Deniers: Charlottesville City Council ignores Muslim refugee threat

| June 8, 2016 | 26 Comments

Signer-Denier-processed-600

Compelled by his concern over the future of America—and fearful for the lives of his children and grandchildren—Charlottesville-area resident Joe Draego attempted to inform the Charlottesville City Council of the imminent threat that Muslim “refugee resettlement” poses to our community.

Draego’s fact-based presentation, which took place at the June 6 City Council meeting, was met with dull stares and nervous fidgeting, as the all-Democrat body anxiously awaited the expiration of Mr. Draego’s three-minute presentation time.

Councilor Bob Fenwick, apparently offended by the discourse, left council chambers about 60 seconds into Draego’s comments.

Mayor Mike Signer, took an on-microphone potshot at Mr. Draego as Draego left the building, saying that Signer’s own displayed contempt for the presenter / subject matter was worn “as a badge of honor.”

Appalled, but undeterred by the council’s “deaf, dumb, and blind” act, Joe Draego has vowed to return to City Hall and continue his efforts to enlighten the deniers.

Watch exclusive video of Joe Draego’s presentation to Charlottesville City Council:

About the Author:

Rob Schilling is founder of The Schilling Show Blog and News; host of WINA's The Schilling Show, heard weekdays from noon to 2 PM; husband; father; and community watchdog.
×

26 Comments on "Deniers: Charlottesville City Council ignores Muslim refugee threat"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Unfortunately, I fear the question is when and where, not IF. I hope and pray I am wrong.

  2. Maybe we need to have Loretta Lynch impose fines for Muslim refugee threat deniers like she wants to do for climate change deniers.

  3. John Heyden says:

    They need to mount a sign above the door to city council chambers that states "You give up your right to Free Speech when you enter these chambers. The First Amendment only applies to those who agree with US".

  4. Ken says:

    They need to mount a sign above the door to city council chambers that states “You give up your right to Free Speech when you enter these chambers. The First Amendment only applies to those who agree with US”.

    Turn your speakers on, John. You’ll hear Draego speaking freely. What you won’t hear him do is give any evidence that there are radical Muslims in Charlottesville. What you won’t hear is him give even one example of illegal or uncivil behavior by Charlottesville’s Muslim immigrants.

    As I understand it, the Muslim refugees coming to this community are coming through the International Red Cross. In Deuteronomy 10: 19 God commands his people to “love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” In Leviticus 19:34 he says that “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” By helping to resettle families who fleeing hunger and violence, is the IRC not doing the Lord’s work? If not, why not?

    Is it not perfectly obvious that many of the people most exercised about Muslim extremists would themselves be jihadis if they’d just been born and raised in Muslim countries? The trumpeting of one’s own righteousness, the “righteous” anger at people who don’t share one’s religious beliefs, the eagerness to build walls and draw sharp distinctions between “godly” people like themselves and the “ungodly” masses, the conviction that theocratic law is the only legitimate law, and the self-serving insistence on reading certain religious texts but not others (not Deuteronomy 10: 19 or Leviticus 19:34) literally – these traits and instincts characterize Christian fundamentalists no less than their Muslim counterparts. They share the same victimology, the same suspicion and hostility towards strangers, and the same triumphalism. It’s just that holy war is harder to justify with the Bible than it is with the Koran. But let a President Trump attack a Muslim country and try to excuse it in the name of the Christianity, and many of you would cheer a 21st century Crusade.

    Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks on the heart.

  5. Joe Draego says:

    How is it that you know my heart Ken? Your comments are based on assumptions, not facts. I am not a christian and I do not believe in organized religion. I was raised a Catholic but gave it up for lent when I was about 12 years old. I do believe in God and do believe in living a deeply examined spiritual and ethical life. Also, I am ardently opposed to violence and war and crusades. The only exception would be for legitimate self defense of myself, family and country which would exclude the current never ending wars this country is engaged in. Facts? I gave your mayor a 24 page document drafted by another locally concerned citizen in his office that was footnoted backwards, forwards and every other way, which he refused to look at and threw on his desk with sneering contempt. I have enough empirical facts to choke a herd of bull elephants. Here’s a fact. Dr. Peter Hammond in 05 wrote a book titled Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary History; what always happens in history when the number of muslims in a country increases. Peaceful at 1%, at 3% prozelytizing to minorities and disgruntled groups, at 5% beginning to agitate for Sharia law, at 10% lawlessness roits and threats, at 20% Jihadi militias churches and synagogues ablaze, at 40% widespread massacres and terror attacks. And on it goes. Are you still with me Ken or have you abandoned me for the warm comfort of your accustomed paradigm? I have challenged Signer and Bellamy to public debate, not a word have we heard. Why? What are they afraid of. They have college training certificates. I’m just a poor dumb blue collar boy from Baltimore. So brother Ken, if you would like to meet face to face maybe over tea and crumpets, contact Rob. I do not fear man or truth. Peace to you and yours.

  6. Ken says:

    Thank you for the reply, Joe, but you offered no evidence that there are radical Muslims in Charlottesville, or that the Muslims who are actually here have ever posed a problem. I haven’t met many Muslims in these parts, but I ran into one recently. She works in a service capacity, and she couldn’t be more polite and eager to serve.

    OK, so you’re not a Christian, but I was writing to the whole Schilling Show audience. Judging by its callers, it’s largely Christian. None have answered my question, and their silence speaks for itself.

    Can I see your heart? I can hear your tone of voice, and I can read sentences like “I’m ashamed of you.” Is that the tone you used in your private meeting with the mayor? Is he obligated to read 24 pages from any Charlottesville resident who wants to plunk them down? I see that you speak of Muslims as if they’re all bad, but I look around and I see that most are peaceful. So why would they be a threat? We have words for the presumption of the worst about a group of people based on the bad behavior of a minority element of that group. The words are bigotry and prejudice and racism. Is it any wonder Signer was disgusted? But still he insisted to that protester that you be treated respectfully. Now that’s class. That’s civility. That’s model citizenship.

    Yes, it looks like if you were Muslim you’d be ripe for recruit by Isis or Al Qaeda because, unfortunately, like their recruits you’re willing to believe vicious lies. There are other things to live for however, other great causes to give life meaning. Imagine taking all that energy you’re pouring into demonizing indigent Muslim refugees and trying to aid them instead. Just try that, and if it doesn’t feel great, the tea and crumpets are on me.

  7. Joe Draego says:

    True colors for all to see. Odd being called a racist and bigot when the blood of Africa flows through the veins of my wife, four children and three grandchildren. Odd to be called a racist and bigot when my much loved son in law is of mixed race. Odd to be called a racist and bigot when two of my granddaughters are of mixed race. Odd to be called a racist and bigot when one of the two heroes of my youth was Dr. Martin Luther King. Like most of the allegedly educated elite you will never let the facts get in the way of your beliefs. As Robin Williams said in the Dead Poets Society, “Thank you for playing.”

  8. Ken says:

    The blood of Africa? What are you, 1/16th black? What does it matter anyhow? I’ve asked for evidence that we have a problem here, which is the only thing that would make your presentation appropriate before City Council, and I’ve told you how you resemble the jihadis you say you fear, and you try to change the subject to African-Americans? It’s Muslims whom you’ve smeared.

  9. Anthony says:

    Ken,

    You are ignoring Joe’s point that the greater a percentage of a population muslims become, the more problems they create. And there may not be muslims causing problems in Cville RIGHT NOW, but look at the places in the world where muslims dominate… human rights nightmares and total oppression. Hardly a democratic nation amongst them. Horrible womens’ rights and gay rights (if there are any at all), and in many places they are slaughtering people in the streets in broad day light.

    People like you who ignore plain reality in favor of PC nonsense are endangering the lives of other people by not being able to accept that maybe, JUST MAYBE, Islam is a dangerous religion/ideology. It’s a simple equation… less Islam = more better. Sorry, that’s just a fact, and your hug-a-murderer mentality is going to get people hurt and destroy our civilized society because you want to believe a brutal 7th century ideology is compatible with western values. Get real, it sounds so idiotic, and to think you just think that way because it makes you feel good because you “like and accept everyone” that makes you better/more correct and everyone else is just a stupid bigot. Really sad, really dangerous mentality to not realize that some ideologies really are bad for society and we shouldn’t be letting those people in.

  10. Not a Lib says:

    Ken, so you are comparing Christian fundamentalists to Muslim jihadists? Really?!
    “these traits and instincts characterize Christian fundamentalists no less than their Muslim counterparts”.
    Do Christian fundamentalists saw the heads off opponents and justify it by their religious text through jihad? Do Christian fundamentalists enslave and rape women because their religion allows them to do so? The rest of your post is rational but this comparison is a stretch and quite offensive.
    Of course there are Christian fundamentalists who commit criminal acts but they are what they are, criminals. They have no justification in biblical texts for their actions.
    The Christian church does not impose sharia law at its whim to justify extreme crimes and actions or to punish anyone for acts that are arbitrarily legislated as punishable under said sharia law.

  11. Ken says:

    Anthony, it’s true that communities of Muslim immigrants have caused problems elsewhere. It’s true that certain ideologies, like radical Islam, are poisonous to society. But it’s not true that admitting small numbers of Muslims into a welcoming community is bound to cause problems. By one estimate there are 3.3 million Muslims in America today. If Islam itself is a dangerous religion, why have there only been a handful of incidents by homegrown terrorists here? A few new Muslims in Charlottesville are not going to “dominate” and oppress the city, so even if Islam itself, rather than a distorted version of it which we screen for, was dangerous, your fears would be unfounded. Accepting everyone (not prejudging them) doesn’t make me feel good, at least not in the short run. It’s hard work. It’s also part and parcel of the Christian God’s command to love one’s neighbor as oneself.

    It’s not that there is no cause for caution. It’s not that Muslim immigration never causes a problem. It’s that your proposed remedy is all out of proportion to the actual problem.

    Not a Lib, I listed the traits and instincts which characterize both Muslim and Christian fundamentalists. If you think I’m wrong, tell me why. No, Christian fundamentalists don’t saw the heads off their opponents, but I explained why. An act of jihad like that really can’t be justified with the Bible the way it can be with the Koran, not in light of the New Testament. But slavery can be justified by proof texting and by ignoring the larger Biblical message of God’s love for all humankind, and so plenty of ancestors of today’s Christian fundamentalists right here in Virginia did enslave, and did rape some of the enslaved women, not so very long ago historically speaking. The inhumane practices that could, by twisted logic, be justified by the Bible, were justified. So like I said, the basic mentality is the same. In fact if the two groups ever united – the Islamists with their suicide vests and the Christianists with the AK-47s they’ve stockpiled telling themselves Uncle Sam is coming after them for not paying taxes – they have a common enemy, the “infidels”/”ungodly liberals” who are ruining things for everyone else.

  12. Not a Lib says:

    Ken, I agree with your statement about twisted logic. I find your attempt to draw a comparison between Christianity and Islam twisted as well and quite a stretch. As I wrote, criminals commit those acts and can’t justify it by Christianity but Islam can through jihad and sharia law.
    Ancestors of Christian fundamentalists were slave owners and therefore they justified enslavement and rape through the bible because their basic mentality was the same? That is twisted and quite a stretch, Ken.

  13. Ken says:

    Not a Lib, most of the one and a half billion Muslims in the world are peaceful, and reject the fundamentalist interpretation of jihad, citing the Koran’s injunction that “There must be no coercion in matters of faith,” as viewing Jews and Christians as fellow People of the Book. Likewise, if you look at the history of Christianity, you’ll find Church Fathers from as far back as the Fourth century who condemned slavery.

    But take a look at these quotes.

    [Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God…it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation…it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts. — Jefferson Davis

    … the right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example. — Richard Furman, President, South Carolina Baptist Convention, 1823.

  14. Anthony says:

    Ken, I’m really not trying to be offensive when I say this but your reasoning ability is extremely poor, and I wouldn’t say it that way if the way you think wasn’t extremely dangerous and something that will lead to seriously negative, and deadly, consequences today and for future generations of Americans.

    KEN: Anthony, it’s true that communities of Muslim immigrants have caused problems elsewhere. It’s true that certain ideologies, like radical Islam, are poisonous to society. But it’s not true that admitting small numbers of Muslims into a welcoming community is bound to cause problems. By one estimate there are 3.3 million Muslims in America today. If Islam itself is a dangerous religion, why have there only been a handful of incidents by homegrown terrorists here? A few new Muslims in Charlottesville are not going to “dominate” and oppress the city, so even if Islam itself, rather than a distorted version of it which we screen for, was dangerous, your fears would be unfounded.

    RESPONSE: There are so many things wrong with this short statement I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, you seem to be under the impression that the current population of muslims is what it will always be. The thing is Ken, “small communities” of muslims will eventually become “larger communities” of muslims, and if Islam is truly a source of problems for society then of course the problems will only grow with the increasing numbers of muslims. Ok, so it’s only 3 million or so today, but what will it be in 50 years? 100 years? 200 years? Probably tens of millions. The population isn’t going to stop growing tomorrow Ken, your argument that the population is small neglects that there is this thing called the future.

    As for your comment that there have only been “a small number of incidents”, well for the innocent people who were murdered or violated in those incidents, that small number is too many! And those “incidents” could have been prevented if we hadn’t allowed them (with their beliefs) into the country in the first place. And this notion that there has been only a “small number of incidents” willfully neglects over a millennium of history where Islam has shown itself to be perhaps the most violent ideology of any kind going right back to the days of Muhammad. I’m aware that Christians haven’t been perfect, but the muslims really take the cake when it comes to violently attempting to conquer and otherwise slaughter infidels and subjugate non-muslim nations to their rule. So really it isn’t a “small number of incidents”, it is a pattern of behavior stretching back over a thousand years that only the most blind and ignorant person could ignore.

    Also what if I made the same argument you made regarding neo-Nazis or white supremacists. What if I said “I don’t see tons of white supremacists killing people and causing problems, so what’s wrong with bringing a couple into our community”? Saying things like that neglects that because they are a marginal portion of the population, they really can’t do the things they want to do from a societal/political standpoint. If there are only a few thousand white supremacists amongst millions of people, then naturally no one will see them because they are such a minority. It doesn’t mean we should be openly promoting their entrance into our communities, and it doesn’t mean that if they became a minority they wouldn’t exert more of a negative influence on society. And when you realize that Islam is actually far more totalitarian and supremacist of an ideology than the two I mentioned, (think Nazism commanded by God), you should be very wary of taking any action that may strengthen their influence.

    It doesn’t really matter if the violent “interpretation” of Islam is the wrong one. The point is that SOME muslims DO see it as the correct interpretation, and allowing them into our communities is like allowing an axe-murderer who has shown no signs of changing his ways right into your home and even letting him sleep in your own bed with you! It’s just that dangerous and people will get killed and people ARE GETTING killed. And you think you’re so self-righteous for letting that happen, it really does seem insane to me.

    And you need to stop comparing Christianity and Islam. Why is it that whenever someone criticizes Islam the only thing people like you can think to do it attack Christianity and divert attention from the religion that is ACTUALLY responsible for so much of the carnage being seen TODAY, not a thousand years ago? There are innumerable, significant differences between Christianity and Islam, and comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges.

    The BIGGEST difference is that muslims think Muhammad is a prophet, whereas Christians do not. This difference is THE DIFFERENCE that makes all the difference. Because muslims see Muhammad as a prophet, they believe that he is a perfect example of how humans should behave. But if you read about Muhammad, you will quickly begin to understand why muslims have such a stronger penchant for violence than basically all other religions.

    Did you know the Koran says that the Bible lies when it says Jesus died on the cross? Yeah, it does. Perhaps the most central and important aspect of Christianity is that Christ died on the cross for our sins and resurrected 3 days later, but the Koran (and Muhammad) say explicitly and in no uncertain terms that what the Bible says is false. Tell me how can the Gospel and the Koran both be truth then? One must be false, and as a Christian (which I’m not all that sure you are) you must admit that that claim of the Koran is a tremendously evil heresy because it destroys the foundation of the Christian faith, and worse it was uttered by someone who claimed to be a representative of God. Well either Jesus was lying or Muhammad Ken, who are you going to go with?

    And by letting muslims into the country, you are only sowing the seeds of the destruction of Christianity because, obviously, muslims are going to teach what the Koran teaches which is that the Gospel is lying. And thus you are in essence undermining the success of your own faith in this country in a BIG way by allowing more of them to come here and spread ideas that are contrary to the truth.

    And all because you think “loving your neighbor” means we HAVE to let these people in or we’re not loving. It’s the exact opposite, if you really cared about your community and your faith you would be clamoring to keep them out, which is what I think all sane people should do. Not because we hate them, but because their ideas are dangerous and they do not strengthen our culture.

  15. Ken says:

    “small communities” of muslims will eventually become “larger communities” of muslims

    And all the while the surrounding, non-Muslims communities will grow as well, thus remaining the great majority. Muslims won’t “dominate.”

    this notion that there has been only a “small number of incidents” willfully neglects over a millennium of history where Islam has shown itself to be perhaps the most violent ideology of any kind

    Perhaps, although I doubt it. But the subject was whether a relatively small number of carefully screened Muslim immigrants would pose a problem. Part of what you have to do in order to make a reasonable case that they would is to explain why the three million already here have caused so few problems (meanwhile enriching the culture as immigrant populations have always done. Remember the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the French, and remember our history and why we’ve been admired). Judging from the behavior of those three million, Islam is remarkably peaceful.

    Also what if I made the same argument you made regarding neo-Nazis or white supremacists. What if I said “I don’t see tons of white supremacists killing people and causing problems, so what’s wrong with bringing a couple into our community”?

    To compare Muslims to neo-Nazis and white supremacists is to presume the very thing you’re trying to prove. So your argument is circular. Again, the example of the three million demonstrates how wrong that is. There are of course communities in Europe that have been radicalized. The best way to push Muslims here towards radicalization is to demonize them as you’re doing. Of course if we don’t accept them, a small minority of them will refuse to accept us, and that’s when we’ll have a problem with radical mosques. Isn’t that common sense?

    It doesn’t really matter if the violent “interpretation” of Islam is the wrong one. The point is that SOME muslims DO see it as the correct interpretation, and allowing them into our communities is like allowing an axe-murderer

    Which is why we screen them.

    Why is it that whenever someone criticizes Islam the only thing people like you can think to do it attack Christianity

    I haven’t attacked Christianity. I’m a churchgoing, Bible-reading, praying, tithing, pro-life Christian. I do take issue with fundamentalism, which I think springs from fear and cultivates a willfully simpleminded approach to scripture. When it gets mixed up with jingoism, I find it unrecognizable as Christianity. That’s not to say that many or even most fundamentalists don’t love God and follow Christ in their personal lives. But Jesus attacked Pharasee-ism, not Rome.

    Well either Jesus was lying or Muhammad Ken, who are you going to go with?

    Why is it Muhammed had to have been lying? Couldn’t he just have been wrong?

    And by letting muslims into the country, you are only sowing the seeds of the destruction of Christianity because, obviously, muslims are going to teach what the Koran teaches which is that the Gospel is lying. And thus you are in essence undermining the success of your own faith in this country in a BIG way by allowing more of them to come here and spread ideas that are contrary to the truth.

    I think the Gospel spreads, and holds its own, when Christians follow Christ. When we are “the light of the world.” Not when we go around telling everyone we are, and telling ourselves everyone else is dangerous.

  16. the_bluespade says:

    “…The best way to push Muslims here towards radicalization is to demonize them as you’re doing.” ……..

    Hmmm… it seems there are Moslems Ken, that are doing that well enough all alone by themselves entirely. Violence is violence, no matter what the originating source.

    What pieces of “Peace-able Religion” and “Jihad” being Islamic are you failing to distuinguish between. I could see where someone as you might mistake population propagation as “peacable” pursuit and “sharia” as something else in extending 2nd amendment to. Are you doing that Ken?

