If you believe our Religious Right is any different, philosophically, than Iraq’s Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL (often called ISIS), then you are wrong. They have more in common than a simple desire to cloak their thuggery in divine sanction.
Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association’s director of issues analysis, in a self-styled “moment of theological accord” agrees with ISIL that the Yazidis, a religious minority now facing genocide, are Satanists.
And, of course, Fischer is outraged that President Obama would intervene in Iraq to protect a bunch of devil worshipers, saying on his show Focal Point,
They go after devil worshipers and all of the sudden the entire weight of the United States government is sent in there to relieve them and to avenge them.
Not true, of course. A few fighter planes do not represent the full weight of the United States government. Fischer also says that “while Christians were under attack…nothing from this White House.”
He went on to claim in a column yesterday,
The city of Mosul, long a haven for Christ-followers, has been emptied of Christians who were ordered by the armies of Allah to convert, submit or die. All 45 Christian structures in the city have been seized and converted to Muslim use. Obama yawns.
Wait a minute! Wasn’t it Bryan Fischer himself who said that Muslims are parasites who must convert or die? Why yes it was!
Yes, Bryan Fischer is SO in theological accord with ISIL.
Watch him on Focal Point courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
President Obama now has decided to go back into Iraq, and it’s because ISIS, the Muslim militants, are slaughtering devil worshipers. So President Obama…bringing the full weight of the American into Iraq, now, after months and months and months of begging from the Iraqi government, now he’s going in there because devil worshipers are under attack.
What Fischer ignores in his tirade are the facts. As the Christian Science Monitor points out, the Yazidis are not, in fact, devil worshipers:
Ethnically Kurds, the Yazidis’ faith combines elements of Zoroastrianism from ancient Persia, Sufi Islam, Judaism and Christianity along with beliefs from ancient Mesopotamia. It’s a closed and still secretive religion – members have to be born into the faith and cannot marry outside of it.
Yazidis believe that God entrusted the world to seven angels – the chief angel known in earthly form as the peacock angel who refused to bow down before Adam. While Yazidis see it as proof of his devotion to God, the narrative’s parallels with the fallen angel have led some Muslims to accuse them of devil worship.
Fischer, writing in his column yesterday, tells us:
In a rare point of theological accord, both Muslims and Christians agree that the archangel revered by the Yazidis is in fact the Prince of Darkness. The New Testament describes him this way, “Satan (who) disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14), eager to deceive the gullible into believing that he is good rather than evil. The Yazidis have fallen for his lies.
There is certainly an attempt here to deceive he gullible.
This is bad theology. The Old Testament does not think Satan is a bad guy. In the Old Testament, Satan is simply God’s lieutenant. Not an agent of evil. The snake in the Garden of Eden is just a snake. Even today Judaism does not have a devil. That is a Christian hang-up all too many conservative Christians throughout history have been eager to hang on everybody else, this author included.
It’s endlessly fascinating to see how eager these Religious Right figures are to cite the Old Testament, until the Old Testament is inconvenient, and then suddenly the New Testament trumps the Old. In most cases, as when Jesus extols the poor and condemns the rich, you wouldn’t know Jesus or the New Testament exists.
Keep in mind that the Yazidis, like the ancient world’s Pagan population, had their beliefs before Christianity and before Islam. Christianity came along and proclaimed these types of belief to be of the devil and said the gods were not gods at all but demons. Islam came along and did the same thing. What these interloping religions say about religions older than themselves matters not at all, certainly not in the court of world opinion.
The Yazidis are people. It doesn’t matter what their beliefs are. If they were devil worshipers there would be nothing wrong with that from an American perspective, which cherishes a tradition of religious freedom enshrined in the First Amendment.
Nor more than ISIL’s rancid theology do Fischer’s screwed up religious beliefs justify genocide, and he ought to be begging now for the opportunity to apologize for toeing the ISIL line, rather than condemning Obama for saving innocent lives.
Nor, in fact, are the Yazidis, unlike Christians in Iraq, targeted for extermination:
Unlike Christians, who have been told they must either pay a religious tax or convert to Islam to avoid death, the Yazidis are considered by Sunni militants to be infidels who deserve extermination.
This is exactly what Islam did to Pagans in the 7th century when they exploded out of Arabia. People of the Book, like Christians and Jews, historically get some consideration for having common roots. Pagans, not so much. You don’t get cushy offers to convert or die when you’re a Pagan. You just get dead.
Unless you’re a woman. Then you get enslaved. But then, trogladytes like Fischer no doubt think that’s a pretty great fate for a woman. After all, Fischer has said that women were designed to be ruled over by man, and in modern conservatism’s PoV, slaves have got it pretty good. Better than their masters even, so lucky them!
Fischer happily ignores these facts as well, claiming in his column that,
The Yazidis are without a doubt in a terrible, terrible plight, with 40,000 of them trapped by Muslims on a mountain with no food or water. Many of their children have already died of thirst.
The point here is certainly not to criticize President Obama for taking action to relieve their suffering. The point here is that he has shown no empathy or inclination to intervene to stop the wholesale slaughter of Christians by Muslims in the same part of the world. It has taken the suffering of devil-worshippers to get his attention and rouse him to action.
Since they’ve already labeled Obama as demon-possessed if not the Antichrist himself, it’s a pretty easy connection for low-grade thinkers like Fischer to make.
And don’t for a minute think that should the opportunity arise, the Religious Right – far from limiting themselves to a shared theology – would behave any differently than ISIL. They’ve already got divine sanction, after all, to kill the rest of us dead.
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.