This week’s post won’t be a long one. After all, there’s not much to say that we (and a thousand others) haven’t said already.
It’s been another day, another senseless and tragic attack.
Another wave of people sending their “thoughts and prayers”, another wave of people mocking the ease and meaninglessness of profile filters.
Another reaction of people pointing out our own hypocrisy as attacks twice as deadly (though no more or less terrible) go without mention in Africa, Asia, South America.
And nothing we’re going to do in the next days and weeks will change what’s already happened. The only thing we can do is decide how to react, and readers, please don’t react like serial philanderer and defender of “traditional marriage” Newt Gingrich.
His reaction to last week’s appalling attack in Nice has been to propose- I kid you not- a “Sharia test”, in which all Muslim Americans would be tested to see if they support fundamentalist Islamic law. Any that did would be promptly deported, Gingrich says.
Now some of you might be saying, “But Gordon, you stalwart vassal of decency and dignity, is that really so absurd? Gingrich himself stated that he doesn’t have problem with moderate Muslims and that he’s even “glad to have them as citizens.” And you support the complete separation of church and state, so wouldn’t you be cool with this?”
No, and I’ll tell you why.
Answer me this- what’s a “Muslim?”
It’s someone who believes in Islam, right?
As with Christianity, Judaism, or any religion, “Muslim” isn’t a strict definition. I grew up in a 90% Muslim country, and I saw everything from Muslim women wearing full niqabs to Muslim women wearing tight jeans and skimpy shirts that’d turn heads in America. And there was everything in between. The Muslim man who fasted during Ramadan but had his cheat days. The Muslim woman who observed religion as part of her culture, but not as part of her faith. You had the hippie-style Muslims who argued for the fundamental unity of all religions, and you had fire-and-brimstone Muslims who argued for the destruction of the unbelievers. And all of these people lived in the same country, the same city, and very often, in the same family.
Not a whole lot different than the West. I’d argue that the vast, vast majority of this country’s “Christians” are of the Easter-and-Christmas variety, though you can find plenty who’re in church twice a week. There are plenty of Jews who happily munch on their bacon cheeseburgers on their way to the store to pick up a mixed-fabric sweater and there are plenty who’d be nauseated at the thought.
It gets worse.
While Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses call themselves Christian, most mainline Protestants and Catholics would staunchly disagree with that definition. Likewise the Nation of Islam (and its offshoots) would probably not be seen as orthodox by your average Sunni or Shia adherent. Plenty of religions are a hodgepodge of varying philosophies: Jews-for-Jesus, Atheist-Buddhists, Hindu-but-I-attend-my-wife’s-church, you name it.
How exactly are you going to measure something like that?
No seriously- how are you going to measure that?
Are you going to have vans of government agents sitting outside of mosques, taking notes about who goes in or out? Are you going to commandeer wedding registries or rifle through census records? Muslims barely make up 1% of the US population but there’s still 3.3 million of ’em. Are we to believe that the government will, over the next decade or so, visit and interrogate each and every one?
And what if you did?
Do you think that there’s going to be anyone who tells the friendly FBI agents “Oh dang, you caught me. I totally support the implementation of a theocratic Islamic state relying on the most extreme interpretation of the Koran and other teachings. I mean, I know that Gingrich is proposing I be deported for saying that, but I just wanted to be honest with you. I’ll go pack my things now.”
Of course not. That has got to be one of the stupidest and most-ill advised things Gingrich has proposed since he asked his second wife for an open marriage. If- if– some would-be theocrat is stumbled across, they’re simply going to say “no.”
Because it’s a ****ing stupid idea.
(Oh, and by the way- there’s no such thing as “Sharia law.” There’s a massive debate within the Muslim world over what’s actually mandated and what isn’t and there’s an almost infinite range of perspectives, opinions, and theories- none of which are even close to universally accepted. Saying “do you believe in Sharia law?” is like asking someone if they like “Biblical law”- some detailed ****ing clarification is probably going to be asked of you.)