jewish friends may never have been born. There certainly are lots of possibilities, aren't there? Still, I'd likely never have missed them myself if they'd never existed, so that probably makes it okay by some method of progressive parsing of values from some academic setting the path to the utopian future. I'm probably just suffering from a serious case of false consciousness.

David Begley said...

The current AUMF doesn't cover ISIS?

Sounds like Obama should be impeached for conducting a war without authorization.
Maybe that's his real agenda. Stimulating an impeachment fight.

But seriously, Obama should have vaporized the ISIS oil wells months ago. Who cares about their environment? Insane.

Tank said...

Islam has a history. It is not a benevolent history. Islam and Sharia are simply not compatible with Western Civilization. Muslims should live in one of the 50 Islamic countries, not the US. I wish them well in one of their own countries. Let them cover up their women, stone infidels to death, mutilate their women's genitals, throw gay men off roof tops, baby fuck their daughters and do whatever else they like - in their own Islamic country. The whole "enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies" is ... what else, a con. Con Man.

Sebastian said...

"so it's odd to contemplate what counts as the true version of a set of beliefs that you can't and won't even say is true."

Not odd if you assume W and O are PC leaders deathly afraid of offending the Other. That's how we got the "War on Terror" in the first place. Instead of saying: y'all need to change or we'll make you, you say: will you please, pretty please adopt the true version of your Religion of Peace? Our Coexist bumper stickers need a C. Please?

"but our reason is our own self-interest, so I can't see why our government's view of the matter has any persuasive power" -- well, of course not. We have other means of "persuasion," of course -- used to, anyway.

"What if during World War II, we tried to fight the Nazis with propaganda that the Nazis didn't have the proper interpretation of German nationalism?" Yeah, good point. "Can't y'all be nice nationalists?" Reductio ad absurdum of O's pleading. For some reason, FDR demanded unconditional surrender instead.

pm317 said...

With good reason... but our reason is our own self-interest, so I can't see why our government's view of the matter has any persuasive power. What if during World War II, we tried to fight the Nazis with propaganda that the Nazis didn't have the proper interpretation of German nationalism?

Exactly! The mush English lit national security adviser and his other senior adviser with no strategic national security experience, thought it sounded good. That is all. This WH is run by stupid people and does not exhibit any of the sophistication in their words or deeds that has been quintessentially American. They don't get it.

David Begley said...

When we nuked Japan there was serious, serious damage to the Japanese environment, but the war ended. Thousands of American lives were saved.

Obama doesn't understand his job. His job is to protect America; not the Syrian environment.

Bob Ellison said...

The Today Show is doing a hard-hitting story on Victoria's Secret models and how they come from all kinds of strange places like Namibia.

Ann Althouse said...

"Islam has a history. It is not a benevolent history."

The same can be said of Christianity... or pretty much any religion. We happen to be in an historical period when Islam is the label on the things that are troubling us the most, but to imagine that other religions don't manifest in such an ugly way is sheer delusion.

"Islam and Sharia are simply not compatible with Western Civilization..."

It depends on the interpretation. And ironically, your statement is incompatible with the values you seem to think you're promoting. Also, it's not even pragmatic. Those who are historically and culturally Muslim are mostly going to carry on their religion... in one form or another. Our best interest is in the promotion of a more tolerant, peaceful Islam, which is what Obama is trying to do. I'm only questioning how he can be effective, given that our promotion of our own interest is obvious and few of us are speaking from a position of actually believing the religion is true. It would be helpful, at least, to think that the religion can be consistent with what we think of as good values. You won't even do that. I don't see how you are helping AT ALL. You're doing the opposite!

Carnifex said...

Damn you boyfriend president, for loosing your new car smell!

Now, if you would only realize that there is no fight with ISIS going on. Not from our side of things at least. When you fly 5 sorties a day, and 70% of them are cancelled because of enviromental concerns, then your enemy looses more troops to accidents than you killing him.

And there is no such thing as a moderate muslim. There are muslims that adhere to their book, and there are apostates, who fear the ones that adhere to their book. There is no gray area in this, and to keep pretending that there is is fantasy. A solipsism only a white towered academic could believe in. Down here in the mud, the blood, and the shit...we know better.

Arm the Peshmerga. Kick Turkey out of NATO. And help Putin. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. The muzz taught me that.

Bill said...

You say our government's self-serving interpretation of Islam lacks persuasive power. You are assuming that the moderate and illiberal Muslims are only debating and interacting with each other. They are not. All are fully aware of western values and their hold on much of the world, and many Muslims embrace them fully because they see the appeal of tolerance, respect and dignity (the last one, perhaps, a code word for feminism and its corollaries).

The reason Obama's comments should have persuasive power is because they are correct. I credit for him, belatedly, making the argument in favor of our basic principals as superseding any faith.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Farook, have you noticed anything wrong with your internet?"

"I am trying to upload a cute ISIS Cat photo to our "I Can Haz Jihad" site but it is taking forever."

"That IS a cute cat photo: I especially like the suicide-bomb vest."

"The girls in America, they love this stuff."

"But the internet -- is slow, right?"

"It is slow."

"Do you think it is the Americans?"

"No, Amir, I don't believe so. They could never possibly find our site "I Can Haz Jihad".

"But what if one of the American ISIS girls alerted the authorities?"

"I read their Instagrams: they all just comment on how cute they look in their bikinis."

"We don't allow bikinis in ISIS now, do we?"

"No, but the American Girls do not know that."

"Ha Ha! Big surprise for them!"

"Indeed, Amir, indeed."

"But don't you think the Americans might be monitoring "I Can Haz Jihad"? Is it not possible?"

"They do not monitor "I Can Haz Jihad", nor do they monitor "Jihad We Mean It" or "Dreamy Teen Jihadi" or "Die Infidels Die."

"What about "ISIS Porno XXX"?

"That one they may have found..."

"That is a shame. I find the videos of women masturbating beneath their burkas hot."

"Indeed, Amir, indeed."

"Have the Americans cracked the code of "JTJT" yet?"

"Ha! No -- not HRHR, either."

"We stay one step ahead of them, don't we, Farook?"

"Yes we do, Amir. And we still have the site "Jihadi Grindr" to set up..."


I am Laslo.

Bob Ellison said...

No, the same cannot be said of Christianity.

That's the insane talk of the left, the atheist left that wants to kill all religions, but first of all the ones they find at home.

Jesus was the prince of peace. That's what he taught. He said turn the other cheek.

Just saying "oh, all religions are violent" doesn't make it so.

Islam is violent, and was from the start. It was. Christ was peaceful from the start. He was.

Don't spout shit.

Bob Ellison said...

I'd like to see a discussion here on how Christianity and western civilization coincide. Rule of law, respect for individuals, God-given rights, and so on.

And then let's see how Islam compares.

Don't be stupid.

Mattman26 said...

It's not Muslim, Ann; it's moose-limb. Weren't you listening?

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
"Islam has a history. It is not a benevolent history."

The same can be said of Christianity"

This is inane. Islams history includes every day up to and including today. Now, why don't you give us Christianity's history.

