Email of the Day

A reader remonstrates:

"1. The State Department’s comment on the Danish cartoons was brilliant. This is a European problem and we owe Europe nothing. The comment a) gave us a small chance to look good to Muslims (even if the comment was admittedly bullshit) b) allowed the focus of the anger to remain on the Europeans which will only reinforce the truth that Islamic extremism is a threat to the entire West, not just the United States and c) frankly, it was a nice "fuck you" to Europe. I LOVED it. Of course, given that it was the State Department, they probably had none of these things in mind, but hey, whatever.

2. Your continued equivalence of Christian fundamentalism and Islamic fundamentalism on anything more than the most abstract of levels is beyond the pale, absurd, ridiculous, etc. You may be right that both of these fundamentalisms at their core share common notions and beliefs. At that level, it’s an intelligent discussion, but admittedly, not one I’m particularly interested in. However, FUNCTIONALLY, there is NO similarity. Islamacists MURDER innocent men, women, and children. "Christianists" oppose gay marriage. PLEASE stop this insane equivalence–it’s offensive, irrational, and fevered."

I couldn’t agree more on the latter point. 91782279178230slarge The difference between Islamists and Christianists is that the former are using violence to achieve their ideal society and Christianists are, almost entirely, using peaceful, democratic means. That’s a huge deal. It’s also worth comparing Christian fundamentalist response to the latest Rolling Stone cover, featuring Kanye West as Jesus. Complaints, sure. But are the editors of Rolling Stone now in hiding? The thought is preposterous. The habits of Islamists and Christianists are on different planets. Nevertheless, the fundamentalist mindset is similar in both: the sense that there can be no legal neutrality between faith and unfaith; the expectation of the Apocalypse; the submission of all reason to faith; the inerrancy of certain texts or authority figures; the shared notion of blasphemy; the subordination of women; the anathematization of gays; the extreme regulation of sex and gender. The difference in methods is one of kind. The difference in mindset is one of degree.