President Obama touched off an epic conservative conniption last week when, in his speech detailing his strategy to destroy ISIS, he said that the terrorist army that calls itself the "Islamic State" is "not Islamic." A few days on, though, and even leftists like Bill Maher, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and liberal Daily Banter editor Michael Luciano were finding themselves in agreement with Sarah Palin that ISIS is, indeed, Islamic. I mean it's right there in the name! (Note to Pat Sajack: "ISIS is Islamic" would be the worst Wheel of Fortune puzzle in history.)
For anyone paying attention, though, this isn't the first time the president has played Islamopologist-in-Chief. This latest bout with denialist happy-talk is completely overshadowing a long history of this sort of thing, up to and including comparing it with good old 'Merican Chriatianity by telling the Muslims that "Americans share their belief in God's justice," and their "insistence on man's moral responsibility." Doesn't anyone remember the president talking about how Islam's teachings are "good and peaceful," that the "Muslim faith is based upon peace and love and compassion," indeed, that Islam itself "is peace!"
Yes, that President. Now, normally, invoking George W. Bush is the surest way to lose an argument, but in this case, an exception is in order. If it makes you feel any better, here's a bonus Bush-ism from one of those speeches:
President Bush was attempting to convey the same thing that Obama was last week. Acting as heads of state, and not as theological philosophers, they were each attempting to reassure billions of people that their religion, as it is popularly understood and practiced, bears no resemblance to the faith claimed by barbaric killers. Indeed, as Obama pointed out, ISIS kills many more Muslims than anyone else. The extent to which they are inspired by their own perversions of a holy text is of little relevance in this context, Obama was self-evidently making a case for Muslim solidarity against ISIS based on the religion as it is popularly practiced, which get you killed by ISIS.
On the merits, though, Islam-haters like Bill Maher have a point, there are some violent passages in the Koran, which ignorant liberal multi-culturalists will inevitably counter by pointing out that the Holy Bible ain't exactly beanbag. If ISIS suddenly decided to become the Christian State, the only difference would be that they'd be cutting dicks off, too. The question, then, is if they did, if ISIS suddenly became the "Christian State," would anyone object to a president saying "C-SIL (work on that name, guys) is not Christian?"
Maher probably would, because he hates Christianity. too, but most people, even liberals, would understand that even if the group followed violent Bible passages to the letter, and ignored all of its messages of peace and love, they are not practicing anything resembling Christianity as we know it. They would understand the truth in such a statement, because even now, most liberals recognize that Christianity is routinely hijacked by men with nothing Christ-like in their hearts. This slam on Muslims, though, finds a welcome berth because it plays on the illogic of fear.
The next ploy from the multi-culti libturds will usually be to find some evildoer with an explicitly Christian pedigree, like anti-abortion murderers, or the Manson Family. A particularly instructive example, though, is Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army, which briefly became a cause celebre for conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh. When Limbaugh heard that Obama was sending military advisers to help hunt down Kony, his first reaction was to blast the President for "targeting Christians," who, he said, were "fighting Muslims in Sudan." The U.S. continues to maintain about 300 Special Forces troops in the effort against Kony's LRA. So far, this has not precipitated calls for a long, hard look at Christianity, or at old episodes of Hawaii Five-O.
Maher and company would likely reply that these are distractions from the far greater problem of Islamic terrorism, and even of organized Islamic barbarism. Saudi Arabia, it has been pointed out, has beheaded about 30 people since the James Foley video came out, for crimes like smuggling hash and sorcery. That's a fair point, as is the one which Maher often makes about Christianity having outgrown its "get Medieval on your ass" phase. Setting aside the fact that every killing that the United States ever carries out is done with an explicit claim to a blessing from God, there is a compelling case to be made that the degree to which nations have become more civilized is closely tied to the degree to which they have separated their governments from religion.
This naturally leads people like Maher to believe that it is religion that is the problem. That's the entire subtext to the "intellectual" anti-Islam movement, that despite its overwhelmingly peaceful practice, something about Islam needs to be "examined," or we're just burying our heads in the sand. The point that they're missing is that these aren't men being radicalized by a savage religion, this is a religion being weaponized by the savagery of men. You could wave a magic wand and abolish Islam today, and tomorrow, some dyslexic asshole would be beheading people in the name of Dog. "Examining" Islam, or Christianity, or any other religion is a waste of time, because the problem is man.
The entire point of civilization has been to tame the brutality and savagery that is in our nature, and while there's a conversation to be had about how useful religion has been in that endeavor on balance, it is that savage and brutal nature which bears examination. ISIS is not Islamic, it is human, in the very worst ways.