No legitimate evolutionist believes that life on our little blue, green ball is merely an “accident”–as Huckabee ever so eloquently explains it. From Richard Dawkins to Stephen Hawking experts have been gaining more understanding everyday for decades about the source of life as we know it. And many people do make their decisions upon this evidence. One must only look as far as republican strategist Dr. Karl Rove (He claims that he is “not fortunate enough to be a person of faith.”), to see that this issue is about reason, not a seat on a particular side of the aisle.
Though a significant segment of the United States populous are believing Christians, a minority segment of those mentioned believe that the Earth was created in six days, six-thousand years ago as Gov. Huckabee does.
Admittedly, no expert can explain the full evolutionary history of the cosmos nor, the complete origins of upright-walking humans, they are however, closing in on the answers everyday. How can an individual running for the highest position in the modern world not at least admit there is significant, contrary evidence to his position? And worse, no one seemingly cares. Before the obnoxiously credulous and faithful retort—yes I am aware that I cannot disprove the existence of God anymore than they can prove his existence–which unfortunately for the believers, leaves all the work still ahead of them.
If I were to ask any one of the presidential candidates how long it took Poseidon to create the oceans or Zeus the heavens we would three days later be hearing laughter from the podium. I would not have heard such laughter however, one-thousand years ago. In the great empire of Rome, considered by most the originators of the great democratic concept, such discussions were common place. Yet, a candidate can stand-up and announce not only the existence of a God, but claim to know his intentions and then appear shocked when someone inquires as to the logic for this supposition. Sorry Mike, we’re not interested in your divine, clairvoyant abilities—just your presidential ones.
It is becoming vastly apparent that Gov. Huckabee fancies himself the candidate speaking for the small-town, Christian, humble, family man–the type of folk who cannot concern themselves with all that “readin’ and learnin.’” So let’s interject a little big-city thought, reason and logic and assert that we’re content with the separation of church and state that our forefathers so ingeniously inserted in our constitution. These re-constructionist raconteurs can keep complaining about waving their racist flags and pseudoscience [read: non-science] but when it comes to presidential decisions they should be thinking, not praying about issues.
Has our political discourse become so polarized that we can’t as members of a particular party not admire actions or comments made by a person of a different party? On the tail of brief positive statement pertaining to the former presidency of Ronald Reagan by 2008 presidential hopeful Barak Obama, assaults on his position are being hurled from all corners of the Democratic party.
Obama told theMonday that “Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that did not and in a way that did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it,” Obama said. Not hours after this brief, ambiguous comment, John Edwards retorted with:
“, the man who busted unions, the man who did everything in his power to destroy the organized labor movement, the man who created a tax structure that favored the richest Americans against middle class and working families, [...] we know that Ronald Reagan is not an example of change for a presidential candidate running in the Democratic Party,” Edwards said.
Though not all Americans congruently supported former President Reagan, 63% of Americans did look at his presidency as ”favorably” upon his exit said a Gallop Poll–which undoubtedly including some Democrats. Apparently Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards have nothing to say about anyone from the Republican party–even historically. This seems to be slightly short-sighted on their part.
If a Republican candidate were to comment that there were no redeeming qualities about Bill Clinton’s presidency they would be mocked incessantly in addition to being patently false. Even the illustrious President Bush has made a few good calls in a strong field of baffling blunders.
Though these comments will rally the far-left voters, they will no doubt put off as many moderates as they gain, something neither the Edwards, nor Clinton campaign can afford. Polarization is not a word that moderates like to come to mind in the discourse of an election. And it will be these moderate swing votes that could seal the deal for the winning Democratic candidate.
It is now, more than ever before, blatantly obvious, that coexisting with those ultra-religious among us is undesirable and impossible. You need only look as far as the Texas father, who last week decided that his daughters’ crime of dressing “provacativley” was to be punishable by death.
It is one thing when a suicide attacker decides to detonate an explosive device in a crowed marketplace in Baghdad or Kabul, or even when an angry mob takes it upon themselves to stone a young woman for the unthinkable crime of walking down a street with a male other than her husband—but when when a father in our own United States commits an act so heinous it rocks our sensibilities to the core.
I assert the question: at what point does one’s faith give them the right to circumvent law and order? And moreover, if strict interpretation of religious texts is what you’re after, why immigrate to the United States, or any other progressive, Western country for that matter? It is high time that we as members of society, in the name of modernity and decency proclaim that up with this we will no longer to put.
Dogmatism aside, this act of obscene religious credulity is a function in stark contrast to our modern values as well as the ideals and conclusions of the founders of this country. It is high time to say that we have outgrown the blind acceptance in the name of social, ethnic and faith-based pluralism. Religious belief is optional and we should continue to uphold both the freedom to practice and the freedom from religion. We shall not however, continue to use faith as a politically correct shroud to mask absurdity.
If this Texas father claimed to kill his young daughters based on the bizarre alignment of the moon and stars or some other obnoxious belief every smarmy catholic priest or abject mullah would be on every media outlet condemning this murder. Yet I don’t see the Coalition for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) quoted anywhere—not even there own website—denouncing this slaying.
Why can’t faith be criticized? This man committed these acts because his religious book told him it was a good idea. We can have all the discourse we like concerning this man’s “interpretations” or the Koran, but the fact remains that he believed that he was doing Allah’s will. As long as we continue to tolerate that sort of ridiculousness as legitimate reasoning, we are only going to see more of the same. And for brief moment I suppose we can take solace that this wickedness took place in Texas—the only known state with an Express Lane on death row.
Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch discusses the “honor killings” of two Texas sisters. The following is the most recent post from Spencer’s site. Here is the article in it entirety.
Amina Said, 18, and her sister Sarah, 17, smile happily in one widely circulating photo, and Amina is wearing what looks like a sweatshirt bearing the name “AMERICAN.” But their fate may have been the herald of a new, disquieting feature of the American landscape: honor killing. Amina and Sarah were shot dead in Irving, Texas, on New Year’s Day. Police are searching for their father, Yaser Abdel Said, on a warrant for capital murder.
The girls’ great aunt, Gail Gartrell, told reporters, “This was an honor killing.” She explained that Yaser Said had long abused the girls, and after discovering that they had boyfriends, had threatened to kill them — whereupon their mother fled with them. “She ran with them,” said Gartrell, “because she knew he would carry out the threat.” But Said found them, and apparently did carry it out.
Honor killing, the practice of murdering a female family member who is believed to have sullied the family honor, enjoys widespread acceptance in some areas of the Islamic world. However, Islam Said, the brother of Amina and Sarah, has denied that the murders had anything to do with Islam at all. “It’s not religion,” he insisted. “It’s something else. Religion has nothing to do with it.”And to be sure, the Qur’an or Islamic tradition does not sanction honor killing. Muslim spokesmen have hastened, after the recent killing in Canada of another teenage Muslim girl, Aqsa Parvez, by her father to tell the public that honor killing has nothing to do with Islam, but is merely a feature of Islamic culture in some areas. Aqsa Parvez was sixteen years old; her father, Muhammad Parvez, has been charged with strangling her to death because she refused to wear the hijab. Shahina Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Social Services Association, declared: “The strangulation death of Ms. Parvez was the result of domestic violence, a problem that cuts across Canadian society and is blind to colour or creed.” Sheikh Alaa El-Sayyed, imam of the Islamic Society of North America in Mississauga, Ontario, agreed: “The bottom line is, it’s a domestic violence issue.”
But these dismissals are too easy, principally because they fail to take into account important evidence. In some areas, honor killing is assumed to be an Islamic practice. There is evidence that Islamic culture inculcates attitudes that could lead directly to the murders of these two girls in Texas. In 2003, the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. In a sadly typical consequence of this early last year, a Jordanian man who murdered his sister because he thought she had a lover was given a three-month sentence, which was suspended for time served, allowing him to walk free. The Yemen Times just last week published an article insisting that violence against women is necessary for the stability of the family and the society, and invoking Islam to support this view.
Since Islam is used as the justification for such barbarities, it becomes incumbent upon Muslim spokesmen to confront this directly, and to work for positive change, rather than simply to consign it all to culture, as if that absolves Islam from all responsibility. For this is the culture that apparently gave Yaser Said and Muhammad Parvez the idea that they had to kill their daughters. It is a culture suffused with its religion, thoroughly dominated by it — such that a clear distinction between the two is not so easy to find.
The killings of Amina and Sarah Said raises uncomfortable questions for the Islamic community in the United States, questions about the culture and mindset that people like Yaser Said bring to this country. Now that honor killing has come to Texas, Muslim spokesmen in the U.S. have an all the more urgent responsibility to end their denial and confront these cultural attitudes. If they don’t, and instead continue to glibly insist that religion has nothing to do with what happened to these poor girls, the murders of the Said sisters will only be the beginning of a new American phenomenon.
