Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Devil We Know

Now that the Egyptian people have rid themselves of Hosni Mubarak, the world holds its breath to see who—or what—will take his place.

In America, speculation about what a post-Mubarak Egypt will look like spans the gamut, from President Obama’s cautiously optimistic hopes for democracy to the predictably hysterical babbling of Glenn Beck, whose theory of a plot to establish a world-wide “caliphate” is too much for even Bill O’Reilly to swallow. Many seem to worry about a small minority group called the Muslim Brotherhood, which is dedicated to the notion that all human enterprises—from the individual and the family to nation-states—should be run according to the dictates of the Qur’an.

While over 90% of the Egyptian people profess to be Muslim, by and large they are accustomed to a secular state. The most influential element in the country at this time appears to be the military, which is well respected. Historically, Egyptians have been little prone to seeing blind obedience as a virtue or to elevating religious leaders to cult-like positions of authority. There’s no apparent reason to believe they might start now—or that Egypt is likely to become another hotbed of dangerous religious extremism, like Iran.

But we in America have plenty of reason to worry about extreme fundamentalist religion, and I’m not talking about Islam. Evidence is mounting that the greatest danger to American democracy is a form of radical Christianity called “dominionism,” which has already gained enormous power and is exerting terrifying influence over government in this country.

Dominionism—one of the driving forces behind the conservative movement in America—asserts that Biblical law should be the basis of all aspects of society, from the conduct of individuals to all branches of government. This extremist philosophy was a primary factor in the abuses of the presidency of G. W. Bush and has already deeply infiltrated Congress and the Supreme Court. For those who are aware, its influence is evident in the social agenda of the new Republican House majority, in the rants of conservative talk-show pundits, and in the demands of Tea Party activists to drastically reduce taxes and limit the powers of the federal government

Chris Hedges, author of American Fascism: The Christian Right and the War on America, has this to say about the movement: “Debate with the radical Christian Right is useless. We cannot reach this movement. It does not want a dialogue. It is a movement based on emotion and cares nothing for rational thought and discussion. . . . This movement is bent on our destruction.”

Anyone who thinks this statement is hyperbole—or just a leftist conspiracy theory comparable to the paranoid fantasies so often floated from the right—really should read the book.

Yes, America, we do have much to fear from a radical religious movement bent on the destruction of democracy.

But that has nothing whatsoever to do with Egypt.


Six said...

Interesting thought. I tend to agree with you that the problems we have are from within and not from half a gobe away. In fact, the poor leadership by this administration and past administrations is making situations over there worse - and the risk to us here worse.

We have a government that does too much... and has too much power to help it's friends (i.e. favored political classes, corporations, unions, etc). The extreme right scare me, literally. Actually, I am suspicious of anyone who claims to believe in Christianity, Islam, etc. However the extreme left is pretty scary too. There is no discussion, nor do they desire discussion, with people on either end of the spectrum - they would be perfectly happy to pass laws to make whatever thier pet-project is the law... making illegal someone who opposes them. Your (CJ) only shortcoming is that you choose to view this as a one-sided issue only... you are half-way there.

Keep it up!

Citizen Jane said...

Lol. Thanks, Six!

I admit that I may tend to be myopic when it comes to abuses of the "extreme" left, since in general I agree with their principles, if not always their methods. (I also continue to believe, of course, that extremism is far, far more common these days on the right than on the left.)

I depend on a few rational people like you to hold me accountable!

Idna said...

REALLY,CJ? Dominionism? You fear a bunch of Christians that most people have never heard of? You object to the assertion that "Biblical law should be the basis of all aspects of society." Let's see what that horrible Bible urges us to do ... "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And Love your neighbor as yourself."

BOY, that's really scary stuff!

If Christians ever start beheading people, embracing honor killings, stoning young girls for being raped by a family member, murdering "infidels" who do not accept their religion or those who reject & leave their religion ... (ALL of which is happening currently in 21st century Islam!)then maybe I would agree that Christians are to be feared as much as Muslims.

- You say, "Yes, America, we do have much to fear from a radical religious movement bent on the destruction of democracy."

- Glenn Beck would fill-in-the-blank with "Yes, America, we do have much to fear from a liberal progressive leftist movement bent on the destruction of democracy.

Honestly, CJ, for as much as you berate and mock Glenn Beck, (with all due respect) you sound eerily like him, except from the opposite side.