Thursday, May 11, 2006

Gee whiz, these guys want it every which way but straightforward

A disclaimer: the President of Iran has shown himself, by words and deeds, to be at the very least a nutter.

Yet in his letter on Monday to President Bush, Ahmadinejad couched challenges to Bush's foreign policy in terms of the purportedly common ground shared by their monotheistic faiths, asking Bush to consider the following:
On the pretext of the existence of WMDs, this great tragedy came to engulf both the peoples of the occupied and the occupying country [Iraq]. Later it was revealed that no WMDs existed to begin with. ... You might know that I am a teacher. My students ask me how can theses actions be reconciled with the values outlined at the beginning of this letter and duty to the tradition of Jesus Christ (peace be upon Him), the Messenger of peace and forgiveness.
As much as I hate to admit it, many of the questions raised by Ahmadinejad are not unreasonable -- that said, they should be answerable by not only President Bush and his Administration, but by the Christian right, in general.

Enter religious conservatives (of the American sort).

Ahmadinejad's language is irresistibly close to that used by American liberals, isn't it? Clearly too much of a temptation for Mark Tooley, the Director of the United Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy's (a front group for wealthy Republicans seeking to engineer a takeover of Christianity by political conservatives). In a column published today in the American Prospect, Tooley writes:
The head of the Islamic police state seems to ask Bush What Would Jesus Do, while answering emphatically that it is not what Bush is doing. No doubt the Iranian president would be delighted to know, or perhaps already knows, that many left-wing clerics in the U.S. have already been asking the identical question and drawing the identical conclusion. In fact, Ahmadinejad is late to the game. These U.S. prelates started asking even before the Iraq war.
Far from having a real point about Ahmadinejad's language, or about the logical basis of the moral arguments presented by religious American liberals, his column shows only that he, and people like him, are always willing to use the threat of terrorism and Islamism to bully liberalism.

Two months ago, the IRD was claiming that the threat of Islam in Nigeria made it necessary to support legislation that would ban speech, assembly, the press, and religion in advococy of homosexuality. In other words, if Islamists say so, we Christians have no choice but to sacrifice our principles to their desires.

Today, Tooley claims that by opposing a war of choice, religious American liberals are aligning themselves with Islamists with whom they have essentially nothing in common.

Hey, Tooley! You're being lazy. Which is it? And how about an answer to Andrew Sullivan's question yesterday:
Ahmadinejad is appealing to Bush on the basis of their shared faith in the coming Apocalypse. It seems to me a perfectly good question for journalists to ask the president if he does indeed share Ahmadinejad's belief that God controls all human events, that the world will soon come to an end, and that there seems to be an acceleration of change that suggests this might be coming soon. That's what Bush's pre-millennialist base believes. It's what Ahmadinejad believes. Does the president?
(Image of Ahmadinejad from Reuters)

No comments: