This, sports fans, strikes me as unmitigated nonsense

Jacob Weisberg asks if Pres. Obama should speak more firmly to Muslims in the wake of the shootings at Fort Hood.

While acknowledging that 11 percent of Americans still believe the president is a Muslim (he’s not — he’s a member of the Congregational Church), Weisberg writes:

Obama is right to continue emphasizing the all-important distinction between religious views compatible with democratic pluralism and those that aren’t. As he deals with the fallout of the attack, he must continue to separate Islamic extremism from Islam as a whole. But his words at Fort Hood, while comforting, do not really come to grips with the problem. America does not face a threat from the perversion of faith in general. We face a threat from the perversion of one faith in particular. The president needs to dip into his reservoir of good will to remind mainstream Muslims of their special responsibility. If militant Islamism is a distortion of their moderate beliefs, only their beliefs can defeat it.

As we’ve explored before, Muslims throughout this country have continued to denounce — in no uncertain terms — the violence at the Texas fort. What more these groups should do is beyond me, but perhaps Weisberg has the answer to that.

And while he’s answering that, perhaps he can answer this: Should Christians also be chastised for allowing extremism in their own midst? Do Christians not speak out enough against certain people’s twisting of their own faith? Because, Jacob Weisberg, we’re doing the best that we can.

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15 responses to “This, sports fans, strikes me as unmitigated nonsense

  1. “America does not face a threat from the perversion of faith in general. We face a threat from the perversion of one faith in particular. ”

    Agreed. Every religion has fundamental extremists but that doesn’t make them equally dangerous. All dogs have teeth but we are more wary of pitbulls than poodles… and rabid dogs, regardless of breed, get shot.

    I don’t think moderate Muslims get a pass on this just because it is hard for individuals to change the way of things. I was raised in the south and my dad’s (southern) side of the family, while not Klan members, certainly thought it was fine to use the N-word and put blacks down. My mom was the moderate Christian who talked to us kids about treating all people with respect. She also got my dad, at least, to stop talking that way in front of the family. That my brother, sister, and I are not prejudiced adults is because she stood up for her values.

    The difference between the Obama and Bush approaches has been that the former assumes all dogs will be friendly if petted and offered treats, whereas the latter assumed that all pitbulls are rabid until proven otherwise. We’ve got to jettison political correctness and inflexible thinking to find a factual, functional medium if we are to get some long-term, effective results.

    • I don’t think Muslims bear any more burden than the rest of us, though, for our own mad dogs. I think part of the conversations that go come from ignorance of Islam, and a willingness to discriminate. I agree that political correctness serves no purpose here, but I strongly believe this is something we all share.

  2. Christians are definitely not doing enough to speak out against the Christian extremists, I think. The Catholic church has power and a voice because of their organization and hierarchy. Other Christian groups don’t have the same clout because we’re mostly just a bunch of individuals without much money. Muslims are faced with the same organizational problems. How do we speak out? No one is listening because we have such a small voice.

    • That’s what a lot of Muslims say, that they speak out but no one is listening (the corporate media, in particular). Speaking as a member of the corporate media, I would encourage you to speak out louder.

      • I was also thinking of the policy makers. I’ve written to Obama, Senators, and Congresspeople and I’m lucky to get a form letter back if anything at all. Whereas the Catholic Church has Congress’s ear. There is no central speaker for liberal Christians or Muslims. When trouble broke out within the Catholic Church, the media went to the guys in charge for answers. As bad as the situation was, the resolution and plan was communicated. Muslims don’t have that communication path and I can relate to that. Individuals don’t have the same authority or voice and that’s a problem when image is at stake, I think.

      • For good or for bad, I think that person is Jim Wallace. He and Sojourners has become the strongest voice for progressive Christianity. The real problem is that gov’t listens to dollars and votes, both of which they get from the more conservative branches of Christianity.

  3. Okay, so Obama better start talking strongly to Christians that go around bringing guns into houses of worship, or commit mass murderers…And Satanists, and run of the mill Conservatives because that asshole shot up the UU in Knoxville.

    Your argument Mike, isn’t that your mom raised you differently but rather she should have confronted Klan members (who are Christians). And not doing so made her somehow responsible for ther actions. Because heaven knows, she could have made them change.

    What a burden to put on ordinary Muslims – to be responsible for anyone vaguely associated with your religious beliefs acts. I don’t feel responsible for Timothy McVeigh. Do you?

    Or maybe all Christians need to have a little chat with the Christian Identity people.

    • Thanks Carol, for flipping that around and giving me reason to deepen my thinking. You’re right. I didn’t feel responsible for McVeigh (I was still nominally Christian at the time) . Nor do I think my mom should have gone around confronting Klan members.

  4. It’s simply unreasonable to blame the entire Muslim-American community for the acts of one deranged soldier. I think Obama’s approach is understandable, considering he doesn’t even give lip service to the fact we’re currently losing more soldiers to suicide than battle.
    Continually focusing on this man’s theology as the cause of his violent crime fails to recognize the real truth; we have a crisis within our military which is leading to dozens of violent acts every month.
    When Soldiers Are Expendable by Dahr Jamail.

    • I saw that.
      I’m trimming my beard….today.
      I thought I was getting a good Karl Marx look in anticipation of the holiday season. But I would hate to be mistaken for a Greek Orthodox cleric mistaken for a Muslim terrorist.
      I was getting a lot of sideways glances at the hospital yesterday.
      Maybe I’ll shoot for something a little more Red Green.

    • And so it begins. Or continues to be, one.

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