We’ve known for a while that Islam is being used by the far right as a stick with which to bash their liberal enemies. Long-time career politician Gary Bauer makes that clear in his newest screed at Human Events, reproduced on the hate site JihadWatch.
Gary Bauer is an associate of firebrand evangelical John Hagee where they both serve together on the board of Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Much has been said about the looniness of CUFI and its wayward spiritual advisor, John Hagee, such as their eagerness to provoke the end times and their support of hardline Israeli policy. The special report from Jews on First about the CUFI conference records numerous strange and arguably dangerous beliefs including from Bauer himself. Needless to say, Bauer’s bias is evident in his latest editorial. He writes:
Few Americans would deny that Judeo-Christian beliefs and values informed the Founding of this country and that they continue to shape much of American life today. Nor would many of us deny that Americans who embrace Islamic values are a distinct minority here.
Implicit in this second sentence is the canard that “Americans who embrace Islamic values” are embracing values opposed to the Founding of this country. This is, of course, the message people like Bauer, his friend Robert Spencer, and the anti-Muslim blogosphere are shouting everyday, explicitly or by innuendo. It flatly denies the historical reality that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are so entwined in their common roots and the process of mutual cultural exchange that serious historians believe we should really speak of an Islamo-Christian civilization.
Nevertheless, Bauer continues:
I raise these two facts because of an emerging reality: that, in a variety of contexts, American Muslims are treated better than American Christians. That might seem like a bizarre assertion, so think about it in another way: What if the Christians were treated like Muslims in America, and Muslims like Christians?
This is the crux of Bauer’s argument: “in a variety of contexts, American Muslims are treated better than American Christians.” He bases this on a litany of liberal crimes; but of course, within the context he selectively constructs (and without the context he chooses to ignore). He says:
If Muslims were treated like Christians, Muslims would be mocked by late night TV talk show hosts and lampooned in crude cartoon parodies. If Christians were treated like Muslims, conspicuous Christianity would be celebrated by our elites as a sign of our diversity and open-mindedness, not disparaged as an embarrassment, a nuisance and a breach of the law.
Of course, it is wrong to mock and deride entire religious or ethnic groups, but to suggest that Muslims have not likewise been disparaged by TV stars, radio hosts, pundits, and politicians is willful ignorance (has Gary Bauer been paying attention to 2010?). What about Bill O Reilly, Bill Maher, South Park, Draw Muhammad Day, Brian Kilmeade, Pat Robertson, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, or numerous others? What about obstruction of mosques? As for crude cartoon parodies, did he read JihadWatch today? He continues:
If Christianity were treated like Islam, our students would be taught a white-washed version of Christian history, with the troubling bits miscast or omitted from textbooks and lesson plans.
By this I assume he is faulting the Texas State Board of Education, and similar institutions, of not including Islamophobic myths into their official curriculum. Bauer and company would like our textbooks to tell us how uniquely violent Islam and Muslims are.
His editorial continues by citing more cherry-picked and anecdotal “evidence” to conclude that the liberal “cultural elites” have sold Christianity up the river all the while Muslims get off the hook. We are left feeling that we should be incensed at those cultural elites who treat Islam better than Christianity. The reader has no more room for sympathy in his heart for those freeloading Muslims who have had it too good for too long. Not a shred of empathy for the challenges faced by his fellow American Muslim citizens. However, Bauer does end his piece with a noteworthy observation:
I’m not in favor of burning the Koran, and I don’t think insulting or defaming symbols of any religion constitutes art. At a time of the year when intolerance for public displays of Christianity is most acute, it is my Christmas wish that Muslims and Christians would be treated equally.
Good to know you are against burning the Quran, Mr. Bauer. That’s a step in the right direction. It is wrong to insult the holy symbols of different religions (a message we have repeated many times here at Loonwatch). As for intolerance of public displays of Christianity, it seems quite a stretch (considering the giant Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Centre, for example), but I do agree that Muslims and Christians should be treated equally. However, that will never happen until the far right (including you and your associates, Mr. Bauer) give up using Islam as a divisive wedge-issue just to score cheap political points. You cannot honestly complain about American Christians being treated worse than American Muslims while you do not give Muslims the same respect you are demanding for your self. Your arguments reek of tribalism and nativist populism.
Mr. Bauer, some day Muslims and Christians in America will be treated equal, but it will be no thanks to you or CUFI.