I Tolerate, but Don’t Endorse Lameness

Yesterday, for the first time ever, a prayer was offered in the Texas Senate by a Muslim cleric.

Yesterday, a republican Senator named Dan Patrick was as much of a hypocritical jerk as he possibly could have been with regards to that historic occurrence.

He pointedly and publically boycotted the event, handed out a two-year old Dallas Morning News editorial which vaguely outlined something “troubling” about the cleric in question and THEN, in a stunning moment of massengillosity, he utilized personal privilege in order to end the Senate session by spouting bullshit about tolerance while smugly, condescendingly reminding us all that we are lucky to be here in Amreeka, where we’re free. Gosh, Massa we sho is lucky to be here wit you! (Thanks for the tip, Margin Fades) Carrie ponders tolerance.JPG

Witness the awesome tolerance below (all quotes from the Houston Chronicle unless otherwise indicated):

“I think that it’s important that we are tolerant as a people of all faiths, but that doesn’t mean we have to endorse all faiths, and that was my decision,” (Patrick) said later.

Either you believe in it or you don’t, make up your damned mind. Wtf does this even mean?

I surely believe that everyone should have the right to speak, but I didn’t want my attendance on the floor to appear that I was endorsing that.”

While it’s true that other Senators missed Imam Yusuf Kavakci’s invocation (which was in English, btw), Patrick was the only one who tried to educate his fellow legislators about the nefarious, dangerous nature of the Turkish cleric and his poopy views:

But he was the only senator known to have passed out to other senators copies of a two-year-old newspaper editorial criticizing Kavakci for publicly praising two radical Islamists.

I couldn’t find the editorial via the Dallas Morning News website, so I’m borrowing the following from LGF, since they had a post which featured the text:

The mosque’s imam, Dr. Yusuf Kavakci, has publicly praised two of the world’s foremost radical Islamists, Yusuf Qaradawi and Hasan al-Turabi, as exemplary leaders. Dr. Kavakci also sits on the board of the Saudi-backed Islamic Society of North America, described in congressional testimony as a major conduit of Wahhabist teaching. Yet Dr. Kavakci tells The Dallas Morning News he rejects Wahhabist teaching. Something doesn’t add up. [LGF]

When I googled the Islamic Society of North America, I found this:

The ISNA was one of a number of Muslim groups investigated by US law enforcement for possible terrorist connections. Its tax records were requested in December 2003 by the Senate Finance Committee. However, the committee’s investigation concluded in November 2005 with no action taken. Committee chairman Charles Grassley said, “We did not find anything alarming enough that required additional follow-up beyond what law enforcement is already doing.” [wiki]

Back to the Houston Chronicle’s coverage of the Senator who believes in concepts which he can’t, as a good Christian, endorse (p.s. I’ve never been more relieved to be a bad Christian):

Patrick’s political ally, Harris County Republican Chairman Jared Woodfill, had sharply criticized the fact that the Muslim prayer was scheduled during the week before Easter.

What if it were TWO weeks before Easter? This reminds me of the Sex and The City episode I saw last night, when the girls were at Vera Wang for final bridesmaids’ dress fittings and Charlotte advised a confused, conflicted Carrie, “Don’t tell Aidan you’re a cheating whore now, do it after my wedding, this is MY WEEK”, to which Miranda brilliantly replied, “you get a DAY. Not a week. A day.” Exactly.

The timing was coincidental, said Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, who sponsored the cleric’s appearance at the Capitol on the Texas Muslims Legislative Day.
Shapiro is Jewish, and this also is Passover, a major Jewish holiday.
Shapiro praised Kavakci’s “extensive interfaith experience” and said he represents a “substantial constituency of Texans who deserve to be represented.”

Right. So if the good Jewish Senator doesn’t have a problem with the Imam, why should Patrick? Especially when…

She said she checked out his reputation with the Anti-Defamation League and other groups to “make sure he was not somebody I would be embarrassed by.”
Shapiro said she never leaves the floor when Christian ministers deliver an invocation “in Jesus’ name” and doesn’t consider her presence an endorsement of Christianity.
“I have a great respect for Christianity. I have a great respect for anyone who comes and prays. That’s what this country was based on, its freedom of religion,” she said.

No, this country was based on whining:

In a personal privilege speech at the end of the Senate session, Patrick called the Muslim invocation an “extraordinary moment,” coming during Passover and before Easter.
“In many parts of the world, I know that Jews or Christians would not be given that same right, that same freedom,” he said.
The imam that was here today, he was fortunate to be in this great country.”

Way to make Team Jesus look TERRIBLE, asshat. Tolerance, my rondure.

164 thoughts on “I Tolerate, but Don’t Endorse Lameness

  1. Speedy -

    Buddhism doesn’t make truth claims. It offers arguments for its propositions and, in any case, all of the arguments are secondary to experiential knowledge. I’m not sure you can characterize it as a method for arriving at the “truth” either.

