Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Traditionally Intolerant Are All Alike

I used to get yelled at over in the comments section of Father Jake's old blog every time I compared conservative Christianity to conservative Islam and found them to be similar.  People would be just outraged that I could possibly draw such a comparison.  Well, now that the Christianist fringe is going all violent, maybe the comparison is not that far-fetched.  Both Christianists and Islamists hate Western liberalism.  Both have an obsessive terror of female sexuality.  Both are very freaked at the appearance of feminism, and its fellow movement, gay emancipation, and the direct challenge of both to traditional gender roles and understandings about sexuality.  Both Christianism and Islamism insist upon very exact and legalist interpretations of their faith.  Both believe in an apocalypse that will exterminate all of their enemies, and leave them in sole possession of the world as God's darlings.

Listen to this report from the NPR program "Tell Me More" about a Muslim woman journalist (a close friend of the late Daniel Perle) who had a child while unmarried, and who came back from the Haj to Mecca determined to challenge the traditional segregation of the sexes in mosques, starting with her own congregation in Morgantown, West Virginia (men and women pray together as equals in Mecca before the Kaaba).  The resistance, the bitter feelings, the arguments that she encountered sounded very familiar to this Episcopalian.