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Monday, February 13, 2006

Burning At The Stake

I don't know Cathy Young or her politics, but her column today is the sort of mushy thinking that just torques my skivvies. It's another exercise in relativism that seems like bad case of the flu that just can't be shaken. She equates radical Muslims (who were termed living with a "pre-Enlightenment" mentality by David Brooks) with: "that a large segment of the population in the West, and especially in the United States, [that]rejects the progressive, rational mindset and embraces pre-Enlightenment values as well. Fundamentalist Christians, traditionalist Catholics and ultra-Orthodox Jews do not, with very few exceptions, call for violence in response to heresy; that is a key distinction. But they too often equate criticism (let alone mockery) of their beliefs with ''religious bigotry" or ''hate speech." In some situations there are of course differences in degree. But equating simply calling Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ" a form of religious bigotry with calling a cartoon of Muhammad with a bomb shaped turban a form of religious bigotry and also calling for and delivering death and destruction, is disingenuous. The distinction isn't that both sides of the debate are able to find offense in what they each may consider to be the heretical. It is, as has been said time and time again, the manner in which the heretic is treated. We stop burning ours at the stake centuries ago. Much of the Islam has not.

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