MayBee said...

At any time in history, we could have used the current scare to take away the right to have any semblance of privacy. The founding fathers who rejected that idea saw the threats of their to be just as dangerous as we see our threats.

The idea that companies need to have a way for the US government to peep in whenever they want is deplorable. It's like requiring all citizens to give the government a copy of their house key and alarm code.

Lyle Smith said...

So some Muslim communities in America, specifically Islamist ones (like Wahhabist funded mosques), will have to be discriminated against? We should embrace good Muslims and reject the bad ones? So, like some people have been saying for long time now, we can't stand up to Islamists without discriminating against their corner of the greater Muslim community. I hope this plays out well.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Professor-

Any thoughts on the Constitutionality of denying someone their right to bear arms based on a non-judicial process?

Karen of Texas said...

I think the problem with the "not benevolent" history is that it is, as someone mentioned upthread, "locked down". Christianity had a reformation. Hell, before that, the Christian bible had a "second half" - the New Testament. Islam has no new testament and the odds of a reformation on a large, visible scale are dicey, I think, because of the apostasy/death scenario - practiced by those we label as "radical" Islamists.

John Henry said...

Good to see the Times coming down on the side of strong encryption. Even they get something right occasionally.

There is an argument that strong encryption is speech and a guaranteed Constitutional right. Essentially, we have the right to say anything we want in any language we want to say it in. That includes a synthetic gibberish language that only 2 people, who hold the encryption key, understand. That was the argument made back in the 90s when President Clinton and his pointman AlGore were trying to ban strong, unbreakable, encryption. Wiser heads prevailed.

Ann, has this ever come up in your ConLaw classes?

John Henry

John Henry

Michael K said...

"It is time for the Muslim community to quit turning away and acting surprised. All the bombs that we can include in the carpet won't win the war. It can only be won by Muslims and Muslim governments like Saudi Arabia and other gulf states."

The problem with this is two-fold. Drill Sgt is right about the foundation of Islam.

Second, the Saudi royal family made a bargain with the Wahabbis to support them in return for allowing the Wahabbis to rule Islam. I don't see how they can go back on this bargain because they are, at the same time, engaged in an existential war with Shia Islam.

"The same can be said of Christianity... or pretty much any religion. We happen to be in an historical period when Islam is the label on the things that are troubling us the most, but to imagine that other religions don't manifest in such an ugly way is sheer delusion."

This is a typical atheist's delusion about religion. I am an agnostic but I grew up going to Catholic schools and know quite a bit about Christianity and some about other religions. Aside from the Aztecs, there are no religions I know of with a more violent tradition that Islam.

Certainly the Catholicism of the Inquisition was problematic but it was not based on the founding principle. The founding principle of Christianity was "Turn the Other Cheek."

Buddhism is based on similarly passive acceptance of life,

Hinduism is harder for me to understand but I am unaware of a violent tradition.

Islam began as a raiding and terrorizing tradition of a people who lived in the desert and raided caravans for a living.

John Henry said...

I learned to shoot in the 3rd grade and have never been afraid of guns. On the other hand, I have never been fascinated by them and never had any desire to own any.

I do have a strong desire to have the right to own guns should I choose to. For that reason I've been a member of the NRA off and on for the past 20-30 years. My membership lapsed (again) a couple years ago. Time to renew and I will do so when I get home tonight.

Don't like Obama's 2A policies? Join the NRA or the Gun Owners Association of America.

John Henry

Gahrie said...

What if during World War II, we tried to fight the Nazis with propaganda that the Nazis didn't have the proper interpretation of German nationalism?

What if FDR had lived in Germany while growing up, and had been a member of the Hitler youth?

Lyle Smith said...

Althouse is right. Out of our own self-interests, we are going to have to discriminate against Islamists. Hopefully, in time, they will grow quiet like our white supremacists have. The difficulty will be in sorting out the external threat of Islamism, since it's not just an American problem, but a world-wide, cultural specific problem.

Anonymous said...

"Islam and Sharia are simply not compatible with Western Civilization..."

Obvious to all but them that will not see.

AA: Please list all your favorite Islamic countries in order of modernity, tolerance, etc.

"...Our best interest is in the promotion of a more tolerant, peaceful Islam, which is what Obama is trying to do..."

Our best interest is in the promotion of a more tolerant, peaceful fascism, which is what Obama is trying to do.

What's the difference? As I have repeatedly quoted here before, "Communism is a religion disguised as a political system. Islam is a political system disguised as a religion."

Hagar said...

He also said that people on the "no-fly list" should be prevented from legally buying semi-automatic weapons. Presumably bolt-action rifles and revolvers are OK.

And again about the "heavy" weaponry. 223 ammunition is "varmint" rounds, good for shooting prairie dogs, etc., too "light" for deer hunting. For the military, the idea is to wound the enemy soldiers rather than kill them. Good theory, assuming you are fighting an enemy that bothers to care for its wounded.

This speech was just thrown together, not by very competent speech writers, and did not say anything much of consequence in any area.

Gahrie said...

"Islam and Sharia are simply not compatible with Western Civilization..."

It depends on the interpretation.


How could a Constitutional law professor make this assertion?

Sharia is entirely incompatible with Western Civilization. Its purpose is to replace Western Civilization.

You could possibly make the argument that Islam can be reformed, but it assumes facts not in evidence over the last 1,400 years....and there is very little effort to do so now even among western Muslims..possibly because attempting to reform Islam always ends up with dead reformers.

PB said...

So, the government demands a sector of our economy participate in something. For free? Or what? Or else? The distinction between this and fascism may be one without a difference. It's a very bad instinct.

If government wants to acquire a product or service, then it can specify, put out for bid, get Congress to authorize the funds and then acquire it. Of course, that's in a society that follows the rules.

John Henry said...

Ann said:

It depends on the interpretation.

Is there any interpretation of any branch of Islam that does not require treatment of non-Muslims as lesser people? Dhimmis is the word, I think.

Is there any interpretation of any branch of Islam that does not require that Dhimmi's have lesser rights than believers? Including special taxes on Dhimmis?

Is there any interpretation of any branch of Islam that does not believe in some type of Sharia law and its imposition on everyone?

Is there any interpretation of any branch of Islam that believes in unfettered freedom of speech as we have in the US? Including the right to make cartoons of Mohammed (PBUH)Or to practice any religion one chooses? Even if one was a Muslim previously.

Is there any interpretation of any branch of Islam that is compatible with our Constitution?

Perhaps you could tell us what branch this is.

John Henry

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
"Islam and Sharia are simply not compatible with Western Civilization..."

It depends on the interpretation."

Really? Give us the interpretation of Sharia that is compatible with America.

CStanley said...

"Islam has a history. It is not a benevolent history."

The same can be said of Christianity... or pretty much any religion. We happen to be in an historical period when Islam is the label on the things that are troubling us the most, but to imagine that other religions don't manifest in such an ugly way is sheer delusion.



