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Reader comment on item: Islam vs. Islamism (article)
in response to reader comment: Interesting point Edward Cline

Submitted by Edward Cline (United States), May 13, 2013 at 20:24

Sara – I'm not certain which point you mean cannot be the case: That Christianity has become more moderate or that it has been divested from acquiring political power. I think the Founders have established the latter point, especially in the Bill of Rights. That prohibition from establishing a state church has served to ameliorate the effects of one sect attempting to impose its doctrine on others. That was a supreme accomplishment of the Constitution; the Founders did not want to replicate here the follies of Britain's state church, nor those of the Continent's Catholic and Protestant state religions. When I say that Christianity has never been "moderated," I have in mind is what the Founders had in mind when deliberating on state/church issues: the Inquisition, the Papal Wars, the Thirty Years' War, the persecution of Jews in Britain, France, and other countries, the persecution of the Huguenots by Catholics in France, and so on. In every instance, the state had the power to employ force against non-conformists.

All those episodes involved proselytizing and expressing a religion's superiority through violence and murder and systematic massacres. Then, of course, we have the example of Nazi Germany's extermination of the Jews with implicit sanction of the Catholic and Lutheran churches. And we shouldn't forget Turkey's genocide of Armenian Christians. And today we see the persecution of Copts in Egypt and the flight of Christians from Syria and Iraq. Finally, Christianity's own record of enforcing conformity to its doctrines before the collapse of the Eastern Roman Empire and the advent of the Dark Ages is nothing to boast of. If Christian conservatives rise to power in this country – and that is a trend I'm watching closely – with the power to enforce its doctrine, the same things can happen. Christianity has never been "moderated"; it has only been legally prohibited from causing mischief and misery. Islam, however, is not constrained by legalities or scruples. It is trunk, root and branch a virulent ideology moved by a desire to conquer.

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