Not all religions are equal. Some are inherently inimical to genuine pluralism and religious tolerance. Others have in fact paved the way for those goods. Islam is an example of the former, while Christianity is an example of the latter. Christianity has made religious pluralism possible, along with a properly understood separation of church and state.
Neither are found in Islam. Nor can they be. Religion and politics are one in Islam. So too are mosque and state. That has always been the case with Islam, which is why democracy, freedom and other Western values are so rarely found in Muslim-majority countries.
The roots of all this go back to Muhammad himself. As Dinesh D’Souza says, “The prophet Muhammad was in his own day both a prophet and a Caesar who integrated the domains of church and state. Following his example, the rulers of the various Islamic empires, from the Umayyad to the ottoman, saw themselves as Allah’s viceregents on earth.”
Or as historian Rodney Stark explains, “Muhammad was not only the Prophet, he was head of state. Consequently, Islam has always idealized the fusion of religion and political rule, and sultans have usually also held the title of caliph.” Middle East expert Bernard Lewis put it tersely: “Muhammad was, so to speak, his own Constantine”.
He reminds us of how profound a difference there is between the two religions: “In classical Arabic and in the other classical languages of Islam, there are no pairs of terms corresponding to ‘lay’ and ‘ecclesiastical,’ ‘spiritual’ and ‘temporal,’ ‘secular’ and ‘religious,’ because these pairs of words express a Christian dichotomy that has no equivalent in the world of Islam.”
And he says this of the church: “Throughout Christian history, and in almost all Christian lands, church and state continued to exist side by side as different institutions, each with its own laws and jurisdictions, its own hierarchy and chain of authority.”
As philosopher Roger Scruton explains, “The separation of church and state was from the beginning an accepted doctrine of the church.” Jesus himself set the stage for this way of thinking. He made it clear that earthly rule and heavenly rule were not identical. He said that we should “render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” He also said “my kingdom is not of this world”. The early church of course accepted, and elaborated upon, this fundamental concept.
As George Weigel wrote in his 2007 volume, Faith, Reason, and the War against Jihadism: “Christianity taught that, while Caesar was to be given his due, so was God (see Matthew 22:21). And if there are things of God that are not Caesar’s, then Caesar’s power is, by definition, limited power….
“By stripping political authority of the mantle of the sacred, Christianity helped create the possibility of what we know as ‘limited government’: government that has specific and enumerated powers, government that ought not reach into that sphere of conscience.”
He continues, “The rich social pluralism of the West did not just happen. It emerged in a society formed by the biblical idea of the dignity of the human person and the culture that epic idea shaped.” So we have mega-differences between Islam and Christianity when it comes to such key issues as pluralism, freedom and democracy.
All this explains why, as Mark Steyn put it, “In the 2005 rankings of Freedom House’s survey of personal liberty and democracy around the world, five of the eight countries with the lowest ‘freedom’ score were Muslim. Of the forty-six Muslim majority nations in the world, only three were free.”
This also explains the continuing placating of Islam in the West. While it is open season on Christianity there, hardly any of our elites or those in the MSM will dare to touch Islam. They know that Christians won’t issue fatwas or fly jumbo jets into buildings.
And some have even admitted to this themselves. Consider this shocking admission from the director general of the BBC who said that they will mock Jesus but never mock Muhammad. As one report puts it: “The head of the BBC, Mark Thompson, has admitted that the broadcaster would never mock Mohammed like it mocks Jesus.
“He justified the astonishing admission of religious bias by suggesting that mocking Mohammed might have the ‘emotional force’ of ‘grotesque child pornography’. But Jesus is fair game because, he said, Christianity has broad shoulders and fewer ties to ethnicity.
“Mr Thompson says the BBC would never have broadcast Jerry Springer The Opera – a controversial musical that mocked Jesus – if its target had been Mohammed. He made the remarks in an interview for a research project at the University of Oxford.”
It is not just the media, but many Western leaders as well who are grovelling before Islam, making concessions to those promoting sharia, and in effect becoming dhimmis. They will bend over backwards to appease the Islamists, apologising for any perceived slight or offence.
President Obama’s recent apology to Muslim radicals in Afghanistan is just the most recent obvious case in point. Frank J. Gaffney Jr has just recently penned a very good article on all this, discussing “Shariah’s threat to civil rights,” noting how “Islamic law practitioners resemble modern version of Ku Klux Klan”.
He begins this way: “As we witness surging Muslim violence against non-Muslims in Afghanistan, Egypt and even here, the response seems increasingly that the victims must apologize to the perpetrators. In particular, the United States government – from President Obama on down – has been assiduously seeking forgiveness for giving offense to Islamic sensibilities after accidentally burning Korans. This was felt necessary even in a case in which the books had been defaced by captured Afghan jihadis as a means of encouraging their comrades to further acts of violence against us.
“It seems that Christians are also widely considered to be at fault for having churches, Bibles and religious practices that offend the ascendant Islamists in Egypt, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. Certainly, no apologies are forthcoming when the Christians are murdered or forced to flee for their lives, their churches and sacred texts put to the torch.
“In America last week, a Pennsylvania judge felt the need to dress down a man assaulted for parading in a Halloween costume he called ‘Zombie Muhammad.’ Far from punishing the perpetrator, a Muslim immigrant, Judge Mark Martin sympathized with him for the offense caused, noting – seemingly without objection – that it was a capital crime to engage in such free expression in some countries.
“Worse yet, the judge suggested that the victim in this case had exceeded the ‘boundaries’ of his ‘First Amendment rights.’ Such a view seems to track with the Obama administration’s collaboration with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in fashioning international accords that would prohibit ‘incitement’ against Islam.
“This is a short step from – and en route to – the OIC’s larger goal of banning and criminalizing any expression that offends Muslims or their faith. As such, it poses a mortal peril to the Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech.”
He concludes this way: “Muslims are, of course, free to practice their faith in America like anyone else – provided they do so in a tolerant, peaceable and law-abiding way. What they are not entitled to do, in the name of religious practice, is subvert our Constitution, deny us our rights or engage in sedition without facing concerted opposition – if not prosecution.
“Today, every bit as much as in the civil rights struggles of the past, there are those who are prepared to go along with what they know is wrong in order to get along. Now, as then, the few who recognize that any such accommodation makes more certain the ultimate triumph of evil, may be vilified and even harmed. But now, as then, more and more Americans are emerging who see the danger posed by our time’s totalitarian threat – Shariah – and will do their part to secure freedom against it, both here and, as necessary for that purpose, elsewhere.”
Exactly right. I encourage you to read his entire article. The truth is, we are in a war. Appeasement and compromise never help in a time of war. What was it Churchill once said about this? “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
As I said, not all religions are equal. Those who value such things as democracy, religious freedom, freedom of speech and conscience and the like, need to stand strong for those values, and stand against a religion which respects none of these things.
Either freedom wins, or sharia wins. But both cannot peacefully coexist.