In a WND exclusive, former journalist now propagandist Bob Unruh, when he isn’t writing about “Obama’s detention camps”, bashing gays, or birther-izing, ejaculates about one of the favorite Republican fantasies: the foisting of an Islamic Caliphate (is here any other kind?) on the American people. His claim is that its “goals [were] given boost when [the] Obama administration legitimizes ban on criticism.” You wouldn’t know from Unruh that the front-running GOP candidate just said he doesn’t believe in Separation of Church and State and does believe that Satan is attacking America and that we need to become a theocracy to “save” (e.g. destroy) our country.
Unruh is one of WND’s stable of paranoid conspiracy enthusiasts. He wants to up your pucker-factor where Islam is concerned. Don’t worry about the theocracy in our midst, which currently happens to be an alliance of hardcore Protestants and Catholics, including presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. In fact, Santorum brings to mind all those fears of a Catholic president JFK was so anxious to put to rest in 1960. He is that Catholic your protestant mama warned you about.
But the problem for Unruh isn’t all the theocracy-talk in our Republican presidential debates, or Republican speeches, or coming from fundamentalist mega-churches or televangelists or FOX News but a “caliphate-planning conference” to be held by “Muslims” soon (I’m still thinking about Baptist Caliphates). He claims that this move toward a caliphate “was given a boost of support by the Obama administration recently when it allowed a three-day “Istanbul Process” conference in Washington.”
The coming event, Caliphate Conference 2012, is being organized by Hizb ut-Tahrir, which Kern describes as a “pan-Islamic extremist group that seeks to establish a global Islamic state, or caliphate, ruled by Islamic Shariah law.”
Okay…so I should worry about a global Islamic state ruled by Sharia law more than a global Christian state ruled by Mosaic law? If so, why? There is no essential difference between the two law codes. It’s the Taliban either way. For non-monotheists like me, or for atheists or secularists, one is as bad as the other. In fact, for most Christians as well as most Muslims, one is as bad as the other.
Why is Unruh upset about the Caliphate Conference 2012 but has no qualms about Rick Perry’s prayerfast, The Response, held in Houston in 2011? The Response was for Christians only – the right kind of Christian, though non-Christians were welcome to experience the joys of group-psychosis, er…conversion. That was the idea, after all, to return America to God – to make America a Christian nation.
A video promoting the Caliphate Conference 2012 tells us this (you can watch an English translation at The Blaze):
“The relentless decline of Capitalism has begun. The time has come to fight against poverty. Time to obliterate the injustices. Time for the correct system.”
But how is this any different than the message of The Response?
“We believe that America is in a state of crisis. Not just politically, financially or morally, but because we are a nation that has not honored God in our successes or humbly called on Him in our struggles. According to the Bible, the answer to a nation in such crisis is to gather in humility and repentance and ask God to intervene. The Response will be a historic gathering of people from across the nation to pray and fast for America.”
I detect no discernible difference. There is no such thing as good theocracies and bad theocracies. History has shown us all theocracies are bad. That’s why our Founding Fathers didn’t create one; that’s why we have the First Amendment.
But here’s the thing Unruh doesn’t want you to know: Most Muslims don’t want a caliphate. Most Christians don’t want a theocracy, even if it’s Christian. But Unruh doesn’t want you thinking like that. Eager to push his puckerrific Islamophobic agenda, he says:
The 57-member OIC has been proposing a special international law that would make it criminal to speak ill of Muhammad or his followers for years, but it never was successful under its earlier plans that were portrayed as a ban on the “defamation of religions.” Actually, support for the idea had started waning.
Again, I don’t see much difference. We have people like Brian Fischer pushing laws against blasphemy. We have Republican presidential candidates, not just conferences attended by fundamentalist Christians but actual presidential candidates, falling over each other to wage war on the First Amendment and to put special protections in place for Christians. I did mention that Rick Santorum does not believe in the Separation of Church and State, right?
What difference is there between saying you can’t criticize Christianity and saying you can’t criticize Islam? Why is one supposed to have a high pucker-factor and not the other? Both should scare the living bejeezus/beallah out of you. But Unruh is aghast:
But then it proposed Resolution 16/18, a plan for countries to “combat” things like “intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of … religion and belief.” The idea was adopted in the U.N. General Assembly just a few weeks ago and Kern’s analysis notes that it would be largely ineffectual as long as the West doesn’t jump behind it.
This Kern he speaks of is Soeren Kern, Senior Fellow for European Politics at Madrid’s Grupo de Estudio (also of the Stonegate Institute). Unruh tells us that Kern’s opinion is that Obama’s decision “gave the [Organization of Islamic Cooperation] the political legitimacy it has been seeking to globalize its initiative to ban criticism of Islam.”
Now if you look at HRC 16/18 you see this title:
Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief.
Wow, that sounds….nice. Is that really so awful? Tolerance? Thomas Jefferson, after all, whom conservatives have tried to co-opt to their cause, wrote The Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom in 1779 and it was passed by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1786. James Madison wrote the Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments against state-supported religion (specifically Christian). The Constitution itself, Article 6, paragraph 3, mandates that no religious test be required for candidates and the First Amendment mandates no state-supported religion (something we are doing regardless, with the Bush-era Faith Based Initiatives).
