Sarah Palin, Christian Dominionism and the Demonization of Islam

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No attempt is made by Christian fundamentalists, who are hopelessly mired in the medieval thought-world, to actually understand Islam. Their purpose instead is to demonize it. The old crusader mentality is alive and well on the Right and marching in lockstep with that ancient persecution complex should anyone raise an eyebrow at their absurd claims.

A perfect example of this is found in the recent remarks of Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, who said, “We’re not attacking Islam but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He’s not the son of God of the Christian or Judeo-Christian faith. It’s a different God and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion.”

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This is a clear and all-encompassing denunciation of Islam as a whole, and the entire body of its followers. It’s a clear attempt to remove Islam from the Abrahamic tent – Allah isn’t even the same god as the god of Moses.

Sarah Palin, no less strident than Graham, attempted to claim in Graham’s defense that he was only attacking radical Muslims who kill women and children but as any literate person can see, this is not the case at all. Graham was merely stating what many Christian fundamentalists fervently believe.

After Graham’s remarks got him uninvited from a Pentagon-sponsored National Day of Prayer function, he not surprisingly cried persecution for his beliefs and we were forced to sit through another rehashing of the old “war on Christianity” myth. Graham whined that “It looks like Islam has gotten a pass. They are able to have their services, but just because I disagree … I’m excluded.”
Graham seems impervious to the obvious truth that the National Day of Prayer itself is a government-sponsored celebration of Christianity at taxpayer expense – in violation of the Constitution. Yes, I’d say Christians got their day. They were far from excluded.

The only people who were really excluded were the people who for fundamentalists qualify as the “other” – agnostics, atheists, Pagans, Muslims and others.

The recent experience of Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison illustrates this point. His announcement that he would place his hand on a Qur’an rather than a Bible elicited a Right-wing firestorm of outrage. Conservative columnist and talk show host Dennis Prager led the charge, saying that “He should not be allowed to do so, not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American culture.” Apparently thinking that the United States was founded as a theocracy, he went on to complain that Ellison should swear on a Bible, which “America holds as its holiest book. … If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t
serve in Congress.”

What is it that the Constitution says again? Oh, let’s see…”no religious test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States” (Article VI).

The Constitution says that Dennis Prager is an idiot, but he is far from alone in those waters.

This brings us to Sarah Palin. Remember her claim that Barack Obama, then running for president, was “palling around with terrorists.” She was speaking specifically of Bill Ayers, a former member of the Vietnam-era militant Weather Underground organization, but the implication is clear. And her charge has been echoed by others – even to the extent that Obama is accused of not being a Christian at all but a Muslim in disguise, someone who, in Palin’s words, “is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America.” In other words, he is not a “real American”. Even Department of Justice lawyers assigned to represent Gitmo detainees have been accused by former vice president Dick Cheney of being “terrorist sympathizers.”

Most recently, conservatives are accusing Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, as being supportive of terrorism. The logic seems to be that liberals don’t hate Islam and if you don’t hate Islam you’re soft on terrorism. There is no logical connection between the two (Timothy McVeigh, after all, was a Republican, a veteran, an NRA member, militia supporter, and a Christian – in short, one of Palin’s “real” Americans) but logic does not seem to enter into it.

Charles Colson, founder of the Prison Fellowships Ministries, told the Southern Baptist Convention’s Pastor’s Conference that “Islam is a vicious evil.” While decrying Islam’s goal of imposing Sharia law on the entire world, Colson (apparently immune to the concept of hypocrisy) stated “What is our purpose in life It is to restore the fallen culture to the glory of God. It’s to take command and dominion over every aspect of life, whether it’s music, science, law, politics, communities, families, to bring Christianity to bear in every single area of life”

That is, after all, what Palin’s “real Americans” want – an America enslaved to the Ten Commandments, a system of religious law as repressive as Sharia law. While decrying the viciousness and barbarity of Sharia law, Christian fundamentalists are more than happy to stoke hatred of homosexuals in Uganda, leading to the very real possibility of the death penalty for violation of their god’s law. Others urge a return to stoning in this country.

