In Part 7.A of this series, I tried to explain some of the features of a Christian culture that made it a ‘bulwark’ against Islamicism. Opponents of this perspective nearly always interpret such statements to mean, “Christians are better people, and that’s why…” but that’s no where near the real argument, which is, “All people are corrupted, every one of them, Christians included.” All systems built on the idea that people are intrinsically good devolve into tyranny, given enough time… and it usually doesn’t take that long, relatively speaking. But if you believe the latter position, then you build precautions into your system. If all people are corrupted, including you, and you don’t want to be abused by your fellow man, then you will put in heavy-duty checks and balances. Not because you you think any particular person or race is superior, but precisely because none are.
As secularists have watered down Christian belief and reduced the number of Christians in their midst, there have been fewer people with this more sober understanding of humanity casting votes, running things, and taking over the leadership of institutions and governments. While some secularists value checks and balances and see the need for them, there is very little within their worldview to put that value on a firm foundation–certainly, they aren’t going to enthusiastically talk about those foundations. Thus, as the number of Christians have gone down, and the number of secularists have gone up, ‘checks and balances’ have been steadily eroded. Some day, they will be gone, and only revolution will remain as an option for the oppressed.
But the oppressors may not be secularists, but Islamicists, because, as I have been arguing, there are elements within Christianity that make it more amenable to ‘secularization’ that do not exist within Islam. Moreover, Islam is an intrinsically militant ideology, with world domination part of the creed. The main difference between a ‘moderate’ Muslim and the Islamicist is that the Islamicist is not ashamed of that part of the Koran, and indeed, pleased to embrace it. Just as the secularists move to secularize the Muslims, and fail, the Muslims move into a system that is ripe for the picking by people who see power as a virtue in itself. Both Muslims and secularists are people of this sort, but, as I have been showing, it is the Muslim that ultimately will prevail.
Step one in rebuilding the ‘walls’ is re-establishing a system of checks and balances and–and this is very important–put that system on an ideological foundation that can actually support it, and boldly transmit that foundation to the next generation. This alone will have cascading implications that will manifest at a level, finally, where we can deal with whole countries that are infused with tyrannical philosophies. Can secularist ground such a system on a firm foundation? Even if they could, I don’t think they would. For them to make ‘progress’ they need a free hand. What I am arguing is that the very system the secularists are steadily creating leaves them vulnerable to people more ruthless than they are, and that part of the answer is to reverse course. ASAP.
Let’s consider the nature of some of those checks and balances.
You may as well start with the first amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
What does this mean to you? Well, to the secularists, it doesn’t objectively mean anything. And if it doesn’t mean any one thing, it can mean any ol’ thing, and the ‘winning’ interpretation is, almost in Darwinian fashion, the one that ‘survives to reproduce.’ IE, the ‘right’ interpretation is the one that the people with power impose on other people. In the liberal mind, ‘the rule of law’ boils down to nothing more than an orderly expression of power. For example, if the Supreme Court decides says that the Constitution says something that it clearly does not say, you are supposed to think that the ‘rule of law’ has held, because you took your case through the process. You didn’t get the results you wanted, but the ‘law’ was respected.
But before anything else, the ‘rule of law’ means two things: 1., that the words constituting that ‘law’ actually mean a particular thing, which cannot be stretched to mean any conceivable thing and 2., the people are willing to abide by the ‘particular meaning’ without having to litigate everything up to SCOTUS in an attempt to win a justification for their ‘conceivable meaning.’ Secularism wars against both, and worse, fuels and cultivates the perspective that ‘words’ don’t have a particular meaning.
How does this relate to the problem of Islamicism? Well, in the first place, it explains why secularists have such a darned hard time properly weighing the danger that Islamicism poses. An Islamicist can cite any number of passages out of the Koran or the hadith that plainly justify their actions and attitudes. The secularists chief retort: “Well, we could construe those passages differently, you know. Where it says ‘treat the Jews like dogs’ that could be taken as ‘love them like you’ll love a puppy.'” The problem is that Islamicists don’t accept the premise that words can be stretched infinitely–and they are very willing to live by the plain meaning of the text, without litigating it. A nasty combination, in this instance.
In the second place, if the items discussed in the first amendment aren’t taken as they plainly mean, then we lose an important way to fight back against tyrannical systems, whether Islamic or otherwise. But SCOTUS has murdered just about every clause in this amendment. The amendment specifically refers to ‘Congress’ (presumably for a reason) but the prohibition has been extended to the states, local municipalities, and the school systems (eg, Dover). The examples of the violation of ‘prohibiting the free exercise thereof’ are legion, especially during Obama’s rule, and, per the secular playbook, what constitutes ‘religion’ and ‘free exercise’ are going to be decided by the whims of 9 (or 8, as of this writing) interpreters, rather than on grammar and basic reading skills.
Each item is steadily being eroded, winning by fiat pronouncements, to which we are all supposed to bow before, and we haven’t even gotten to the other amendments, namely, the second amendment, the future of which is suddenly very much in doubt.
