Thursday, April 03, 2003

Betrayal, Part 1

I have a big internal rant that's been building for 2 weeks now, and it's trying to find its way out. Unfortunately, I don't feel I'm a good enough writer to be confident it will make its way out the way I want it to.

Here's the gist of it... First a parallel:

One of the many criticisms and unanswered questions in the wake of 9/11 is why didn't (or hasn't) the American Islamic culture rise up and publicly condemn the actions of the fundamentalist militant offshoots of Islam personified in Al Quaeda? Many articles were written portraying Islam as the "Religion of Peace", yet there was no organized, publicized, unified condemnation of the fundamentalists here in America. Many then became confused, and soon suspicious that perhaps the fundamentalists weren't quite as much an offshoot as we thought, and that perhaps their views regarding America, Jews, Christians, women, etc were more mainstream than not.

Another parallel:

For years, Christian fundamentalists have drawn media attention with their misinterpretation of Scripture. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell had a well-publicized rant placing blame on the "degenerate" American society as the cause for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Abortion clinics and physicians are routinely targeted and sometimes attacked in the name of Christ. Bob Jones University recently lifted its ban on interracial dating and its leader has called the Catholic Church a "cult". Yet the more moderate Christians in America have done little publicly to denounce these people and their actions, or to take a stand and clarify that fundamentalist beliefs do not accurately reflect the more widely accepted mainstream Christian views.

In both cases, fundamentalism flourishes because the more level-headed, clearer thinking, open minded did nothing to stop it.

But that's not what's been gnawing at me.

I want to bring up a new kind of fundamentalism that's suddenly thrust itself into the American - and global - mainstream, although the American version is the one I'll comment on. And what I'm feeling is a deep and profound sense of betrayal. I've alluded to it here and in comments on other sites recently, but now I need to get it out in the open.

I'm a liberal, yes. I'm a Democrat, too, though that fact is really immaterial in this context but it becomes important later. I'm a Christian as well, and while that does have a good deal of relevance in my own life not all liberals are Christians and I can't force my religious beliefs on others or expect them to have the same beliefs. However, a lot of my principles in which I live my life I've learned through my relationship with Christ and his teachings. This has allowed me to define my view of the world around me, and how I feel I should relate to others. For a number of years, the liberal philosophy has paralleled my own beliefs and practices.

And for two weeks now (and even longer, although it now has come to a head) I have felt deeply, deeply betrayed. And confused, and frustrated, and unsure of which way to turn politically and socially. I feel the American liberals have betrayed me, betrayed their philosophy, betrayed their principles and betrayed themselves.

Ok, introductions are out of the way. I need time to clear my thoughts and proceed - I'll post more on this tomorrow....

To Be Continued...

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