    Ken, are you certain things are right or is it only positivism between you and omniscience? Oh and, don’t presume I’m trying to advocate or promote any id presumptiveness of or for myself here. It’s a massive stretch by the diatribes post before to not simply ascribe such manner of you.

    Everyone eventually learns to know the truth and that (as it’s been said) shall set you free.

  17. Irregular says:

    “You are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts”, as the saying goes.

    Reality Check:

    http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=30675

  18. Ken says:

    Um, Irregular, if I posted a Huffington Post article with purported facts about Islam, would you believe them? Horowitz and Frontpagemag are no more crediible.

  19. Irregular says:

    Why I’d love to see that article Ken, give us a link!

    Horowitz was once a libtard, a red diaper baby in fact, but came around to understand just how corrupt, disingenuous and dangerous The Left is to liberty. Sorry, but Horowitz oozes credibility.

  20. Ken says:

    There are very serious, thoughtful criticisms to be made of what currently goes by the name of liberalism, and there are many sober-minded people making those criticisms, but Horowitz isn’t one of them. He went from Left-wing extremism to Right-wing extremism. “Libtards” are just people, with good and bad sides like everyone else. You guys are haters. If you ever repent and start loving your enemies, you’ll have something valuable to say to them, and some will even listen. Until then, you’re only confirming them in their prejudices.

  21. Irregular says:

    “Truth is the new hate speech” is a phrase I’ve recently seen in print. Since I’ve been labeled a hater let me come out of the closet and admit to indeed being a hater(labels are fine by me, as sticks and stones may… well, you get the idea). I do indeed hate tyranny, and pity the distracted and those whose guides are emotional instead of rational who unwittingly support it, forming fetters for themselves and free thinkers along with them.

    I wonder what exactly makes David Horowitz a Right-wing extremist? I imagine exposing Progressives for what that are, or some other similar Orwellian crime.

    I don’t know just how much you really know about Horowitz, Ken or if you’ve ever read any of his works. If you are a reader you might consider an author by the name of Ibn Warraq, a former Muslim who wrote “Why I Am Not a Muslim” six years before 09/11/2001. Since he exposes Islam for what it is (as did the link I provided) and its goal of global conquest I suppose that makes him both a hater and a Right-wing extremist.

    I’m almost afraid to ask, Ken, but is there such a thing as evil? I don’t know about you, but when I see the rape, shooting, bombing, immolating, and beheading of innocents, I see evil.

    Have a beautiful day.

  22. Ken says:

    It’s good to hate tyranny, Irregular, although almost by definition tyranny is not something that can be freely chosen, and so it’s not something that can exist in a democracy. In any case, pity is not the emotion you were expressing with the word “libtard.” Insults are the old hate, and they make you look as emotional and irrational to liberals as they do to you. It’s hard to rationally consider an opponent’s ideas while lobbing gratuitous insults.

    What Islam “is” is a sterile debate, finally. What Muslims believe it is, and how it shapes their behavior, are the questions that should really inform our own behavior towards them, and the fact is that most Muslims want peace and disavow global conquest and the “holy War” interpretation of sharia.

    Is there such a thing as evil? Let’s let Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn answer that: ““Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains … an un-uprooted small corner of evil.” Solzhenitsyn was a Christian, and that’s a very Christian insight when you think about it: “There is none who is righteous, no, not one.”

    The actions you name are obviously evil. But hate begets hate, which is something Obama knows and you guys apparently don’t want to know, and which is why you are a jihadi’s best recruiting tool.

  23. JIm says:

    Pew Research (pewresearch.org) did an extensive survey of Muslim support for various Sharia tenants, so the number of people who support a theocratic regime as opposed to simply believing in Islam can be roughly determined.

    We, Christians or otherwise, have no right to judge another’s beliefs–But we have a responsibility to judge the PRACTICE of a religion when it infringes on the beliefs of others. The U.S. government was created by people to follow the will of people. People of faith, however, believe that people are created by God to serve his will. This is why we formally prohibit government influence on religion.

