Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola
Location
Mishawaka, Indiana, USA
Birthday
March 10
Bio
Kevin Gosztola is a multimedia editor for OpEdNews.com. He will be serving as an intern for The Nation Magazine during the spring in 2011. His work can be found on OpEdNews, The Seminal, Media-ocracy.com, and a blog on Alternet called "Moving Train Media." He is part of CMN News, which produces a weekly podcast or radio show on Talk Shoe. He is a 2009 Young People For Fellow and a documentary filmmaker who graduated with a Film/Video B.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago in the Spring 2010. In April 2010, he co-organized a major arts & media summit called "Art, Access & Action," which explored the intersection of politics, art and media and was supported by Free Press.

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Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 10, 2010 11:12AM

9/11 No Longer Brings Americans Together

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http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4113/4952003798_0094e1bde8.jpg

 

 

 Photo by cliff1066

 

 

Nicholas D. Kristof, columnist for the New York Times, writes of the “healers of 9/11” and how Susan Retik, a Jewish woman “has pursued perhaps the most unexpected and inspiring American response to the 9/11 attacks.” Ms. Retik, a Jewish woman, who lost her husband in the attacks, noted how Afghanis would turn into widows as a result of the American war in Afghanistan and she started Beyond the 11th, an education and poverty-alleviation project. And, she ended up partnering up with another woman, Patti Quigley, who lost her husband in the attacks too.

 

For the past years, there have many individual stories like this that remind one how many Americans listen to their heart and soul and now deep down inside how to make a difference. Unfortunately, the shock and awe of the September 11th attacks, nine years later, still holds this nation captive. Many of the nation’s leaders still hold the power to invoke 9/11 and elicit a reaction of complacence or complicity. And, in fact, 9/11 is one reason why there is a dark continuity between the Obama Administration and the eight years of the Bush Administration. 

 

As Americans see pastors intent on making statements on the so-called dangers of Islam, as we see our nation’s own religious clerics seek to hold an entire religion responsible for the death of thousands of Americans nine years ago, let us not forget that Obama continued the "us vs. them" thinking by saying in his Inaugural Address, “the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met."

 

As Americans see Republican leaders endorse and participate in protests against planned constructions of centers for religious worship, as Americans see Democrats allow a vacuum to persist which allows for hate and bigotry to spread like a virus, let us remember that President Obama also said in his Inaugural Address, “That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.”

 

Those quotes should not dissuade people like Ms. Retik or Ms. Quigley from taking individual action but rather should call into question the very idea that, nine years later, America remains under threat from any kind of far-reaching network at all.

 

There is a power in the unity that we all shared when we all grieved and were hurt by September 11th. But, the problem is that unity inevitably has grown into a unity of fear when what Americans really need is a unity of reconciliation. There is a need for Americans to find the courage to not forget but forgive. And, unfortunately, there is still an amount of reflection needed because this nation is still somewhere between anger and depression when it comes to handling the grief experienced. 

 

It is important to remember how Americans responded with disbelief, horror, and fear and then were propagandized into supporting a war in Iraq along with a war in Afghanistan, how Americans encouraged friends and family to enlist in the military and defend our country from any future 9/11s, how Bush didn’t ask Americans to make sacrifices but told Americans to instead go shopping., and how this event has allowed for the rolling back of civil liberties to go on.

 

This nation’s understanding of terrorism continues to stop and begin at 9/11,  a convenient reality that government leaders have used to prosecute wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, expand the power of the Executive Branch, and bolster American superpower.

 

The trampling of civil liberties has been permitted by America largely because many have bought into the idea that there are networks of fanatical enemies out there tirelessly plotting the death and destruction of America, who hate America for its freedom. Americans have allowed terrorism to be personified and now increasingly associate terrorism with Muslims even though all humans could potentially pose a terrorist threat to mankind. The arousal of primal fear from conjured perception and the fact that those who have been imprisoned, abused, tortured, and denied rights don’t look like “real Americans” has pushed America closer and closer to the world one reads about on the pages of George Orwell’s 1984.

 

As the ACLU has valiantly worked to demonstrate to Americans, 9/11 has produced the context that America lives in a “new normal.” Not only does that mean when we need to go somewhere in an airplane we have to go hours early to take off our belts, shoes, empty our pockets, and dispose of our water bottles and soaps, shampoos, conditioners, hairsprays and any other substance that might be a liquid or powder before boarding, but it also means that a world climate exists where individuals are shielded from accountability for engaging in warrantless wiretapping, torture, or rendition; state secrets are invoked to prevent transparency; detainees are denied habeas corpus; prisons like Guantanamo and Bagram (along with black prison sites that likely still exist) continue to hold detainees perhaps indefinitely; the right to target and kill U.S. civilians and bypass due process is asserted; and military commissions or “kangaroo courts” force detainees into Kafkaesque proceedings that make it nearly impossible to not be found guilty.

 

Nine years later, does it not sound ridiculous that a whole country was under the spell of the mantra “we’re fighting the terrorists there so we don’t have to fight them here”? Does it not seem insane that since 9/11 America has only given the “terrorists” what they wanted—a battle against them on their terrain, a global, amorphous and cosmic war, which this nation continues to perpetrate and kill thousands and thousands of people each year?

 

This anniversary, as Americans face the confluence of a planned Koran burning (since called off but now possibly on hold), violent demonstrations of groups in the Muslim World inflamed by a fundamentalist pastor’s plan to burn Korans, the continued outrage among some Americans toward Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s plan to build an Islamic community center near Ground Zero, and Eid al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan, why not consider the following:

 

Why not note how many are discussing what it means to be “sensitive” to the Muslim World and whether Americans should be sensitive or not and admit that if America is going to have this kind of discussion as a result of planned Koran burnings and proposed “mosque” projects then Americans should also discuss whether torture, rendition, indefinite detention, wars, and occupations in the Middle East are “sensitive” and whether they pose national security risks to Americans?

 

Why not note the fierce urgency of now that calls upon us to reject the narrative of a “clash of civilizations”? Why not reject both fundamentalist religious forces, Christian and Islamic, which promote implicitly and explicitly a toxic climate through harsh rhetoric and support for violence?

 

Why not come to an agreement that we will no longer stand for people who exploit 9/11 to make money like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck are doing on this anniversary or to advance a career in politics? 

 

Why not take a deep breath and admit Sharia Law is not creeping into America and it has never creeped and will never creep—at least the kind of Sharia Law Americans now talk of being afraid of—because America is not a Third World country (for now)? (And, if any repressive Law is going to creep into America, it will be Palin Law [which just happens to share some similarities with Sharia Law].)

 

This anniversary let’s be more afraid that America has a democratic republic largely unresponsive to the people that a huge portion of the population is disenchanted with even though it permits electoral participation every two or four years. Let’s be concerned that this country and its leaders continue to dither and stall on domestic and international actions that must be taken to give this country and its people the change it needs to continue to prosper and survive in the 21st Century and the world is waiting on America to be the shining example its leaders claim America to be in speeches.

 

Finally, let’s not only be more open about the fact that America commits actions it probably shouldn’t, which provoke Islamic fundamentalists, but also admit September 11th has become a yoke around the neck of America. Failure to remove it and make peace with whatever demons Americans think were responsible for the attacks will only continue to imperil us all.

 

UPDATE 1 

Do any Americans remember how there was a list circulated of songs radio stations were encouraged not to play in the aftermath of 9/11? Songs like Kool & The Gang's "Celebration" were played and upset callers who claimed radio stations were being insensitive. 

Well, in memory of Clear Channel's advisory list to radio stations, here's "War," a song neoconservatives probably asked Clear Channel to put on the list. 

 

 
 
UPDATE 2
 
The long legacy of 9/11 - A BBC News report featuring newsman Ted Koppel

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Great post. I agree with everything you say. 9/11 has been exploited too much, time to give up this false idol.
Thanks for reading. Good luck.
Another uneducated best-gues- from-the-heart piece, and I'm not surprised that it's an editors pick, on this website.

"As Americans see pastors intent on making statements on the so-called dangers of Islam..."

Leaving aside whether those pastors are themsleves ministers of God or not, that you can refer to "the so-called dangers of Islam" says everything about your understanding of that religion. You have little or none. You need to educate yourself about that, if you are going to write about it. I see by your bio that you want to use the media for social change. That is already being done--and not for the good-- by so many with no more understanding than you exhibit now. But you are young. You don't have remain ignorant. If your bio is up to date, you are still in school. We are in a war with Islam because Islam is at war with us, and will be until it is decided onw way or the other. And one of the first principles of warfare is, "Know your enemy!" You need to know who is your real enemy, and seek to know just what is in their minds; their psyche; their spirit. And even if you conclude that I am a part of the enemy, then that still holds true. You need to examine what I am saying, and see what if anything within it is factual and what is not.
Neither does Dec 7th.

-R-
"It is important to remember how Americans responded with disbelief, horror, and fear and then were propagandized into supporting a war in Iraq along with a war in Afghanistan, how Americans encouraged friends and family to enlist in the military and defend our country from any future 9/11s, how Bush didn’t ask Americans to make sacrifices but told Americans to instead go shopping., and how this event has allowed for the rolling back of civil liberties to go on."

This is really pushing it.....a bit far fetch
Nine years later, does it not sound ridiculous that a whole country was under the spell of the mantra “we’re fighting the terrorists there so we don’t have to fight them here”?

