I fear Barack Obama lacks the fundamental awareness of how serious the threat of State Islam has become in the world. His only exposure to Islam was in Indonesia: he was never obliged to live under shari’a law. Seen from afar, Islam is a simple, cleanly, abstract religion almost entirely devoid of theology. Seen from within, it is not a whit different than Christianity at its worst, when Europe nearly destroyed itself in internecine religious wars. Islam, as I have said times without number, is more a political system than a religion.
We in the West see the world through the lenses of the Reformation and all that followed. Napoleon imposed secularism on Europe and where he conquered, we in the West reaped the benefits. Our own country, the United States, resolutely opposed the commingling of Church and State, for we had seen religious persecution under the British. We were founded on the principles of Freedom of Religion and therefore became the most religious nation on earth.
Islam makes no such allowances. Islam demands tolerance and special dispensations for itself in the UK and the USA. The French endured the worst of the predations of the Church: their Revolution was a direct repudiation of the Church’s power in the affairs of men and are far less willing to tolerate Islam’s shrill demands.
I am a Liberal Democrat and a Christian: thus I style myself. One of the reasons I rejected the Republican Party was its disgusting tendency to cuddle up to Moral Majorities and factions of intolerance. Yet more than Democrat, I am an American. To be an American is to maintain a healthy distrust of both Church and State.
The whole thing is worth reading. I think Blaise is right to be skeptical. Obama is no idiot, though, and I’d hesitate to view his actions in the short term, or to think that his warm language regarding Islam is anything more than diplomacy, part of a larger, longer political game. Perhaps Obama does represent our last, best hope to smooth things over in the region and across the Islamic world. I remain skeptical, but optimistic.