Publicly burning Korans is an extremely unwise, unnecessary, and vulgar act. The fact that a loon who thinks doing so marks a profound religious and political statement has become a subject of serious discussion has much to do with our hysterical news media, which love to pull out of the woodwork various nutjobs who discredit the possibility of a traditionalist Right. (The loon in question, Pastor Terry Jones of the “Dove World Outreach Center,” has apparently called off the stunt.)
Throughout this fabricated public controversy, the question I have been asking myself is whether the instinctive and passionate support for Pastor Jones and opposition to the “Ground Zero Mosque” on the part of many White Christians represents a healthy, defensive nationalism -- something dangerous to the current Establishment and that might lead to a Western awakening -- or whether it’s a false Western consciousness, the kind of blind, flag-waving “Americanism” that only leads to neoconservative wars and the expansion of the Department of Homeland Security.
I’m still not sure… But make no mistake, Pastor Jones is all “Freedom Fries.” Indeed, his manifesto, “Ten Reasons to Burn a Koran” (which I’ve read via Larry Auster), reads like a missive from David Horowitz’s Front Page Magazine. And it’s worth going through these “Ten Reasons” one by one as they reveal the hollowness of the worldview of the modern "defenders of Judeo-Christian civilization” -- a worldview that has defined official conservatism at least since 9/11.
(In many ways, Jones is probably worse than Horowitz & Co., as I get the sense that at a church called the “Dove World Outreach Center,” the good Pastor follows up exhortations to burn the Koran with sermons on the wonders of mass immigration and the need for the Air Force to bomb Iran into “peace.”)
Preface. On 9/11/10 we are burning Korans to raise awareness and warn. In a sense it is neither an act of love nor of hate. We see, as we state in the Ten Reasons below, that Islam is a danger. We are using this act to warn about the teaching and ideology of Islam, which we do hate as it is hateful. We do not hate any people, however. We love, as God loves, all the people in the world and we want them to come to a knowledge of the truth. To warn of danger and harm is a loving act. God is love and truth. If you know the truth it can set you free. The world is in bondage to the massive grip of the lies of Islam. These are:
One. The Koran teaches that Jesus Christ, the Crucified, Risen Son of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords was NOT the Son of God, nor was he crucified (a well documented historical fact that ONLY Islam denies). This teaching removes the possibility of salvation and eternal life in heaven for all Islam's believers. They face eternal damnation in hell if they do not repent.
This is probably the least offensive of the "Reasons," as one can expect such statements to be asserted by all sincere Christian believers. Though it is a bit odd to suggest that Jesus’ godhead and his crucifixion are a “well documented historical fact that ONLY Islam denies.” The notion that one can prove these aspects of Jesus though the historical methods of Ranke would seem to remove the divine from Christian belief. Moreover, is it “ONLY Islam” that denies these things? Pastor Jones might want to pick up a copy of the Talmud.
Two. The Koran does not have an eternal origin. It is not recorded in heaven. The Almighty God, Creator of the World, is NOT it's source. It is not holy. It's writings are human in origin, a concoction of old and new teachings. This has been stated and restated for centuries by scholars since Islam's beginnings, both Moslem and non-Moslem.
Again, there’s question begging here, but I’ll let this pass, since one would assume that sincere Christian believer would think this of Islam.
Three. The Koran's teaching includes Arabian idolatry, paganism, rites and rituals. These are demonic, an ongoing satanic stronghold under which Moslems and the world suffer.
Does the Pastor celebrate Christmas on December 25, light a Christmas tree, kiss under the mistletoe, and hunt Easter eggs in the spring? These are some of the most obvious -- certainly not the only -- remainders of Europe’s Germanic and Classical pagan past. Moreover, while there was a strong antipathy between the early Church Fathers and the pagan Roman state, the Medieval Church forged the basis of Western culture in large part by seeking to integrate the lessons of the Classical pagans into its teachings.
Four. The earliest writings that are known to exist about the Prophet Mohammad were recorded 120 years after his death. All of the Islamic writings (the Koran and the Hadith, the biographies, the traditions and histories) are confused, contradictory and inconsistent. Maybe Mohammad never existed. We have no conclusive account about what he said or did. Yet Moslems follow the destructive teachings of Islam without question.
I’m not trying to provoke AltRight’s Christian readers, but one should simply be honest enough to admit that there are serious contradictions, ellipses, and corruptions throughout the Old and New Testaments, beginning with the dual creation story in Genesis through the varying accounts of Jesus’ life in the Gospels. (I often get the sense that “Biblical Fundamentalism” is one of history’s great bluffs, as few of its adherents have actually read the Bible.)
Five. Mohammad's life and message cannot be respected. The first Meccan period of his leadership seems to have been religiously motivated and a search for the truth. But in the second Medina period he was "corrupted by power and worldly ambitions." (Ibn Warraq) These are characteristics that God hates. They also led to political assassinations and massacres which continue to be carried out on a regular basis by his followers today.
All of this is likely true; however, this view of Islam being “corrupted by power and worldly ambitions” is not only too vague to be put to any use but could easily be turned back against the European Christians who, taking one example among many, turned Central Europe into a slaughterhouse and mixed religion with Realpolitik throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.