Yes, it's ridiculous - because not all of us were hypnotized. Many of us were against the murder of Afghan civilians in bloodlust revenge for the 9/11 attacks. And we're more than a bit tired of the blood-soaked lot of you who supported the war assuming that everyone was lock-step behind you. We're frustrated by your forgetfulness, how you conveniently fail to remember that there were many critics, some very loud, who were shouted down by your vengeful majority.

Those of you who were bamboozled called us traitors, questioned our judgment. If we were teachers, you tried to have us fired from our jobs (and in some cases succeeded). We wrote blogs, which you assailed with pleas for the future, our children - the usual hogwash that warmongers promote to justify their lust for death and destruction.

We understood: you were hurt, afraid, terrorized - but that did not absolve you of your responsibility as a human being and American citizen. We were also hurt and afraid - but we did not let the government further terrorize us with propaganda and jingoism. We argued for restraint and reason - the majority of America demanded blood and death.

Even when the ramp-up for Iraq began, we pointed out the distraction, the poor tactics, the lack of planning. We won a few converts, but again: the majority of you believed the propaganda of the government over the factual findings of weapons inspectors. The majority of you endorsed the invasion of Iraq, just in case Saddam really did have those weapons. Again, you let your fear drive you.

And you're doing it now. We could not prevail in Iraq (as many warned), so now you are afraid of also failing in Afghanistan. So you cheer for the withdrawal of troops in Iraq and favor the expansion of the war in Afghanistan. All to "get even" with some killers who are either already dead or now in Pakistan.

There's no blood on my hands, and there's deep sorrow in my heart. My nation went to war for revenge, and the majority of my fellow citizens wanted it - and want it still. They are afraid now of the terrorists and themselves, but cannot admit they were wrong; instead they must work harder to improve the mistake they've made.

You can talk about divided America - you can point fingers at the government, the terrorists, right-wingers, left-wingers - there are plenty of targets for misplaced blame.

If you supported the invasion of Afghanistan, the division of America began with you. If you supported the invasion of Iraq you pretty much cemented yourself on the side of liars, propagandists, and warmongers. If you're looking for a place to sew an emblem of blame and shame, look no further than a spot near your heart.

And wear it with pride. After all, it's paid for with someone else's blood, and you wanted it.
This persistent fear-mongering against Islam has at its core a political imperative. Republicans have long known that much of their power obtains from pitting Americans against Americans. Social, racial, cultural, and religious divisions all innure to the benefit of the Republican party.

Muslims are now simply the new "Willie Horton."

And, note to "HenryR," perhaps you are "at war with Islam;" don't pretend to speak for the rest of us. We're on to you.
Excelllent post. Gives me hope to hear something like this from a young American, this nation's future. ~R~
Black Jack Davy,

The event was cast as some sort of an instance that could not be compared to any other attack in American history. It was like something out of a Hollywood movie. Those running this country argued they could have never imagined something like this would happen and there were reports that American government officials suffered from "groupthink." That now seems like a way of covering up failure. After all, I reference the memo Bush had, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."

Thanks for your comment.
Marianne Wray,

No, it's far-fetched that people decided they had to go kill more people after people were killed on 9/11 so that they could "avenge" their deaths or make sure they didn't die in vain.

It's far-fetched we are actually expected to be consumers and not grassroots organizers or active participants in the processes of government. It's far-fetched we were told to shop and not engage in a serious debate on America's relations with other countries and groups in the world.

Thanks for your comment.
why not choose 9-11 as a day to donate to relief organizations in Pakistan where according to the bbc 8 million displaced victims are dependent on donations for their survival and rebuild their lives--most of the flood's victims are children.

Here are some organizations:

http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/allcontent.cfm?id=59

and unicef

http://www.unicef.org/pakistan/
tomreedtoon,

You're right. I guess the title of this post is a shot at people who buy into things like Beck's 9/12 Project. I don't believe terrorist attacks or any kind of attack should be the glue that holds a people together.

Thanks for your comment.
Cal Godot,

Right, not all of us were hypnotized. Or, if we were hypnotized, we read books, followed news stories, engaged in conversation and debates on and off the Internet and came to the conclusion that we could not remain hypnotized.

Thanks for the comment directed at those in America who still want war, war, and more war.
jp1954,

Either conservatives want Americans to unite against a foreign enemy that could penetrate our nation at any moment or they want Americans to unite against a domestic enemy that is tearing America apart.

The Muslim is today's boogeyman (along with the Mexican immigrant).

If they have their way, Americans will never point the finger at the real boogeyman -- people who want people to fear other groups of people and most of the time have no basis for promoting fear.

Thanks for your comment.
HenryR,

It's people like you who need to listen to the gospel of truth and reconciliation on this ninth anniversary.

This country is not under threat from Islam. Moreover, this country does not have one enemy we all can unite against. Republicans who long for the days of McCarthyism or anticommunism during the Cold War love to talk about the threat Islam poses because they feel it is something they can get the nation to unite around. Well, this country is not going to go along with that anymore. It's especially not after seeing Palin and Beck at a "Restoring Honor" rally because I sure as hell can tell you their vision of society is not one a majority Americans support.

See, that's the thing, HenryR. This is war on Islam is all a convenient cover for the fact that America has a Christian problem. That's right. While everyone points out what Islamic right wing fundamentalists want to do (which they probably would like to do), they distract from another delusional demographic in America -- evangelical/fundamentalist/Dominionist Christians.

Let Muslim countries deal with their right wing problem. We Americans should instead take seriously the right wing religious problems we have here at home. And that begins by addressing people like you who seem to need a war on Islam to get by.

So, sir, why must we go to war with Islam? Let's begin there and then maybe we can get to a point of understanding.
doloresflores_d,

Good idea. Send along a note that you think U.S. forces should stop fighting in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Here's another group you can give to:
http://givingaid.richarddawkins.net/

So, you can donate to Pakistan and blow apart the myth that you have to believe in a deity to be a charitable person.
Kevin:

Do you really believe that most Americans want war, war, war?

No they don't! War is hell. However, it is a fact of life. It a tough job....but someone has to do it. We have an all volunteer military.....right now. If we didn't a draft would be initiated. The draft was instituted for the Revolutionary war.

We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with radical islamic fundamentalist. They have done tremendous destruction around the globe. They were responsible for the obliteration of people from 70 countries. Although, most of the fatalities were civilian.

We are not a third world country, due to the great sacrifice of America's bravest of people. The tremendous people aboard flight #93, were drafted into service of their country on 9/11. Please, just say..... Thank You.
Ms.Makin'waves,

It's not really a belief. Americans are complacent when it comes to this "war on terror." We want jobs, a better economy, and will allow wars to continue in our name that basically play into the hands of violent right wing fundamentalists like Osama bin Laden.

War is not a fact of life. It's not a tough job. Perhaps, I could have agreed with that in the 16th or 17th Century, maybe the 18th Century but not the 21st Century.

War is not natural. Humans (mainly those who govern) come up with reasons to go to war and decide to send people who, in this country's case, largely have no money. They exploit their economic situation to fuel their agenda of war. The impoverished who want to pay for college go and fight and they come back home with PTSD and other health problems and some commit suicide and many have trouble reintegrating into society.

I never said we were at war with Islam. HenryR did.

You are right. We are not a third world country thanks to the sacrifice of some of America's bravest people. They have helped this country lay waste to human life and countries so that resources and interests can be protected and keep this country prospering. And, they help enforce the economic policies of the G20, which ensure only a handful of countries in the world are ever First World.

Just say "Thank You"? No, that sounds a bit unthinking. I'm glad Americans on Flight 93 took on the right wing fundamentalists and I recognize what they did. But, Americans have problems they must face and many of those problems can be fixed by reflecting and thinking about 9/11.
"It is important to remember how Americans responded with disbelief, horror, and fear and then were propagandized into supporting a war in Iraq along with a war in Afghanistan, how Americans encouraged friends and family to enlist in the military and defend our country from any future 9/11s, how Bush didn’t ask Americans to make sacrifices but told Americans to instead go shopping., and how this event has allowed for the rolling back of civil liberties to go on."
a little nanothermite goes a long way.
the day was like the multiple stages of a bomb as seen with the NYC times square bomber. the plane was only the 1st stage. the nanothermite was the 2nd. the 3rd stage was invasion of the middle east.
A better point of beginning, Kevin, would be, Is Islam at war with us? Because apart from that, we have no need to even consider war with Islam. But to understand the answer to that question would require that you actually do some research into that religion, its book, its history and prophet. It's easier not to. But that is what is necessary if you want to know the truth. I've put a link to the Univewrsity of Souther California website on Jewish and Muslim studies and three different translation to the Quran in my post from a day or two ago, "Buy A Quran? Read A Quran Instead."
You could begin by reading my latest post, "9/11, A Little Blonde Girl, the Quran and me" in which I tell of finding what that book has in it that causes so many suicide hijackers and suicide bombers to kill themselves in their war against the infidels. They are being good Muslims, and that can help you to understand them. As Muhammad says there, very few of them would do it. But in a religion of a billion or more adherents, that few is still a significant number. And they all want the reward that he describes there, and no, it's not 72 virgins in Paradise. That isn't even in the Quran, which limits a man to 4 wives. That 72 virgins story is in one of the less authoritative books of Islam. They just want to be good Muslims. And the mullahs and emirs are many of them too willing to use that.
Okay, I've heard all that. So, let's suppose I agree with your logic -- and I do think you're being logical --What say you about Christianity? I think there are a number of Christians who have declared war on the Muslim World. Should all Christians be regarded as warmongers?
Kevin, after reading this cogent exposition, I'm almost embarrassed about my little press conference fluff piece :) This is an adult essay, of the kind that elevates this site.