These various freedoms, up to and including the right to brazenly stand up to the ‘powers that be,’ while appealing directly to the plain meaning of the texts, are precisely what is needed to insulate the West from the encroachment of Islamicism. (It will also have the pleasant consequence of checking the secular tyranny that would have arrived if Islamicism didn’t.) It is absolutely imperative that people be able to speak their minds directly, defending their positions with passion, without having to put up with small-minded insults about ‘bigotry’ or ‘hate speech’ or whatever new offense to sensibilities is alive today.* Ideological combat needs to be waged, because if ever Islamicism is going to be de-fanged, it needs to be defeated on the battleground of ideology.
In order for that combat to take place, words have to mean things, and people have to voluntarily live by the plain meaning of words. And then you have to ‘arm’ people to ‘wage that war’ and actually send them to it.
In other words, to end Islamicism, ultimately, Muslims have to be persuaded that Islam is false.
I am not talking about a separate category of engagement, here. If you want to end… eco-terrorism, neo-nazism, or whatever, then you have to deal with the underlying ideological commitments that spawn those ‘isms’ in the first place. If the underlying premises of white supremacy are true, or, at least, perceived to have merit, then that perspective is going to continue surfacing, over and over and over again. You can wag your finger at such ideas or hide behind phrases like ‘settled law’ but you won’t have really put the misfit ideology to rest.
In this series, I have been arguing that secularism cannot win its argument against Islam on the merits. But Christianity can.
So, it is not without irony that as secularists have waged war on the Christian belief system, they have also deprived themselves of their best antidote against Islamicism. But, for the sake of argument, let me allow that there could be non-Christian ideologies that could put up a good argument against Islam, and that maybe even secularism could find a way to do it. Some of these non-Christian ideologies would be ones that I would find to be dangerous, and I would oppose. I have mentioned before that Russia and China seem to be able to oppose Islamicism, and I certainly don’t stand with them! I’ll even allow that there are some that I would oppose, but don’t think would be dangerous, which may still effectively rebut Islam.
I’ll allow all of that, because what is needed here is a huge contest of ideas, where each idea is allowed to compete. Then, that competition needs to be cultivated such that it spills over our borders.
Interestingly, while thinking through these issues, I have talked myself out of a position that I’ve had concerning tax exemption. My ministry has not been tax exempt, in large part because I felt that 501c3 status would ‘muzzle’ me. Well, Obama’s use of the IRS to target Tea Party groups validates that concern, I’d say. But what if tax exemption did not entail muzzling? I now think that it is very much in our common interest to facilitate as much conversation and debate as possible, because it serves as a ‘check and balance’ against threats, foreign and domestic. In other words, in the past, I didn’t put much stock in the original justification for 501c3 tax exemption (which did not, at the time, entail ‘muzzling’), but now I see that a vibrant community of thinkers and communicators is very much in our national interest. Not only is there no shame in having tax exempt organizations, but having them represents a commitment to having and maintaining an ideological ‘bulwark.’ **
So, amazingly, I find myself considering making my non-profit tax exempt! After all, it is far more likely that a Christian apologetics organization is going to try to tackle Islamic ideology in a manner that counts (ie, on the basis of whether or not it is TRUE) than secular ones.
But it runs much deeper then this.
We should return to the original intent and meaning of the Constitution. When it said, “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” we should take that as meaning what it means, and stop trying to hollow out exceptions through judicial fiat. Yes, that might mean an occasional school district allows Young Earth Creationist materials to have a hearing (GASP!), or it might mean that a big company could refuse to pay for drugs they fear could be abortifacients (THE HORROR), or it could even mean putting up with honest to God hate speech. Besides being more accepting of true ‘free exercise’ of one’s beliefs, we should be encouraging it, and certainly not shaming it.
The problem, of course, is that this is anathema to secularists. If there was truly an open marketplace of ideas, secular humanism probably wouldn’t last long. But then, a closed marketplace doesn’t seem to be boding well for secular humanism, either… except, instead of seeing a society filled with more Christians and operated more on Christian principles, it will be filled with more Muslims, operated on more Muslim principles.
And many of those Muslims will be Islamicists. Increasingly so, as time goes on.
The secularist is going to have to pick their poison, I guess.
For the rest of us, we should bend over backwards to re-assert our rights, while we can. If we can.
Although, to be honest, I believe we have come very close to reaching the point of no return.
* I’m not talking about people being offended and merely saying so. If I say something and another person responds by saying that they are offended, I should, on my logic, be prepared to put up with that person’s own expression of free speech. But that is not what is happening. The ‘offended’ people also do everything in their power to use institutionalize their sense of ‘being offended.’ They bring the force of law to bear on the people they deem ‘bigots.’ Here again, we see something that will only work in a society lately infused with the Christian worldview. Christians will go along with such treatment… Islamicists will happily exploit the precedent and use the law in the same way the secularists do. With one critical difference: if you confront the Christian ‘bigot’ by insulting Jesus, you’ll be able to sleep in peace that night. If you confront the Muslim ‘bigot’ by insulting Mohamed… prepare to die. Welcome to the real world.
** Obviously, I always felt that free and fiery discourse was necessary and important, but previously didn’t see a ‘government interest’ in furthering it. However, my earlier position isn’t too far out of line with the current position, because I’ve always felt that the government should just stay out of such things altogether. This would have the same effect as tax exemption, if only because most of our taxation apparatus would be dissolved. But, while the government is so engaged, then cultivating robust speech through tax exemption conceivably has, in my mind, a more clear ‘public interest’ basis than I allowed before.