Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Moral Rot?

A commentary in the Los Angeles Times today by Rebecca Hagelin, vice president of the Heritage Foundation, called "Down the Sewer to Abu Ghraib" claims that the reason for the abuse carried out by the soldiers in the photographs is the inevitable result of a culture that has turned from God and is suffering "moral rot."

Hagelin fails to mention, however, that those particular soldiers are from the Bible Belt, and almost certainly were raised in some "bible-believing" fundamentalist Christian sect (e.g., Southern Baptists and "non-denominational" groups). Reports are now coming out that prisoners complain of being forced to curse Islam and praise Jesus. This behavior is more likely to be a result of religious extremism, not modern secularism. These errant soldiers likely believe, as Bush does, that we are fighting "evildoers" and are therefore justified in treating them as less than human.

So it is not atheism and secularism that is to blame here, but misguided religion. The real issue is profound and depressing. These "Christians" have forgotten that true religion is hard and challenges one to become a better person, to love one's enemies and seek to find the image of God in every human being. False religion is easy, confirms existing prejudices, and indulges hate and anger. Our President's faith smacks of the latter, not the former. True religion asks "are we on God's side?" False religion simply claims that God is on ours. The gate is wide and the way is easy, that leadeth to perdition. Islamic extremists make the same error, and are condemned by the true faithful in their religion who see Islam as true surrender to the will of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate, not the justification for murder.


Raised By Republicans said...

Great commentary on the commentary. You should write a letter to the editor of the LA Times saying the same thing?

Dr. Strangelove said...

I think your comments are right on the money, and a letter to the Times would be a good idea. You might also point out that this woman's commentary tacitly asserts that these were isolated acts perptrated by a few crazed soldiers, rather than admitting the very real prossibility that these were part of a larger program of interrogation. It's also remarkable that she tries to equate these heinous crimes to the consensual sex that teenagers see portrayed on TV. I suspect most qualified psychologists would say that the abuses of Abu Ghraib far more likely stem from sexual repression than from sexual freedom!

Bell Curve said...

By the way, just to air out a little pet peeve of mine -- the Muslim God and the Christian God are THE SAME GOD! The Koran talks about Allah as the God worshipped by Abraham, Moses and Jesus. I know we can't close the cultural gap all at once, so maybe we could just start with this little fact. Okay? Look it up, if you'd like.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Whether the Christian God and the Muslim God are the same is a theological question of no possible determination. The Muslims believe it is the same God, for sure, for although they deny the Trinity or the divinity of Christ, they do believe that he was a prophet. Christians understand that the Muslims think so, but they themselves not so sure, as Christians don't recognize the Mohammed's revelations as being from God at all. It's more fair to say that both Christians and Muslims make claims about the Jewish god that Jews don't accept.

Raised By Republicans said...

What about Pat Robertson? Hasn't he made numerous public statements to the effect that Islam is a form of Satanism?