This was particularly resonant... "There is a power in the unity that we all shared when we all grieved and were hurt by September 11th. But, the problem is that unity inevitably has grown into a unity of fear when what Americans really need is a unity of reconciliation."

Rated.
You know, that is a good question, even if it is abit off topic here. If you checked out the articles I mentioned on my blog site, in the comments section to "Buy a Quran? Read A Quran Instead" there was a comment left by Safe_bets_Amy in which she lists numerous biblical passages commanding such things as death for witchcraft, stoning of adulterers, etc. If you feel like taking the time, read it. Then read my response to her. Not one of those passages is from the Christian book of the New Testament. And I am not a Christian, by the way. I had to stop calling myself one several years ago, when after 20 years I couldn't prove that God is behind that book, nor could I prove by what it says about the manifestation of the holy spirit that I or anyone I had ever known had it indwelling us, which is the only thing that truly would make one a biblical Christian. You might want to check out "Bypassing Passover. And Easter. And Ramadan." which is another article I posted on my sight, to better understand my thoughts on all three Abramic religions.

As far as whether so-called Christians declaring war on Islam should mean that all calling themsleves Christian should be classified as war mongers, though, there simply isn't any passage in their book, the New Testament, to condone or command that Christians should take up warfare in its cause. And in fact, the Crusades weren't carriied out by Christianity. They were carried out by the Roman Catholic Church in the name of Christianity. The EAstern Orthodox Church didn't take part. The Coptic Church of North Africa didn't join it. And neither did the scattered Sabbatarian Christian groups. It simply is not commanded in the Christian texts of the New Testament.

On the other hand, jihad is an obligation commanded to every Muslim in their book whether they take up arms because of it or not. And I know that we hear from many of them that jihad simply means "struggle" and refers to the spiritual struggle of the religious life. Another tenet of Islam is that lieing in its cause is right. Muhammad meant war when he began preaching jihad, and he practiced war in waging jihad. And that from the time of his forced move from Mecca to Medina until his death.

In Islam, the world is divided into two parts: Dar al Islam, and Dar al Harb. The land of Islam, and the land of War. Guess which one you live in.
So, HenryR, you seem to be making an atheist argument against Islam. I am well aware of it. I read Sam Harris' chapter in "The End of Faith" called "The Problem of Islam." I have seen the five or six pages of passages from the religion of Islam that show how Muslims are committed to jihad.

I do not write any of what I write to defend the religion of Islam. But, I do write what I write to remove the focus off of just Islam. Islam is not the problem. Christianity and Judaism is not the problem. The cosmic wars that these religions wish to participate in and wage are the problem. So, taken together, it's much better to say religions and the archaic texts religious people worship and believe in are the problem.

You thought I was unlearned when you came in here. There's debate among nonbelievers on how to grapple with the dilemma of opposing hatred and bigotry and violence toward Muslims (firebombings of worship centers, stabbings, etc) and those who take the Koran literally. I am still grappling so I will not definitively say Islam is at war with America.
A minor note they almost certainly didn’t want the USA to take the battle to their own territory as you said at one point; in fact they wanted the USA to get out of their territory which they’ve been meddling in for decades most specifically of course Saudi Arabia but they are also angry about activities in Iraq, Iran and Palestine. Not all of them are angry about the same things, since they often fight amongst themselves as well, but the USA has been supporting tyrants for decades and this has provided them with an enormous recruiting ground. If the USA stopped interfering all over the world and sought more effective ways to educate the public and provide energy in cleaner ways without oil we wouldn’t have this problem at all.

In Vietnam they kept on suppressing the local people until it became clear that they would fight as long as they live to stand up to the invaders; they will do so in other parts of the world as well including the Middle East. The war on terror will end only when the USA stops inciting it.
Great post, Kevin. You are wise beyond your years. I am in total agreement with everything you have said and the fact that many polarizing people in and out of politics seem to think this problem would "go away" if we made Muslims disappear is completely ludicrous. These people who propose such diversity are the real enemy, not the people of Islam.

If we were to believe Palin, Beck and many in the Republican party then we'd have to separate all religious groups from America to a safe distance (i.e. all Jews because of David "Son Of Sam" Berkowitz and Bernie Madoff, all Christians because of Timothy McVeigh, etc.). Their ideas are far more dangerous than any solution they have come up with, which is divisiveness. They want to "take this country back" as they say. Yeah, they want to take it back all the way to the 16th century!
I never experienced 9/11 as a coming together. And the narrative of "clash of civilizations" emerged almost immediately after 9/11. I remember watching an episode of Politically Incorrect a few weeks after the attacks and a conservative pundit was already exhorting people to seek revenge, openly and quite clearly. There was no great "learning moment" here, and after all, why should there be? 9/11 can best be described as a passage a l'acte, an impulsive and explosive acting out. To say that it corresponds neatly to acts of U.S. aggression abroad, or that it caused us to come together for a very short time in grief, is to miss the point. It was a rupture in meaning that continues to defy categorisation in the present system because the system has not been changed in any significant way. Until that takes place, people can do all the soul searching they want, but 9/11 will continue to reassert itself as a mindless thing. Perhaps that is finally what it needs to be seen as.

rated.

rated.
Kevin, in your responses to me you show a degree of willingness to consider the points that I raise, and for that I commend you. While not accepting what I say, you apparently do not rule that out, saying " I am still grappling so I will not definitively say Islam is at war with America." And I am happy with that. It is at least an open possibility apparently, in your mind.

As for mine being an athiest's argument, I've no doubt that many or possibly even most athiests would agree with much of it, but I myself am not an athiest. My own studies into subjects outside the scope of the traditional religions, i.e. secular subjects such as physics and cosmolgy lead me to believe that God does exist, and certain things in my life have seemed to affirm that. At this stage I would call myself at least a deist, and do not rule out the possibility that at least one of the three Abrahamic religions may be ultimately seen to be correct, though they are all sadly lacking in proof as things stand now, particularly with regard to God himself providing his witness to back up theirs as the Christian book says he does and all three give examples of and at least lip service to. Of the three, if the book of one is most likely to be inspired by him, I would have to say that that one would be the New Testament of the Christians. And of the three religions the least likely to be inspired by him I would have to say Islam would be the one.

If I have underestimated your level of knowledge on the subject, I apologize for that. I had little to go on other than what you said in your article here.

It has been a good conversation from my point of view, and for that I thank you. Have a good weekend.
Steven Housman,

Thanks for your comment. I agree entirely.

I'm in the middle of reading Leonard Zeskind's book, "Blood and Politics," which chronicles the history of the white nationalist movement in America. The fundamentalist Christians often converge in their struggle to maintain a certain national identity that is not altered or polluted by certain groups. As Zeskind writes, they both believe “feminists, gay men, and lesbians are destroying the (white) nuclear family. And they share the notion (with many outside their immediate ranks) that middle-class white people—men in particular—are actually victims in contemporary society, without adequate political representation.”

They promote this talk about Real Americans. That kind of propaganda was on display with Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" Rally.

Those who preach the need to "take this country back" are the ones who we need to set our sights on. We don't need to be violent and attack them, but we do need to neutralize them. Their ability to command media attention is the first thing I'd like to see targeted.
BOKO,

After 9/11, Reverend Jerry Falwell said on Reverend Pat Robertson's show, "I really believe the pagans and abortionists, and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, the People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'"

There was also a National Review columnist who reacted, "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

Additionally, there were a number who blamed America's support for Israel as part of what led to 9/11.

Do I really think America came together? Well, the America that gets listened to, I think, came together. The groups who are often marginalized certainly had a more nuanced view. The "Real Americans," however, they were for war, war, and... Aggressive action and Congress marched us right into that action illegally and with a refusal to pause for station identification.

Thanks for your comment.
zacherydtaylor,

Yep, terror ends when we stop inciting it. Very good comment. Thank you. And, it's what people like Ted Koppel are saying on this ninth anniversary.
Boy, oh, boy, did you stretch on this one or not? "It is important to remember how Americans responded with disbelief, horror, and fear and then were propagandized into supporting a war in Iraq along with a war in Afghanistan, how Americans encouraged friends and family to enlist in the military and defend our country from any future 9/11s, how Bush didn’t ask Americans to make sacrifices but told Americans to instead go shopping., and how this event has allowed for the rolling back of civil liberties to go on."

"let us not forget that Obama continued the "us vs. them" thinking by saying in his Inaugural Address, “the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met."

Know this, I have no idea how we both heard the same speech and reached completely different beliefs about the above paragraph. I guess it is because I am not looking to read between the lines to create a part of a blog that I think is way off target.
weezilgirl,

You're right. America has not collectively reacted emotionally and hysterically since 9/11. And, America hasn't played into the hands of Osama bin Laden.

We haven't allowed a "New Normal" to persist and Barack Obama has not continued George W. Bush's cosmic wars in the Middle East.

