Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Koran Burning

With a Koran Burning Day announced for Saturday, America is looking more and more like Germany in the 1930s. Two differences: Muslim-hatred is not government policy, and there were not a billion Jews outside Germany eager to come to the rescue. However, the President is believed by a fifth of Americans to be a closet Muslim (and by more than half to be a 'socialist' - read 'communist'), and there is not much that Islamic countries can do to help, apart from restrain violent reaction.

The roots of this go very deep - to the hatred of Muslims and Jews in medieval Europe. In fact historic Christianity had an in-built intolerance of other religions, especially Judaism, because the Jews were held collectively guilty of the death of Christ (though that was supposed to be part of 'God's Plan'), and Islam, because it was a powerful rival with a plausible account of Prophet Jesus. The problem is that America, though in principle a secular republic, is under the influence of an increasingly medieval Christian Right, blaring its message in mega-churches, TV and radio stations and a host of anti-Muslim websites and blogs.

We in Europe must keep cool and hold fast to our secular culture. If we could remove Bishop Blair from public life it would help; he preaches a slightly watered-down creed, claiming that radical Islam is the greatest threat to the world. Bishop Dawkins and his atheist disciples are almost as bad, because they demonize Islam as much as - or more than - Christianity. We need to remind the world that we are all individuals, with the same right to respect and freedom of opinion, and that a person's religious beliefs are a private matter.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful to see Bishop Blair and Bishop Dawkin mentioned neatly side by side.

    Dowd on the NYT referred to Blair as Bush's "peripheral poodle" and her review of Blair¡s autobiography came with the title of "The Poodle Speaks".