Proggy Bullshit Du Jour

Blowhard, Esq. writes:


Because in the wake of Islamic terrorism nothing is more important than fending off Islamophobia, the experts at ThinkProgress would like to remind us that ISIS aren’t really Muslims:

Indeed, even from the viewpoint of a casual observer, ISIS is an abomination to Islam. Explosions tend to capture the media’s attention more than peaceful coexistence, and a minuscule minority of extremist groups claiming to be Islamic have exploited this fact as a way to reinvent Islam as a “violent” religion. But just because you shout God’s name while committing murder doesn’t make your actions righteous. Islam, as millions of Muslims can attest, is a peaceful religion that calls on its followers to choose community over conflict, or, as it says in Surah al-Hujurat of the Qur’an(49:13): “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise [each other]).”

The next time the Phelps clan says something mean about gay people, I’m looking forward to ThinkProgress publishing “Why the WBC Is Not, In Fact, Christian”:

Indeed, even from the viewpoint of a casual observer, the Westboro Baptist Church is an abomination to Christianity. Hateful words tend to capture the media’s attention more than peaceful coexistence, and a minuscule minority of extremist groups claiming to be Christian have exploited this fact as a way to reinvent Christianity as an “intolerant” religion. But just because you shout God’s name while protesting funerals doesn’t make your actions righteous. Christianity, as millions of Christians can attest, is a peaceful religion that calls on its followers to choose community over conflict, or, as it says in the Gospel According to Luke of the New Testament(Luke 6:27-28): “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”

Going to hold my breath waiting for that.

Later in the article they add:

Granted, it’s always a tricky business decrying a religious tradition that is not your own.

As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing wrong with “decrying” a religious tradition. Every major religion has, at some point in its history, committed a horrible action or atrocity for which it deserves blame. But it’s the height of arrogance to tell, as ThinkProgress has done, the people of a faith of which one is not a member that the believers don’t believe what they claim to believe. It’s something progressives do to the religious all the time. During the gay marriage debates, I saw atheist progressives — people who have no skin in the game when it comes to the Bible, possess virtually zero knowledge of Biblical exegesis, who are outright hostile to all religion and Christianity in particular — tell Christians what Leviticus “really” meant.

Hey proggies: the religious get to interpret their religious texts and define their theology however they wish. You don’t get to define their beliefs for them. If ISIS claims that the Koran demands violent jihad, how about we quit the handwringing and take them at their word.

About Blowhard, Esq.

Amateur, dilettante, wannabe.
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35 Responses to Proggy Bullshit Du Jour

  1. Hey proggies: the religious get to interpret their religious texts and define their own theology however they wish. You don’t get to define their beliefs for them. If ISIS claims that the Koran demands violent jihad, how about we quit the handwringing and take them at their word.

    I propose a term for this common phenomenon: “progsplaining”.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Will S. says:

    Why progs are not, in fact, progressive. 😉

    This knee-jerk Islamophilia gets real old. For once, I’d like to see North American progs join the likes of some of their European ilk and call out Muslims on their non-prog views on women, LGBlahblahblahs, etc.

    But I won’t hold my breath.


  3. Pingback: Progsplaining | Patriactionary

  4. Will S. says:

    Progs, of course, do this all the time, not only in religious contexts, but in other matters.

    For example, progs are fond of publishing articles as to why, if conservatives describe themselves as in favour of the family, they should naturally get behind gay marriage, since surely that’s better, from a truly conservative POV, from rutting around outside of wedlock. Or why working class Republicans are voting against their own economic interests – as if (a) economics was all that mattered and/or (b) prog economic policies are automatically decidedly better for working class folks.

    ‘Condescension R us’, they might as well say.

    Liked by 1 person

    • IMO, it’s less about saying that people vote against their own interests (though I agree it happens a lot and is annoying), but I think more about exposing the contradictions within. Such as accepting welfare and living off welfare (many economically challenged people do this in red states) yet still insist on taking welfare away from people. How do we explain this without generalizing the same way people like to generalize leftist thought?


      • Will S. says:

        I suspect if someone who is living off of welfare is voting for a party that wants to cut back welfare, they’re figuring they won’t be targeted by the provisions of the bill, and that they are deserving of collecting it while some others aren’t. Either that, or they’re just plain stupid.