You make it sound like it's purely random that the violence now is coming from one particular religion. There are many historical, theological, and structural reasons that have led to the current situation of Islam with a problem of violence and Christianity having risen above it.

mtrobertslaw said...

I wonder if the clueless incompetence of Obama is driving up Trump's polls.

David Begley said...

AA:

The Catholics at Marquette aren't driving over to Madison to cut heads off at Camp Randall Stadium.

We live in the now. And right now Islam is the uncontested leader in beheadings.

Rick said...

It's a very unusual thing for the U.S. government to involve itself in choosing which interpretation of religion is the true and correct one.

Nothing quoted says any interpretation of Islam is "correct" or not. It only notes using Islam to justify violence is incompatible with our society and values.

Muslim leaders keep assuring us it is true, are we wrong to believe them? If not why is it a problem to cite their belief?

Tank said...

@Althouse

Immediately we get the Christians are just as bad BS. We are living in these times. These times do not have marauding Christians doing what Islamists are doing.

Under no interpretation is Islam and Shari compatible with Western Civilization. Althouse has the liberal leftist death wish. What if a large influx of Muslims moved into Madison and started enacting Islamic/Sharia rules and regs? Would that
be compatible? First reg: Women cannot practice law or teach in law schools - violation of rule caries the death penalty - throw Althouse from the roof top. When groups get to be a majority, they VOTE for what they believe in. Look at the surveys of Muslims in the US and the (not) surprisingly large percentages that support terrorist activity here and much large percentages that support enacting Sharia here.

Our best interest is in the promotion of a more tolerant, peaceful Islam...

No, our best bet is to keep America Muslim free to the greatest extent possible. Let them live in one of the 50 Islamic States and leave us alone. I have two daughters. I don't wish them a Sharia future.

CWJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jacksonjay said...

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."
Imam Barack Hussein Obama

Do we have a single case of a no-fly gun buyer being involved in a mass shooting?

Mrs Whatsit said...

"It would be helpful, at least, to think that the religion can be consistent with what we think of as good values."

Is there a way to do that besides fantasy and wishful thinking? I'm serious, Ann. Do you have links to any analyses of Islam that persuasively show the teachings of the Koran can be read to order the faithful to practice peaceful coexistence with those of other faiths and respect different beliefs?

Peter said...

The Islamic world has been dramatically expanding recently, in ways that have not been possible to it for centuries. It is that very expansion that has become increasingly threatening to the non-Islamic world. Although many Muslims may have some concerns about the means used to further that expansion, it seems hardly reasonable to suppose that many would actively oppose the expansion itself, or not be at least conflicted as to the means used to accomplish it.

There's little reason to be overly sanguine about the compatibility of Islam with liberal democratic values, as even moderate Muslim-majority states mostly insist that Islamic law must form the basis for national legal systems. Turkey has been the exemplar of the secular Muslim-majority state, yet (1) it was so due to the relative balance of power between the Islamic and non-Islamic worlds following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and (2) even it appears to be moving in an increasingly Islamist direction.

Considering how high the stakes here are, maintaining some distance between Islam and the rest, by limiting immigration and by increasing surveillance of Muslim organizations both inside and outside the country (within the bounds of constitutional law) would seem only prudent.

The Drill SGT said...

"Islam and Sharia are simply not compatible with Western Civilization..."

It depends on the interpretation. And ironically, your statement is incompatible with the values you seem to think you're promoting


Islam and Sharia is the whole deal. It is a religion plus a political system plus a cultural system. It is not compatible with Western Civ.

The Koran, the perfect word of Allah Explicitly says that.

The world is divided into the House of Peace (e.g. Islam) and the House of War (everybody else, including Western Civ). It is a solemn duty of every Muslim to ensure and enable the defeat of Western Civ, by any and all means. To united the world in the House of Peace, ruled by the Caliph.

Muslims arriving in the US are for the most part 'colonists' not immigrants.

The Drill SGT said...

What "Mrs Whatsit said..."

Gusty Winds said...

It's a very unusual thing for the U.S. government to involve itself in choosing which interpretation of religion is the true and correct one.

During the American Civil War, both sides were Christian communities, and Lincoln and the US Government clearly sided with the abolitionists who were motivated by the interpretation of their faith.

In August of 1941, aboard the HMS Prince of Whales and in signing the Atlantic Charter, Churchill and Roosevelt combined forces in singing "Onward Christian Soldiers". The fascists that had taken over Germany and Italy had polluted the Christian ideology.

In both cases above, one side was in the right, and the consequences had political, religious, and moral implications. And the US Government took a side.

tim maguire said...

Is anybody fooled by the No Fly List garbage? Is there anybody who thinks getting on the list involves a process that requires wrongdoing? Does anybody think it's easy to get off the list no matter how obvious it becomes that that the person was added by mistake?

It's not a serious proposal, it's a tell. The person promoting it does not merit trust or respect.

traditionalguy said...

Hint: The instant fear of Americans that our local Muslims scream about after every terror attack for Allahabad is how we know they are plotting evil deeds here. Jihad is Islam in action. Peace is only Islam resting up and planning the next Jijad attack on Christians.

Obama wants to see Islamics at peace here until they are ready. That mean old Trump wants them all watched.

Gusty Winds said...

In regards to this topic, on the front of the Drudge Report right now is a picture of Obama standing with Hillary! and Valarie Jarrett. Both have their heads covered with a hajib.

Why do these left wing feminists flip the bird at every form of western "patriarchy", but then cover their heads in some intellectual subservice to the more male dominated traditions of Islam?

If Hillary! is elected President is she going to have to wear a hajib in the presence of any Middle Eastern Arab leader?

Bryan C said...

"I'm only questioning how he can be effective, given that our promotion of our own interest is obvious and few of us are speaking from a position of actually believing the religion is true."

There's nothing shameful in arguing from national self-interest. It's foolish to do otherwise, since everyone generally assumes that you're lying to them. In which case they neither believe you nor respect you.

The trick is making sure that other nations appreciate that our self-interest is also their own self-interest. If you want a more tolerant, peaceful Islam then you make sure there are very serious consequences to practicing intolerant, warlike Islam. We benefit, moderate Muslims benefit, civilization benefits. There's nothing to apologize for.

John Henry said...

To expand on what Tank said:

We have a democratic society. Our Constitution puts all sorts of safeties and restraints on that but if a majority decides that it wants to do something, under our Constitution, it can.

There is no reason, other than the common sense of the US people, that the Constitution could not be amended to prevent blasphemy of the Prophet or extra taxes on non-believers, or death to gays, or repeal of tall rights for women, or the reimposition of slavery though this time based on, say, eye color. Or religious belief.

Is there any interpretation of any branch of Islam that permits homosexuality, for example?

John Henry

M Jordan said...

What Obama -- and really, all of liberalism -- has either missed or chosen to be willfully blind of is the fact that America is a Christian nation. To the core. To the bone. Not only is our gun-toting, religion-clutching right wing fully Christian in its worldview, but so too is our knee-jerking, Muslim-defending liberalism a product of Jesus' and Paul's ministries. Read The book of Acts and you'll find the seeds to America in all its complicated glory. Europe too is a Christian continent but not as thoroughly as the U. S. because it lacks the red state version of Jesus' world.

