Perhaps We Should Just Make It a Box for the NRO
suggests Andy McCarthy’s post today, in which he makes yet another deeply flawed analogy in the case of the Park51 project. From the jump:
Imagine that there really were these fundamentalist Christian terror cells all over the United States, as the Department of Homeland Security imagines.
The number of racist hate groups tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Centre has grown by almost 50 per cent during the Bush administration years, from about 600 in 2000 to almost 900 now. In contrast to the 1990s, when the “angry white man” phenomenon fuelled the militia movement and led to the white-supremacist inspired Oklahoma City bombing, much of this new growth has been triggered by virulent hostility to immigrants pouring in from Mexico.
Now let’s say a group of well-meaning, well-funded Christians — Christians whose full-time job was missionary work — decided that the best way to promote healing would be to pressure the Saudi government to drop its prohibition against permitting non-Muslims into Mecca so that these well-meaning, well-funded Christian missionaries could build a $100 million dollar church and community center a stone’s throw from where the Kaaba used to be — you know, as a bridge-building gesture of interfaith understanding.
This doesn’t hold up; there’s no guaranteed freedom of religion in Mecca, unlike in America, where that guarantee has existed since the country’s inception, and barring McCarthy getting his way, will forever. If you’re going to back the idea (and McCarthy has in the past) that Muslims hate us for our freedoms, it might be a good idea to support those freedoms.
I’ve already covered the idea that it’s a 100 million dollar mosque in the Holmes post, so no need to rehash. But really, the point is while condemning Islam for intolerance, McCarthy suggests that America is somehow the equivalent of Saudi Arabia and that the World Trade Center is to America what Mecca is to Saudi Arabia.
It’s actually not too poor an analogy, at least from McCarthy’s point of view. By this logic, America should be a Christian dictatorship that worships an enormous center of economic activity.
Further, again let’s take what Imam Rauf’s beliefs really are, which seem to be the Islamic equivalent of Unitarian Universalism; I tend to think that if a bunch of Unitarian Universalists actually did persuade Saudi Arabia (remember, a dictatorship that in theory could arrest anyone for speaking out against the view stated views of the monarchy) you wouldn’t hear too much dissent, from, well, anyone and that this would actually be a step in the direction of religious freedom.
McCarthy goes on to ask more questions about his bad analogy disguised as a”thought experiment.” You’re more than welcome to read them on the above link.
The reason I’ve now blogged on this issue twice is that this is a classic conservative communication technique. McCarthy writes something that makes a certain degree of intuitive sense to white Christians–the base of the party, but also a considerable number of the independents. It’s a convenient, easily understood argument that suits the space of a quick talking point or bumper sticker. However, on closer examination, it turns out to be totally bunk.
We’ve heard conservatives decry the stimulus as a bunch of pork barrel spending; instead, they suggest we cut taxes. Well, a tax cut isn’t going to do much for you when you don’t have a job. In fact, it’s quite likely that tax cuts will lead to a loss of jobs in the public sector and a higher federal budget deficit (which conservatives are supposed to hate).
These bumper sticker ideas have, by and large, taken over the intelligentsia of the right side of the aisle, and at this point I don’t know how they can be credibly defended. McCarthy is the author of a book that suggests rabid secularists would team up with religious extremists to take over America; words fail.
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Tags: andy mccarthy, ground zero mosque, national review, nro, park 51