        I don’t deny that there are some apparent contradictions at work of the kind progressives identify, e.g. that out-of-wedlock pregnancies are highest in the states that are more inclined to support social conservatism. But, if one stops to think about it, isn’t that what one might well expect? It doesn’t strike me as any more of a contradiction or ironic than seeing an overweight person drinking a diet soda. Just a matter of distinguishing cause from effect…

        I don’t know that we are engaging in unfair generalizations about progressive thought. For my part, as a Canadian, I tend to distinguish between mainstream left-liberal progressives, and the more uncompromising, hardline leftists; they are basically divided between two different parties here – the former in the Liberals, who currently are in power here, and the latter in the New Democratic Party, who are in third-place, behind the Conservatives. I know things get more confused Stateside, because the likes of both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are in the same party, but a thinking person can well appreciate and comprehend the difference between their two respective visions, surely.


  5. Mupetblast says:

    Progressives are typically hyper-fearful of becoming “problematic allies,” i.e. white people who purport to speak on behalf of others but somehow botch the effort. Not in this case I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. JV says:

    ISIS espouses an extreme and perverted interpretation of Islam. I agree they see themselves as Muslim and should be understood as such, but as the reaction to the Paris attacks have shown, there’s a growing tendency to lump all Muslims, particularly recent immigrants, under one monolithic group. One of the main goals of ISIS is to eliminate the “greyzone” wherein Muslims living in Western countries are basically assimilated. They do this by fomenting distrust of Muslim communities, isolating them and forcing them to make a choice: live in isolation or join the ISIS cause.
    For this reason, I think it’s important to make a distinction between mainstream Muslims and followers of Islam, and ISIS.


    • slumlord says:

      Agree, JV, though I don’t think they follow a perverted form of Islam, more a “fundamentalist” view of it. I agree that the aim of the terror attacks is to polarise, since lots of moderate Muslims need a push towards radicalisation. It needs to be understood that while many moderate Muslims are appalled at what has happenned, they’d still want to remain Muslims rather than Christians or Atheists, and if forced to chose between mild atheism or stricter Islam, quite a few would chose the latter option.


      • JV says:

        I’ll agree on the semantics here, it’s selectively fundamentalist and literalist on some of the more uncompromising and violent passages in the Koran. I think using any religion to justify violence is a perversion of religion itself, but I can agree to disagree on that.


    • “ISIS espouses an extreme and perverted interpretation of Islam.”

      I suppose that’s true, but its an interpretation, according to a vast array of public opinion surveys of Islamic communities across Europe & the Middle East, which is shared by a substantial fraction of Muslim adherents. I don’t know any intelligent people who thinks all Muslims are a threat. But I find it impossible to understand how any reasonable person wouldn’t be concerned about the socio-cultural, political and yes, national security implications, of allowing Muslims to enter one’s country, when perhaps one in eight or thereabouts, adhere to a “Salafist” worldview that does not differ greatly from the ideology of ISIS.

      Liked by 1 person

      • JV says:

        I agree it’s a genuine concern. But banning all Muslims from entering Western countries will only further isolate and radicalize them, even some of those who would not have gone that route had they been allowed to immigrate. There’s no 100% guaranteed solution here. To my mind, harm reduction is the way forward, which includes welcoming immigrants in a prudent fashion.


  7. agnostic says:

    “Perverted interpretation of Islam” — c’mon now.

    Calling it an interpretation of Islam, rather than unqualified Islam, or a camp / branch / strain of Islam, is what these prog obfuscators are doing — saying that ISIS’ religion is not *really* pure original Islam, it’s an adulterated copy of Islam.

    No, their Wahhabi / Salafi brand of Islam is part of Islam. If their religion is a copy of a copy of the original religion, then so is everyone else’s in the Muslim world, 1400 years after its founding.

    And “perverted” makes it sound like the original form was not spread by violent conquest, or that it held views and practices more in line with 21st-century Western norms. Sorry: old-school Islam, old-school anything, was not a happy-clappy kumbayah Mainline Protestant religion. Salafi Islam is only perverted by contemporary Western standards, but that just goes to show how different we are from more or less the whole history of Islam.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JV says:

      Of course it’s an interpretation Islam, cherry-picking passages and taking them literally and adhering strictly to the verbiage. Fundamentalism, basically, and in this case, a violent strain. Any religious text is ripe for interpretation, so I can’t see how you’d objectively label an interpretation as “unqualified.” Nor do I see the veracity or value in lumping mainstream Islam with Isis’ interpretation of it, unless your goal is to stamp all Muslims as undesirable. Which of course is EXACTLY what Isis wants us to do.