I'm not pushing “moral equivalence,” or trying to prove that Christianity is “just as bad as Islam” (or vice-versa). I just wish Christians would criticize Islam for threatening our culture and our people, and not try to prove that all Christians are peace-loving lambs and Islam is wicked and warlike. Christianity, too, has been a religion of war.
Regardless, I’d be willing to forgive these first five "Reasons," even though Jones adheres to a Christianity totally divorced from European history and culture. It’s in the second half where the real leftism comes to the fore.
Six. Islamic Law is totalitarian in nature. There is no separation of church and state. It is irrational. It is supposedly immutable and cannot be changed. It must be accepted without criticism. It has many similarities to Nazism, Communism and Fascism. It is not compatible with Western Civilization.
It’s quite hard to argue that Nazism, Fascism, and Communism didn’t emerge from Western civilization. Where did they come from then? (Charles Maurras actually connected Nazism with the spirit of Islam, though I doubt Pastor Jones has ever heard of this argument.)
But, of course, when Jones writes “Western Civilization,” he really means the social values of contemporary American liberalism, much as when neocons say “The West,” they really mean the Upper West Side. Jones’s praise of the “separation of church and state" is the give-away.
First off, the “Wall of Separation,” mentioned by Jefferson in a famous letter from 1802, has become a bit of a myth. When Jefferson wrote these words, many states had established churches and religious tests for holding office. (Jefferson’s Virginia, notably, did not.) As Tom Fleming wrote recently, “The purpose of the First Amendment was to prevent power-crazed national [i.e. federal] politicians from imposing their religious views on the rest of us in the states.” That's all.
Secondly, there’s really nothing in the Bible or the teachings of the Church Fathers that explicitly forbids political churches. The notion of a “Wall of Separation” would have baffled most Christians who lived before the 19th century.
(It’s worth noting in this regard that the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), which ended the appalling Wars of Religion and established the arrangement of “cuius regio, eius religio” (“Whose realm, his religion”), and which marked an advancement towards a certain kind of tolerance and secular politics, was not based on the “separation of church and state.” This concept would have to wait for the Enlightenment.)
Such statements by Jones are part of a trend among American Christians -- most noticeably with neoconservative Catholics at institutions like First Things -- to, in essence, affirm the advances of American liberalism during the Cold War period (e.g., civil rights, “democratic capitalism,” the “melting pot” myth etc.) and then, quasi-dialectically, claim that such things are inherently “Christian.”
And the tendency of such B-grade theologians to incrementally move leftward cannot be underestimated. I often get the sense that it’s only a matter of time before movement conservatives assert that it is only Judeo-Christianity that can properly establish the basis for affirmative action and same-sex marriage.
Seven. Islam is not compatible with democracy and human rights. The notion of a moral individual capable of making decisions and taking responsibility for them does not exist in Islam. The attitude towards women in Islam as inferior possessions of men has led to countless cases of mistreatment and abuse for which Moslem men receive little or no punishment, and in many cases are encouraged to commit such acts, and are even praised for them. This is a direct fruit of the teachings of the Koran.
Islam is thoroughly compatible with democracy. Alas. But if it were not, I’d view this as something that recommends the religion -- perhaps as its greatest virtue! In reality, it’s quite easy for Muslims to play the democracy game; indeed, their ability to vote marks one of the greatest threats they pose to Western societies.
Eight. A Muslim does not have the right to change his religion. Apostasy is punishable by death.
Yes, that’s bad.
Nine. Deep in the Islamic teaching and culture is the irrational fear and loathing of the West.
Perhaps. Though Israel’s and America’s invasion and occupation of Muslims’ lands likely makes such “fear and loathing” seem quite rational to them.
Ten. Islam is a weapon of Arab imperialism and Islamic colonialism. Wherever Islam has or gains political power, Christians, Jews and all non-Moslems receive persecution, discrimination, are forced to convert. There are massacres and churches, synagogues, temples and other places of worship are destroyed.
Sure, this is bad.
* * *
While it’s natural for European patriots to view Muslims in their country as an unequivocal existential threat, I’ve always been puzzled at the persistence of this obsession with Islam on the part of Red Staters, who live in places where the Muslim presence is virtually nil. And it’s an obsession that has less to do with immigration -- indeed, legal immigration is often praised by such types -- and more with military action in the Middle East.
Perhaps it derives in part from the fact that bombing Muslims is the only officially sanctioned form of Western chauvinism Red Staters have left, while they’re ordered to walk on eggshells and act like diversity-loving ninnies around women, Blacks, and Hispanics at home.
There’s something to this, though I imagine Red Staters’ Islam fixation runs much deeper.
The image of a final battle between Islam and Judeo-Christianity is a tempting Chimera in the white-noise world of post-modernity -- with its bureaucratic ennui, its demands for feminine tolerance, its upside down value system, its deconstruction of the heroic ideal, its political class of lazy lifetime-employed federal workers and cloying, sociopathic “representatives,” its vulgar shopping malls and entertainment centers that one is supposed to call “home,” its multicultural nations that have achieved homogeneity in their tastes and globular body shapes.
The atavistic burning of the Koran -- and demands for endless wars in the Levant -- is one way for men to re-enchant the world I just described.
Pastor Jones and the evangelical True Believers are truly the only ones willing to die for post-modern America.