The perversity of moral equivalency.
During a recent presentation made by this writer at a meeting attended by religious leaders and held in a Universalist Unitarian Church in New Jersey, the minister/host, in response to hearing the results of a survey addressing the rise of extremist Islamism in the Middle East and elsewhere exclaimed, “There are extremist Jews and Christians too, and since we don’t have a Muslim present, you should refrain from speaking negatively about Muslims.”
The focus of the presentation was the Shia-Sunni conflict in the Middle East and the rise to dominance of Islamism in the Arab world. My colleague, Dr. Mikhail, a native Egyptian, related his personal experiences living as a Christian in Egypt. He described the teaching of hate against non-Muslims, and the resultant killings and raping rampages against Christians in Egypt by Muslims. (In the most recent elections held in Egypt, since the fall of the Mubarak regime, the Salafist “Nour” party, members of which are extremist Islamists won 27.8% of the seats in the Egyptian Parliament and the more “moderate”Muslim Brotherhood won 37.5% of the vote.
“Progressive” thinking members of the clergy seem to have their minds made up and cannot and will not allow facts to alter their beliefs. And, while our presentation focused on reported, factual events in the Middle East, these facts seemed irrelevant to our “progressive” Unitarian Minister host. While it is true that there are extremist Christians and Jews, not since the dawn of the 21st century has one heard cries from either Christians or Jews advocating the killing of an infidel Muslim as we have seen when a Muslim cries out “Allahu Akbar” while stabbing or shooting a Jew or a Christian. There have been no reported killings of Muslims in the name of Jesus or Moses…
The exercising of moral equivalency by the “Progressive Left” negates the teachings of all monotheistic faiths. If one cannot distinguish between right and wrong, one invites chaos and confusion into society. Moreover, our legal system will collapse under such a practice. A murderer’s guilt will become “relative” not complete, and under such relativist conditions, it would be impossible to convict anyone, without having extenuating circumstances.
What holds true for individual offenders applies to communities of faiths as well. In today’s Europe (most recently exhibited in Toulouse), as in Gaza and Cairo, Islamist incitement to murder infidels is excused by European elites who react to such heinous acts with moral relativism and political correctness. Relativism and political correctness found in academia, media, churches, or government, regard the probing into aberrant Islamist behavior as Islamophobia or racism.
Similar complaints as that made by the Unitarian minister, regarding the call to restraint in the absence of Muslim representatives, reveals an endemic hypocrisy that exists not just in this particular church, but in the United Methodist and the Presbyterian USA churches, where anti-Israel and at times anti-Semitic resolutions are being discussed without consideration of the Jewish/Israeli point of view or, not including input from one of the parties – the Jewish/Israeli party as part of the discussion.
At the upcoming United Methodist Church (UMC) General Conference taking place this April 2012, and the Presbyterian Church USA General Assembly to be held in July 2012, leaders will be calling for divestment from companies doing business with Israel, and statements will be made labeling Israel “an Apartheid State” and equating Israel with South Africa.
The church leaders pushing these anti-Israel resolutions believe they are doing so in the name of “justice for the Palestinians.” They refuse, however, to consider the anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic nature of the Arab-Muslim Palestinian leadership, and its refusal to recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish State and to live in true peace and security. All the buzz words: occupation, right of return and settlements, obfuscate the real issue – that of Islamic intolerance towards any non-Muslim/non-Arab sovereign entities in the Middle East. Had the Arab-Palestinians wished to live in peace and security with the Jews and recognize the Jewish historical rights in their ancestral home, an Arab-Palestinian State would have been established in 1937 under the Peel Commission or in 1947, under the UN Partition Plan. Had the Arabs accepted the division of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, there would have been no issues such as occupation, settlements, or refugees. Lest we forget – there were 850,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries - a number far greater than the oft-quoted “Palestinian-Arab refugees.” While Israel absorbed and re-settled the Jewish refugees at great cost when the nascent state had barely recovered a five-pronged attempt by Arab armies to obliterate it, the Arab countries turned their backs on their people and have perpetuated the homelessness of Palestinian refugees.
The unfettered malice towards the Jewish State, and the outrageous comparison to Apartheid South Africa, is strangely absent when one notes the violence and persecution of non-Muslims in the Middle East and beyond, by both Muslim states and by the Palestinians in Gaza and Ramallah. Although not all Muslims are terrorists, most terrorists in the 21st Century have been Muslims, who have killed in name of Allah.
Taking issue with the Clinton administration for pressuring Israel and not the Arabs, U.S. Representative and Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich (R-GA) had this to say on April 9, 1997, “There is extraordinary danger in treating terror and democracy equivalently. There is extraordinary danger in placing the burden on friends, because you are scared to tell the enemy the truth.”
Jeane Kirkpatrick, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. during the Reagan Administration and author of the book “The Myth of Moral Equivalency” pointed out the following: “Marxism incorporates, at the verbal level and the intellectual level, the values of liberal democracy in its assault on liberal democracy, and this is precisely why it entraps so many Western intellectuals who are themselves serious liberal democrats. Thus the slightest restriction on, let’s say, the presumption of innocence of the accused is said to demonstrate the absence of the rule of law. The slightest failure of an electoral system demonstrates contempt for political equality. Any use of force in international affairs establishes the lawless character of the society. Now, it is a short step from having demonstrated that a country like the U.S. is not law-abiding society to demonstrating that it is lost and that it is like any other lawless society (morally equivalent-JP). The Soviets can always claim ‘We are no worse than you. Even if we are a lawless society, you too are a lawless society, we are no worse than you.’ This is the logic of the doctrine of moral equivalence.”
What is true in reference to America in its confrontation with the Soviets as described by Jeane Kirkpatrick is also true about Israel in its struggle with the Palestinian Arabs, and it is just as true in distinguishing the Judeo-Christian values from that of Islamism.
It is unfortunate therefore that the mainline Protestant churches and the Unitarian churches in particular have adopted the Marxist notion of moral equivalency while abandoning the truth of a universal right and wrong as enshrined in the holy books of Jews and Christians and manifested in the Judeo-Christian ethos.
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