Eboo Patel (USA Today)—Division vs. unity

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the late 19th century, the forces of religious division in America targeted Catholics. Josiah Strong's book Our Country: Its Possible Future and Present Crisis referred to Catholics as "the alien Romanist" who swore allegiance to the pope instead of the country and rejected core American values such as freedom of the press and religious liberty. The book remained in print for decades and sold nearly 200,000 copies.

In the early 20th century, the forces of religious division in America targeted Jews. Harvard scholar Diana Eck writes, "In the 1930s and early 1940s, hate organizations grew and conspiracy theories about Jewish influence spread like wildfire." In 1939, Father Charles Coughlin's Christian Front filled Madison Square Garden with 20,000 people at a vitriolic anti-Semitic event complete with banners that read: "Stop Jewish Domination of America."

Today, the forces of religious division demonize Muslims....

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

32 Comments
Posted August 30, 2010 at 12:27 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Grandmother wrote:

Sorry, Islam, and the Koran (am I supposed to put “holy” before that?), is not just a religion, and everyone with half a brain knows it.
It is also a form of government, with a mandate to take over the entire human race, and force them, or co-erse them into compliance with that government.  In this case, we are supposed to feel guilty for objecting.  The liberals may try as they might to make the case for “making nice”, but there is little chance of dialogue that will not eventually disappear as more and more suckers are swept into the circle..
Sorry, 
Grandmother in SC

August 30, 1:46 pm | [comment link]
2. St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse wrote:

“Today, the forces of religious division demonize Muslims….”

Muslims do an excellent job of demonizing Muslims:

Hacking the heads off of prisoners, on video, and broadcasting it

Calling for the murder of filmmakers for depicting Islam, and actually performing the deed

Calling for the murder of cartoonists for depicting Mohammed in caricature.

Waging campaigns of violence against non-muslim populations, displacing them from their lands.

Countless expressions of violence against women and girls seeking only peace and education.

The 9/11 hijackers are only a small set of a large and scattered collection of ‘problem muslims’ that the moderates wish that they could just sweep under the carpet of public scrutiny.  There are several voices claiming to speak for Islam, from the comfortable, Western moderates to the ardently severe traditionalists.  So, which is it?

August 30, 1:54 pm | [comment link]
3. Dale Rye wrote:

There are several voices claiming to speak for Irish Roman Catholics, some of whom have used houses of worship in the United States for over a century to recruit terrorists and raise funds for “campaigns of violence against non-catholic populations, seeking to displace them from their lands.” The current Irish National Anthem became popular during the Easter Uprising in 1916. One reason it is generally sung in Gaelic is that the chorus begins, “Soldiers are we, whose lives are pledged to Ireland; some have come from a land beyond the waves.” Clearly, from that time down to our own there have been those (Unionist as well as Nationalist) who have expressed violence against innocent bystanders, including women and girls who were seeking only peace.

The Provisional Wing of the IRA clearly claimed to speak for their co-religionists, although the mainline faction of Sinn Fein wished they could “sweep that claim under the carpet of public scrutiny and paint the Provos as ‘problem Catholics.’” Of course, less than 30 years ago, Irish moderates regarded Sinn Fein and its affiliated terrorists as “problem Catholics,” too. It is obviously true that none of the several voices claiming to speak for the Nationalists can claim unanimity, but that is no reason to attribute the sentiments of the most “ardently severe” to those who expressly reject them.

Even at the height of The Troubles I didn’t know any American who claimed that Irish Roman Catholics as a group, much less every individual member of that group, should be subjected to controls purely on the basis of their religion. Is anyone aware of any instance of government interference with where Irish-Americans could locate their parishes? How about instances where the Presbyterian descendants of Scots-Irish immigrants were subjected to discrimination because they shared the faith of most Unionists? Obviously, that would have been foolishness. Why are Muslims, who don’t claim to be any more of a religiously-based government than the Vatican State or the State of Israel, different?

August 30, 4:40 pm | [comment link]
4. Paula Loughlin wrote:

When you can show me that Catholic teaching supported the terrorist acts of the IRA please let me know.  When you can prove that Catholics in America danced in the street when the IRA bombs went off in London, give me a buzz.  I am tired of the sleight of hand and other distractions being used to avoid the truth about Islam.  I say Islam not all adherents of Islam.