From the outside looking in, there is little to choose between one set of repressive religious laws and another. It hardly matters if a Christian or a Muslim is throwing the stone – it will kill you either way. Hatred and intolerance is the same, whatever their source, Islamic Wahabist or Christian Dominionist.

The key thing is that the vast majority of Christians are not dominionists, or any other stripe of fundamentalist; and the vast majority of Muslims are not extremists, let alone terrorists. Islam is not at war with the United States any more than the United States is at war with Islam. Bush era crusades notwithstanding, the United States is not involved in a holy war and, because the United States was not founded as a Christian nation, cannot be, whatever apocalyptic hopes fundamentalists on either side might entertain. The Treaty of Tripoli (ratified 1797) made this clear and the point needs to be hammered home again.

The United States is a secular nation composed of religionists of all types waging a war in its own defense and against all terrorists, whatever their politics or religion, who seek to harm our country and its inhabitants. Religion is not, and cannot be allowed to become part of the equation.

26 Replies to “Sarah Palin, Christian Dominionism and the Demonization of Islam”

  1. I hate Islam here are some quotes from the Qur’an on why and do not bother to comment on this I do not care what your opinions are on this the only good Muslim is a dead one!
    “The Jews and Christians say: ‘We are the children of God and His loved ones.’ Say: ‘Why then does He punish you for your sins?” (Surah 5:18)
    “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.” (Surah 5:51)
    “Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme.” (Surah 8:36-)
    “…make war on the leaders of unbelief…Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them…” (Surah 9:12-)
    “Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given …until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued.” (Surah 9:27-)
    “It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters may dislike it.” (Surah 9:31-)
    “Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home.” (Surah 9:73)
    “Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them.” (Surah 9:121-)
    For you women out there here are some fun quotes.
    “If you wish to replace a wife with another, do not take from her the dowry you have given her…” (Surah 4:20)
    “Forbidden to you are…married women, except those you own as slaves.” (Surah 4:20-, 24-)
    “Try as you may, you cannot treat all your wives impartially.” (Surah 4:126-)
    “Blessed are the believers…who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)…These are the heirs of Paradise…” (Surah 23:1-5-)
    “You shall not force your slave-girls into prostitution in order that you make money, if they wish to preserve their chastity.” (Surah 24:33-)
    For you who believe that not all Muslims believe in these things you are correct the problem is that too many of them do!

  2. I suggest Anonymous familiarize himself with the hate expressed in the Bible before he starts throwing stones at Islam.

  3. @tracy, The only answer I have to such a grotesque level of stupidity is that some Christians (more than a few unfortunately) are completely ignorant of the contents of their own Bible. Anonymous has absolutely no moral high ground whatsoever.

  4. @Hrafnkell, Wrong to all you Pedophiles, to all you rapist how have commented on this well done you support a religion that allows girls as young as 6 years old to wed and a rape victim is not a rape victim unless three other Muslim men witness the rape and the rapist is not gone to marry the rape victim. In the EU right now there a Muslim women marching against the government because there are not allowed to sell their daughters in to slavery opps I mean marriage. In Amsterdam there are roving bands of Muslim boys stoning to death gay men because being gay in there religion is not only frowned upon it is a crime punishable by death. These are not occurrences that have happened in the distance past; they are being committed right now. I do not see zealot Christians strapping bombs to themselves and blowing up innocent people, do you. Therefore, to you who defend the Islam it is good to know that you are Pedophilia, rapist, slavery, and the killing of innocent people!

  5. @,Anonymous despite the fact that you are not acting coherently, how do you explain the 3 million Islamists in the US?

    I don’t think I see them running through the streets with sinew and entrails in their teeth.

