Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Challenge of Freedom and the Ignorance of Reality

I have never supported the Iraq war or our current president's policies but I also have never supported those who assert that the problem in the world is the United States or its view of freedom. So I get to be hated by both sides which is a nice place to be in life.

The reality is that many on the Left are naive and stupid believing that there is a moral equality between Islam, even moderate Islam and the West.

I know that it is not politically correct to say these things but there is so much revisionism going on and self flagillation that it is important to state simple facts.

I recently watched a show on PBS about the Inquisition where the screenwriters tried to assert that the rule of the Moors in Spain was benign and delightful. Sure their rule was more benign then the rule of the Nazis but it was not in anyway akin to liberal democracy or a free society.

Jews and Christians still had to pay the head tax, Churches and Synagogues were still siezed in many cities and converted to Mosques. Facts are facts.

In the West we decided a long time ago after much struggle that Religion is a private matter. That the Church should not have governmental authority, and that one's relationship with God is a personal matter that should help a culture but not decide what culture is to be.

So when I read a book like Marina Nemat's Prisoner of Tehran- and listen to the many criticisms of her especially on Islamic sites and magazines my blood boils. Ms Nemat is an Iranian Catholic who complained as a 16 year old student that her math and science classes were replaced by Koranic studies and propaganda.

She was thrown in prison, raped, forced to marry a man who 'saved' her from death forced to convert to Islam and then after two years of horror let go. She eventually immigrated to Canada and wrote a moving story that everyone should read. When one talks of Women's rights here is what we really should be talking about. Her story would be sad if it were simply an isolated case but this is not so.

In Iran, Saudi Arabia and many other Islamic nations her story of torture for speaking out on simple things is normal. There is a distain among Muslims in many nations for the idea that Religion and Ideas are personal and are not the business of the state. In Saudi Arabia a Philipina woman was raped, and thrown in prison for three years for simply making the sign of the cross in her room alone while praying the Rosary- she was turned in by her employer.

I am not arguing here that Islam is evil, it is not, but what I am arguing for is Thomas Jefferson's idea that religion should not have the right to compel people. Just like the Catholic Church (My Church) had no right to torture and kill in Spain in the 15th century- no state should have the right to compel people with torture, rape and death. Freedom, even if your nations has allot of oil should be universal. What George Bush's foreign policy has done is to destroy this simple argument. We as as nation are no longer able to make this argument because we tortured people. We should stand forcefully for what we are- Free People.

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