Over the Weekend
You may have noticed a story on Saturday about national demonstrations “against Sharia law” in about 19 cities. While most of these demonstrations were met with resistance in numbers greater than their own, they nonetheless believe there is a genuine threat that Muslims are trying to overturn our secular legal system and want to replace it with their draconian practices. The stupidity and hypocrisy of that notion reveals the true motives behind these demonstrations which are pure bigotry and fear.
According to the June 10th Washington Post:
ACT for America, a lobbyist organization with close ties to the Trump administration, organized nationwide marches to oppose Islamic law, which the group says is a threat to U.S. society. ACT, which has drawn condemnation from civil rights groups for its frequent criticism of Islam and its efforts to pass state-level bills targeting Islamic law and refugees, organized the protests as a nationwide March Against Sharia and a defense of human rights.
The irony here, of course, is that if we examine ACT for America, which claims on its website (actforamerica.org): “ We are the NRA of national security. We don’t just support the protection of American security --- we’re fighting for it.” They are actually a thinly veiled “hate group” (according to the Southern Poverty Law Center) organized by a woman named Brigitte Gabriel. The author of books like They Must Be Stopped and Because They Hate, Ms. Gabriel, a survivor of 1970's Muslim attacks in Lebanon (she’s a Lebanese Christian whose real name is Hanan Qahwaji and her credentials are a high school diploma and one-year certificate in business administration from a YMCA), has an ax to grind. According to Wikipedia:
Her organization, ACT for America, has been described by the New York Times as drawing "on three rather religious and partisan streams in American politics: evangelical Christian conservatives, hard-line defenders of Israel (both Jews and Christians) and Tea Party Republicans."
These are groups are right in Donald Trump’s wheelhouse, of course, so the alliance between the new administration and ACT for America is clear. And, like the administration, ACT for America, traffics in misinformation.
In June 2014, Gabriel said that "The radicals are estimated to be between 15 to 25 percent, according to all intelligence services around the world", an assertion that was found to be inaccurate by the Christian Science Monitor. (Wikipedia)
A goal of ACT for America is “to dissuade Jews and Christians from conducting interfaith dialogue with Muslims. And in state after state, it has lobbied state legislatures and school boards to purge textbooks of references that create “an inaccurate comparison between Islam, Christianity and Judaism.” (Wikipedia)
Combining ACT for America’s goals with the Christian/Evangelical right, and its energetic and vigorous assault on LGBT & gay rights, as well as women’s’ rights, we see the full-blown hypocrisy of the supposedly “Christian” groups in this nation. Inventing false narratives about “religious freedom” and portraying themselves, somehow, as being religiously oppressed because of tolerance for the LGBT community is the height of the two-faced evangelicals in this country.
According to The Southern Poverty Law Center website:
The hardliner religious-right groups that have long relied on the use of demonizing falsehoods to justify discrimination against LGBT people have not simply folded their tents and walked away. Rather, they have used their large megaphone to create a dangerous new narrative that portrays Christians who object to homosexuality on biblical grounds as victims of religious persecution. This idea is particularly compelling to millions of evangelicals who see themselves and their values as being under siege in a rapidly changing society.
This mentality, which spawns groups like ACT for America, created another wing-nut faction (that actually started in 1994!), the Alliance Defending Freedom. The Think Progress website characterizes the ADF like this:
The Alliance Defending Freedom wants to take America back to the 3rd century. Literally. On the website for its legal fellowship program, the organization explains that it “seeks to recover the robust Christendomic theology of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries. This is catholic, universal orthodoxy and it is desperately crucial for cultural renewal,” the explanation goes on. “Christians must strive to build glorious cultural cathedrals, rather than shanty tin sheds.” While the Arizona-based organization has not made much progress in its mission of restoring the religious sentiments of the Byzantine Era, it has built a massive “legal ministry,” relying on 21st century attorneys and an eight-figure annual budget to reshape American law and society.
So, with money and a legal team, we have an organization that undoubtedly opposes sharia law but has no problem with implementing 3rd Century Byzantine “Christian” principles as law in the United States. Really?
The brilliant comedian Lewis Black, on his latest “Red, White, and Black” tour, tells Christians “stay out of the Old Testament, that’s our book.” Black often jokes about being Jewish but, as with all good comedy, there’s a message based in truth beneath the laugh. The Old Testament (where all the anti-gay preaching finds it sources) is the Bible for the Jewish faith --- the book of Abraham and Moses. Christians have the Old Testament but added their New Testament (which revolves around Jesus Christ) and Muslims, of course, have the Old Testament, the New Testament (where Jesus is simply a prophet), and the prophecies of Muhammad in their Koran. That any of these books should be part of our secular legal system totally violates the United States Constitution, of course, and if any of these supposedly “patriotic” groups actually understood that document they would shut up and back off. However, like our Special Ed Student –in – Chief, reading itself is a challenge and comprehension is much tougher than simple decoding --- a cognitive test far beyond their ken.