Sunday, September 03, 2006

Freedom from Hate Ideologies,The Straining of the Melting Pots- a trucker's parallax view

We pick up the action here w/ edited excerpts from a well circulated e-mail concerning a particular Muslim proclamation of faith under what is known as "Sharia Law", and what the Australian government has done to address concerns over this professed Muslim dogma. This e-mail has circulated around the internet and found its way to me. Long harboured views on this topic-not necessarily Sharia Law- but the Muslim faith in America, found some release in answering this e-mail...
All excerpts from the e-mail are in italics. The answer below the italics are my words...

"I wish that the U.S.would get it's act together and make a stand like
Australia apparently has done about the problem of radical Muslims"...

...Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to
get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head
off potential terror attacks. A day after a group of mainstream Muslim
leaders pledged loyalty to Australia and her Queen at a special meeting with
Prime Minister John Howard, he and his Ministers made it clear that
extremists would face a crackdown..

Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some
radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept
that Australia was a secular state, and its laws were made by parliament.
"If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or
a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you"!

...Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not
want to accept local values should "clear off. Basically people who don't
want to be Australians,and who don't want to live by Australian values and
understand them, well then, they can basically clear off,he said.

..."This idea of Australia being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Australians, we have our own
culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle." "This
culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and
victories by millions of men and women who have
sought freedom".......
"We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic,
Chinese, Japanese, Russian,
or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to
become part of our society,
Learn the language!"

"Most Australians believe in God. This is not some
Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men
and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly
documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of
our schools.....
...because God is part of our culture."
"We will accept your beliefs, and will not question
why. All we ask is that
you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us." "If
the Southern Cross offends you, or you don't like "A
Fair Go", then you should seriously consider a move to another part of
this planet. >> > culture, but do not force it on others.....

"This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you
every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you
are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our
Christian beliefs, or our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take
advantage of one other great
Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'....

....Maybe if we circulate this amongst ourselves, American citizens will find
the backbone to start speaking and voting the same truths!!

Interesting points here all

Should any one group, religious, ethnic, racial, whatever- living in one of these open democracies be asked to renounce any particular set of codes or beliefs newly introduced - like Sharia law for example- brought from their respective countries or religions of origin, and pledge allegiance to these new values? A difficult ethical and practical question for a country that espouses and was founded upon the principle of religious toleration and pluralism; but one that gets to the crux of the matter of why essential religious divisions are so much more dangerous to all humanity today than at any time in human history.

Yet, perhaps not ironically, the formative elements that establish these national values @ inception,over time might become the roots of rabid xenophobic exclusion w/ all its narrow biases determining which group values should be subscribed to as the seminal ones required to pledge allegiance in order to be counted among the "belongers.
Just who are the true indigenous peoples of America- and of Australia for that matter-if they were not the original Amer-Indians or the Aborigine peoples- and why is it that their ancient hunting/gathering values have been subsumed and not included in this current collection of so called American or Australian values? This is an opening aside to the issues addressed here, but it ties in an historic way.

All the established democracies, the U.S. and Australia in particular in this case, have gone through their historical earning and learning curves where the disenfranchised, persecuted and economically isolated peoples all over Europe came together under a new banner of a more open society of laws established by either parliaments or congress... but when these peoples first arrived after the original founding stock of Scotch/English/German, they were considered “the other”- a new breed of European, Irish, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese- arriving later than these first settlers claiming original rights to establish these a priori emblematic values. So, by turn, all these second and third wave immigrants went through rites of passage in persecution and exclusion, etc., much the same way as the Muslims endure today...

"So just what we must say and do today to be most effective in ensuring safety and civil society for all"?