But this is my real question: Why is tolerance something to get upset about? Is hate really that essential to Christian identity that the world’s largest religion can’t exist without it? Is gay-bashing, Islam-bashing, Pagan-bashing, atheist-bashing, etc, that important? And even if Islam is about hate and intolerance, as Unruh’s fellow nut-jobs claim (it’s not), why must Christians respond in kind? What happened to turning the other cheek?
This is what Hilary Clinton had to say on December 14, 2011 at the Istanbul Process for Combating Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief Conference held in Washington, DC:
SECRETRY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon, everyone, and I want to thank you all for participating in this conference where we are working together to protect two fundamental freedoms – the right to practice one’s religion freely and the right to express one’s opinion without fear.
Now, the United States is hosting this conference because religious freedom and freedom of expression are among our highest values. They are enshrined in our Constitution. For people everywhere, faith and religious practice is a central source of our identity. It provides our lives with meaning and context. It is fundamental to who we are. And as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights makes clear, each of us is born free to practice any religion, to change our religion, or to have none at all. No state may grant these freedoms as a privilege or take them away as a punishment if you believe, as I do and as our country does, that they are not rights bestowed by any government. They are rights endowed by our Creator within each of us. And therefore, we have a special obligation to protect these God-given rights.
And if a government does try to deny them or take them away, it amounts to a rejection of that universal right. And it also amounts to a repudiation of that fundamental conviction that we are all created equal before God. Therefore, restricting the practice of anyone’s faith is a threat to the human rights of all individuals. Communities of faith are not confined by geopolitical borders. Wherever you are in the world, there will certainly be people whose religious beliefs differ from your own, maybe by just a little bit or maybe by a lot. And my ability to practice my religious faith freely does not, and indeed cannot, diminish yours.
Here is the part Unruh and his fellow religious bigots really hate:
Religion can be such a powerful bond, but we also recognize that it can be misused to create conflict. There are those who, for reasons actually having little to do with religion, seek to instill fear or contempt for those of another creed. So we believe that it is the duty of every government to ensure that individuals are not subject to violence, discrimination, or intimidation because of their faith or their lack of faith. That is the commitment that the world made to religious freedom more than 60 years ago when we adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Clinton speaks of the delicate balance between free speech and protecting people from violence and discrimination:
Now, in the United States, we continue to combat intolerance because it is – unfortunately, seems to be part of human nature. It is hurtful when bigotry pollutes the public sphere, but the state does not silence ideas, no matter how disagreeable they might be, because we believe that in the end, the best way to treat offensive speech is by people either ignoring it or combating it with good arguments and good speech that overwhelms it.
So we do speak out and condemn hateful speech. In fact, we think it is our duty to do so, but we don’t ban it or criminalize it. And over the centuries, what we have found is that the rough edges get rubbed off, and people are free to believe and speak, even though they may hold diametrically opposing views.
Now, with Resolution 1618, we have clarified these dual objectives. We embrace the role that free expression plays in bolstering religious tolerance. We have agreed to build a culture of understanding and acceptance through concrete measures to combat discrimination and violence, such as education and outreach, and we are working together to achieve those objectives.
This is what Kern calls a “diplomatic coup” for supporters of an Islamic Caliphate. Kern claims that the “explicit aim” of the Istanbul Process is to make it a crime to criticize Islam. It is amazing what a tizzy Christians can work themselves into over this idea, even while telling us it is a crime (or ought to be) to criticize Christianity!
Unruh claims that Clinton’s comments “open the door for attacks on people making statements about their own beliefs, which someone else would choose to decry as “hatred.” Isn’t that exactly what we’re being told if we say “no thank you” to Unruh’s Christian fundamentalists? That we’re guilty of hate crimes against Christianity if we utter any criticism of it? If we fail to say “Merry Christmas”?Apparently, only fundamentalist Christians are allowed to have “their own beliefs.” Certainly, from all the rhetoric, atheists, secularist, Pagans, Muslims, gays and lesbians, feminists, etc, are not.
WND previously has written about the Islamic-led Defamation of Religions proposal in the United Nations. It was “nothing more than an effort to achieve special protections for Islam – a move to stifle religious speech,” according to an analysis by Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice.
Yes, only Christians should have special protections. We get it. Apparently it’s a threat to Christian freedoms for other religions to have freedoms too. Can’t have that!
What is amusing about all Unruh’s hyperbolic ranting is that supporters of a Caliphate will be no more happy with Clinton’s words than Unruh. They don’t want freedom of religion – they want imposition of their religion just like Unruh wants imposition of his. They particularly don’t care about religious minorities, no more than Unruh does. As Clinton went on to say, “we know that governments which fear religion can be quite oppressive, but we know that societies which think there’s only one religion can be equally oppressive.”
Unruh seems to recognize that comment applies to him. What he fails to recognize is that he (and his religion) is no different and no better than those Caliphate supporters he criticizes.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.