    Our outstanding upstanding christians in the US dont strap bombs on their kids, they just give them rifles and send them overseas to kill as many people as possible

  6. @Shiva, Well said. And as mentioned in my article, Timothy McVeigh was one of Sarah Palin’s “real Americans.” And it’s not Muslims who are gunning people down in churches, restaurants, schools and elsewhere, but generally Christians or those who were brought up as Christians. But Anonymous’ response does not surprise me. It is about what I expected – a complete lack of rationality and an appeal to fear, hate, and hysteria.

  7. @Shiva, You mean after they, true religion Islam flew planes into buildings and killed innocent people, however you still did not deny the pedophilia or rape. 3 million sleeper cells wake up before they kill you or rape you or sell you into marriage. You still have not addressed the issues you still have not made any relevant points. You cannot deny what I have said for it is the truth, take a look at the news papers in Europe they are filled with head lines of Islamic terror, the British election shook out the way it did based on the Islamic terror that the average Englishman face every day in their own streets.

  8. I dont have to address pedophillia. It is not a common practice among mulsims today, anymore than it is among non muslims around the world.

    3 million sleeper cells? Uh huh. total conjecture on your part.

    When you make relevant points I will address them. Refuting you is as easy as the pedophilia thing.

    Britian? yes, they have a problem with muslims. They are also very over crowded and many of them live in less than desirable conditions.

    Now, there are over 1 billion Muslims. At that rate, were they the blood thirsty animals you say they are, they would over run most countrys in minutes. I repeat, there are over 3 million muslims in the US, do you see them out killing and raping people?

    Now calm down and start speaking english. Your own points are killing you.

  9. @Shiva, Here is part of an news paper article “Running on the similar lines, recently a case has come up from Saudi Arabia where the court has discarded a divorce plea from eight-year-old girl married to 58-year-old man.

    The girl’s mother filed a divorce plea on her behalf but the judge dismissed it saying that she (the mother) has no right to file such a case. And that the girl can only file the plea when she reaches puberty.” that would be pedophillia you can believe what you want (you are wrong) here is another new paper article “The United Nations estimates that as many as 5,000 women are murdered in such honor killings each year for offenses like immodesty or refusing an arranged marriage. They may be on the rise in the U.S… ” that is 5000 in the US so how are they not killing and raping ” women who live under Shariah Law are virtual prisoners and are not allowed to leave their home unless accompanied by an appropriate male guardian. Or perhaps, start a discussion on the fact that over 90% of married women in supposedly “moderate Islamic” countries like Pakistan report being “kicked, slapped, beaten, or sexually abused” for crimes like failing to cook or clean to their husbands’ approval or for giving birth to a girl instead of a boy. Maybe it would have been a good time to mention that now even here in the United States, fathers, brothers, and sons sometimes feel they have the right to viciously attack and murder their own female relatives in order to preserve their so-called “honor.” At the very least, it would have been an appropriate moment for some feminist group to denounce the heinous practice of female genital mutilation or the stoning to death of women who are raped. What about the Islamic tradition of forcing children to “marry” adult men who then take complete control over their little bodies — control enough to rape little girls to death as we saw in Yemen just weeks ago.” just realize how wrong you are Islam is not peace it is not justice and it is not for the protection of women

  10. @Anonymous

    And did we just not bust a bunch of American religious nuts doing the same thing? Marrying children? What is your point? The fact is the 1+ billion muslims are not out running around killing people.

    Please give it a rest. You see muslim women daily in stores and malls all over the US. You have no idea what goes on in a muslim family and you are just spreading hate. There are no 5000 women killed in the US

    I could give a rip less what they do in Pakistan or any other country. I am not supporting muslims except to laugh at you.

    Im sorry, but your bs has gone on past its limit. Have a good night, wherever you are. And stop calling people Pedophiles, you lost your arguement before it even got started.

