I’m not going to say that Salon assistant editor Joanna Rothkopf jumped any toothy aquatic predators with her post this morning at Salon, Anatomy of a 2014 villain: Bill Maher, but I will suggest that the fish is smacking its gums in anticipation, the water skis are waxed, and the boat is revving up its engine.
Don’t get me wrong here. I think it is perfectly acceptable for liberals and progressives to disagree on certain issues. Lasting solutions do not come from a bunch of people nodding along in unison, they come from argument and debate, from conflict, as each side pokes holes in the ideas of the others until something survives the process. We can even disagree about Islam. It is an open question how much of the turmoil in many Islamic majority nations can be attributed to religion versus secular issues such as poor economic prospects, a western super power that insists on sticking its nose, violently more often than not, into the nations attempts at self determination, and multiple other issues that would turn this into even more of a run on sentence than it is already. I personally think anyone who would deny the effects of US intervention and other secular issues and blame Islam as the only problem in the region sound as completely out of touch as Rene Aslan does when he says, “Islam doesn’t promote violence or peace. Islam is just a religion, and like every religion in the world, it depends on what you bring to it. If you’re a violent person, your Islam, your Judaism, your Christianity, your Hinduism, is going to be violent.”
I’m not going to turn this post into an argument indicting Islam or any other religion. You know my feelings on the issue by now; Islam is not the problem, religion is the problem. As much as you want to argue against it, the fundamentalists of any religion are closer to the original doctrine than the majority of moderate believers who have sacrificed a myriad of beliefs in order to live in our 21st century societies. Only time will tell if the current resurgence of fundamentalism is just its final death throes or the beginning of a revolution returning the world to a more original faith. You can question their true intentions all that you want, you can assume they were already violent individuals if it makes you sleep better at night, but you can not deny that whether the act is the bombing of an abortion clinic, the execution of a doctor at a church service, the peppering of a girl with bullets as she rides a bus, the taking of sex slaves, or the decapitation of western journalists, religion is held up as the justification. FGM, the denial of education for women, the denial of driving rights to women, the punishment of rape victims, and the practice of honor killing all lack secular justification, and still exist because of religion.
As we end a year that included horrific school shootings, an apparent open season on young black males for those carrying a badge, a crisis in Russia that is ignored by the vast majority of Americans, the continuation of the War against Women, a political party using a disease that shut down multiple African nations as a scare tactic to gain political capital, a midterm election where a small percentage of the electorate voted a party into power that is against all the issues that same electorate supports in public opinion polls, a “news” channel that continues to straight up lie to their viewers with no consequences, and the actions of ISIS, terrorizing the citizens of territory they take control of , killing Westerners publicly, and luring the United States into yet another air campaign sure to lead to unforeseen consequence, just to name a small smattering of the non-good news of the year, Joanna Rothkopf pens a piece calling a comedian a “villian” for having a view on Islam that dares to place some of the blame for the atrocities committed in the name of Allah at the feet of the religion.
I fell for another shameless Salon clickbait article. Sadly, it seems that the majority of posts there nowadays are of the clickbait variety. I once loved my visits to Salon. Now, someone will have to let me know if Joanna follows through in her attempt to leap a large relative of the stingray. I’ll find someplace else for my progressive viewpoints.