In missing this truth, Obama misses a way to connect with our people. He hectors us like a good Puritan, but without the insight that the Puritan into the man's dark heart. He points the rigid finger of blame at his congregation but somehow never sees he is them as well, and perhaps worse than them. He simply cannot speak to his people because he doesn't really know them and thinks himself superior to them.

gerry said...

The same can be said of Christianity... or pretty much any religion.

Typical nihilistic chic. Just as the definition of marriage is nothing but your own prejudices, eh?

The problem with such nihilism is its failure to recognize the attraction of evil. As Glenn Reynolds aptly stated : "The West doesn't want to admit the appeal of evil, because that would require admitting that evil exists. And if evil exists, then that implies a duty to be good, which they would find onerous and tediously old-fashioned."

John Henry said...

Do we have a single case of a no-fly gun buyer being involved in a mass shooting?

Do we have a single case of a person on the no-fly list being involved in any illegal gun activity? Not just mass shooting but brandishing, wounding, illegal possession or what not.

My understanding is that the total number of cases is zero.

Should Ted Kennedy have had his 2A rights restricted? He was on the no-fly list. OTOH, it would have been fine to have his driving rights denied since that is a statutory privilege and not a constitutional right. Besides, he showed himself incompetent in that area in 1969.

Mary Jo Kopechne was unavailable for comment.

John Henry

TreeJoe said...

I listened to Obama's speech on NPR while driving. I'm going to be one of the rare people who both think it was a poor speech with alot of problems and yet was one of his stronger speeches during his presidency.

A few points: "Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security."

This was, I think, his most outrageous statement as a president, former senator, and someone with a law degree. If people on the "no fly list" are terrorists, as this statement clearly says, then why aren't you rounding them up and arresting them? Has there been a case of someone on the "no-fly" list involved in a mass shooting or act of terror after being on the list? Those are some arguments.

...

Beyond that, it was his best argument against the state of Islam in our country today. He made sound arguments for why we don't alienate 3 million muslims in the country today - because dealing with 5,000 radicalized today with intent to take action is very different than dealing with 50,000 who could more easily be radicalized should we start indicting muslim citizens (among other arguments).

His rationale against boots on the ground was decent - it's a solid argument - but it loses specifically because there is no regional uprising. If you could form a regional or local coalition initiative to both lead the offensive with U.S. support and be responsible for the land and people afterwards, then it would work. But they've spent years trying it and Obama threw away Iraqi trust in the U.S., so even the Iraqis don't want to partner with us to take back their own land. And, frankly, alot of ISIS is Iraqi.

Lastly, I found Obama's use of "Isil" (literally pronounced ice-sil) to be annoying and, I think, wrong-headed. They call themselves the Islamic State. Either call them by the name they call themselves, or call them Daesh to piss in their cheerios, but don't call them "in the levant" when that's not a good description for a new state focused within narrow swaths of two countries and a few other towns while striking out globally.



Seeing Red said...

I believe this was covered a couple of hundred years ago by some of our dead white guys meeting with the Turkish ambassador.

Tim said...

Obama is simply not on America's side.

John Henry said...

Hagar said

For the military, the idea is to wound the enemy soldiers rather than kill them. Good theory, assuming you are fighting an enemy that bothers to care for its wounded.

The theory works either way. In your example, it ties up enemy assets in retrieving and carign for the wounded.

In the case of an army that doesn't care, soldiers who think they may die a lingering death from wounds rather than a quick, painless, death may be somewhat less bold than otherwise.

John Henry

Henry said...

John Henry wrote: Good to see the Times coming down on the side of strong encryption. Even they get something right occasionally.

"Occasionally" they change their minds on their own standards.

The Times was against FBI secret watchlists as well, until Democrats proposed using them against gun buyers.

Humperdink said...

AA said: "Islam has a history. It is not a benevolent history."

The same can be said of Christianity."

Sources and examples please. I cannot believe you uttered this nonsense.

Fernandistein said...

Michael K said...
This is a typical atheist's delusion about religion.


That's a typical weak-minded agnostic's delusion about atheists.

Sure, Christianity isn't violent now, but it sure was - expulsions, torture, slavery, mass murder for hundreds of years.

Michael K said...

"I just got back from Washington, DC and were told by retired secret service that Obama has a Muslim prayer room in the White House. Not sure if this is well known. I had no idea."

Anybody else heard this ? Curious.

Bob Ellison said...

It's hard out here for a pimp.

Peter said...

"Islam has a history. It is not a benevolent history." The same can be said of Christianity... or pretty much any religion."

Well, no: history matters. Christianity was founded when the Roman Empire was hegeomon over the entire Mediterranean world. And so Jesus wisely counselled his followers to "render unto Caesar that which is Ceasar's." And even in the European Middle Ages, religious and secular power retained separate spheres: have you never heard of the investiture controversy?

Whereas Mohammad was Ceasar as well as Prophet, combining the secular and religious authority in one person. Where else among the world's major religions was the founder also an all-powerful warlord? Surely one need not be Christian (or even sympathetic to Christians or Christianity) to understand that Jesus was not a warlord, that he did not lead armies in battle or order captives executed.

Islam is a religion, but it is not just a religion; it is also includes a complete legal system. Islam is a total system that insists Muslims (and eventually all) must be ruled only by Muslims, that dictates non-Muslims submit to Muslims (and the ways in which they must do so) and that all must be brought under Muslim rule by the force of Muslim arms.

Although one might note that Jewish scripture is in some ways as detaled as Sharia, it differs radically from Islamic scripture in that it is obviously intended to apply only to Jews, whereas Islamic law is intended to be universal, and to be brought to non-Muslims by conquest. How can you not see that Islam is at least at least as much ideology as religion? Or seriously recite that reassuring pap, that all religions are essentially the same (even when they are far more than just religions)?

'Islam and Sharia are simply not compatible with Western Civilization...' "It depends on the interpretation. And ironically, your statement is incompatible with the values you seem to think you're promoting. "

It is incompatible only if one assumes Islam is merely a religion and not also a powerful political ideology.

" Our best interest is in the promotion of a more tolerant, peaceful Islam ..." And what has ever made Islam peaceful and tolerant, other than containment? When the borders between the Islamic and non-Islamic world have been secure, then and only then has Islam been peaceful and tolerant; at all other times, these borders have been bloody. As they are today.

When Islam has been in an expansionist mode (as it is today), it has never been peaceful or tolerant. And why should/would it be? If you want a peaceful and tolerant Islam, then you must control its expansion into the non-Islamic world.

Cog said...

Ann Althouse: “The same can be said of Christianity... or pretty much any religion. We happen to be in an historical period when Islam is the label on the things that are troubling us the most…”

However, the fact is, that Islamic terrorism--including beheadings and sexual slavery as practiced by ISIS--can be directly to the the founder of Islam. In 627 Muhammad beheaded 800 peaceful Banu Quraa Jews and enslaved their women and children. Islam has never apologised for Muhammad.