  11. @Shiva, You deny the newspaper articles, the testimony of Nujood. Glamour’s women of the year 2009 “Nujood’s ordeal began last February, when the family gathered to celebrate her wedding to a motorcycle deliveryman in his 30s. She first set eyes on the groom when she took her marriage vows. After spending her wedding night with her parents and 15 brothers and sisters, Nujood was taken by her new husband to his family village, where, she says, he beat and raped her every night. After two nightmarish months he allowed her to visit her parents, who rebuffed her pleas to end the marriage.” You are supporting Muslims you are denying what they do so you are as bad no you are worse than they are you enable them, they live in a culture of violence you from your post want to also live in such a culture. You are sad you need to open your eyes before you are sold to a cab driver, you are sad that you don’t care what the Muslims do in other countries you are sad and lack compassion and humanity I believe that you should see a priest or rabbi soon as it seems that you have lost your soul.

  12. I would just like to address for a minute the evils of ethnocentrism. To suppose that your own way of doing things is the right way and that every other way of doing things is wrong – is wrong. Different cultures have different customs and outlooks. As Pagans have long understood, it is right for them – not universally so. I would argue that the idea of a universally “correct” culture is a myth. I would also point out that it is not that long ago that Westerners were marrying girls we now consider too young to marry. Is Anonymous arguing that we’ve finally got it “right”? Because all through our collective Western history we’ve had that same sense of cultural superiority, the need to “raise up” foreign cultures to our own level of perfection.

    I’m not saying I approve of some of the things other cultures do, but it is only fair to point out that they feel some of the things and behaviors we engage in are wrong or evil. Who is to say who is right and who is wrong? Certainly not Anonymous.

  13. @,

    You do realize how much you sound like the very radical Islamic terrorists you are so busy hating, right?

    People like you are driving sane people out of the Christian religion.Thankfully. Keep up the hate and the hideous heart — God and Jesus weep when you speak.

  14. @Hrafnkell,

    Anyone who was really studying the bible or most religions learns the truth of what you’re saying. This new found christianity where they pray for the deaths of senators and presidents they don’t like is an ugly extension of some of the misuse of religion throughout time.

    watch where this is going, people.

  15. Keep writing these, Hraf.

    It’s interesting to note that this is happening in secular Turkey, too; the radicals are trying to penetrate the separation of state and religion there, just as they are here. Furthermore, most modern Islamic countries tend to embrace a theocratic government just as the radical Christian extremists would like the US to do. And what does that suggest? I’m amazed that the radical Christians here can’t see how closely they mimic that which they hate and fail to see that both positions reside in a belief that is dangerous to individual liberty and reasonable government. (Not to mention the threat of holy wars — how could they think their God would want them to murder others in his/her name?)

    I simply can’t comprehend how they could not know that everyone thinks that their religion is the only one- therefore it can not possibly be true. This tribal mentality is very human (sadly), but that doesn’t make it accurate.

    Why does anyone’s religion, or the manifestation of their spiritual beliefs, have to be “the one”? Why does it have to dominate another? The truth is that many find comfort in communal displays of spirituality — hence belonging to a franchise, if you will, of religion. And because these beliefs can be so strong, our founders knew they needed to create a government with separation of church and state.

  16. @Sarah Jones, Thanks, Sarah. It’s incredible to me that the only people who cannot see how much alike Christian and Islamic fundies are are Christian fundies. And the situation in Turkey, as you say, is alarming as well. I hope the secularists are able to keep a lid on things. It’s scary to think about extremists being in control – another round of crusades with 21st century weaponry… Yeah, we don’t need that.

  17. @Hrafnkell,

    Just imagine if Sarah Palin were in office and the fundies took over Turkey.

    I think this explains why the fundies here are so dead set on homeschooling; in order to protect the brain-washed from the very warnings history provides on this subject. But wait, they have revised history anyway, right? The “New Texas Textbooks” ; white-washed and altered to fit an agenda meant to ultimately overtake the US government with religion. I know they’ve been at this for a long time, and in fact, this relentless human need to impose their religion on others (really, a power grab from the top but the true believers don’t know this) will never end.

    This is why education was so important to the founders as well. And why the Republicans mock education and self-empowerment.

    Keep up the great work.

