Thursday, November 19, 2015

Pernicious nonsense

Hi, there! I'm NOT blogging just now. No, really. I'm almost at 50,000 words in NaNoWriMo and I should be crossing that line today. Plus I want to finish the manuscript so I'm shooting for 70,000 words, but that's my own private insanity that shouldn't trouble anyone else.

However, someone shared this piece by Taylor Marshall with me on Facebook and asked me to comment. So I did. Quickly and off-the-cuff. And then someone else asked me to share those comments here.

So: this is not a blog post. It is quite literally what I just put up on Facebook with the slight alteration of the link placement.  I'm not even changing the font:

I had someone ask what I thought of this piece. My reply: it's pernicious nonsense. I'm not blogging just now because fiction writing is taking up all of my time, but here's a few random observations:
1. There are, according to the UN, 9 million Syrian refugees. Even if every one of them was an observant Muslim bent on imposing Sharia law on America, and even if our nation granted them instant citizenship (two very big "ifs"), there aren't enough of them to create a 51% voting majority. Now, perhaps Marshall is arguing that eventually there will be enough of them to do this (given a few generations and assuming no American assimilation whatsoever). But I'm pretty sure St. Thomas Aquinas wouldn't allow us to neglect charity in the present to avoid, preemptively, a potential future ill.
2. It is arguably true that a greater threat to the common good of our nation (as Catholics understand it) exists right now from militant secularists who are already voting in their own "Sharia law" of sexual license and rampant immorality (and taking steps to punish those who disagree). Yet these, mostly, are our fellow citizens by birth. I do not think St. Thomas Aquinas would advise us to go all Maccabees on reckless secular humanist revolutionaries' hindquarters even though they threaten public morality and virtue way more than a Syrian widow and her children do. It would sort of be against order and whatnot.
3. Marshall falls off the rails with his "homeless person" analogy and his "Good Samaritan = hotel accommodations" analogy. To take the latter first, the Samaritan paid to put the wounded man up in a hotel because the Samaritan was traveling on business and presumably far from home, not because he cravenly feared having a wounded man in his house, which is so blindingly obvious I'm surprised it even has to be said. To go back to the first: I think that it depends on who the "homeless person" is. If you refuse to open your home to a homeless person who happens to be, say, your own son, brother, nephew, cousin etc. who is in dire need and who promises to respect your property and live according to your house rules (and you have no legitimate reason to suppose he won't keep those promises) then you would indeed be sinning against charity if you refused. But how does that relate to the analogy of the refugee? No one is demanding that we turn our homes into *either* homeless shelters OR refugee shelters. Some extraordinary individuals actually do invite the homeless or a refugee to share their homes, and this heroic charity models Christ better than all of our fearful formulations do. But such an act of charity remains the proper discernment of the individual. What the Christian *state* ought to do, in terms of both homeless shelters and refugee populations, is ask itself, "How can I welcome the stranger?" not "How can I make sure that none of my personal tax dollars are going to bums or Muslims?" Alas, we are not a Christian state.

Okay, then! Back to noveling. :)


Kirt Higdon said...

I think the main issue which both you and Marshall are not addressing is the justified, if often exaggerated fear of terrorist attacks. It's not as if this hasn't happened before in US history - note the Chechen refugee terrorist Tsarnaev brothers. The tiny number of Christians to be admitted among the refugees is significant in indicating the bias of the Obama regime's vetting. Also significant is the fact that fear of persecution due to opposition to the Assad regime is a positive factor for admittance. Since most of the opposition to Assad is jihadist of one brand or another, this almost guarantees the admission of anti-American terrorists to the US. And no, they will not be grateful for the favor. It would take only one jihadist terrorist act on the scale of Paris or even a little smaller to cause a backlash against refugees and immigrants in general that would make today's attitudes look like rolling out the welcome mat.
BTW, I speak as someone who aided and in one case sponsored Christian refugees from Iran and Lebanon decades ago and also aided Shia Muslim immigrants from Lebanon, so I have nothing per se against refugees, immigrants or even Muslims.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Erin, the problem with you not blogging in November is that you are the heart, soul, patron saint, and agitator-in-chief of the movement to roll back Black Friday's incursion into Thursday, aka Thanksgiving Day. And the action all happens in November.

So far I've seen TWO petitions on, by employees or spouses of employees of J.C. Penney's and Target. (The former I shop at, the latter I don't). FWIW, I signed both petitions. On the second one, I added the comment, since you're all advertising that "Black Friday begins now" on Nov 1, it should be a minor interruption to let your employees all have Thanksgiving Day off. But you're going to have a coalition of conservative Roman Catholics and militant trade union organizers mass picketing your stores if you don't wise up.

David Sharples said...

A question hardly anyone dares to (face) ask: Is the Sharia Law compatible with freedom of speech and freedom of religion? I believe the answer is a resounding NO.
If that's true, should we be inviting persons into the US who do not share our ideals? Can we really expect someone who believes in Sharia to take an oath required to become an American citizen?

Red Cardigan said...

David, that's the same logic Americans used to use to try to keep Catholic immigrants out of America: "Can any Catholic really be loyal to this country, when they're all loyal to the pope?" etc. I don't buy it.

David Sharples said...

Islam and religion ( Catholic or any other kind of faith ) are not the "same" kind of thing. Islam is not only a religion but also an ideology with its own system of laws. Islam is unique as being the only religion earth that calls it's followers to " convert, subdue or kill"; I know that not every Muslim takes that seriously but some do. I'm not saying we shouldn't allow muslims to come into this country but we need to go into this with both eyes open.

Below is a good video from Franciscan University.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Islam is not only a religion but also an ideology with its own system of laws.

That merely reinforces Erin's point. For centuries, the Bishop of Rome presided over Europe as a kind of super-monarch, albeit quite inconsistently and in various military alliances with kings who were his nominal subordinates.

Further, there have been conquistadors who felt called to "convert, subdue or kill," and we all know that not every Roman Catholic takes that seriously, but even today there are some who would if they could.

There are some things that could be legitimately said about Judaism also... the fact is, any religion can be practiced with worldly militance, in the military fashion. Even Buddhists are capable of rioting against Muslim minorities in Burma, or fighting vicious wars against Hindus in Sri Lanka. But not everyone does so, and in the USA, we don't leave much room for it.

So if you question whether we should be inviting persons into the US who do not share our ideals, but you aren't saying we shouldn't allow muslims to come into this country... then what does it mean to "go into this with both eyes open"?

David Sharples said...

Actually I'm saying is if we are to convert Muslims we'll need to do it here, because.... proselytizing in Islamic countries is punishable by imprisonment or even death by Sharia law, but we may need to start only with those Muslims who are willing to give up Sharia law in favor of the Constitution.

Another problem, or THE main problem is WWMD... namely "what would Mohammed do?"
Understand that Islam considers Mohammed to be the Perfect man, just as Christianity considers Christ to be the Perfect man.
The more one thinks this won't present a problem, the more it will..

Yes Christians did act terribly at times, un Christian like...
Yes Buddists did act terribly at times, quite unlike the Budda.

Yes Moslems did act terribly at times but were they not following the example of Mohammed?
Therein lies a huge difference between Islam and other religions.