A friend pointed out Newt Gingrich’s Sharia Deportation Test to me:


I took the quiz. Result: I was told that Newt Gingrich is going to have me deported. That is kind of ironic, since some of my ancestors lived in what is now known as Minnesota at least 10,000 years before any of Newt’s ancestors set foot in North America.

Regarding the quiz itself, I am trying to find it amusing that the “grader” of the quiz judges that I would perhaps be receptive to the idea of living in a country governed by Shari’a, as I regard the separation of church and state as being critical to the establishment of a just society. Also, Shari’a is undoubtedly not uniform among predominantly Muslim countries, maybe even not so within a Muslim country.  So which body of Shari’a, according to the judge of the quiz, do I supposedly lean towards?

I want to stress that my concern is not with religion as such, only with the fundamentalist versions of it, and that I am no more critical of Islamic fundamentalism than I am of Christian fundamentalism, of which I’ve had a belly full of here in the USA.

What I strenuously object to is the view of many fundamentalists that it is OK and desirable that their brand of laws and morality should be willfully imposed on the whole of a society.  I am not a multiculturalist who abandons judgment. I am not a post-modernist thinker who frequently abandons reason and meaning altogether.  I am as opposed to the fundamentalist Christian view that opposes Roe-v-Wade and “keeps women in their place” as I am to the Islamic fundamentalist view that approves of virtual female slavery and, even in some Muslim countries, female genital mutilation. It can be argued, of course, that the theologies of these religions do not support these fundamentalist views, and that the problem is merely a cultural one. But the fact that these fundamentalist views are supported strongly by adherents to one fundamentalist version of religion or another does make it a question of religion.

I am as opposed to the fundamentalist views that are pandered to by Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich and held by Mike Pence as I was opposed to the fundamentalist views of the late Ayatollah Khomeini.

I am not questioning the religion of peaceful adherents to any religion, even though I have no adherence to any religious doctrine, not even that of Unitarian-Universalism, many of whose adherents, by-the-way,  have an uncritical adherence to the notion of multiculturalism. I am not an upbeat liberal who “views plurality as inherently beneficial and conflict between moral values as invariably energizing.”  [I am not speaking of ethnic and cultural diversity per se, but of the insistence of those groups who try to impose their entire version of what purports to be morality on an entire society.] The only morality that I insist upon is that no one is entitled to murder or torture,  or to advocate either one:  this stricture applies to political leaders and their adherents from non-Muslim countries (the USA and Israel, in particular) as well as to political leaders and their adherents from Muslim countries.

This stricture needs to be observed by those in the West who have too little adherence to any notion of the value and meaning of life, as well as by those in the Muslim world who have an excess of conviction that they know what the meaning of life is.

“If pre-modern cultures were generally less bothered by the meaning of life than Franz Kafka, the same would seem to be true of postmodern ones. In the pragmatist, streetwise climate of advanced postmodern capitalism, with its skepticism of big pictures and grand narratives, its hard-nosed disenchantment with the metaphysical, [the notion of] ‘life’ is one among a whole series of discredited totalities. We are invited to think small rather than big – ironically, at just the point when some of those out to destroy Western civilization are doing exactly the opposite. In the conflict between Western capitalism and radical Islam, a paucity of belief squares up to an excess of it. The West finds itself faced with a full-blooded metaphysical onslaught at just the historical point that it has, so to speak, philosophically disarmed. As far as belief goes, postmodernism prefers to travel light: it has beliefs, to be sure, but it does not have faith.”   —  [From Terry Eagleton’s “The Meaning of Life: a Very Short Introduction” ]

I’m sure that Shari’a is not uniform among the many countries that are predominantly populated by Muslims. And maybe Shari’a is not any more or less just than Western law. Maybe the essential difference is that Shari’a is designed to promote social cohesiveness and regards notions of liberty and diversity as not being as important as we do in the West. We in the West tend to ignore the huge costs to social cohesiveness associated with the individual pursuit of liberty and the liberal commitment to diversity.  We live in a system that during better times promotes harmonious frustration, and during worse times promotes the violence and injustice that we see in the USA today.  I wonder what the billions of young Muslims today think about liberty and diversity.  Surely they must be tempted by these liberal ideas that, in the West, are promulgated without much thought, where the words “options” and “choice” are spoken so smoothly and habitually?

I am too used to living in the liberal West, [have had a bellyful of the neo-liberal West] and for too many years have ignored the darkside of our “enlightened” views. At my advanced age I could not possibly think of living anywhere else regardless of Newt Gingrich’s view on the matter. But I’m grateful that I’m still alive enough to learn a thing or two.


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