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Yeah, but...

Reader comment on item: [Finding Moderate Muslims:] Do you believe in modernity?

Submitted by Trevor Swoverland (United States), Aug 30, 2006 at 16:08

I wonder if Mr. Pipes is aware just how many American fundamentalist Christians or Orthodox Jews would fail this test if it were reworded for them? For example:

: Should women have equal rights with men (for example, in inheritance shares or court testimony)? Is warfare for religious goals acceptable in today's world? Do you accept the validity of other religions?

Orthodox Judaism does NOT give women equal rights of inheritance or court testimony (women cannot serve as witnesses before a religious court). And it is clear that evangelical Christians do not accept the validity of other religions (i.e., you have to "be saved" or you burn in hell).

Secularism: Should non-Muslims enjoy completely equal civil rights with Muslims? May Muslims convert to other religions? May Muslim women marry non-Muslim men? Do you accept the laws of a majority non-Muslim government and unreservedly pledge allegiance to that government?

In Israel, non-Jews, or even non-orthodox Jews, do not have the same rights as those who buy into the orthodox rabbinate's power. Jews in the diaspora that have converted to another religion are not granted citizenship under the Law of Return. In the U.S., plenty of Christian parents raise their children to marry only Christians. Does any fervent evangelical REALLY "accept the laws of" the United States in totality? Many openly reject the validity of Roe v Wade, etc...

Christian or Jewish pluralism: Are non-Orthodox Jews and liberal Christians practicing legitimate Judaism and Christianity, respectively? Do you see Jews or Christians who disagree with you as having fallen into unbelief? Is condemning fellow Jews or Christians with whom one has disagreements as unbelievers an acceptable practice?

In both Judaism and Christianity in America, this happens every day. Evangelicals fail to acknowledge the legitimacy of non-exclusive Christian denominations, instead seeing them as condemned, as does the Catholic church, and Orthodox Judaism calls Conservative and Reform Judaism heretical. Of course, in all cases those holding these views feel that to do so is not only acceptable, but required.

Self-criticism: Do you accept the legitimacy of scholarly inquiry into the origins of Judaism or Christianity?

Orthodox Judaism, Catholicism, and Evangelical Christianity see such inquiry as assaultive, those who do it as lacking character and faith, and those who believe the scholarly opinions to be weak or out of the fold.

Defense against militant Judaism or Christianity: Would you accept enhanced security measures to fight militant Judaism or Christianity, even if this means extra scrutiny of yourself (for example, at airline security)?

Given that lots of Christians in the U.S. think they are being "persecuted" if someone argues with them about religion, or suggests that they are not critical enough of their own tradition, one could assume that they would fiercely object to being pulled out of lines at airports, or being require to take Christian t-shirts off before going on planes, which has happened to Muslims here... while this item requires some guesswork, I think you get the picture.

Goals in the West Do you accept that Western countries are [among religious people] majority-Christian and SECULAR or do you seek to transform them into majority-Christian countries ruled by New Testament principles?

Does any major evangelical group (Southern Baptist Convention, Assemblies of God, etc...) NOT wish to transform America into an Evangelical Christian majority country? Is this desire to change those of us who are not Christian into Christians to be seen as a threat, or as their legitimate right to religious expression? Shouldn't the same be true for Muslims?

As a non-Orthodox Jew I just think that it is worthwhile to examine this whole test to see whether or not it is being applied to Muslims in a way nobody is talking about applying it to religious fundamentalists of Christian or Jewish persuation that live in this country.


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