    Many Islamists (according to Pew) believe that Sharia, a theocratic judiciary, was created by God to save people from the corruption inherent in government. Sharia, then, is incompatible with U.S. law because it not only blends religion and government, but is an anathema to a free society. Some Sharia tenants provide cruel and unusual punishments for exercising free thought. Punishments such as flogging, stoning, amputation, or execution are supported by majorities in several countries for offenses such as apostasy, adultery or homosexuality. Many, not all, Muslims also support the killing of innocents as a justifiable strategy to fulfill Allah’s plan.

    If the U.S. wasn’t in severe debt, we should graciously welcome fully-vetted, political refugees of all faiths. But totalitarian theocratic regimes must be clearly forbidden.

  24. Ken says:

    Interesting post, Jim. Thanks for the heads-up about the Pew study. For a more detailed look, you might read “Islam and the Future of Intolerance,” by Sam Harris and Maajid Hawaz. Harris is the famous militant atheist. Hawaz is a former jihadi recruiter who cofounded and chairs a think tank focusing on religious freedom, extremism and citizenship. The book is in the form of a respectful debate; Harris does something which should be standard practice, but is so rare that it deserves commendation: he questions his opponent in order learn from him.

    I agree with you that as Christians we shouldn’t judge others for their beliefs – at least I think that’s what you mean to say. “Judge not, lest you be judged” is an impossibly high standard which we all fall short of but are commanded to keep in mind. However, it’s ironic that you criticize Sharia as theocratic and therefore un-American, given that Christian belief has so greatly shaped American law, and that the Christian Right still appeals to it in regards to issues like abortion and homosexuality and our support of Israel. Schilling does this all the time – to hold Democratic positions, don’t you know, is “ungodly.” His thinking is uncharitable and simplistic, but in fact if you believe that people are created by God to serve his will, you can’t help but take that into consideration when you consider what laws are good and wise and just.
    Your true quarrel with Sharia then, is not that it’s theocratic, but that it’s Muslim instead of Christian.

    I hold a middle ground position. First of all, the liberal who wields the phrase “separation of church and state” to end the discussion and rule the religious conservative’s position out of bounds misconceives and misstates the necessary relationship between religious belief and politics. An individual believer is not church. He may belong to a church, but he joined it freely, and he’s under no takes no orders from it. He’s free to evaluate and then accept or reject or modify church teaching.

    Secondly, the liberal understanding of a separation of church and state (which is what you’re using to knock Sharia), besides being ahistorical, is unworkable, and that’s because every intellectually consistent person’s political positions are rooted in his or her religious views. This is no less true for the atheist than it is for the religious fundamentalist or the religious liberal who think prides himself on separating his religious and political views. That’s because religious views are foundational views, which shape every other view. Everyone, then, has religious views, and it’s impossible for any thinking person to set his religious views aside when considering what sort of government and what sort of laws are proper. Therefore it’s unfair to ask one group, and not others, not to bring religion into the public sphere. Progressive views on homosexuality and abortion, and on immigration and the social safety net, are no less religious that conservative Christian views on those subjects, proceeding as they do from a particular understanding of whether or not God exists, on God’s nature if he or she or it does exist, and on what the answers to those questions mean for how we should live.

    For example, on the basis of a few isolated passages of scripture that say nothing about abortion or when human life begins (“I knew you in your mother’s whom” – in what trimester?), theologically conservative Christians condemn abortion (often while ignoring a host of others things the Bible talks about much more). Meanwhile, liberal Christians can only be pro-choice because unlike conservatives they don’t read the passage literally. Likewise, educated atheists can only be pro-choice because they’ve rejected the Bible as a source of truth altogether. Again, to criticize Sharia for mixing God and government is to misunderstand these things. What Sharia can rightly be criticized for is its mistaken answers to fundamental religious questions, and the horrific acts that proceed from this misunderstanding.

    You also say that “if the U.S. wasn’t in severe debt, we should graciously welcome fully-vetted, political refugees of all faiths.” I’m curious, in your opinion, how does this fit with Christ’s admonition in Luke 6:30: “”Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back”?

Post a Comment