      Yeah, Islam was spread through violence, just like Christianity. Unfortunate in both cases. Christianity is mostly through with that strategy, now we have to deal with a strain of Islam that is obviously not.


      • agnostic says:

        Christianity was spread by violence… you really are dumber than you sound, now about another religion.

        Christianity began with Jews in Palestine — who then went on to defeat the Roman Empire under the height of its power, forcing their militarist religion on the poor defeated Romans in the very capital of their dominion.

        From there Christianity was only spread by violent conquest of Ireland, of France, of Spain, and of Germany.

        Even today, new Christians are only gained not by born-again experiences and preaching, but by gunpoint from the Episcopalian militias.

        There are places where it was spread by conquest (the Saxon Wars, the Northern Crusades), but those places began opting out of Christianity way back during the Reformation, and by now are de facto de-Christianized (northern and eastern Germany, the Baltic states).

        Get a clue… a BIG clue.


      • JV says:

        We can quibble about the violent history of Christianity and all the murderous acts committed in its name through the centuries. It was a tangential point anyway. Of course its spread for the past century or so has been through peaceful conversion, your little ironic alternate history was attempting to rebut a point I didn’t make.

        My main point here is that it is foolish and misguided to lump mainstream Islam and Isis’ violent strain as one in the same. That would be dancingt to Isis’ tune and untrue. Also foolish is to think there is one true way to practice a religion, as if religious text isn’t ripe for interpretation.


  8. agnostic says:

    As for whether lumping all Muslims in with the Salafis is good or bad in terms of American or Western nations, the best thing for us is for the Muslims to return to their homelands. They have shallow roots in our nations, they have contributed little or nothing — other than the occasional jihadist spree shooting — and they won’t convert to our religion (Christianity or agnosticism), hence are incapable of assimilating.

    So if we get the best outcome for all involved — Muslims in their place, Westerners in ours — through a process that involves some slightly erroneous simplification of the varieties of Islam, then BFD. It’s a purely intellectual “downside” with no harm done to anyone in real life.

    Simplify away!

    Liked by 1 person

    • agnostic says:

      After the people strengthen our resolve to get the Muslims back to their homelands, one way or another, our leaders can play the more nuanced educational role about drying up the source of Salafi Islam. Here’s Nassim Taleb on the topic:

      The American people, or the French or German or English people, don’t need to understand any of those nuances at all. And they won’t be the ones playing a role in getting rid of the Salafis in Arabia. Our leaders can lend diplomatic, financial, or other support to that project without the general public rallying to the cause.

      So let the people work up enough in-group cohesion to send back the Muslims of any stripe of Islam, then let the leaders support the humanitarian effort to eradicate Salafi Islam in particular so that normal Muslims don’t face such horrors back in their homelands.

      Liked by 1 person

    • JV says:

      I’ll trot out the “I know/work with” many Muslims, all of them horrified at what Isis is doing. Some of their kids go to school with my kids. Should we start with them? No harm done, right?

      Even if some kind of mass deportation effort was a good idea, it ain’t gonna happen. Knowing that, what’s the best course of action? Distrust and marginalization leading to further isolation and increasing the probability of radicalization (that’s a lot of -ations!)? Is that a good idea? Might feel good for awhile, both emotionally and in the sense that we’re doing…something. But in the long run, it’s a terrible idea.


      • agnostic says:

        Under President Trump mass deportation is gonna happen with the Aztecs and the Mayans, just like with Operation Wetback under Eisenhower. Now, can you think of another group that the American people are even more eager to see go back to where they came from, being so incompatible with our norms?

        And we’re only getting started with the Trump administration. Whoever wants to get elected in 2024 is going to have to out-Trump the Trumpmeister. American life is about to get much better, much sooner than we ever believed possible.

        Liked by 1 person

      • JV says:

        Do you actually believe this will happen? President isn’t King. And if you think hostility towards minority communities is a workable strategy for national elections going forward, well, in the immortal words of Judas Priest, you’ve got another thing coming.