You're right. I have drawn the wrong conclusions. I think I'll go get a job at a convenience store, one that forces me to put in so many hours a day that I cannot put together editorials like this anymore.

Thank you, weezilgirl. Thank you.
You may check out what extremists want by looking to the project run by Prof. Pipes which translates the articles, comments and opinions expressed by radical Islamists. I suggest you give it a look through. (The Nazi-like anti-Semitism is pretty scary. Their declaration of war is also not something created by the "right" in the US or elsewhere.)

These people are a danger, of course, to fellow Muslims too who are, by the way, usually their first victims.

You care about Muslims, fight the radicals among them. You care about liberalism and free governments, fight the radical Muslims.

Good luck.
Mishima666, every year thousands of people around the world are killed and wounded in terror attacks planned and carried out by the United States and its allies -- in particular Israel. Such attacks happen on almost a daily basis, yet our famously "Free Press" almost never covers them.

Recently there has been some coverage in that the attacks are now being carred out by "Unmanned Drones."

Makes you feel all warm and runny inside knowing that, doesn't it?
I have to agree. Good post.
mishima666,

I apologize. I accidentally deleted your comment when I was cleaning up all the spam I had in my comments thread. I get about 5 or 6 spam comments every 2 to 3 hours. I think that means this post is getting a lot of traffic.

I encourage you to re-post your comment. I saw the first few sentences and I think you didn't exactly agree with me. I want to address your disagreement. Again, I apologize.
I write most of my comments as draft emails and then copy them into OS. Since the original comment got deleted this will give me a chance to tighten up and focus my original comment.

Kevin writes: " . . . the so-called dangers of Islam . . . "

Kevin, every year thousands of people around the world are killed and wounded in terror attacks planned and carried out by Muslims in the name of Islam and Allah. Such attacks happen on almost a daily basis. Granted, the great majority of Muslims are not involved in such attacks, but a significant number are.

Just as a small example, here is a list of attacks by Muslims that occurred during five days this month. These are only the major attacks, and exclude assassinations, small-scale attacks, murdered kidnap victims, honor killings, and so on:

9/9/2010 - Pakistan, suicide bombing, 5 dead 4 wounded
9/9/2010 - Pakistan, bombing on a bus, 10 dead 4 wounded
9/9/2010 - Somalia, suicide bombing, 9 dead 3 wounded
9/9/2010 - Russia, suicide bombing, 17 dead, 123 wounded
9/8/2010 - Nigeria, armed assault, 4 dead 8 wounded
9/6/2010 - Pakistan, suicide bombing, 21 dead 40 wounded
9/6/2010 - Pakistan, suicide bombing, 19 dead 46 wounded
9/5/2010 - Dagestan - suicide bombing, 5 dead 36 wounded
9/5/2010 - Iraq, armed assault, 17 dead 36 wounded

There is nothing, absolutely nothing "so-called" about the threat from Muslim terrorists. In addition to the kind of local attacks listed above, there are Islamic groups with an international scope that can provide planning, logistics, communication, weapons, training, funding, and intelligence for larger scale attacks.

To brush aside this threat as "so-called" ignores the facts on the ground and the many dead and wounded.

Kevin: "Finally, let’s not only be more open about the fact that America commits actions it probably shouldn’t, which provoke Islamic fundamentalists . . . "

Hell, it doesn't take anything to "provoke" these people.

Recently in Kashmir, Muslims rioted over what they thought was a picture of a mosque on a new variety of underwear. It turned out that the "mosque" was just a picture of a building.

Fifteen years ago a fashion model was threatened with death for wearing a dress that looked like it had a phrase from the Koran on it; of course it didn't. Nike had to recall 800 thousand pairs of shoes because the style of logo on them looked like "Allah." There was another similar controversy when the logo of an ice cream company looked like "Allah" -- when read backwards.

In 2002 an Al Qaeda group plotted to blow up an Italian church for displaying a painting from the 1400s portraying Mohammed burning in hell. Also that year Nigerian Muslims murdered 200 people during riots protesting a beauty contest. Three years later Burger King in Britain got in hot water with Muslims for a logo on an ice cream container that looked like "Allah."

And do you remember the grade school teacher in Sudan who was almost executed for having named a teddy bear "Mohammed?" The lady barely escaped with her life.

So forget burning the Koran. If you spill your Coca-Cola on the sidewalk and the resulting puddle looks like "Allah," the followers of the "religion of peace" will probably want to cut your head off, and you're lucky if they don't.

This is why "tolerance" and "understanding" don't work very well with Islam. It doesn't work because there's no end to it. There's never a point at which you don't have to be worried about being murdered by one of the followers of the "religion of peace," because there's no end of things that might be offensive to them. You do 99 things the "right" way, but they'll want to murder you for the 1 thing that you did "wrong."

Just look at the situation with the Islamic community center. In an interview with Feisal What's-His-Name, the imam said that if the center couldn't be built there, he is worried that some kind of violent jihad might develop. Think about that -- he's saying that in a nation where Muslims prosper and worship freely, in over 1,200 mosques, 140 of which are located in New York state alone -- if that new center can't be built on that location, then somewhere in the world the followers of the religion of peace might be "offended" and murder some more people. Not that the center couldn't be built, but if it couldn't be built on THAT spot -- that would be enough to send some of the members of the religion of peace over the edge. So says the imam about his own co-religionists.

- - - - - -

The other thing that we often hear is that Christianity is "just as bad" as Islam. So some Christian fanatic murders an abortion doctor, or talks about burning a Koran, or talks trash about homosexuals, and suddenly Christianity is "just as bad."

Upon hearing anything negative about Islam, many "liberals" feel the need to "balance" that with a negative comment about Christianity. So when you mention that a multinational conspiracy of Muslims bombed the Madrid transit system in a coordinated multi-site attack that killed 200 people and wounded 1,500 more, the liberal will retaliate with "yes, but Pastor Jones wanted to burn a Koran, and Scott Roeder shot Dr. Tiller. So it's all the same."

But by any reasonable measure it isn't "all the same." If you look at the number of casualties, scale and frequency of attacks, the number of threats, and the hair-trigger sensibility of Muslim fundamentalists, there is no comparison at all.
I know You won't, but don't let those with "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" deter You in Your ongoing efforts to stop the bloodshed.

One thing I have to agree with that an idiot who says: "But by any reasonable measure it isn't "all the same." If you look at the number of casualties, scale and frequency of attacks, the number of threats, and the hair-trigger sensibility of Muslim fundamentalists, there is no comparison at all."

He is right, "It isn't all the same, except his head is deluded into thinking the wrong side is far more blood thirsty.

Here is the record, and it doesn't even include all the black op incitements to police state butchery, nor overthrows of legitnately elected democracies.


Since WWII america has found justification to militarily intervene in the affairs of Iran (four times), Yugoslavia, Uruguay, Greece, Germany, China, the Philippines (three times), Puerto Rico, Korea, Vietnam, Guatemala (twice), Egypt, Lebanon (twice), Iraq (three times and ongoing), China, Panama (twice), Vietnam, Cuba (twice), Panama, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, Cambodia (twice), Chile, Angola, Oman, Laos, Libya (three times)), El Salvador, Nicaragua, Grenada, Honduras, Bolivia, Liberia (twice), Saudi Arabia, Somalia (twice), Yugoslavia (twice), Bosnia, Haiti (twice), Zaire, Albania, Sudan, Afghanistan (three times and ongoing), Yemen (three times), Macedonia, Colombia, Liberia, Pakistan, and Syria.

http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/interventions.html

This record is unprecedented in modern or prehistoric times, and the civilian casualties add up to millions -- the "grandest" bitchery of all time.




-R-
markinjapan writes: "This record is unprecedented in modern or prehistoric times, and the civilian casualties add up to millions -- the "grandest" butchery of all time."

It is an interesting list, but I don't know what the point is. I'm talking about the threat that Muslim terrorists present to the U.S. and to other countries. I assume you're talking about what many perceive as the threat that the U.S. presents to other countries. For shorthand, let's call it the "terrorist" view of the U.S.

Even if the U.S. does act as a terrorist, it is still important to understand the threat that Islamic terror groups present to the U.S. and to other nations. And even if one believes that all Islamic terror attacks are "provoked," it is still important to understand what that threat is.

In other words, no matter how bad the U.S. is, how terroristic or thuggish the U.S. is, we're still left with the task of understanding the Islamic threat.

The vast majority of terrorist attacks by Muslims are not done in the U.S. nor are they motivated by what the U.S. has done. Frankly, many of the terror attacks by Muslims are against other Muslims.
Putting the cart before the horse does NOT clarify matters.
mishima666,


I’m not a Muslim. I’m not a Christian either. I classify myself as nonbeliever and especially in the case of this conversation that’s relevant. So, it would be nice if you let me know whether you have a conflict of interest in this conversation or not. Because I really do think people who practice any denomination of Christianity or any people who practice any denomination of Judaism have a conflict of interest. Their arguments against the religion of Islam have to be read with the consideration that they think they have the world and what happens after you die figured out and Islam doesn’t.

I wrote in response to HenryR quite a bit that is relevant to the comments you left. I admit that there are passages from the religion of Islam that pose a problem. You can find passages like that in the Talmud and Bible too.

