Monday, September 6, 2010

Attacking the other

Will Bunch, writing at the PHiladelphia INquirer blog Attytood:
In 2010, a large swath of the American public -- led by ratings-mad media mavens and immoral politicians like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin -- had declared out all-out war on "the Other" in America in all its alleged forms, from immigrants to Muslims to non-white aides working in the West Wing of the White House and of course the president himself. ...
So a smooth-talking, mixed-race Democrat in the white house becomes a demon, and the code word "Muslim" begins to represent everything they are afraid of. Muslims and gays.

Bishop Gene Robinson wonders at the timing of the new religious demonization relative to the sudden movement on GLBT rights. He writes,
Now, however, it appears that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people’s success in achieving equal rights in this country is impending and virtually assured. It makes me wonder, then, if a new “enemy” is now being chosen—Muslim Americans and Islam.
However, it's worth remembering that the common thread to both of these is the opposition of the rigid Christian Right. Christopher Hitchens picks it up, writing about on Glenn Beck's tent revival on the mall:
In a rather curious and confused way, some white people are starting almost to think like a minority, even like a persecuted one. What does it take to believe that Christianity is an endangered religion in America or that the name of Jesus is insufficiently spoken or appreciated? .....Saturday's rally was quite largely confined to expressions of pathos and insecurity, voiced in a sickly and pious tone. The emotions that underlay it, however, may not be uttered that way indefinitely.
And in fact, already the ugly side of American bigotry is out in the open, fanned by religious fervor.
  • Item: A New York taxi driver is attacked by a knife-wielding passenger who asked "Are you Muslim?"
  • Item: a gay candidate for office in Kansas receives a death threat
  • Item:A series of attacks against GLBT people in Covington KY by white supremecists
  • Item: Arson against the construction site for a mosque in Murfreesboro, TN
  • Item: Seattle shop clerk attacked as a Muslim (though he was probably Sikh)
  • Item: Teenagers harass and fire shots at a mosque in western NY

Yes, there is some pushback. Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York, is offering a spirited defense of the non-mosque that is proposed for not-ground-zero, and so did Orrin Hatch of all people. There are other examples of people who get it. But the simmering violence under the surface in this declining republic continues to bubble over. Too many people are afraid and ignorant, and the spark of their fear is fanned by strident demagogues wrapped in religion.

It seems to me that if any issue cries out for moral voices, it is this one. Can anything be more fundamentally opposed to both American ideals and truly Christian values? Or perhaps it is easier to think, "I did not care, because I am not a Muslim." At some point, we will all be "other". Will anyone speak for us?


Erp said...

To be exact I would say that Park51 is a community center with a mosque inside not that it is not a mosque and not that that makes a difference.

I've spoken up on a couple of blogs I read. I've contacted someone in the local Muslim community I know. The town will soon be getting a mosque (the planning board just approved some modifications on their initial plans). I would say that most of the community is in favor but there are some ....

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Dangerous and insane bigots are surfacing amongst whitepeople like a way it´s *terribly* good for them and those they fear/hate and despise for them to stand out in these purity/Jesus gangs...they get to see themselves for whom they really are... we´ve been familar with the depth of their illness that surrounds us and poisions them with threatening terror and vulnerability in everyday, they get to take it to the extreme, rage and shout...they are nearing the emotional/spiritual falling off place where I believe they will need to find peace of mind and humility, there is no where for them to hide from themselves...they are running as fast as they can into a cement´s called reality (many of us have known reality for a very long time).

Counterlight said...

From "I have a dream" to "I have a grudge."