The more illiberal a religion, the more liberals tend to like it. Western liberals who propose no place for God in the public square can usually be counted on to excuse non-western religions that impose a false and dangerous one upon it.
The explanation for this apparent contradiction goes beyond the childish and self-hating affinity of western liberals for all things non-western. The deeper reason is western liberalism’s attachment to irrationality. Having ruptured a once-harmonious relationship between reason and religion in their own culture, western liberals can’t seem to stop themselves from championing similar ruptures in alien ones.
By different routes of irrationality, western liberals and militant Muslims arrive at the same spot. Western liberals reach it by a distorted “reason” without faith, militant Muslims by a distorted “faith” without reason, with each imbalance producing its own culture of death: abortion and euthanasia in the west, jihad in the east.
An old-style liberal like Oriana Fallaci found it amazing that Enlightenment liberals could defend so enthusiastically the gross illiberal tendencies of militant Muslims and puzzled over how two seemingly different groups could turn up on the same side in debates. But it is not surprising if one considers their shared rejection of reason properly understood and the common enemy that rouses them — a lingering Christianity in the west.
But, says the day-to-day watcher of politics, who cares? What does any of this have to do with Barack Obama’s speech in Turkey earlier in the week? A lot, actually. Behind the speech is the above-mentioned phenomenon; it contained a deep sympathy for Islam that Obama would never extend to traditional Christianity.
As Obama gears up to abolish the conscience rights of Christian pro-lifers at American hospitals, as he uses executive orders to force Christians to finance abortions at home and abroad, as he places Christian opponents of gay marriage in the moral category of racists, he tells Turkey that “America is not and never will be at war with Islam” and accepts the moderation of Muslims without question.
Never mind that self-proclaimed moderate Muslims in Turkey, Sufi-Shia Muslims, have been persecuted by the Turkish government; never mind that Turkish Christians have been persecuted too, banned from opening churches or running seminaries and thrown into jail for insulting “Turkishness” after giving open witness to Jesus Christ.
No, none of this is worrisome to Obama. His enemy is not Islam abroad, but Christianity at home. Indeed, if he treated Muslims the way he treats believing Christians in America, Muslims would call it a holy war.
As far as Obama is concerned, the only religion to be “reformed” — which is to say destroyed — is not the west’s historic adversary but its progenitor. Islam is peaceful, he pronounces, while traditional Christianity is bigoted and dangerous. Islam is a friend to America, while traditional Christians are, as Obama supporter Tom Hanks described Proposition 8 supporters, “un-American.”
Obama has in effect declared to Christians in America: either bring your understanding of Christianity into line with my liberalism or don’t bother entering the public square. You want federal money? Well, then perform abortions, distribute condoms, hire homosexual activists, etc., etc. He would never dare talk to Muslims in those terms. He will give back ancestral swords to freed Muslims from Guantanamo Bay and hand forceps to Christian doctors.
If Muslims had to endure patronizing and lying secularist drivel from him like “Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values,” they would riot. Cowed and secularized Christians just nod and offer him an honorary degree.