Jeb Bush had something to say in response to Hillary Clinton’s disavowal of the term “Islamic terrorism,” saying, “This is not a question of religion,” even though, you know, the word “Islamic” denotes the religion of Islam.
According to Bush,
“This is not a question of religion,” Bush said. “This is a political ideology that has co-opted a religion, and I think it’s more than acceptable to call it for what it is and then organize an effort to destroy it.”
How interesting, given that he is courting the Religious Right, which is a religion that has co-opted a political ideology in taking over the Republican Party. And home grown terrorists, fed a stead diet of this ideology, have killed more Americans since 9/11 than Islamic terrorists.
So can we then speak of “Christian terrorism”? No doubt Jeb Bush would say no, but by his own thinking, the term is appropriate. No doubt he would object that most Christians don’t want to kill people but its safe to say most Muslims don’t want to kill people either.
So how is one term more appropriate than another?
Despite claiming that “Islamic terrorism” is not really religion, Bush wants to admit only Christian Syrian refugees, administering a “religious test,” and Article VI of the Constitution is evidence of exactly how the Founding Fathers felt about religious tests. If a political candidate does not require one, why should a refugee? And if Islamic terrorists are not really Muslim, then why reject Muslim refugees?
Bush, as usual, is tripping all over himself.
Obama has slapped down Bush’s suggestion, saying,
“When I hear folks say well maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims, when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who’s fleeing from a war torn country is admitted. When some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful. That’s not American, that’s not who we are.”
“We don’t have religious tests to our compassion,” Obama went on to say, a warning to Bush as much as anybody not to “feed that dark impulse inside of us.”
Sadly, Jeb Bush and the GOP are nothing but a collection of dark impulses. Christian terrorism prominent among them.
And what Jeb is doing here is feeding into the Religious Right meme that America is a Christian country founded by Christians for Christians, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
What Bush is trying to tell conservatives is that it’s okay to hate on Islam, that Islam is indeed the enemy, and they’re just not compatible – whether extremists or refugees – with the base’s devotion to the invented Christian basis of our country.
While this kind of language is sure to reassure the base and its “let’s kick out Mexicans and keep out Muslims” attitude, it is contrary to American values, and as Hillary Clinton warned during the Democratic debate, it is terminology that is going to hurt, rather than help America, us in the long run.
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.