Here are some proverbs or verses from the Quran that call into question the idea that Muslims are just all about jihad:

"Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors. (The Noble Quran, 2:190)"

"But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in God: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things). (The Noble Quran, 8:61)"

"If thou dost stretch thy hand against me, to slay me, it is not for me to stretch my hand against thee to slay thee: for I do fear God, the cherisher of the worlds. (The Noble Quran, 5:28)"

"God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. God loves just dealers. (The Noble Quran, 60:8)"

"And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for God. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrongdoers. (The Noble Quran 2:193)"

"Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things. (The Noble Quran, 2:256)"

"Again and again will those who disbelieve, wish that they had bowed (to God's will) in Islam. Leave them alone, to enjoy (the good things of this life) and to please themselves: let (false) hope amuse them: soon will knowledge (undeceive them). (The Noble Quran, 15:2-3)"

"Say, 'The truth is from your Lord': Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it):......(The Noble Quran, 18:29)"

"If it had been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! wilt thou then COMPEL mankind, against their will, to believe! (The Noble Quran, 10:99)"

"Say: 'Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger: but if ye turn away, he is only responsible for the duty placed on him and ye for that placed on you. If ye obey him, ye shall be on right guidance. The Messenger's duty is only to preach the clear (Message). (The Noble Quran, 24:54)"

"Say : O ye that reject Faith! I worship not that which ye worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. To you be your Way, and to me mine. (The Noble Quran, 109:1-6)"

Just as an example, here is a list that outlines how Christians commit terrorism:

• National Liberation Front of Tripura, a rebel group operating in Tripura, North-East India classified by the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism as one of the ten most active terrorist groups in the world, has been accused of forcefully converting people to Christianity
• Northern Ireland paramilitaries: Padraic Pearse, a devoted believer of the Christian faith, a writer, and one of the leaders of the Easter Rising, often identified Ireland with Jesus Christ to emphasise the suffering of the nation, and called for his readers to resurrect and redeem the nation, through self-sacrifice which would turn them into martyrs. Pearse’s "ideas of sacrifice and atonement, of the blood of martyrs that makes fruitful the seed of faith, are to be found all through [his] writings; nay, they have here even more than their religious significance, and become vitalizing factors in the struggle for Irish nationality.”
• Anti-Semitic Romanian Orthodox fascist movements in Romania, such as the Iron Guard and Lăncieri, were responsible for involvement in the Holocaust, Bucharest pogrom, and political murders during the 1930s
• Russian National Unity, a far right ultra-nationalist political party andparamilitary organization, advocates an increased role for the Russian Orthodox Church according to its manifesto. It has been accused of murders, and several terrorist attacks including the bombing of the US Consulate in Ekaterinburg.[23][25]
• In Uganda, the Lord's Resistance Army, a cult guerrilla army engaged in an armed rebellion against the Ugandan government, has been accused of using child soldiers and committing numerous crimes against humanity; including massacres, abductions, mutilation, torture, rape, porters and sex slaves.[26] It is led by Joseph Kony, who proclaims himself the spokesperson of God and a spirit medium, primarily of the Christian Holy Spirit which the Acholi believe can represent itself in many manifestations. LRA fighters wear rosary beads and recite passages from the Bible before battle.
• The Army of God in the United States executes attacks on abortion clinics and doctors in the U.S; a number of terrorist attacks, including the Centennial Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Summer Olympics by Eric Robert Rudolph, were accused of being carried out by individuals and groups with ties to the Christian Identity and Christian Patriot movements; including the Lambs of Christ; a group called Concerned Christians were deported from Israel on suspicion of planning to attack holy sites in Jerusalem at the end of 1999, believing that their deaths would "lead them to heaven;” motive for anti-abortionist Scott Roeder murdering Wichita doctor George Tiller on May 31, 2009 was religious; the Hutaree was a Christian militia group based in Adrian, Michigan. In 2010, after an FBI agent infiltrated the group, nine of its members were indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit on charges of seditious conspiracy to use of improvised explosive devices, teaching the use of explosive materials, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing “so-called” about the threat from Christian terrorists. In addition to the kind of local attacks listed above, there are Christian groups with an international scope that can provide planning, logistics, communication, weapons, training, funding, and intelligence for larger scale attacks.

To brush aside this threat as "so-called" ignores the facts on the ground and the many dead and wounded.

mishima666, you write, “Hell, it doesn't take anything to "provoke" these people.”

No, but America does. We expand American superpower in their lands and leave our troops in regions that Islamic fundamentalists defend because they believe that the “infidels” should not be in their land. I would dare you to tell me that America would not have right wing Christian resistance fighters if any “infidels” ever tried to occupy American lands.

Since you check off these instances of Islamic fundamentalism (the issue with the Nike logo, instances with Nigerian Muslims, etc), let me remind you of the fact that there are Christians here in the U.S. that have burned Harry Potter books.

Days after lifting the excommunication of Holocaust denier and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Bishop Richard Williamson, Pope Benedict XVI outlined his view that abstinence works 100% of the time as a birth control by declaring that the use of condoms aggravates the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The Pope has written that homosexuality is an "intrinsic moral evil" and an "objective disorder." He has also claimed that non-Catholics are in a "gravely deficient situation," without the "fullness of the means of salvation." Most recently, the Vatican declared its support for the Brazilian Church's decision to excommunicate a group of doctors who performed an abortion on a 9-year old girl -- pregnant with twins -- as a result of being raped by her stepfather.

We can go back and forth and back and forth, mishima666. I can sit here and let you write off what markinjapan raises as proof that America has engaged in actions that have produced resentment among regions of the world where pockets of fundamentalism have grown, where insurgents who wish to take on America have coalesced and are plotting their next move to take on America or possibly defend themselves from the next attack America brings to areas nearby where they live.

By any reasonable measure, it is “all the same.” People are reading archaic texts, claiming mystical supreme beings have told them to do this or want them to do that, and they are then carrying out violent activities or claiming society is being insensitive or immoral because they take literally mythology.

The bottom line is for every fundamentalist action from Islam you cite I can find something Christian fascists have done. I can find something that Hindus or Jews have done.

That’s because it’s religion. It makes people think in the abstract. They fight cosmic wars. Born-again Howdy Doody led this country for eight years from 2000-2008 and let Christian Fundamentalist forces grow and participate in the “war on terror.” They went overseas to participate in a “clash of civilizations” and there are Christians there seeking to evangelize Muslims and if those Muslims do not convert they will be killed.

That’s what religion can do. That's because it’s bullshit. And, it’s bad for ya.
You wrote: " (And, if any repressive Law is going to creep into America, it will be Palin Law [which just happens to share some similarities with Sharia Law].)"

State the similarities please. Last I checked Bristol Palin is still alive and raising her child. In Iran an alleged female "adulterer" is under the threat of stoning.

Just as when people compare Supreme Court decisions, against which they are free to protest, against which they are free to try to formulate a new law that will not be overturned, to Kristallnacht, thus demonstrating a delicious insensitivity to the actual victims of the Nazis and a deeply saddening ability to trivialize the onset of the Holocaust, comparing Palin's views on US laws to Sharia law, is, of course, a trivializing of of the agony of those who suffer under Sharia.

How pathetic.
Consider being intellectually honest. By calling the hijackers of Flight 93 (United 93) "right wing fundamentalists) you are at least implying a parallel to "right-wing" Christians. Do you really mean to do this? And isn't it dishonest intellectually to avoid the argument and simply state that the hijackers were "right wing", a term used differently in English? I'd say it is. Make your arguments. If you can't, leave them out of the "piece".
Pay no heed to barbara joanne -- she's a cartoon character, and a wet dream of hasbara mike -- check her blog for her assertion in one of her only four posts, stating that OS (and liberals in general) are a safe haven for anti-semitism.

Your last sentence before her pathetic rants: "That’s what religion can do. That's because it’s bullshit. And, it’s bad for ya," echoes the words of one of my all-time heroes, the late, great, George Carlin, (may He r.i.p).

I'm pretty sure this particular segment is somewhere within my blog, but rather than blog-whore, I'll simply link to YouTube:

George

As I don't know if the above will work, here is the naked URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o
barbara,

You're asking me to debate hypotheticals because Sharia is never coming to America and, as much as I fear how easily people are manipulated in this country by Christian fundamentalist forces like Palin, Beck, and others, I don't think Palin Law or God's Law will be coming to America anytime soon either.

Since you're so caught up on the words, would this help you? The people who hijacked planes were dogmatists willing to commit acts of violence for a supreme being. The people who are often classified as "right wing Christians" in this country or "right wing fundamentalists" happen to have thresholds that, if crossed, will push them to commit violence. You can argue all humans have this and it's part of survival. No, there is a percentage of Christians in this country that I believe are willing to commit violence if God tells them to (actually there's a B-movie called "God Told Me To" that plays off this). That percentage can't be much lower than the percentage of Muslims willing to commit violence if the voices inside their head tell them to.
As my post leaves the cover page, thank you to all my readers. I know this earned many views because every 1-2 hours I had to get back here to clean up the spam. I'm going to say I deleted about 50 pieces of spam and I'm going to say that means the Spambots saw I was getting good traffic and decided to latch on to this post.

Again, thanks and I look forward to more debates and discussions with you all.
First, no, I am not a Christian or anything else, though as a student of religion I feel a kind of affinity for people who have a religious worldview.

