Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Juan Cole is wrong

Juan Cole thinks the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists is lipstick:

  • Tolerance and democracy require freedom of speech and the press, but while mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Palin inquired of the local librarian how to go about banning books that some of her constituents thought contained inappropriate language.
    Actually she asked if books her constituents questioned could be removed from the shelves. That is not the same thing as banning books or burning them.
    She tried to fire the librarian for defying her.
    No she did as most politicians do when taking office: seek the resignation of a bunch of political appointees so she could appoint her own. The librarian was popular, so she kept her job.
    Book banning is common to fundamentalisms around the world, and the mind-set Palin displayed did not differ from that of the Hamas minister of education in the Palestinian government who banned a book of Palestinian folk tales for its sexually explicit language.
  • Palin argued when running for governor that creationism should be taught in public schools, at taxpayers' expense, alongside real science.
    She did not argue it. Someone asked the question, and she said why not teach both.
    Antipathy to Darwin
    Who is NOT God, even though the Secular Humanists treat him as such.
    for providing an alternative to the creation stories of the Bible and the Quran has also become a feature of Muslim fundamentalism. Saudi Arabia prohibits the study, even in universities, of evolution,
    There is a big difference between suggesting two alternatives be taught in grade school, and saying something cannot be taught in universities.
    Freud and Marx. Malaysia has banned a translation of "The Origin of the Species." Likewise, fundamentalists in Turkey have pressured the government to teach creationism in the public schools.
    Instead of, or in addition to, evolution?
  • The GOP vice-presidential pick holds that abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape, incest or severe birth defects, making an exception only if the life of the mother is in danger.
    I could accept those special case exceptions, but I am very proud of Palin for not aborting her Downs Syndrome son, and for her teenage daughter for planning to marry the father of her unplanned baby.
    She calls abortion an "atrocity" and pledges to reshape the judiciary to fight it.
    I also call it an "atrocity", and I wish reshaping the judiciary could fight it, but even if Roe v Wade was over ruled tomorrow, there would not be a significant reduction in the number of abortions, since they generally occur in Blue States, and overturning Roe v Wade would just turn things over to state law.
    Ironically, Palin's views on the matter are to the right of those in the Muslim country of Tunisia, which allows abortion in the first trimester for a wide range of reasons. Classical Muslim jurisprudents differed among one another on the issue of abortion, but many permitted it before the "quickening" of the fetus, i.e. until the end of the fourth month. Contemporary Muslim fundamentalists, however, generally oppose abortion.
    Juan really seems to like how Muslims are so tolerant. I wonder what he thinks of how they treat adultry. The (Old Testament) Bible calls for the death penalty for adultery (Lev. 20:10), but I have not heard of any Christian countries enforcing that today. But here are many cases of adultry resulting in people being stoned to death under Sharia law within the last 20 years. The need for abortion is significantly reduced when you stone women for even having contact with a man other than her husband.
  • Theocrats confuse God's will with their own mortal policies. Just as Muslim fundamentalists believe that God has given them the vast oil and gas resources in their regions,
    If it was not from God, then who placed the resources there. And it is not God's fault that they have not been able to use those resources to provide a better life for their people.
    so Palin asks church workers in Alaska to pray
    What is wrong with asking church workers to pray
    for a $30 billion pipeline in the state because "God's will has to get done."
    She asked for God's will to be done in unifying people and companies to get a pipeline built that would create a lot of jobs for Alaskans and get a lot of energy flowing. What is wrong with that?
Robert Spencer blogged It is strange to have to spell this out, like explaining how to boil water to a particularly slow-witted chef. Palin, you see, does not advocate, pace Cole, the replacement of U. S. Constitutional law with religious law. She does not advocate, and does not plot, the mass murder of workers in office buildings. She does not promise people that they will be rewarded with unlimited sex in Paradise if they murder unbelievers. She does not teach that those who steal should have their hands amputated, that those who commit adultery should be stoned to death, or that those who leave her religion should be murdered. She does not advocate the consignment of women to veils, burqas, and confinement to the inner chambers of the home. Need I go on? Isn't this obvious?

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