A serious and sensible debate in the Late West
Over the course of the summer, I have had quite a fun time over at Conservative Cabbie's blog. There are many on the American right, some of them acting in good faith, who believe that the Park 51 centre in Manhattan, which contains a place in which to pray, is some sort of 'ground zero' provocation. I don't believe this, and was reminded of the nativist attacks on the Church in the nineteenth century, and anyway, I thought that Americans had the right to believe whatever they pleased on private property with their own money in their own time.
There isn't a wholly orthodox church in the place. The American Heresy, the Nation of Islam, the Scientologists, and the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints spring to mind and, well, have you ever met an American Episopalian? I mean, its vaguely intellectual but copacetic only on Venus.
So, there was I, bumbling along after my long summer break from blogging, when my eye fell upon the doings of the 'Dove World Outreach Center', which is some sort of nest of heresy that wants to burn Korans. It may, of course, be unintentionally doing the Islamic faith some favours if the books in question are translations of the original Arabic, or if they are the sort of thing that's more Ali than Mohammed, as it were. I suspect, however, that their desire to engage in a wholly constitutional activity (pensioners do it here, but only to keep warm) is based on somewhat shakier ground.
They proffer fifteen reasons, most of which might apply equally well to Protestantism. Firstly, they appear to take issue with the unwillingness of non-Niceans to follow the creed; they assert a hotline to heaven, object to the East mediterranean and parthian influences on the other people of the book, point out the Koran was recorded slightly later than the gospels were in relation to their subject, uphold a right to apostasy from anything other than their own faith, and then they charaterise 'Islam' as a weapon. All of it. All 1.5 billion, Ahmaddiya, Sharia, Sunni, Sufi, Ismaili and offshoot parts of it, from Malacca to Morocco and Bradford to Bengal.
They get a 'D' on that one. What I do note is that non-candidate Petraeus, in uniform, has seen fit to stand up and to intervene on the politics of the issue. I'm not keen on this at all, preferring the US Grant type of General who just shuts up and fights. All of this, meanwhile, is accompanied by a Chinese announcement of a series of high speed train lines through Central Asia to Teheran, imminent stagflation in the West, and the collapse of about a fifth of the UK tax system.
What about modern debate in the States doesn't remind you of the fall of the Roman Republic? I'm sad to make my first post back end as typically as this, but, well, the decline of the West is not going to end well.
UPDATE: On the other hand, sensible shady and completely traditional American deal-making might postpone the awful day. The right, largely have refused to back the Pastor, who has backed down, and who says at the time of writing that he has secured from the Park 51 people (maybe it isn't bloviation) an assurance that the 'Ground Zero Mosque' will not go ahead. The imam behind that project has told Larry King that he wouldn't have gone ahead if he'd have known the trouble it would cause. Donald Trump has been making noises about buying the real estate from the developer in whose hands the matter of the Park 51 centre rests, and Hillary Clinton has been presumably exerting a good deal of pressure behind the scenes. The developer has also said that he simply viewed the Cordoba Mosque as an investment opportunity, and would sell 'if the price were right'--because, presumably, that life, death and faith are all very well, but, well, business is business.
Perhaps the chairborne brigade on both sides of the divide won't get their culture war here after all!