Now on to your recent comment. Just because you can come up with lists of things, and parrot parts of my comments, it really doesn't prove anything.

Concerning the list of "nice" passages from the Koran, I'm not really impressed with such lists. (Nor am I impressed by lists of passages from the Bible.) When evaluating a religious group, what matters is not the text itself, but how the members of the religious group act. Sometimes religious people are better than their texts, and sometimes they are worse. So lists of excerpts from ancient texts per se don't tell us very much. This is why I have refrained from citing "bad" passages from the Koran in this discussion; it doesn't prove anything. Religions change and develop over time.

Concerning your list of Christian terrorist groups --

Again, it really isn't helpful. Any religion can spawn fringe groups that believe and do all sorts of things. Likewise any political movement can do the same.

You cite the Easter Uprising, that was almost a century ago. You list another group that was active eighty years ago. I list Muslim terror attacks that happened last week, and you respond with antiques from an estate sale, so to speak.

And these are mixed in with the Army of God, an anti-abortion group. A few lines earlier you listed the Lord's Resistance Army, whose beliefs are an odd mix of Christianity and native religion, and whose leader claims to be the Holy Spirit, or something like that.

Your list is really a mixed bag. There is a great variation in belief, intent, and even historical era, and there is no connection between these groups other than perhaps bits and pieces of theology. I assume this list came from some atheist web site, or something like that, maybe "talking points" to prove that Christianity is "evil." .

While each of these groups would pose a local threat, they do so in ways that are very different, and that do not involve mutual support. Stated in operational terms, the Army of God is not funding the Lord's Resistance Army, the Hutaree are not training the Russian National Front, and so on.

Furthermore, some of the groups you mention are both tiny and ineffective. You mention the Hutaree. I have tried several times to find out just how many Hutaree there are. Nine were arrested. My guess is that the Hutaree in total could probably all fit into a few pickup trucks, guns included. And their contribution to world terrorism consists of being arrested before they could do anything. They successfully kill exactly zero people, but you include them as if they were "just the same" as Al Qaeda.

And consider the Army of God. In the last 20 years, 8 people involved in abortion clinics have been killed (but probably not all by the Army of God members). For many Muslim terrorist groups eight people would be nothing. That wouldn't even be a very good bombing. I'm not saying that the Army of God isn't a dangerous group; it is. But in terms of scale, these guys are not even in the minor leagues compared to the Islamic groups.

You say (parroting me) "there are Christian groups with an international scope that can provide planning, logistics, communication, weapons, training, funding, and intelligence for larger scale attacks." Ok, what groups?

You say "there are Christians here in the U.S. that have burned Harry Potter books." Ok, fair enough. And is the author of the Harry Potter books living 24 hours a day with armed security because of Christian death threats? Did the publisher withdraw the Harry Potter books from print? Was Bill Maher murdered for having made an anti-religious film? Have Catholic terrorists blown up the offices of Open Salon because of anti-Catholic posts being featured on the cover?

So this is the state of "Christian terrorism" -- local groups with no global reach, many of which are tiny and ineffective.

Compare that with what is happening in Islam. Take, for example, this summary of Al Qaeda from the Federation of American Scientists:

"Al-Qa'ida is multi-national, with members from numerous countries and with a worldwide presence. Senior leaders in the organization are also senior leaders in other terrorist organizations, including those designated by the Department of State as foreign terrorist organizations, such as the Egyptian al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya and the Egyptian al-Jihad. Al-Qa'ida seeks a global radicalization of existing Islamic groups and the creation of radical Islamic groups where none exist.

"Al-Qa'ida supports Muslim fighters in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Kosovo. It also trains members of terrorist organizations from such diverse countries as the Philippines, Algeria, and Eritrea.

"Al-Qa'ida's goal is to "unite all Muslims and to establish a government which follows the rule of the Caliphs." Bin Laden has stated that the only way to establish the Caliphate is by force. Al-Qa'ida's goal, therefore, is to overthrow nearly all Muslim governments, which are viewed as corrupt, to drive Western influence from those countries, and eventually to abolish state boundaries."
http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/ladin.htm

So by any reasonable measure or criterion Al Qaeda alone dwarfs the entire collection of Christian terror groups in resources, goals, organization, interconnectedness and synergy, and scope and scale of operations.

Concerning American provocation of Muslims --

Look at the extensive list of countries invaded and occupied by the U.S., provided by markinjapan. These are all countries that in his view have been negatively provoked by the U.S.

Ask yourself which Salvadoran terrorists are plotting atttacks against the U.S.? Where are the Guatemalan terrorists, the Chinese terrorists, German terrorists, Greek terrorists, and so on, all of which are plotting and hoping for our destruction? There aren't any. When you review the list of countries that we have "offended," the only ones with terrorists who are out to get us are the Islamic countries. Once again, there is something different about Islam.

It's not that your various lists and comparisons are irrelevant or trivial; they aren't. There have been and are Christian terrorists, most marginally Christian at best, but some with more mainstream theology. The problem is that your lists and comparisons are superficial, and it is necessary to go deeper than that to understand the differences between Christianity and islam, and the serious threat that some Islamic groups pose.
Kevin, I also wanted to thank you for cleaning up all the spam, and for being willing to host an extended discussion.
An extended conversation it is. My thanks too, Kevin.

moarkinjapan writes:

"Since WWII america has found justification to militarily intervene in the affairs of Iran (four times), Yugoslavia, Uruguay, Greece, Germany, China, the Philippines (three times), Puerto Rico, Korea, Vietnam, Guatemala (twice), Egypt, Lebanon (twice), Iraq (three times and ongoing), China, Panama (twice), Vietnam, Cuba (twice), Panama, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, Cambodia (twice), Chile, Angola, Oman, Laos, Libya (three times)), El Salvador, Nicaragua, Grenada, Honduras, Bolivia, Liberia (twice), Saudi Arabia, Somalia (twice), Yugoslavia (twice), Bosnia, Haiti (twice), Zaire, Albania, Sudan, Afghanistan (three times and ongoing), Yemen (three times), Macedonia, Colombia, Liberia, Pakistan, and Syria."

Never mind that some of the "information" given on the site he's given the url to is suspect, markinjapan lists all this as though it is both collectively and in all its aspects an indictment against the United States for such actions. History says otherwise. Much of that list is drawn from our Cold War containment policy to resist the spread of international Communism. Greece and Iran are cases in point which, if you don't know the history, you would think that there is validity to it without further need to check. Both of those countries were faced with Communist forces striving to put a Communist government in place. The Soviet Union in fact had elements of its Red Army in Northern Iran, while in Greece there were Communist partisans fighting to achieve the same goal there. Meanwhile, Communist insurrections were taking place in numerous other countries around the globe, such as the Hukbalapaps, called the Huks who were the military wing of the Communist organization fighting to take over that nation. The same was true elsewhere. As for Viet Nam, I’ve written several posts on our involvement there, it being so big a part of my life then and now. See my post “They Didn’t Die In Vain: The Real Results Of Viet Nam” and especially the lively debate in the comments section that resulted, particularly between Bob Sloan and I. I’m going to try to do a link here rather than just a url to copy and paste.

They Didn’t Die In Vain: The Real Results Of Viet Nam

If it doesn’t work, please go to my blog and scroll down. I think it’s the last post on the first page.

Also, if you really want to know the truth about that war and the Cold War, read my post inspired by Bob Sloan’s comments there, which I entitled “Countdown to Viet Nam.” This one will show you even more exactly why we were in Viet Nam.

Countdown To Viet Nam

You might want to read “The Myth Of Uncle Ho” as well, if you want some more information. That one was my least read post, exposing the myths of the left about him such as the claim that he wasn’t a Communist so much as he was just a Nationalist and Patriot fighting to free his country. It was the least read, at least. Now I suspect my recent posts on Islam might take that spot. It seems that a large majority here on Open Salon don’t want any information that might interfere with their most cherished beliefs.

I am not saying nor do I think that we are blameless. We are a far cry from being a perfect society. But no such society or nation exists in this world. We are what we are, and the question is, Shall we survive? There are many who don’t want us to, and some of those are fighting to see that we don’t. What we have to decide is which side shall we take? That of survival, or that of betrayal and collapse? I choose survival. America and American is what I am. It is what I will fight for, so long as God himself refrains from stepping in to reveal himself and show another side that’s better.
Thanks for posting more and responding to the conversation I had with mishima666. I'm going to prepare a post to continue this discussion in the coming days. I am reading some more on Islam, particularly going over some of what Sam Harris has here on Islam and faith in his book "End of Faith" (which I cited earlier).

There are two things that come to mind after reading your responses and mishima666's:

#1 Is Sharia Law, given the current makeup of society and government in America, possible? Is it something that we can logically expect to take hold in America? I ask questions with that premise because that is the key fear of a majority of those opposed to the Park51 project.

#2 How do we reconcile denying property rights to a religious group? Does that mean we need to re-evaluate the property laws for all religions that are looking to build? If we protect against Islam, don't we have to protect against all religion?

You can answer me here, but this is where I think the conversation should go next.
Dear Kevin, I'm sorry, that just won't do. You are the one who used the words "right-wing fundamentalists" to describe the hijackers of United 93. Why did you, not me, use those words, those particular words, when describing 4 Muslim fundamentalists? When they are "right-wing" (a term I suspect we should both be able to agree has no bearing nor definition we as Americans would recognize in the places from which they "hail" and no connection to their specific crime), we'll call them that. But here all we know is that they were "Muslim" "fundamentalists". (You might not like that, but it happens to be a fact.)