Compare to Catholicism: when the pope authoried the First Crusade in 1095, the Jewish community of Worms Germany was attacked and 800 Jews killed. This crime was not the intention of the Crusade. In response the pope issued a bull or statement to protect Jews (Sicut Judaeis) that was subsequesntly reaffirmed by 16 succeeding popes through the 1400s.

jacksonjay said...

Genius Clock Boy misinterpreted how beautiful it can be living in an Islamic country. He and his family miss Islamaphobic Irving, Texas. Apparently living in this hateful country is better than Qatar. Probably the climate.

Sammy Finkelman said...

During World War II, the United States was against militarism (although that term maybe more applied to Japan, because with Japan it waas basically the only problem)

This was pretty much againste whole idea of German nationalism, or what it stood for.

With Islam there is no desire to argue against a religion, but only against a mutant version of it.

Tim said...

Obama is simply on the other side. Has been since
Columbia years, likely.

Humperdink said...

All the Christian charities, all the Christian missionaries are out there for one reason only - to spread the love of Jesus.

I asked our (white) missionary in Statin Island how he was dealing with the fallout from the Eric Garner situation. His response: "Just show the love of Jesus".

@Fernandinande. I read your Northern Ireland link. No mention of Jesus in the entire post. That's how you know!

Gabriel said...

@Ann: What if during World War II, we tried to fight the Nazis with propaganda that the Nazis didn't have the proper interpretation of German nationalism?

What if, when attacked by a bear, you tried to explain to it that it's not really a carnivore? I imagine the outcome would have been similar.

cubanbob said...

It's a real problem that Muslims must confront without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and Al Qaeda promote. To speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.
It's a very unusual thing for the U.S. government to involve itself in choosing which interpretation of religion is the true and correct one."

If you had stopped right here you would be right; it is strange indeed for the Left to argue separation of Church and State when it comes to Christmas and yet here comes Obama giving us the Official State Doctrine of Islam. Also the we are just as bad argument is old and lame and transparently false. Give the false equivalency argument a rest.

Gabriel said...

@Ann:but to imagine that other religions don't manifest in such an ugly way is sheer delusion.

In the days when Christians were killing lots of people--300 years isn't really all that long ago--they were doing so in violation of their faith, not in fulfillment of it. Humans, being humans, are violent. So of course there have been violent Christians.

You will find nothing in the Gospels that says its okay to kill people of another faith, or kill people for practicing their Christian faith wrongly. You will find no example in the Gospel accounts of Jesus' life that will serve as a model. You will be at most be able to cite snippets out of context as rationalization.

Insofar as Christian have been violent they have been so against the precepts and examples of Christianity.

Most of what goes on in Islamic countries now is what the Quran says to do, and what Mohammed himself did. There are Muslims who live happily in secular democracies at peace with other faiths, and they are working against the precepts and examples of Islam.

And that's a huge difference.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Were you looking for comfort? Or were you just hoping he finally got it?

The latter. And he didn't.

He was apparently not very well briefed on the investigation -- he made 2 mistakes. One the White House felt impelled to correct.

He said it was a holiday party, which is mistake everybody makes - it was all day annual conference cum training session with various presentations that had a break for a banquet.

And he said the female terrorist had originally come to this country on the visa waiver program. (That was what he was modifying. The visa waive program is the policy where eople from many developed countries can come to the United states without having to previously apply for a visa. The new provision would be that if they visited Iraq or Syria, they would have to obtain a visa. How would we know that anyone visited Iraq or Syria? Ask them, of course! There is evidence in someone's passportat least until they get a new one, provided they entered through a standard border crossing, so anyone lying could get caught maybe. But these two did NOT visist either Iraq or Syria or Afghanistan even.)

He obviously was very passive with regard to the investigation and good news for him was if nobody else was involved and he was anxious or had only been told good news: So far no links established to international terrorism and nobody else in this country involved either.

There was no desire to get to the bottom of it but he was quite happy if there was nothing else to find.

DanTheMan said...

Let's ban gun purchases from those suspected terrorists on the no-Fly list.
Theory: A good and sensible idea.
Practice: Lois Lerner in charge of the list.

eric said...

Humperdink said...
AA said: "Islam has a history. It is not a benevolent history."

The same can be said of Christianity."

Sources and examples please. I cannot believe you uttered this nonsense.


I'm going to be generous and say she is confused.

She is saying Christians, like Muslims, have a violent history. It's probably better to say people are violent.

Not that Christ had a violent history or was anything at all like Mohammed.

Any unbiased person can see Islams begginings were much more violent than Christianity's.

Sammy Finkelman said...

A lot of the rest was saying how good a job he had been doing abroad against terrorism, and then came the argument he wanted to make against this idea of saying ISIS is the true Islam. That was the only place he got a little animated.

And in fact is it is not the true Islam. Almost all the people involved are "born-again" Muslims or converts. Tashfeen Malik is a rare second generation believer, and even she probably went further than her father, who converted from Barelvi school of Sunnni Islam to the Deobandi school and stopped attending family weddings after he moved to Saudi Arabia in 1990.

By the way, people in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are hiding things. In saudi Arabia they are trying to deny how much time she spent in the country saying she only visited it in 2008 and 2013, and in Pakistani officials have issued quiet threat to Pakistani (not international) reporters to back off from investigating Tashfeen's Malik's life.

She was regarded as a Saudi girl! She grew up there!

As for Pakistan:

Especially significant would be what she did between the time after she graduated from pharmacy school in 2012 and her meeting and marriage to Syed Rizwan Farook.

There's a one year gap or more between her graduation and the first contact, and two years till their marriage.

She already exhibited signs of terrorist training when, after graduating, she went to her family's hometown of Karor, and smashed her laptop! * when she left, saying she didn't need it any more and taht it contained personal information.

This is tradecraft.

* Last sentence of the last pargraph of a Wall Street Journal article today about her on page A6.

Sammy Finkelman said...

A few points: "Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security."

This was, I think, his most outrageous statement as a president, former senator, and someone with a law degree. If people on the "no fly list" are terrorists, as this statement clearly says, then why aren't you rounding them up and arresting them? Has there been a case of someone on the "no-fly" list involved in a mass shooting or act of terror after being on the list? Those are some arguments.


The argument against it is taht theer are too many people on the no fly list. Then the argument could be: Why do Republicans care more about people being deprived of the right to buy a gun than being deprived of the right to board an airplane?

There are several reason for this.

1) First, we pretend that boarding an airplane is the more dangerous activity because of - 9/11. Except that;s not true. There are al kinds of restructions on what can be taken abaord, and most important the cokcpit door is now locked Maybe too well, at least in Europe. The system of checks and balances in Europe was not as well worked out as in the United States. In the U.S. nobody is ever left alone in a cockpit.

2) Second, the no-fly list doesn't actually prevent anyone from flying, except on international flights coming from other countries. In the United States it just means a more thorough search. So it doesn't cause practical problems for U.s. citizens. But that's kind of like a secret.