Islam is a religion of conquest.  If they can not conquer on the battlefield they will use other means.  The Mosque Center is a symbol of a Muslim victory over Western corruption and oppression.  Yes Muslims were victims and they were loyal Americans.  I don’t doubt that for a moment.

But the battle for the heart of Islam is, I believe, over. The ones who believe in acheiving total submission to Islam by any means have won.  That submission may be through peaceful means such as convincing people that any objections to Islam or the deeds of some Muslims is Islamaphobia. 

What you must understand is that just as Christians are called to spread the Gospel because of the Great Commission Muslims are called to spread Islam.  Islam entails much more than an individual assent to the faith and its teachings.  It means changing the very structure of a society.  Nothing that touches our daily lives is exempt.  And this is true whether you are Muslim or Christian or Pagan. 

So I for one am not falling for a comparison between the IRA terrorists who acted contrary to the Gospel and Catholic teaching and Muslim terrorist who acted in accordance to contemporary Islam’s ascendent voice.  And that voice hates us and it hates moderate Muslims.

August 30, 5:10 pm | [comment link]
5. Reid Hamilton wrote:

Gosh, folks, therefore what?  No mosques allowed in the U.S.?  Islam outlawed as an illegal religion (the Constitutionality of such a stance is of course doubtful)?  No aid for Pakistan flood relief?  Yellow armbands with a crescent?!?  Deportations???  All of this Islam-bashing is merely a visceral response to our own fears.  Do we believe in eternal life or not?

August 30, 5:36 pm | [comment link]
6. Paula Loughlin wrote:

#5 show me where any of your hysterical hyperboles has been suggested or advocated by any of us.

August 30, 6:25 pm | [comment link]
7. WarrenS wrote:

#6, what are you advocating?

August 30, 6:31 pm | [comment link]
8. Reid Hamilton wrote:

#6, I am asking a serious question:  How far down the slippery slope are you willing to go?  So far it has been posited in this thread that Islam is “a form of government, with a mandate to take over the entire human race, and force them, or co-erse [sic] them into compliance with that government,” that Muslims wage “campaigns of violence against non-muslim populations, displacing them from their lands,” and that “Islam is a religion of conquest.  If they can not conquer on the battlefield they will use other means.”  What measures DO you propose to protect us from such a dangerous religion?

I perceive that you do not think that a mosque should be built as close to the World Trade Center site as Park 51.  What are your constitutional, legal grounds for preventing it?  How close to the WTC may a mosque be built?  Are you willing for a mosque to be built as close to your home as the nearest church?  If not, what changes in zoning law or policy do you advocate?  Should Muslims be permitted to congregate?  Run for political office?  How, before any actual crime has been committed, are we to distinguish between “dangerous” Muslims and “safe” Muslims, and what steps may we take to prevent the “dangerous” Muslims from harming us?

I believe that some very very dangerous and evil rhetoric has crept into our public discourse on this subject.

August 30, 7:03 pm | [comment link]
9. Paula Loughlin wrote:

I believe the group behind the Mosque should show they understand that building where they propose is to many people a reminder of a great act of terror committed by Muslims in the name of Islam.  They should be willing to distance themselves from that reminder by either scaling down the plans or finding an alternate site. 

Writing I believe the mosque should not go there does not mean I think the government should compel its relocation. 

And the reaction to the mosque is not because of some imaginary future crime but because of an actual it happened and people died act of terror.  That is what I am reacting to and that is why my reaction is limited to where this and only this mosque is to be located.  What measures do I think should be taken against Muslims?
A greater scrutiny of applications for visas.
A greater use of profiling when dealing with potential terrorist targets.  With the option of pre vetting.
I advocate that the U.S. gets serious about border security.
Better use and sharing of intelligence to determine connections to terrorist organizations.
But the best secret anti radical muslim weapon we have is for those who believe in the values of orthodox Christianity and/or Western rights and freedoms to have more babies.  Lots and lots more babies.

August 30, 7:20 pm | [comment link]
10. libraryjim wrote:

Reid, even Muslims are calling on the Imam to halt his plans for the mosque in that location, and build it elsewhere. His is an increasingly lonely voice among those of his own religion insisting on building there.

August 30, 7:55 pm | [comment link]
11. WarrenS wrote:

#9, are you suggesting that all applicants for US Visas should have to declare their religion; specifically whether or not they are a Muslim?  If not, what kind of “greater scrutiny” are you suggesting?