The difference today is that instead of nationality or race being the base of xenophobic prejudice,(although these reasons are still very potent ), it's essentially religion... religion is even displacing race as the single most volatile divisive factor . ...... A sharp irony here in that one of the radical departures from Monarchical rule, written into the constitutions of these seminal democracies of the 18'th and 19'th centuries, in America and Australia, (have not read the Australian constitution, so this is assumed), was religious toleration; was the conceptual embracing of tolerant pluralism as a keystone to building a vibrant system of how converging peoples meet in the melting pot, and, through the intercourse of their respective diversities, how they collaboratively thrive.

My question is this : What are the true, intrinsic "American Values”; the true Australian ones? Who decides what these values should be at any given time in the fluid move of trends through history? And just who lies outside these "accepted norms"? Who gets to decide these standards? Do the descendant progeny of the first conquering settlers get to decide? Would they be the Scotch/ English settlers? The great thing about the formation of America, (and Australia too I'd assume), is the great latitude of acceptance they seemed to write into the spirit and letter of their founding charters -the championing of Pluralism and tolerance of the new group, the new language, the new concepts, the new religion.

To bring it into present day America, do the values of the current U.S. president w/ his beliefs that his interests for this nation coincide w/ a provident Christian god who intends to protect this nation, and this nation only, speak for the composite values of some absolute collection of American ideals???
Truth be told, many of the most influential founders of this country, (America), were Deists, Jefferson and Franklin come to mind as standouts. They did not believe in a provident Christian god that heard the prayers of a single nation and answered in kind preferentially toward that nation thereby disadvantaging other nation's not under this god's protective affections.
The issue of the Muslim moving into the heretofore established realms of Scotch English/ German/ French colonies is basically driven by fear and ignorance and the inborn wariness of the "other", in this case “the dark swarthy Moor“. The problem is almost insoluble in that colliding forces seem to be in late stage advance where radical religious fundamentalism, whether it's Christian or Muslim lie opposed in diametric philosophical planes and seem destined for a terrible reckoning, a clash of culture and religion that threatens the entire cohesion of modern society. (read Sam Huntington’s classic essay “The Clash of Civilizations”), of which 9/11 was just an opening salvo.

This question has no easy answer. All religions that claim a provident god w/ “his” vested set of rules speaking for their interests only, juxtaposed as they are across the globe on bloody borders, now pose the gravest threat to humanity other than do asteroids or natural disasters such as global warming . The main ones presently posing this threat are Muslim, Christian, and Hindu... probably in that order.

It seems a reasonable position to contend that any set of beliefs, whether they are religious, political, economic, philosophical... whatever, that actively pursues and encourages gross violence and terrorism as a means to gain their ends must be dealt with in accordance w/ the practical laws of civil society across the world. These laws should be universals though, writ large on the world scale..... Transcendent Kantian Imperatives that are not preferentially tainted by concepts of "National Character" or individual Nation interest.
It seems that if one set of faith based beliefs, and the violent actions these beliefs cause, appears to be the most dangerous to the civil peace of all the rest and itself presently, it is the Muslim faith as beheld by the extremist elements. But by contrasts to other faiths is it so dangerous both at its fundamental base but also by implication at its moderately practiced levels as well. But it is the tinder box now because its core code, carried in the Koran appears unambiguously as a direct antithesis to the Christian faiths, and the concept of Jihad seems to be gaining adherents at one level or another and, by contrast, it is the Christian faith across these various democracies that hold the preponderant military and economic power base in the world today The looming imminent danger is how these 2 faiths seem to be converging disastrously. In other words the danger is not in one or another alone, but how they converge relative to one another.

We might all hope that some deliverance is at hand and that that deliverance comes by some form of scientific or intellectual enlightenment where ideas and the compassionate understanding of history may help all to avoid these colliding forces, and not the hoped for intercession of some provident god choosing one set of notions or beliefs held by a particular faith or nation over another set.
All of humanity needs to stop and reflect together to examine the present values of absolute religions, whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, whatever, in regards to the overall concerns for all humanity or we will all fall back together calamitously invoking both God and Allah and whatever violent Shivas in the fall...


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