Furthermore, anyone who wants to get off the no-fly list can get off it by the simple device or changing his or her name. You were thinking what the TSA does made sense??

A final argument is:

3) If being on the no-fly list also deprived a person of the right to own a gun, more people might be put on it, and more of them would be unjustified.

Barry Dauphin said...

What's the deal with using a podium from the Oval Office instead of the desk? Setting up a podium in front of the desk? I come here not to meet with you but to lecture you. If he does another one, maybe he can put a podium on a platform in front of the desk. The camera could be at ground level so we look up at him through the whole thing.

rehajm said...

"While that seems sensible, the recent attacks in California and Paris should not be used as a pretext to mandate a weakening in encryption technology developed for routine telecommunications."

There's a conflation of ideas here especially when read with the previous sentence:

White House officials said Sunday that they hoped to enlist the help of Silicon Valley executives to stem the reach of Islamic State propaganda.

This morning while everyone's focusing on government's desire to break encryption protocols it sounds as though part of this new strategy has government focused on taking down ISIS websites and real time monitoring of jihadist Facebook posts, which sounds like something along the lines of, 'Hey Zuck, okay of Sergey comes over and embeds his jihadist screed algorithm in your code? Or maybe it's just teaching everybody into use an 'unlike' button.

I don't think I feel safer...

Roger Sweeny said...

Bob Ellison, Jesus also said, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law" (Matthew 10:34,35). Several times the Bible tells of Jesus "consigning to the lake of fire" people who don't agree with him.

It is possible to interpret away the non-peacefulness of these passages. It is possible to interpret away the similar stuff in the Quran. If it were not possible to give very different interpretations of scripture, religions would not change as much as they do. Comparing 1400 Catholicism with 1530 Lutheranism with 2015 Lutheranism is mind-boggling.




lgv said...

"Second, the Saudi royal family made a bargain with the Wahabbis to support them in return for allowing the Wahabbis to rule Islam. I don't see how they can go back on this bargain because they are, at the same time, engaged in an existential war with Shia Islam."

They could, but they won't. The rulers aren't interested in a long term solution. They want a peace that lasts their lifetime, not a lifetime.

"The same can be said of Christianity... or pretty much any religion. We happen to be in an historical period when Islam is the label on the things that are troubling us the most, but to imagine that other religions don't manifest in such an ugly way is sheer delusion."

They are not the same. They each have a book that is the inherent word of God. One advocates conversion by the sword. The other does not. The fact that there were periods when Christians did things in an "ugly way" were not based on scripture, whereas today's Islamist is indeed following the strict interpretation of some parts of the Koran.

Hagar said...

Obama: "Write me a speech for tonight!"
Writer: "About what? You gonna say something?"

I may have been unfair to the White House writers above. You can't make good soup without meat.

Sammy Finkelman said...

The White House issued a correction - I don't know how it is on whitehouse.gov but the correction reported here would render a sentence gibberish or give it an unintended meaning I think.

This is a transcript of the speech:

http://heavy.com/news/2015/12/president-obama-isis-terrorism-san-bernardino-attacks-shooting-speech-full-text-transcript-oval-office-read-terror-december-6-2015-today-tonight/

The second, really really serious mistake was this:

And we constantly examine our strategy to determine when additional steps are needed to get the job done. That’s why I’ve ordered the Departments of State and Homeland Security to review the visa *Waiver program under which the female terrorist in San Bernardino originally came to this country.

The apparent correction was to remove the word Waiver.

The White House issued a statement saying Obama should not have said “visa waiver program” when referring to the way the female San Bernardino shooter entered the country. The correction removes the world waiver from the sentence. She entered on a K-1, or fiancee, visa.

The correction that should be made is to strike out the words "under which the female terrorist in San Bernardino originally came to this country."

The correction that made would mean he would be saying nothing about changes to the Visa waiver program, which was in the news, and instead proposing changes to the procedures for fiance visas.

But just what? It was a genuine marriage.

The way they are going now there was nothing to discover, except maybe her religious and ethical beliefs. Which, if done, probably should apply to every kind of visa.



William said...

Obama has, in the past, spoken out forcefully against those who cling to their guns and religion. While it's true he was speaking about Christians, I see no reason that with education and instruction in our American values, Obama cannot reach a point where he is as judgmental and critical of Muslims as he is of NRA members. Assimilation takes time. He hasn't been here long enough to fully absorb American values.

William said...

Did anyone see the picture of that woman terrorist clearing customs? Holy shit. This is not someone with any interest in sex, drugs, and rock and roll. I don't see much in the way of a "huddled mass yearning to be free"....,.Of course, if I voiced my antipathy towards her I would be accused of Islamophobia and bigotry......Here's a question: Why can I criticize people with Confederate Flag belt buckles and not women who wear unflattering and uncomfortable clothing?.........From what I understand, the Koran mandates that women should dress modestly. All these weird outfits are a matter of custom and tradition and not the word of God. If Muslims wish to show a willingness to compromise with the American way of life, why not start with hijab and veils and scarfs?

Tank said...

Here's the San Bernadino Terrorist's "Daddy" speaking about him and the family in USA Today:

"He said he shared the ideology of al-Baghdadi to create an Islamic state, and he was obsessed with Israel," the father told a reporter in an interview outside the home of this other son, Syed Raheel Farook, in Corona, Calif.

The father said he counseled his son to be patient because, he said, in time political changes in the Middle East will accomplish his desires.
"I kept telling him always: stay calm, be patient, in two years Israel will no longer exist," the elder Farook told the newspaper. "Geopolitics is changing: Russia, China, America too, nobody wants the Jews there."

But Syed Rizwan Farook was not dissuaded, the father said.
The father said his family was destroyed when his son sided against him with his equally religious mother.

"Rizwan was the mama's boy, and she is very religious like him," he said. "Once we had a dispute about the historical figure of Jesus, my son yelled that I was an unbeliever and decided that marriage with my wife had to end."



Who the hell wants these people in our country? The more "moderate" father says not to worry because Israel will be gone in two years and, besides, everyone hates the Jews Jews Jews. Why don't we arrest or deport the entire family before they kill again.

Henry said...

Humperdink wrote: Sources and examples please. I cannot believe you uttered this nonsense.

Suppose we start with the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre, 1572, and broaden our search from there. Moving backward we have the Edict of Explusion in Spain, the multiple crusades, the Christian persecution of paganism under the later Roman Empire. Moving forward, we witch trials, the entire missionary-driven apparatus of colonialism, the forcible conversion of indigenous people, religious justifications for slavery and apartheid, and even the Irish troubles.

Currently, Christianity espouses toleration and non-violence. Historically, that is not the case.



Bob Ellison said...

Roger Sweeny, I am mindful of that quote. That's the one people like you always trot out when you want to say Christians are warmongers.

Trot out another one, why don't you. It's getting tired. Muslims are warmongers from the start, and Christians are peaceful from the start.

Just saying it ain't so don't make it so.

Jupiter said...

"What if during World War II, we tried to fight the Nazis with propaganda that the Nazis didn't have the proper interpretation of German nationalism?"