August 30, 7:57 pm | [comment link]
12. Paula Loughlin wrote:

Yes I am suggesting that a higher level of scrutiny be given to those who come from heavily Muslim countries.  Where do you think the majority of terrorists come from?  Nova Scotia?

August 30, 9:14 pm | [comment link]
13. WarrenS wrote:

#12, I’ll take that as a yes to my Visa question.  Apart from any judgement as to the wisdom or prudence in doing so, do you think you can achieve the aims you are advocating without discriminating on the basis of race and/or religion; at least in the way such discrimination is currently defined under the US Constitution and US law?

August 30, 11:28 pm | [comment link]
14. Paula Loughlin wrote:

You know they are not U.S. citizens so I say we go ahead and discriminate.  We get to decide who enters this country and they do not come under the U.S. constitution.  What mandates our noble and capable State department goes by who knows.  Notice I said heavily Muslim countries so even if they are a Wiccan from Iran I say take extra care when reviewing the Visa applications.

August 31, 1:06 am | [comment link]
15. Paula Loughlin wrote:

P.S.  How many attacks by Muslims against U.S and European citizens here and abroad would it take for you to start thinking maybe, just maybe we should sit up and take notice and protect ourselves from the most likely source of attack?  How much blood are you willing to pour on the Constitution?  Which by the way does not apply to non U.S. nationals.

August 31, 1:15 am | [comment link]
16. Paula Loughlin wrote:

I phrased the above poorly.  I meant the U.S. constitution did not apply to non citizens when it comes to Visas.

August 31, 1:20 am | [comment link]
17. Reid Hamilton wrote:

Mayor Bloomberg’s speech (full text at http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2010/08/24/bloomberg-on-mosque-a-test-of-our-commitment-to-american-values/) is an excellent example of moderate discourse on this matter:

“But if we say that a mosque and community center should not be built near the perimeter of the World Trade Center site, we would compromise our commitment to fighting terror with freedom.

“We would undercut the values and principles that so many heroes died protecting. We would feed the false impressions that some Americans have about Muslims. We would send a signal around the world that Muslim Americans may be equal in the eyes of the law, but separate in the eyes of their countrymen. And we would hand a valuable propaganda tool to terrorist recruiters, who spread the fallacy that America is at war with Islam.
. . .

“Just as we fought communism by showing the world the power of free markets and free elections, so must we fight terrorism by showing the world the power of religious freedom and cultural tolerance. Freedom and tolerance will always defeat tyranny and terrorism – that is the great lesson of the 20th century, and we must not abandon it here in the 21st.”

Terrorists do not achieve victory by killing us.  They achieve victory by causing us to abandon our principles.

August 31, 8:09 am | [comment link]
18. WarrenS wrote:

#14, what about the ones who are US citizens - the ones having lots of babies (see #9)?  Should they be discriminated against too?  Or do you think that barring the gate will suffice?

August 31, 9:04 am | [comment link]
19. Katherine wrote:

The experience of the accommodation of many religious minorities, some Christian and some not, in America should tell us where lines have to be drawn.  We do not draw the line at doctrines about God (or lack thereof), at ritual, at prayer form and content, at what holy days are observed.  What we do say is that the civil law, developed by the American people, is superior to the religious law where there is a conflict.  The case of Muslims in one sense is very similar to the Mormons.  The Mormon state, to be admitted to the Union, had to renounce polygamy.  Islam in America will have to do the same.  There are numerous aspects of the treatment of women in the Koran and Sunna which will be overridden by U.S. civil law.  Apostates from Islam may be shunned, but not harmed physically, nor will their marriages be automatically cancelled or their property and children be taken away.  Other religious groups and atheists must be tolerated, and criticism of Islam can be met with Muslim disapproval but not with violence or threats of violence.

When American Muslims en masse begin to make it clear to the general public that these limits are their goals, and that the Muslim community in America will look within itself to teach and model these values, then the uproar will recede.

August 31, 12:51 pm | [comment link]
20. Paula Loughlin wrote:

Warren,  I have low patience for the lack of comprehension you stubbornly persist in.  So please define discrimination. Please show me where I advocated barring the gate.  Where I said any anti terrorism measures applied to Visas should apply to U.S. Citizesn.  Here is a hint.  If they are U.S. citizens I doubt Visa applications to enter the U.S. would be needed.  But what the heck do I know.