      • Kevin O'Keeffe says:

        “…hostility towards minority communities…”

        No one’s talking about deporting citizens of the USA. We’re talking about deporting illegal aliens. Please do try not to conflate illegal aliens with “minority communities.”


      • JV says:

        I understand, but as I’m sure you’re aware of, legal residents with recent history of immigration have ties to people of the same ethnicity who may not be here legally. Like it or not, treatment of illegal immigrants has a ripple effect among those communities of legal residents. So as a campaign strategy, it’s unwise.


  9. Will S. says:

    The question is simply, which group of Muslims is more closely following the teachings of the Koran, the Hadith, etc., and which group is not following the holy writings of Islam as closely.

    Agnostic is right; it’s the fundies who are the most faithfully following their religion’s sacred writings, and the moderates who are not following them as faithfully. Thus, far from being a perversion, the fundies like ISIS are in fact the true believers.

    Read their sacred writings if you don’t believe me, then come back to me and tell me I’m wrong. I’ve read parts of the Koran, I know what I’ve seen.


    • slumlord says:

      No one asks the more fundamental question of: Is Islam, in all of it variants, compatible with the West? Personally, I think the theological and metaphysical underpinnings in all of its variants, are incompatible with the idea of the West.


    • oogenhand says:

      A little complication: the folks that are doing the most against ISIS, like Hezbollah, are hardcore as well. They just believe one should pray three instead of five times a day.

      And most historical Muslims were Malikites, Hanifites and the like. That is, heretic softies on Faith and personal morals from the Salafi POV, but still very willing to go viking on the infidel.


  10. agnostic says:

    Guys, you have to hand it to traitor and sell-out George W. Bush, who was truly a prog-tard ahead of his time. From way back in 2002:

    “Islam is a vibrant faith. Millions of our fellow citizens are Muslim. We respect the faith. We honor its traditions. Our enemy does not. Our enemy don’t follow the great traditions of Islam. They’ve hijacked a great religion. [JFC–agnostic] But it’s important, as we lift that veil, to remember that they are nothing but a bunch of radical terrorists who distort history and the values of Islam.”

    Thank GOD Trump has come to deliver us from another Bush presidency — imagine another one of these treasonous clowns in the White House!


  11. Will S. says:

    Reblogged this on Patriactionary.


  12. Felix Moore says:

    It is tricky trying to steer your way through another legal system or religion.

    So I tend to agree that, “… it’s always a tricky business decrying a religious tradition that is not your own”. But note the associated point: it’s also a dubious ploy to praise another religion as being a religion of peace unless you really know what you’re talking about.

    In the absence of such detailed information, any sensible person would simply look at what the adherents of a faith are doing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Will S. says:

      Exactly – and contrast that against what adherents of other faiths are doing. (Or not having to do, e.g. condemning actions of violence committed by co-religionists.)

      Are there Amish suicide bombers? Have Orthodox Jews flown planes into buildings? Have Baptists been forced to step up to microphones and condemn the actions of fellow Baptists, and declare them in no way representative of Baptists in general? Have Catholics publicly decried a rise in ‘Catholicophobia’ in response to recent atrocities involving self-identified Catholics? Have Mormons been on the defensive recently when interviewed in the media?

      These are rhetorical questions; we all know the answers.

      And we all know damn well to which people such things have been connected.


      • Felix Moore says:

        Yes, another good litmus test is to compare the actual on the ground (or in the air) actions of different religious groups. And there’s simply no competition in the terrorism stakes.

        Another aspect to this. Suppose a Christian kills a doctor who works at an abortion clinic. We know what the reaction would be. Leaders of all Christian denominations would condemn the act. (Who knows what the Westbro Baptists would say, but they’re a minuscule group with no influence.)

        Contrast this with atrocities committed by Muslims. There is an implacable refusal by very many leading Muslim clerics to condemn.

        Liked by 1 person

    • JV says:

      Sure, but the way to look at it if we want to solve this problem is along the lines of, “not every Muslim is a terrorist but almost all terrorists are Muslim.” That way of looking at it acknowledges the internal problem the Islamic world faces while also not writing off the more numerous moderate Muslim population, whom we need as an ally in this fight.


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