I'm only "hung up" on words that you chose, not ones I chose.

And, again, you are the one who spoke of Palin and "Sharia-like" law. I called you out on that. You have not responded.

How is any legal idea Palin supports "Sharia like"?

Try again.
Nope my friend. It doesn't help at all. If you wanted to ARGUE in your response to a letter writer here that the people who hijacked United 93 where no different than those who are Christian fundamentalists, you should have OPENLY done so. Also, you need to prove your case, which, your suspicions aside, you do not do.

Again, try again.
Kevin, you wrote:
"#1 Is Sharia Law, given the current makeup of society and government in America, possible? Is it something that we can logically expect to take hold in America? I ask questions with that premise because that is the key fear of a majority of those opposed to the Park51 project."

I thought you didn't want to discuss hypothetical questions!

Please, again, how is Mrs. Palin someone who supports "Sharia-like" laws?

And, again, why do you refer to the hijackers of United 93 as "right-wing fundamentalists"? Do you intend to mix them with people as politicians on the right in America? If so, why aren't you intellectually honest enough to do so? Was Todd Beamer, a born-again Christian I believe (and if I am in error, someone please tell me so) part of the hijacking team or part of those fighting them? If he, or anyone else fighting the hijackers, was a Republican or a right-winger are you trying to imply they had some sympathy for the hijackers? Surely not. Again, make the case that the hijackers are to be confused with or seen as similar to the "right" in America.

That is what an intellectually honest person, and you seem to be trying to be one, uh, DOES.

Try again.
Either I failed to get this posted as I had thought that I did, which might be the case as I am not the best on the computer, or you inadvertantly deleted it as you did earlier with one of mishima666's posts while cleaning up some spam. For which i thank you, by the way. I hate having to wade through all that. Whichever, here is my post in response directly to yours to Mishima, whether for the first time, or again.

Kevin, you list a number of passages from the Quran which you say show that there is far more to the Quran than just the jihadist side. No one has said that there is only a jihadist side to Islam. But it is true that jihad is commanded of all Muslims. It is also true that there is much within the Quran that is in fact beautiful to read and expresses some of the highest ideals of man. Poison can be fed much more easily disguised in honey than just the poison by itself. But let’s take a look at your list.

“Here are some proverbs or verses from the Quran that call into question the idea that Muslims are just all about jihad:

"Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors. (The Noble Quran, 2:190)"

"But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in God: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things). (The Noble Quran, 8:61)"

"If thou dost stretch thy hand against me, to slay me, it is not for me to stretch my hand against thee to slay thee: for I do fear God, the cherisher of the worlds. (The Noble Quran, 5:28)"

"God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. God loves just dealers. (The Noble Quran, 60:8)"

"And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for God. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrongdoers. (The Noble Quran 2:193)"

"Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things. (The Noble Quran, 2:256)"

"Again and again will those who disbelieve, wish that they had bowed (to God's will) in Islam. Leave them alone, to enjoy (the good things of this life) and to please themselves: let (false) hope amuse them: soon will knowledge (undeceive them). (The Noble Quran, 15:2-3)"

"Say, 'The truth is from your Lord': Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it):......(The Noble Quran, 18:29)"

"If it had been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! wilt thou then COMPEL mankind, against their will, to believe! (The Noble Quran, 10:99)"

"Say: 'Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger: but if ye turn away, he is only responsible for the duty placed on him and ye for that placed on you. If ye obey him, ye shall be on right guidance. The Messenger's duty is only to preach the clear (Message). (The Noble Quran, 24:54)"

"Say : O ye that reject Faith! I worship not that which ye worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. To you be your Way, and to me mine. (The Noble Quran, 109:1-6)"

There are 11 passages listed there. At least three, 15:2-3, 18:29 and 109:1-6 were given in Mecca when Muhammad and his little band of followers were badly outnumbered and he was preaching living peacefully with their non-believing neighbors.

One, 10:99 I don’t know where or when it was given. The webpage showing the chronological order of Muhammad’s “revelations” somehow neglected to include the 10th chapter, or Surah. All the rest were after they fled to Medina. Of those, the ones showing the greatest willingness to cease fighting if their enemies would only do so, were from the first two Surahs or “revelations” when he changed his message from one of peace to one of war. His movement at that time was still weak, though growing stronger. Those passages are the three you list from the 2nd chapter, which was his first “revelation” at Medina, and the one from the 8th chapter which was the 2nd “revelation” in the Quran on arriving at Medina.

Also in that 2nd chapter or Surah, is where he expounds the abrogation, which is a doctrine of major importance in Islam for understanding the Quran. He was going to begin preaching a new message to his people, one of jihad where before he had preached only peace. Now, having been driving out he was going to change his message, but the people needed to be prepared for it. And so he included within that first message this “revelation”, which I will give in three different translations, taken from the USC website on Jewish and Muslim studies, a link to which I provide in my recent post, “9/11, A Little Blonde Girl, the Quran and me.”

002.106
YUSUFALI: None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things?
PICKTHAL: Nothing of our revelation (even a single verse) do we abrogate or cause be forgotten, but we bring (in place) one better or the like thereof. Knowest thou not that Allah is Able to do all things?
SHAKIR: Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?

I go into that doctrine of abrogation a bit more there, so I ask that you and any who are actually desirous of understanding go there and read it. My attempts to provide links to in my response to markinjapan didn’t work, but just clicking on my avatar here will get you there and you can find that post readily enough, posted Sept. 10th.

Muhammad’s religion was evolving, and here In these verses you have cited we see a softer face of jihad presented. But remember: These were in his earliest days at Medina, and you have just seen the passage giving the principle of abrogation. If two passages are in conflict with one another, then the one which was given last is the one which has authority. The earlier passage or passages have been abrogated. This in spite of the fact that he elsewhere says that if there are conflicting passages in his Quran as his opponents said, then it is not of Allah. But clearly there are, or he would not need to explain why and how to determine which of them is to be considered authoritative.

Note also that the one saying that there is no compulsion in religion in Islam is likewise of that first message given in Medina, Chapter 2. Muslims like to cite that one as proof that Islam forces no one to accept it.

Well, how does that verse, given in the first message after arriving in Medina, compare with the following from the 9th chapter, given just a year or so before his death?

“Fight those from among people of the Book, (Christians and Jews) who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor hold as unlawful that which Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad) have declared to be unlawful nor followed the true religion, and who have not yet made peace with you, until they pay the tax willingly (to be allowed to worship in their own religion) and make their submission. The Jews say: Uzair is Allah’s son; and the Christians say: the Messiah is Allah’s son; these are but their verbal assertions, whereby they initiate the sayings of those who disbelieved before them. Allah ruin them, how are they turned away from the truth! They have taken their divines and their monks for lords beside Allah, and also the Messiah son of Mary. They had only been commanded to worship the One God. There is no god but He. Holy is He above that which they associate with Him.” 9:28-31

There is no compulsion in religion? How not if they must either die, convert, or submit and pay a tax to be allowed to keep their own religion as sub-citizens and vassals?

As for what all the examples that you give of “Christians” who behave in much the same fashion, I submit that they are Christian in name only. Jesus himself said that when he returns “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. “ Mt. 7:22-23.

I was very careful in my wording to you before when I said that there are no such passages to support any actions as you have listed from the Quran in the New Testament, and between the three books, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, if any one is inspired by God, then I would have to say that it must be the Christian one, and of the three religions, the one least likely to be I would have to say is Islam. I worded it in that fashion because I do not know of any group today calling itself Christian that truly is according to what I see written in their book. In other words, I don’t know if a single true Christian exists on the face of the earth today. The book may be, but the religion we know of today as Christianity clearly is not.

The Christianity that I read of in the New Testament apparently was extinguished in the conflict between the Jewish church and the Gentile church headed up in Rome. Paul explicitly warned the Roman church against that, Romans 11:13-21, but the lust for power was too great when the Roman Emperor Constantine decided to make Christianity the official religion of his Empire, though he himself apparently never converted nor was baptized until on his death bed. But he wanted to use it as a binding force to unite all the pagan peoples of his empire through one religion, and decided that that one was the one to best serve the purpose.

The late Malachi Martin, Jesuit priest, scholar and Vatican diplomat wrote a book called “The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Church” in which he includes a story of Jewish leaders of the Jewish Church coming to Rome to dispute with Pope Sylvester over the leadership and persuade him to send the collected tithes to them in Judea. Martin as a highly placed Vatican priest had access to archives that normal people would never hear of, much less see. And this story is from those records.

The Jewish church was led be men called Desposyni, a word from the Greek meaning “of the Lord,” a title that was given only to the blood relatives of Jesus himself through Mary’s family. The Catholic Church denies that he had any brothers, but the Bible states plainly that he did. He also had cousins, and the descendants of these men were the Desposyni, and these leader from Judea who came to Rome to meet with Sylvester were themselves Desposyni, the blood relatives and family of Jesus. Sylvester turned them away, telling them that the leadership of the church had passed to Rome. And in the years following that visit, the church used its close tie to the Empire to send the Legions to hunt down and exterminate all know Desposyni, as they were the greatest threat to the authority of the Popes. IF Christianity is truly divinely inspired, how then would such men expect to be met by their returning Christ when he would confront the church that systematically hunted down and exterminated his own blood relatives because the were the biggest threat to them for the supremacy of the church? But they didn’t stop there.