There would be a lot fewer mosques in Europe, is my guess.

At least you are starting to ask the right questions, Althouse. I hope you start getting the tight answers.

Quaestor said...

What if during World War II, we tried to fight the Nazis with propaganda that the Nazis didn't have the proper interpretation of German nationalism?

Wo würde Deutsche jetzt sprechen, und wir würden Juden rösten.

Bob Ellison said...

Henry said, "Currently, Christianity espouses toleration and non-violence. Historically, that is not the case."

This is part of the leftist mantra. Christianity is a religion, and all religions are bad, and have sometimes led to violence. So throw 'em all in a pot and boil 'em.

Don't read them or try to understand them. That's hard!

Just boil 'em.

Rusty said...

What Christianity used to be like 300 years ago isn't relevant to the situation at hand. it's a feeble attempt at moral equivalency. A basic tenet of Islam is to spread the word by violence if need be. The basic tenet of Christianity is to treat your neighbor as you yourself wish to be treated.

William said...

What depresses me the most is not the fact that I'm a loathsome scumbag, but the fact that I'm actually in the top 25%--well 33%--of humanity. A similar observation can be made about Christianity. The historical record of Christianity is not all that inspiring, but it's somewhat better than other religions....,,.The Spanish Inquisition was run by the Dominicans. Over the course of several centuries, they sent only about five thousand heretics to the stake. That's nothing to be proud about, but one notes that enlightened Frenchmen knocked off that many occult monardachists in a good week. One also notes that those same Dominicans were quite militant in their efforts to curb the worst abuses of the Spanish colonists against the Indians in the New World.......Christianity has demonstrably worked as a check on humanity's worst impulses--not all that effectively and not all that consistently--but there are religions with far worse records.

Lyle Smith said...

Rusty,

I don't disagree with you about 300 year old or older atrocities committed by Christians, but the KKK wrap themselves in Christianity, and colonialism had a Christian element to it.

Sammy Finkelman said...

You know this whole idea of countering Islamic propaganda is one thing Bernard Sanders is saying. (Donald Trump also seems to have said this, saying we invented the Internet but they are using it. And that we should be better.)

The best counterpropaganda would be showing the fatwas of 1914 in the original German, and explaining how these ideas continued along till the 1980s

Ann Althouse said...

"What Christianity used to be like 300 years ago isn't relevant to the situation at hand."

It is absolutely relevant to the assertion that I was responding to, which was not about what's happening exactly now, but the substance of the religion in general.

William said...

Perhaps other religions have produced saints like Mother Theresa and St. Francis. But the historical record shows that Christianity produced the abolition movement and the other religions did not.........It seems to me that Marxism has consistently produced leaders like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and those Korean slugs. This poor record has never kept those of the one true faith from believing in Marxism and extolling the virtues of Castro's Cuba......Christians are sometimes hypocritical, but leftists live in a whole different dimension.

Gabriel said...

@Ann:the substance of the religion in general.

You never addressed the "substance" of either religion, you just pointed out that adherents of both have sometimes been violent, Christians in the past and Muslims now.

But that's trite. All people are potentially violent.

But Christians violate the precepts and examples of the founder of their religion by being violent, and Muslims fulfill the precepts and examples of the founder of theirs.

As William F Buckley put it, a man who pushes old women out of the way of oncoming buses, and a man who pushes old women into the way of oncoming buses, are both people who push around old women, but only a fool can't see the big difference.

Etienne said...

The problem with Islam, is that the people who are faithful, live a life of poverty. The religion is a complete failure, as far as providing a comfortable living, doing the things you are most talented at. The people are thieves, with no respect for intellectual property rights. They are like Chinese without pockets.

Since the birth of the religion people have been migrating to places they can actually escape this poverty. But without shedding this religion, they are stuck in a vicious cycle of a shit life.

The only way to succeed, for a Muslim, is to shed the religion. It is a cult that cannot feed or nurture them. It is a dead religion.

The best thing we could do in America is make it illegal to be a Muslim. If you are caught practicing the religion, you should be put on a ship of fools bound for Qatar, and let off at the dock.

DanTheMan said...

Althouse Rule: When comparing the abilities of men and women, women's abilities must always be presented as superior.

New Althouse Rule: When comparing other religions to Islam, the others must be presented as equally violent.

Shorter: Get off your high horse, Christians.

Theranter said...

""I just got back from Washington, DC and were told by retired secret service that Obama has a Muslim prayer room in the White House. Not sure if this is well known. I had no idea." Anybody else heard this ? Curious."

I'm sure there is a Muslim prayer room in the White House, not so sure it is Obama's though. Heck, even Notre Dame has a Muslim prayer room. As do hospitals and airports. Pretty certain there is one at the DOJ too, based on watching the AG's video with the Muslim Advocacy group--the AG's honest surprise was notable upon her seeing, and commenting on, two of her staff in the audience.

Roger Sweeny said...

Bob Ellison, I'm not sure what "people like you" I belong to, and I'm not trying to say that "Christians are warmongers." I'm trying to say that both Christianity and Islam have pro-war statements in their holy scriptures. They also have pro-peace statements. How these statements are interpreted and reconciled changes.

You are absolutely right that Islam began with military conquest. Early Christians, on the other hand, were peaceful. They were a small minority in a large empire. But once Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity, it is impossible to say that Christians are pacifists. There have been violent periods in Christian history, including the Crusades, the various religious wars that followed the Reformation, and much of European colonization. I don't think this means Christianity is inherently pro-war, just that it is not inherently pro-peace.

My daughter says that Christianity "properly understood" is peaceful, "God is Love" etc. She's very smart and knows a lot. But very smart, knowledgeable people calling themselves Christians have said different things in the past. E.g., the acceptance of slavery; can slavery ever be said to be peaceful?, can it ever be squared with the injunction to "love your neighbor"?

I have always found Prince of Peace to be hard to reconcile with, "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26, Matthew 10:37 tells the story with less hate, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.") And I suppose I should trot out Luke 12:51-53, "Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

Roger Sweeny said...

The basic tenet of Christianity is to treat your neighbor as you yourself wish to be treated.

Since there have been lots of times and places where Christian churches accepted slavery, there must have been lots of people calling themselves Christians who didn't accept the basic tenet of their religion.

damikesc said...

The same can be said of Christianity... or pretty much any religion.

Christianity's history, it can be argued, is less bloody than most. The Crusades, after all, were a defensive series of battles, not battles of conquest.

Our best interest is in the promotion of a more tolerant, peaceful Islam, which is what Obama is trying to do.

When do we consider that experiment a failure? We've been trying for decades and Islam is getting worse. There ISN'T a more tolerant, peaceful Islam. There is Islam when Islam is in control and Islam when it is not in control.

It would be helpful, at least, to think that the religion can be consistent with what we think of as good values. You won't even do that. I don't see how you are helping AT ALL. You're doing the opposite!

It would be nice.

But what if it isn't possible?

What if the good just isn't there.

Islam has a long reputation of violence that has been unchanged for centuries. There seems little interest in enough Muslims to change things. The more generations of Muslims live in the West, they get MORE radicalized since we do not have the means of viciously oppressing them as Arab states do.

