The World Could Bring About An End To Islamic Terrorism With A Single Idea
Ask any conservative to list off the things they dislike about President Barack Obama, and buried somewhere in that sack of conspiracy theories, make-believe statistics, and flat-out falsehoods, you’re going to hear them criticize the President for refusing to use the words “Islamic terrorism,” as well as his refusal to acknowledge that the United States is “at war” with Islamic terrorism.
There’s just one problem with that angry claim: we aren’t actually at war with Islamic terrorism, and we don’t want to be, either. Why, you ask? Because saying we’re “at war with Islamic terrorism” does little more than legitimize terrorists, empower them in their crusade against the West, and help bolster their recruitment efforts.
Thanks, but no thanks. Let’s not do any of those things.
Instead, I have a better idea: let’s stop Islamic terrorism the only way the human race can. Not with bullets or bombs. Not through “spreading democracy” or by using the tried-and-failed method of regime-change and nation-building. There’s really only one way to stop Islamic terrorism, and while it requires a long game, it’s inarguably more effective and more lasting than killing our way toward world peace.
What is this magical technique? Well, we can sum it up with a single word. A word that the United States of America was built on. One of the most beautiful words available to us in the English language: secularism.
If Islamic Terrorism Is A Disease, Secularism Is The Cure
To appreciate the power of secularism and to understand how it could be used as a tool overseas, we first need to point our eyes at home and come to appreciate just how useful secularism has been in stopping a different kind of terrorism… terrorism of the Christian variety.
Gather up a large group of America’s right-wing Christian pastors and toss a rock at them. You’ll hit at least a couple of psychotic jerks who openly, nonchalantly preach violence against homosexuals. Pastors and preachers like Kevin Swanson, Robby Gallaty, and Curtis Knapp are prime examples of psychotic bigots preaching hatred and encouraging acts of violence.
The worst such individual is arguably Steven Anderson, who made some of the most vile, despicable statements imaginable shortly after the Orlando nightclub massacre. Anderson labeled homosexuals as “perverts and pedophiles,” cheered the terrorist who killed them, and then called for the government to try, convict, and execute homosexuals for the “crime” of being gay.
Pretty disgusting, right? The saddest part is that those are just a few examples of the radical, intolerant, violent lunatics in the United States who hold positions of authority within Christian circles. It’s difficult to imagine how anyone, let alone a servant of their God, could ever preach such violence and bigotry. Thankfully, the vast majority of American Christian preachers do not condone violence, and even if they’re opposed to LGBT rights, they weren’t giddy when news about Orlando reached them.
There are Muslim imams — probably the same percentage, actually — all around the globe who preach the same sort of nonsense. Most imams are peace-loving preachers of their faith of choice, just as most Christian preachers are, but there are imams who use their mosques as soapboxes for spreading hatred, violence, and war, just as there are Christian ones. So why do Christian followers typically ignore those calls to violence, while some Muslim followers rise to action? Because of secularism. There’s that word again.
Secularism presents society with a fascinating message: you can believe whatever you want, and more importantly, you can believe however you want. Our government is forbidden from demanding anyone go to Church on Sunday, or pay tithes to a place of worship, or carry the Bible. Our laws are based on justice, on basic human morality, as opposed to being biblical in nature. And while some right-wing politicians want to drag America into a Christian theocracy, the rest of us will hopefully make damn sure that never happens, because freedom? Yeah… I think I can safely speak for all you reading this article when I say that’s something we’re hoping to keep around.
The fact that secularism ensures you can believe whatever you want, however you want is what grants me the fundamental right to call those aforementioned violence-preaching Christian leaders ass-clowns, and after doing so, walk down my street with a smile on my face, knowing the police aren’t hunting me down for insulting religious leaders. I don’t need to live in a state of constant fear, worrying I might say the wrong thing to the wrong person. America doesn’t have secret police who prosecute you for not being a Christian, and none of my LGBT friends have ever been thrown from rooftops for the “crime” of loving someone that a book written before the Iron Age forbids them from loving.
Islamic terrorism is born and bred in countries like Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan because those countries don’t have secularism. Quite the opposite, really: they’re theocratic States where religious leaders have more pull than any politician, elected or otherwise. Theocracy breeds intolerance and injustice, and drains the life from any efforts that might grant civil rights to anyone. It’s why women in those countries deal with daily atrocities we in the West can’t really wrap our heads around. It’s why homosexuality is treated as a crime against nature that is punishable by death.
That’s why President Obama refuses to “declare war” on “Islamic Terrorism.” You can’t shoot bullets at an idea. That’s not how physics works. The only way to stop an idea is to present an even better one. That better idea is secularism. So the question shouldn’t be how we fight terrorism, folks. The real question we need to ask is, “how do we spread secularism throughout those regions of the globe?” That is how we win.