  18. @Hrafnkell,Sociology proves you wrong, in sociology there are universal wrongs these wrongs are called taboos. Pedophilia, murder, and rape are just a few. You label me a Christian you are wrong, you say the west just recently stopped the marriage of prepubescent girls in fact it has been over 70 years. You claim it is just culture difference, and yet the Fort Hood attack, the attack on South Park, the under ware bomber, the PA woman, the time square incident. These are just culture differences. You claim that I want to pull up the rest of the world to our level again, you are wrong I want those who live in the west to live up to our culture. You claim that it is ok for to rape, to molest, to kill you say it there culture and they simply do not know any better, and you say I look down on them, but it is I that say they are better than the taboos they commit, it is you who is looking down on them. I telling you read the newspaper of the big European cities and our northern brothers of Canada. Islamic clerics are at speaking events spreading hatred of the countries they7 now live in and are preaching that the Islamic laws are the only laws that need to be followed. Wake up before it is too late, or we will end up like Amsterdam.

  19. @, Anonymous I’m not impressed by sociology or sociologists in general but you’re dead wrong. There are no universal wrongs – what is taboo in one culture is not taboo in another. I suggest you get out more. I don’t care what religion you are – you need to go to school and get an education. We can talk again when you know what you’re talking about.

  20. @Hrafnkell, I miss spoke they are call Universal Norms not taboos. I do have an education unlike yourself (“I’m not impressed by sociology or sociologists in general” hate science much) that is why I present facts here something none of you has done. I present Newspaper articles, research articles and you have brought nothing to the table. Her I will do it again and the next time one of you ass monkeys comment try to present a fact for you side OK, otherwise do not comment you all just look like fools. “Swedish artist Lars Vilks continues to be targeted, reportedly facing a second attack this week. The southern Sweden home of Vilks was hit by a suspected arson attack Friday night, according to the Associated Press. Vilks, who sparked a violent protest Tuesday while speaking at Stockholm’s Uppsala University, was not home at the time of Friday’s attack.” Washington Post “David Horowitz a conservative thinker and writer was confronted by a member of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and recorded a startling exchange. He simply asked the student if she would condemn Hamas. The young women sidestep the question and after further prodding, indicating she supported rather than condemned the terrorist group. Horowitz looking like he already knew the answer, asked her a follow up question. “I am a Jew. The head of Hizbollah has said that he hopes that we will all gather in Israel so he doesn’t have to hunt us down globally.” Horowitz then looks the young woman in the eye and asks her, “ FOR IT, or AGAINST IT?” The young women dressed in traditional Muslim clothing and wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh, leaned into the microphone and said in quiet voice “for it”.” Philly Examiner. Where is your facts, your proof?

  21. Have you ever read the Hebrew bible , called by arrogant Christians the Old Testament.

    there you’ll find some of the things that you talk about.

  22. @Sarah Jones,

    I ‘ve been learning one interesting thing today…..some People (like you – far away from my stay in Europe, far away from my education, far away from a lot of things….) are learning, reflecting and acting on their own. It is a very good day.

    In my family, we are Christian-Muslim and Jew (yes it may happen with strange mix) and what I learn is easily understandable. We are just peoples coming from the same place (our mother) and doing the same things (toilets, baths, cook, eating, ….).

    If some could just stop looking at themselves all the time saying……..”I am….I am….I am…….You are not….. You are not” and sometimes trying to empower people by “We are in danger……bla bla……They are bad, They are evil….”.

    If some could just read and learn from the beautiful diversity the World gives us. If some could just start thinking on their own.

    What I am sure about is that We all stand on the same earth and that our biggest threat is to let ourselves thinking that some are bigger, better, …..er, ……..er than others.

    For this learning, Thank You.
    Really!

    PS : English is not my mother tongue so if some words are maybe misused, sorry……euh? no sorry, just tell me how to do better? ;-)

    Shlomo – Shalom – Salam – Peace – Paix – Pace

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