I'd love for there to be a peaceful Islam. Chamberlain would've loved for there to be a peaceful Nazism. Neither seem to exist.

Daniel Jackson said...

Ah. "The SUBSTANCE (emphasis added) of the religion in general." Interesting you mention this.

In fact, changing the word a bit, brings up the question of REYNOLDS v. United States 98 U.S. (8 Otto.) 145 (1878) in which, I believe, the Court used the distinction between belief and practice to sanction Mormons who felt it was their religious duty to have more than one spouse (a nod to the Broadway show, Paint Your Wagon). Following the words of Thomas Jefferson, the Court felt that religious beliefs and religious ACTIONS are separate, the former subject to constitutional protection while the latter was not.

At issue was the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act (37th United States Congress, Sess. 2., ch. 126, 12 Stat. 501). The Mormon Church, seeking to dispute the law in court, prevailed upon Reynolds, the secretary to the President of the Church, like Scopes, to admit to bigamy, stand trial, and appeal the law. The principal argument being that as a Mormon, it was obligatory to take more than one wife.

The Court said no; religious behaviors ARE sanctionable and fair "game". In short, as others have interpreted the decision, the Government DOES have the right to regulate religious BEHAVIOR deemed unsuited for being part of the civil society of the United States.

This ruling has been used at various times to support attempts to regulate ritual behavior, such as circumcision (as recently as 2011 in San Francisco) and other so-called anti social behaviors. Polygamy is widely practiced throughout the world but in the US it is illegal.

REYNOLDS is a weird case in that it has holes like a sieve. HOWEVER, that said, in the Court's decision there is what has clearly been taken as sarcasm but appears today to anticipatory in some respects:

"The court considered that if polygamy was allowed, someone might eventually argue that human sacrifice was a necessary part of their religion, and "to permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself." The Court believed the First Amendment forbade Congress from legislating against opinion, but allowed it to legislate against action." [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reynolds_v._United_States]

So. There is precedent for Governmental intrusion into religious praxis; supported by the Court. What the applications and limits with respect to a religious praxis of killing and maiming those who do not subscribe to such praxis? It is a slippery slope in both directions.

walter said...

Sounds like hashtag diplomacy and climate talks have limited effect..
Maybe "there's an app for that".

Jupiter said...

Ann Althouse said...
"What Christianity used to be like 300 years ago isn't relevant to the situation at hand."

"It is absolutely relevant to the assertion that I was responding to, which was not about what's happening exactly now, but the substance of the religion in general."

You are correct. The First Amendment was written by men who were deeply concerned by what they knew about what Christianity was like 300 years ago. Having due thought for the horrors of Christian religious wars in Europe, they concluded that the powers they were granting to the government they were creating must never come under the control of religion.

Now we are confronting a religion which insists that any government which is not under its control is illegitimate, and the supporters of such governments are proper targets for lethal violence. You seem to believe, that if we cannot somehow accommodate those who hold to that doctrine within the framework of our society, then our society is not worth preserving. You have been thinking legally for too long. As you may have heard, the Constitution is not a suicide pact. Laws that do not work as planned should be amended. If, in order to form a more perfect union, or merely to hang on to the union we have, we need to add the words "except for Islam" to the First Amendment, well, then, let's call the Constitutional Convention and get on with it.

Gabriel said...

@Roger Sweeney:Since there have been lots of times and places where Christian churches accepted slavery, there must have been lots of people calling themselves Christians who didn't accept the basic tenet of their religion.

Firstly, the Bible assumes that slavery is part of the order of things and has not a word against it. If you have a slave, there are rules for how you should treat your slave. So no, slavery does not violate "the basic tenet" of Christianity--which is not the Golden Rule.

Secondly, yes most Christians do violate their faith most of the time. So do those Muslims who leave in peace with non-subjected non-Muslim neighbors in secular states.

damikesc said...

Most abolitionists --- were Christians.

Jesus didn't have his ministry to take over this world. His ministry involves the next one. He never seemed anxious to try and overthrow governments.

Bob Ellison said...

There's still time to learn from your daughter.

Rusty said...

It is absolutely relevant to the assertion that I was responding to, which was not about what's happening exactly now, but the substance of the religion in general.

The substance is that no matter how you abuse a Christian over their religion you have an excellent chance of no being beheaded. The other one? Not so much.

ken in tx said...

The so-called moderate Muslims are lukewarm, back-sliding, cultural Muslims who just want to go to Mosque and celebrate the holidays they are familiar with, without thinking too much about their religion. Maybe they have a ham sandwich and a beer every once in a while. They are sort of like Episcopalians in their approach to religion. However, as long as they are attending Mosque, they are exposed to the original scriptures and may experience a revival, return to the one true faith, and develop Sudden Jihad Syndrome. Their friends and relatives don't call them out on this because they are ashamed of being the lukewarm Muslim apostates that they are. They know that if they had the courage of their convictions, they would join the Jihad as well.

The upshot of this is that moderate Muslims have no scriptural teaching or religious authority that they can call on to justify their unfaithful behavior. There are other religions like this that come to mind, Reform Judaism and Unitarian-Universalism for example. However, these have not had much influence on the religions from which they sprang. Therefore it is unreasonable to expect moderate Muslims to have much influence on Koran following, Mohammed believing, Jihadi Muslims. They have no more influence than us other infidels, maybe less—consider Salmon Rushdie.

BTW, it is interesting to learn that some Muslims have called themselves Unitarians because they do not accent the concept of the Trinity, as Unitarian-Unilateralists also do not.

SukieTawdry said...

Islam and Sharia are not compatible with Western civilization. It matters not what we think are good values. To the faithful, Koranic values are good values; in fact, they're the only values permissible. And in the Caliphate, there is no rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's. In the Caliphate, there is no secular.

I don't see how a reformation of Islam is possible. What would it be based on? The Koran is the revealed literal word of God. Muhammad is the perfect Muslim. There's not a lot of wiggle room here. Yes, there are differences among Muslim sects, but they are primarily political and stem from who is believed to have been the legitimate First Imam. They share the fundamental Islamic beliefs and articles of faith. To reform Islam, you'll have to start tossing a lot of those beliefs and articles. That would require acknowledging that the Koran is not, in fact, the revealed literal word of God and that the Prophet is not the perfect Muslim. Eventually, you'll reach the point where Islam has no point. Which, of course, would be fine with me.

Mom said...

It's significant that I, and several other people, asked Ann for linked sources for her claims that whether Islam and Sharia are compatible with Western civilization and whether Islam "can be consistent with what we think of as good values" are matters of interpretation. The response? Crickets.

Roger Sweeny said...

There are many, many different traditions in Islam, traditions which often reach opposite conclusions on important issues. There is even a tradition of pacifism (wikipedia has a sketchy article). It is now 1,383 years since the birth of Muhammed. Is Christianity today different than it was 1,383 years after the birth of Jesus? Is it in some ways almost unrecognizable, even though the Bible is exactly the same?