“Thoreau” posted something on the Unqualified Offerings web log that I wish I’d written (not for the first time).
When the subject of “Why they hate us” comes up, it is sometimes observed that the US has meddled in a great many parts of the world, supported a great many dictators, and bombed a great many places, yet the most violent response has largely been from Muslims. Clearly, there must be something wrong with Muslims.
Well, yes, I am going to disappoint many people by saying that I do wonder if there is something wrong with a group that turns the other cheek less frequently than others. Turning the other cheek is the only way to have a stable civilization, in the long run. Perhaps the Muslim world should work on that.
But you know who has an even bigger problem than the people refusing to turn the other cheek? The people going around striking cheeks in the first place. If most people turn the other cheek, that doesn’t mean that what we’re doing is OK. It just means that they are better than us. Yes, any Muslims who are supporting violence should probably pay more attention to the moral teachings of the prophet Issa. But you know who else should pay more attention to the moral teachings of the prophet Issa? Any Americans who think that drone strikes and support for dictators are really just “no big deal.”
Are there problems in the Muslim world? Of course. There are splinters in their eyes. But there are beams in ours. Perhaps we should work on that.
One of my mother’s favorite sayings, when she was alive, was, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” I think many Muslims in the present era have a problem not so much with turning the other cheek, which very few people of any religion follow in practice, as with freedom of speech and freedom of religion. But I think that there is anything wrong with any majority-Muslim society that can be improved by means of invasions or flying killer drone missiles.
Hundreds times more civilians have been killed in majority-Muslim countries by U.S. government action than Americans have been killed by action of Muslim terrorists. This goes back a long way—the bombardment of Lebanese coastal cities when President Ronald Reagan pulled Marines out of Beirut, the death by malnutrition of Iraqi children under President Bill Clinton’s economic blockade. We Americans remember and mourn the innocent victims of the 9/11 attacks, but we are not the only ones who remember, mourn and want to get even.
Click on The sermon on the high horse to read Thoreau’s original post in context and with comments.
Click on Ordeal of a brave freethinker in Cairo for a report on religious intolerance in Egypt. Hat tip for this link to Adam Jacobs of the Bertrand Russell Society.
Click on The tragic consulate killings in Libya and America’s hierarchy of human life for Glenn Greenwald’s thoughts on motes and beams.
Click on Is Islam a religion of peace? for an earlier post of mine.
Click on What does Islam teach about Jesus Christ? for a summary of Muslim teachings about Jesus.