They changed day of worship from the 7th day of the week to the first, pronouncing it to be “anathema to Christ to Judaize,” as they termed Sabbath keeping to be. They disavowed the Holy Days of the Bible which Jesus himself as well as his disciples and Apostles all kept, substituting in their place such days as Easter for Passover, which they have devised rules about when it shall be observed so that it will never coincide with Passover. Thus, Easter jumps all over the early Spring Calendar from one year to the next. They adopted Christmas as the official birthday of Jesus when it is plain that his birthday had to be much earlier than that, or the shepherds wouldn’t have been out in the fields. They instituted Good Friday to coincide with certain Pagan holidays, saying that it is in observance of the day of his death, when Jesus said plainly that as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, so would the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, Matthew 12:40. Any third grader should be able to tell you that you can’t get three days and three nights from sundown Friday to sunrise Sunday.

These are but a drop in the bucket. And Eastern Orthodox and later the Catholic offshoots from the Protestant Reformation kept them up. Martin Luther didn’t reject Catholocism, but only certain practices of the Pope and leadership and then their authority over him. This is not the religion of the New Testament. But it is the religion we see today calling itself Christian, no matter by what name it officially calls itself. Church of God, Church of Christ, Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, Presbyterian, Church of whoever--- they all keep some of the doctrines of the apostasy worked by Rome.

So you are right to look upon them as no better than the worst of Islam, because they are not. I truly do not know if there is a true Christian walking the face of the earth today. If so, then that person or persons would have to have indwelling them the spirit of God, the Holy Spirit referred to in the Bible (oh yeah! The Trinity! That too was a doctrine of Rome not supported by the New Testament until they inserted a completely spurious passage to do so, which does not exist in any of the earliest manuscripts) which manifests itself through them by its gifts which are miraculous indeed, if any has them, and the “glossalia” or gibberish spouted by those claiming to do that is not what is referred to. Terry Jordan, the Gainsville minister who created such an uproar over his threat to burn some copy’s of the Quran is one of those, by the way.

Anyway, this is getting way to long, though much more could be said.

Thanks again for providing a place for this discussion and debate.
Okay, before I get to Barbara Joanne, let me confirm to you, HenryR. I believe in trying to wade through the irritating spam that keeps appearing in the comments I deleted your very comprehensive comment.

Thanks for being civil. I now have to tackle comments from someone who seems more like a guest on Sean Hannity than someone who is willing to debate. Her comments are similar to, "So, Kevin, why don't you want to win the war on terror?"

Okay, look forward to more conversations on religion especially Islam with you and mishima666.
Barbara Joanne,

You want to argue with me about who is more right. Go get a guest spot on Fox News and do that.

The dictionary definition for "right wing" is "that part of a political or social organization advocating a conservative or reactionary position." If we agree Islam is a political or social organization, we can agree that the people who hijacked airplanes Flight 93 were from a faction of that political or social organization that advocates a conservative or reactionary position.

Conservative/reactionary --- that's all relative. I don't know exactly what it means in Muslim countries. I note the reality that conservative is likely much more conservative and reactionary is much more reactionary in predominantly Muslim countries.

As for Palin Law, Sarah Palin is opposed to homosexuality. So are the most radical Muslims. Palin, no doubt, has Dominionist ties to people who would support a law in society permitting the killing or prosecution of people for homosexuality.

Christians who subscribe to the ideology that Palin subscribes also hate everyone who are not like us, don't interpret their book the way they do, and don't believe like they do.

There's more I could add. But, I'd rather wait and see how this comment isn't good enough for you and then go on.
Kevin, I look forward to continuing the discussion as you suggest in a new post. And I never for a moment suspected that you deliberately deleted that post. Your post to let Mishima know that you had accidentally deleted his, asking him to please repost it so that you could address it properly shows you to be a man of charactor who wouldn't do that. Not all posting on the internet are, including some right here on OS. One successful author at least one of whose books has been made into a movie starring a very well known actor comes to mind.
Dear Kevin, you wrote:

"Barbara Joanne,

You want to argue with me about who is more right. Go get a guest spot on Fox News and do that."

Actually, my friend, you are the one who made this post. If you want to write a post, you need to be prepared for people to disagree with you. If you aren't, maybe you need to find a spot somewhere where you are not challenged.

BTW, I don't even watch Fox news, but if they want to pay me or if you want to send in my CV, heck, I'll take the gig. Thanks for the compliment.

You wrote: "The dictionary definition for "right wing" is "that part of a political or social organization advocating a conservative or reactionary position." If we agree Islam is a political or social organization, we can agree that the people who hijacked airplanes Flight 93 were from a faction of that political or social organization that advocates a conservative or reactionary position."

I'd agree that "Radical" Islam is a political organization, but it is not reactionary or conservative in the way we talk about those things in the US. Sorry, but you don't prove that they are the same. Maybe because they, duh, are not. (It is rather like saying that liberals are the same as Joseph Stalin. Now wouldn't that be a nasty and dishonest thing to do?) I also still contend that when you said that people fought the "right-wingers" who took over Flight 93 and do not name them as Islamists or radical Islamists or something of that nature, you are trying, and dishonestly, to imply that right-wing people in the states, a name used to paint all conservatives often and even classical liberals such as myself, are the type of people, even one and the same, who also want to behead those that don't agree with them, commit mass terror and view this as part of their ideology. You also are avoiding the truth about Flight 93. The truth is that it was taken over by radical Islamists who have nothing to do with right-wingers in the states. Calling them "right-wingers", a term understood to identify an ENTIRELY different group in the states, is, I'm sorry, dishonest and is an apparent attempt to put those on the right in the states into the same category as the hijackers. If this is not your intent, you need to be very clear about it and, if you are going to use the term "right-wing" combine it with a clear further definition that distinguishes the hijackers from the average right-winger in the states or elsewhere.

You wrote:
"Conservative/reactionary --- that's all relative. I don't know exactly what it means in Muslim countries. I note the reality that conservative is likely much more conservative and reactionary is much more reactionary in predominantly Muslim countries."

Yes, you are getting it, it IS relative and a conservative in the US has as much in common with a conservative Islamist as a fish does to a cat.

So again, my friend, if you intend to tie the conservatives TO the hijackers and imply they are in any way the same, you need to make your case. You are not doing so. And, frankly, to imply that people who are political conservatives in the US are in any way similar to conservatives in Muslim countries, especially when it is so often CONSERVATIVES in the states who want to fight against radical Islam and the ideologies in those countries, is, frankly in my view, despicable.

You wrote: "As for Palin Law, Sarah Palin is opposed to homosexuality. So are the most radical Muslims. Palin, no doubt, has Dominionist ties to people who would support a law in society permitting the killing or prosecution of people for homosexuality."

Please prove that Palin would favour the killing of homosexuals. This is a vile thing to say about someone who simply opposes homosexuality. Most Catholics, for example, also oppose it. They don't advocate or favour killing homosexuals. I have never met a mainstream Christian or HEARD of a mainstream Christian leader in the USA who calls for the killing of homosexuals. Give the proof. And I said mainstream, not some blogger.

You need to define what you mean by laws against homosexuals. When has Palin said she favours laws against them? And "gay marriage", which most Americans oppose, is not per say a "law" against them. It is extending a hitherto non right, the right to marry someone of the same sex, to all people. Not favouring it may be right or wrong and, for example I am one, many people can be of two minds on it. But not wanting state-sanctioned laws permitting same-sex marriage is not the same as advocating laws specifically against homosexuals.

You wrote: "Christians who subscribe to the ideology that Palin subscribes also hate everyone who are not like us, don't interpret their book the way they do, and don't believe like they do. "

Good Lord, You need to get out more. I've never heard of one main-stream Christian who even talked about hating people just because they are not Christian. They may hate evil, as do you I hope, and they may hate murderers, as do you I'd hope, and hate all sorts of stuff, but show me a mainstream Christian who says they hate people just because they are not Christian. In fact, most Christians today are more active in support of Israel and work harder against anti-Semitism, for example, than many in the secular world. And, by the way, even if Palin did HATE non-Christians, something she has not said or indicated, that does not mean she favours "Sharia-like" laws. You have given no proof that she does.

It is again, vile to say someone favours such vicious laws, and ironic considering that she has spoken out against radical Islam, without giving proof. It is just name-calling. Very childish, yet dangerous and mendacious.

You wrote: "There's more I could add. But, I'd rather wait and see how this comment isn't good enough for you and then go on."

Please, don't go to too much trouble. I see you're having a hard time.

Just be honest. If you think the mainstream right in the US, I mean "right-wingers" are the same as the hijackers say so and prove why.
If Palin favours "Sharia-like" law, prove it.

You haven't.

BTW, if you had to choose between getting on a plane full of "right-wing" born-agains flying to, say, Iowa, and a plane full of "Right-wing" (your term) Islamists flying to same, would you get on plane A, plane B, neither, or either?

Good luck.
Barbara,

I'd go through TSA to get on planes with either group you describe so it really wouldn't matter. I'd fly with either group and relish the experience of seeing firsthand how individuals with those views act when they have, shall we say, strength in numbers.