Increasingly, the insurgency of Iraq is recruiting, training and utilizing female suicide bombers to carryout their devastating attacks. This news comes after a US-led coalition force investigated three Baghdad area suicide attacks that were apparently the work of al-Qaeda trained female combatants. And as it turns out, will continue to be so.
Though seemingly troubling, this is not the first time women have been used in attacks of this nature. In 1985 Sana Mheidali, a Lebanese militant killed two Israeli soldiers during an attack and women have been recruited to carryout attacks of various types 60 times in the last 24 years by the Tamil Tigers, a longtime insurgency and opposition force in Sri Lanka.
It seems as though actions like these can be interpreted in one of two ways: 1.) Al-Qaeda is experiencing a significant decline in the number of male “applicants” willing to blow themselves to bits in a crowded Iraqi marketplace or other enclave of abundant innocent civilians. 2.) The use of female suicide bombers is orchestrated as elaborate PR to demonstrate that there aren’t quit enough martyr-willing male counterparts.
In either case, the consequences are equally heinous. The fact of the matter remains that there is no immediate shortage of willing martyrs (whether male or female) with little or no reservations about killing “infidels” and other Muslims with the hope of paradise and copious amounts of virgins. Incidentally, one must also wonder the interest of young, fertile virgins to female suicide bombers. Irrespective of the reasons or explanations, 2,086 people woke up on mornings in 2007 not knowing that it would be their last.
Many say that there is still a relatively small amount of extremist Muslims that commit these bombings and some even venture to assert that the Koran itself does not allow for such wicked acts–and they would be shockingly incorrect
Let those who would exchange the life of this world for the hereafter, fight for the cause of God; whoever fights for the cause of God, whether he dies or triumphs, We shall richly reward him… The true believers fight for the cause of God, but the infidels fight for the devil. Fight then against the friends of Satan. … Say: “Trifling are the pleasures of this life. The hereafter is better for those who would keep from evil. …” (Koran 4:74–78)
These obscene acts are unfortunately condoned and at times ordered by the Muslim holy book as well as other obnoxious documents like the Hadith. To those who say that we are fighting insurgent groups and not faith–the latter is certainly something to ponder. Hatred and violence should be expected so long as these texts, the very cornerstone and essence of the Islamic faith, are considered to be the literal word of God.
The very ideology must be attacked at its core as a society before we can ever hope to architect a solution. Until we understand deeply what we are up against and are willing to denounce and attack superstitious dogma of all kinds in the public square, it will unfortunately be business as usual–which at the moment means reassembling the pieces of comrades, friends and citizens.
A week after the tragic death of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistani President Pevez Musharraf asserted that the government of Pakistan was not involved in the assassination.
Bhutto was gunned-down in Rawalpindi following a pre-election rally where she was cementing her stronghold as a viable opposition candidate to the incumbent President Musharraf. Though there is debate whether it was the bullet or the explosion that killed Bhutto, there ought not be any question that her lose was most certainly a step back for legitimate Middle-East democracy.
Mustafa Abu al-Yazid (aka Sheikh Saeed), a senior al-Qaeda leader not only claimed responsibility for the attack, but commented that Bhutto was “the most precious [American] asset.”
Al-Yazid is no stranger to planning assassinations–as he was a key member of the group that planned and carried out the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat. Sheikh Saeed also asserted that Ayman al-Zawahiri called for the attack on Bhutto in October of 2007. Though the FBI has yet to confirm that credit for this atrocity should be placed squarely on the shoulders of al-Zawahiri, it certainly is requisitly plausible. In which case, he can add this to his list of reasons the “infidels” are poking around in his backyard.
I’m unsure however, that al-Qaeda is any further ahead than it was on December 26th. Though Bhutto was a formidable opportunity for the United States to strengthen its presence in Pakistan, she is not the only person in the region with an anti-al-Qaeda stance. The leadership of al-Qaeda had better realize the fact that the US will not back down based on these minor setbacks.
Benazir Bhutto was one of the most influential people to grace the shores of Pakistan. She knew the threat al-Qaeda posed to democracy in every corner of the globe, including in her own backyard. So while not even a blade of grass grows between Kabul and Kandahar, and the al-Qaeda thugs are hiding in some cave in the border region of Toro Bora cowardly clinching their guns–Ms. Bhutto had the courage to stand up and publicly defend her political beliefs with the most powerful weapon she had–her voice.