These are times that try men’s souls, and it happens occasionally that when tried, some souls reveal that they’re not what they appear to be. Several days ago, I received an email from an FBI special agent, saying that he wanted to speak with me and asking for contact information for Pamela Geller. The agent was looking for us, he told me when he got me on the phone, because he had a duty to notify us that the bureau had picked up word that a Muslim had mentioned our names and was looking for us in order to kill us. And now that jihadi has an unlikely ally, at least in wanting Pamela Geller dead: a putative foe of jihad terror, Theodore Shoebat.
Theodore Shoebat runs the website Shoebat.com, which many take as a reliable source for news of jihad activity that the mainstream media does not deign to report. Shoebat.com, however, has a reputation for sensationalistic unreliability: to take one notorious example, it posted a photo of a young German woman holding a sign reading, “Will Trade Racists For Rapists.” Amazing! Shocking! Astonishing proof of the suicidal stupidity of the European Left! There was just one catch: the sign was photoshopped. The original read, “Will Trade Racists for Refugees.” Shoebat.com never acknowledged this or retracted its original post.
In this, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Theodore Shoebat is the son of Walid Shoebat, who styles himself an ex-Muslim and reformed jihadist. Walid Shoebat, who certainly has demonstrated a broad knowledge of Islam and the jihad threat, has been challenged repeatedly, most notably on CNN, to substantiate his claims about his past. Several years ago I myself gave him a chance to answer all the charges against his veracity in a video interview; in purporting to do so, Walid Shoebat talked for a long time, said very little of substance, and left the principal charges of his own dishonesty unanswered. In personal exchanges more recently, I was struck by his dishonesty again.
And now this. In a video posted last Thursday, Theodore Shoebat says: “Pamela Geller is worthy of death.” Her crime? Appearing at a “Gays for Trump” event along with gay activist Milo Yiannopoulos at the Republican National Convention in July. For that, says the learned Shoebat the younger, “In Biblical law, in the government of Christendom, she is worthy of death.”
Is that so? Yes, says Theodore, because Romans 1:32 speaks of those who “having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death, and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.” Pamela Geller is not homosexual, you see, but by appearing at the event, she gave “consent” to those who are, and thus she also is “worthy of death.”
Theodore Shoebat doesn’t mention that this passage refers not only to men who “have burned in their lusts one towards another,” but also to those who are guilty of “iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness,” and are “full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity, whisperers,” as well as “detractors, hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,” and those who are “foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, without mercy” (Romans 1:26-31). All of these people are, in the Apostle Paul’s view, “worthy of death.”
Why, then, do we not see Christians (or at least Christians outside of hysterical Hollywood fantasies) committing mass murder, bent on killing everyone who is envious, haughty, and disobedient to his parents? Because Paul’s saying that these people are “worthy of death” is not a call for mass executions and a reign of terror, but part of his argument that all people have sinned and are in need of the divine mercy.
In today’s overheated and jihad-preoccupied environment, however, Theodore Shoebat’s charge that Pamela Geller is worthy of death is not theological musing, but arguable incitement to murder. If his father was indeed a jihadi, Theodore’s words demonstrate that old habits and mindsets die hard, and aren’t always effaced by a change of creed: Theodore Shoebat, like his father in his jihadi days, apparently wants to see those who challenge his religious ideas dead, and thinks he is being righteous in calling for the deaths of those whom he hates.
In contrast, I oppose jihad terror and Islamic supremacism not because I want to substitute Christian supremacism for it, but because I believe in the extraordinary wisdom of the Founding Fathers in mandating that Congress shall not establish a state religion for the United States of America. In a society in which people will inevitably differ on fundamental questions, the idea that we must put up with one another and live peacefully despite our disagreements is our only alternative to a society in which the adherents of one religion (or secular belief-system) attempt to gain and enforce hegemony over their fellow citizens of other beliefs and creeds.
I don’t believe in Islam and don’t wish to live under a government that forces me to conform to its sensibilities; nor do I wish to live under a Christian government that forces non-Christians to conform to its sensibilities. This is not by any means to equate Islam with Christianity, or to engage in any moral equivalence between the two; Islam’s doctrines of warfare against and subjugation of unbelievers are without parallel in authentic or traditional Christianity. But that is not the Christianity of Theodore Shoebat.
Theodore Shoebat has substituted one tyranny for another. He represents what free people who wish to live in a free society must resist.