You also make the very common mistake to believe that all discrimination is wrong.  It is not.  Every time I pray to Lord Jesus Christ I am discriminating against religions that do not believe He is God.  Everytime I shop at Publix instead of Walmarts I am discriminating agains Walmarts.  Discrimination done because of a known element that enables us to make a decision that will improve, protect or enhance our lives is something we do every day.  Nothing wrong with that.  Discrimination based on falsehoods, prejudices and hatred is wrong. 

You think basing anti Terrorism measures on the fact that the majority of terrorists are radical Muslims from “shocker” countries with large Muslim majorities is the latter.  I believe it is the former.

August 31, 12:59 pm | [comment link]
21. WarrenS wrote:

#19, American Christians can’t agree en masse on anything, but American Muslims are supposed to?  I don’t understand how your Mormon analogy is relevant to American Muslims.

August 31, 1:02 pm | [comment link]
22. WarrenS wrote:

#20, be impatient if you wish; I’m just trying to understand the logical outworking of your comments at #4 and #9.  If I have wrongly attributed opinions to you, say so.  You are wrongly attributing things to me.

August 31, 1:07 pm | [comment link]
23. Katherine wrote:

#21, when Americans perceive Muslims in America as people who accept our laws, that will do it.  The repeated insistence by many of them on sharia, including statements from Imam Rauf, give the strong impression, and I think a correct impression, that many American Muslims think that they can continue here as they do in countries where religious communities operate under their own laws (for example, India and Egypt).

My statement about Mormons was very clear.  Did you read it?  Mormons in Utah had to renounce polygyny to become part of the American nation.  American civil law today does not allow men to have more than one wife at a time.  Muslims will have to accept that law, which is contrary to their religious law.

August 31, 1:22 pm | [comment link]
24. WarrenS wrote:

#23, I read it.  I don’t see the parallel with group of people seeking to join the Union.  Am I correct in saying that you expect American Muslims to accept the spirit of American law as well as adhering to the letter of American law?  Do you hold American Christians to the same standard?

August 31, 1:44 pm | [comment link]
25. Katherine wrote:

#24, whether they live in Utah or anywhere else in America, Mormon men cannot legally have more than one wife at a time.  There are a few small breakaway sects which still practice plural marriage, but it is illegal and they are sometimes arrested and prosecuted, especially when underage or unwilling brides are involved.  The Mormon Church had a revelation outlawing plural marriage which established it as an acceptable religious sect in the U.S.  The parallel is that Muslim men also must accept American law on this subject, and may not have multiple concurrent marriages.  They may believe what they want, but they can’t have, in the U.S., the four wives at one time which their prophet allows.  They also can’t beat their wives or deprive them of property and income which American divorce laws provide for if they choose to divorce their wives, nor can they prevent their wives from obtaining a civil divorce with property settlement.

Certainly I hold American Christians to the same standards.  The Catholic Church, for instance, requires Catholics who have had a civil divorce to petition for a church annulment before remarriage in the Church.  Civil law governs divorce and property and child custody issues; church law is separate.  Catholics cannot, and don’t, claim to be immune from civil law because their church teaches something different.

It seems to me that you don’t want to entertain any criticisms of Muslim practices.  Why is that?  Do you genuinely think that there are no qualitative differences between general American civil law and societal standards, and Islamic law?

August 31, 1:57 pm | [comment link]
26. WarrenS wrote:

#25, when you say that, “Certainly I hold American Christians to the same standards” (in the context of accepting the spirit of American law as well as adhering to the letter of American law), do you extend this to laws concerning abortion and same-sex marriage?

Feel free to take my question as rhetorical, because I am leaving this thread.  As I often find to be the case when Muslims are discussed, I found many of the comments on this thread to be based more in emotion than in careful reasoning and logic.  For this reason, I think Reid Hamilton expressed a valid concern in #8 when he said, “I believe that some very very dangerous and evil rhetoric has crept into our public discourse on this subject.”  I have little time for emotion when the suspension of human rights is being contemplated.

No matter how noble and good a human government or constitution may be, it is still part of the kingdom of man.  It is not where my first allegiance lies.  I am called to love my neighbour regardless of his view of me.

August 31, 3:10 pm | [comment link]
27. Paula Loughlin wrote:

Liberalism whether of the Political or Religious bent tires me.  Here’s why.  The inability to fully read and understand any opinion within the context in which it is given.  Liberals are overly fond of the word all.  They apply it willy, nilly and in a state of near panic.

