Sunday, October 23, 2011

The horrors of the wrong kind of theocracy (as if there were any right kind)

More drivel from The American Thinker: Sharia uber Alles.

Not to discount the problems of Muslims integrating (or not) into their new home, or the fierceness of the Islamicists, but the fear of a Sharia takeover is completely unreasonable. Muslims are a tiny minority of American society; how could they possibly have any more influence than we let them? What all this Sharia panic really reveals is a lack of faith in democracy. Essentially these people view the government as an occupying force, unresponsive to the wishes of the majority, and therefore fear that a minority will be able to enforce radically unpopular, extreme, and un-Constitutional laws on the majority.

On the face of it, this is absurd. Sharia law cannot trump the Constitution. Period. Case closed. Either the panickers are unaware of the basics of law, or they are afraid that Muslims will eventually have the 2/3 majority required to amend the Constitution. In which case their real fear has nothing to do with law, and everything to do with culture. This is a cultural group that fears extinction. Of course, this is even more absurd. What is happening to white, Christian society in America (and Australia) is not extinction, but rather, the end of absolute unquestioned total dominance. It used to be that people were Christian of course, and that it was a given that virtually every political, social, and economic leader would be white, male, and Christian. Christian holidays would dominate the calender (including shutting down alcohol sales on Sundays), Christian themes would decorate the courthouses, Christian theology would be taken as true while other religions were classed under "mythology." And all of this would be done without anyone so much as making a peep about it. Sure, there would be occasional exceptions (Sammy Davis, Jr.), and tolerance would be extended to the exotic minorities, but the agar of culture would Christianity.

Now secularism has taken a deep root, and Christianity finds itself just one of many competing traditions. This loss of privilege has been greeted with cries of persecution, and perhaps those alarms are not as illogical as first appearances suggest. After all, these are the people who have been running things for a long time. Perhaps they have little faith in democracy because they know just how undemocratic their own rule has been. Perhaps they are aware of how a tiny, dedicated, well-financed minority can flout the Constitution, as they have repeatedly with Creationism, abortion restrictions, Ten Commandments displays, and school prayers. Perhaps they fear having religion imposed on them in the same unthinking, unrelenting manner as they have imposed it on everyone else.

The answer is not to raise panic over Sharia, or strive to reimpose Christian traditionalism. The answer is to embrace secularism. A solid regard for Constitutional rights, a recognition that secular morality is all that is necessary or appropriate for public policy, a focus on individual freedoms as opposed to tribal conformance, would all serve to create a future in which no religious tradition would dominate the public sphere. But of course, that is precisely the future they fear.

Fundamentally, the authors at The American Thinker do not trust in, or believe in, democracy. They see their vision of a theocractic society being usurped by a more vibrant, dedicated, committed group (ordinary people would probably use the terms "more fanatic, delusional, and crazy"). Those of us committed to secular society, however, see no reason to fear. Hollywood will absorb and ultimately hollow out the faith of the Islamicists, just like it did every other invading culture.

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