For example.  Advocating a voluntary relocation of THIS MOSQUE to a liberal means endorsing a complete denial of every civil and religious liberty of all Muslims in the United States.  They believe we have the pitchforks at ready.

Writing that I believe we need to give more careful attention to Visas for those entering the U.S. from countries with large number of radical Muslims means answering “do you think you can achieve the aims you are advocating without discriminating on the basis of race and/or religion; ”  I readily admitted to advocating discriminating based on Country of Orgin.  I think U.S law already does so.  This does not equate to discriminating on the basis of race and/or religion.  If it was Lutherans who were the main source of attacks against the West I would advocate the same for Visa applicants from Sweden.  Maybe that comparison is unfair.  Let’s try this.  Where I live the areas with a large black population are the higher crime areas.  I choose not to live in these areas.  Am I discriminating against black people by my choice?  Or am I discriminating against the very real possibility of being a crime victim? 

I wrote “But the best secret anti radical muslim weapon we have is for those who believe in the values of orthodox Christianity and/or Western rights and freedoms to have more babies.  Lots and lots more babies. ” 
In reply this is written “what about the ones who are US citizens - the ones having lots of babies (see #9)?  Should they be discriminated against too?  Or do you think that barring the gate will suffice? ” 
To which I can only go uh?  Cause saying that if we want the beliefs we value to be the ones that shape this society means having children we can pass those values to seems to me a no brainer.  Notice too though I never championed barring the gate.  The reply states it as a given. 

The time spent having to correct outright distortions and unwarranted assumptions gets very, very old.  Liberals know this.  Which is why control of the language is so essential to them.  They have done this to advance the LGBT agenda in churches.  They are doing this about the danger radical Islam poses to Western values.  I refuse to embrace appeasement anymore.

August 31, 3:21 pm | [comment link]
28. Katherine wrote:

#26, I said nothing about accepting the spirit of the law.

August 31, 4:36 pm | [comment link]
29. WarrenS wrote:

Paula (#27), I could replace the word liberal with conservative in your first paragraph and it would make equal sense.  Label are convenient, aren’t they?  I prefer to look at individuals, and I am grateful that my Lord does too.  Although labels are convenient in politics for demonizing one’s opponent, I rarely meet someone in real life who I could neatly fit into a liberal or conservative (or any other) category without doing violence to them.  But labels are the American way.

September 1, 7:41 pm | [comment link]
30. Katherine wrote:

WarrenS, since you’re here for the moment, I don’t understand your references to “the spirit of the law,” and it isn’t anything I said.  I think we were talking at cross purposes, mostly, neither understanding the other.

September 1, 7:48 pm | [comment link]
31. WarrenS wrote:

Katherine (#30), I was making reference to your comment in #23 where you said, “when Americans perceive Muslims in America as people who accept our laws, that will do it.”  I know it is dangerous to assume, but, when you said “accept our laws”, I assumed you meant that it would not suffice for American Muslims to simply obey the law to gain acceptance.  Rather than chafe against it, they should truly believe that American law is good and just.  This led to my challenge as to whether you would apply the same standard to American Christians.  Many American Christians obey laws that they believe are unjust and should be changed.  Perhaps you are one of them.  Do you think it is acceptable for you to work to change laws to conform to your beliefs and world view, but unacceptable for American Muslims to do the same?  I’m hoping your answer is no, because then you would be consistent.

If I was a Muslim reading this thread, I think I would conclude that, no matter what I do, there will always be a segment of American society who see me as a second-rate citizen; one not to be trusted.  That by virtue of being born into, and raised, in a Muslim family, I will always be viewed through a jaundiced eye – especially if my appearance is Arabic.  I think there are an increasing number of people who view Christians in a similar light, so perhaps those who are so derisive towards Muslims today will get a taste of their own medicine in the future.

I find it sad that the most hostile opinions often come from those who claim to be followers of Christ.  It would probably be best if I just didn’t visit blogs like this (although T19 is mild and reasonably balanced compared to SFIF).  It depresses me.

September 2, 12:28 am | [comment link]
32. Katherine wrote:

#31, you assumed incorrectly.

September 2, 6:11 am | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.




Next entry (above): SMH: Churches Down Under get opt-out point on same-sex adoption bill

Previous entry (below): (Nanaimo Daily News)—People find spirituality outside the mainstream

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)