    As for the truth of Christianity – part of the claim is that it is the only true path. The consequence of this statement is that all other paths are false. If all other paths are false, why go through the pretence of respecting false paths? Those who want to pray can pray but others should by no means be expected to do so. I don’t see the golden rule doing much here. In fact it feels like interference. We’ve managed to work out a decent amount of civic tolerance which is relatively pretence-free and therefore better than these sentimental notions of religious tolerance.

  2. For those who are outraged over the exclusivist claims of Christians, they would do well to remember all other mainstream religions make exclusivst claims, some even more narrower than christianity. Even an ”inclusive” religion like traditional hinduism, salvation or nirvana is for those who have attained the highest state in human existance .ie. that of a brahmin, therefore only ‘brahmins’ are eligible to join the great being in the sky…Islam claims that only Allah is God and Mohammed is his messenger in the shahada, Buddhism claims that it’s 8 fold path is the only way to enlightenment…Of course it is easily possible to quote verses and contradictory verses from the appropriate scriptures to claim exclusivity or inclusiveness,but the broad logic of the belief systems is as above…

  3. Yes, for those of you born as ”shudras”, nirvana is a long way away till you are lucky enough to be born as a ”brahmin;;

  4. aggie,

    exclusivism certainly isn’t the domain of the abrahamic religions. However Hinduism really can’t be compared to them, on this point, as Hinduism is more of a blanket term, attempting to unify thousands of different beliefs and practices (religion as ritual) under one convenient term.

    Most people who call themselves Hindu can neither read Sanskrit nor know much about Vedic texts (excepting the interesting mythological stories from the Upanishads, etc.) so there is no equivalent dogma, like there is in the abrahamic faiths, for the hundreds of millions to follow above all other rules.

    The oral history/mythology passed down through families, and the localized knowledge (Think Tirukkural seems to trump the laws of Manu

    the vile system of caste is strong, in part, due to the tendency of so called “hindus” to continue the practices of their fathers/mothers with relation to how they view society–on this point you could surely argue that various Hindu practices, borne largely from the construction of tradition and not doctrine, have contributed to more human misery than all the blatantly exclusivist doctrine found the abrahamic faiths.

  5. Yes, for those of you born as ”shudras”, nirvana is a long way away till you are lucky enough to be born as a ”brahmin;;

    That is absolute nonsense. The Buddha himself wasn’t a brahmin. 46/63 of the Tamil Nayanars were so-called Shudras.

  6. If all other paths are false, why go through the pretence of respecting false paths?

    You’re assuming that people are forcing themselves to go through with it, and that the very high levels of openness among American Christians is based on political correctness rather than conviction. In other words, you’re essentializing them based on a textual understanding of Christianity; perhaps you think they logically can’t be Christians then. I don’t know. In general though, I have no problem with people walking out of services.

  7. In other words, you’re essentializing them based on a textual understanding of Christianity; perhaps you think they logically can’t be Christians then. I don’t know. In general though, I have no problem with people walking out of services.

    There’s a point in what you say but it should apply both ways and thus cancel itself out. This leaves us with your last sentence that there’s nothing wrong with people walking out of services. But then I’m sure you’d agree that instead of creating the space for such rudeness, it may be much more fruitful to just leave religions be in their own space.

    The other thing I find baffling is why the self-styled tolerant folk think there’s nothing wrong in their belief that all people must acknowledge the nonsense of all religions. This is unfair to the believers, some of whom are very sincere (and not at all obnoxious) in their belief that their path is the only true path. As I said earlier, I much prefer this attitude than that of the muddle-headed liberal losers who stand for absolutely nothing.

  8. re: creationism, here is a start. paul bloom has talked about this too.

    Thanks. I am reading Atran’s In Gods We Trust right now, but its slow going. Its a different way of thinking about religion, that I am finding hard to get used to.

  9. “Yes, for those of you born as ”shudras”, nirvana is a long way away till you are lucky enough to be born as a ”brahmin” (#153)

    “That is absolute nonsense. The Buddha himself wasn’t a brahmin. 46/63 of the Tamil Nayanars were so-called Shudras.” (#155)

    Is it possible that these exceptions prove the rule stated in comment #153?

  10. Hoi Polloi,

    What are trying to say? That only those who belong to a certain class can attain nirvana? So then you do believe that there is some such restricted destination such as nirvana? Or that nirvana can be attained by anyone irrespective of the circumstances of birth?

    In case you don’t believe in nirvana at all does it matter who can who can’t? All that matters to you is what folks like Buddha or the 46/53 preached.

  11. Hoi Polloi:

    Is it possible that these exceptions prove the rule stated in comment #153?

    46 (actually 47) is not exceptional mate. It’s the great majority. Fisherman, hunters, so called pariahs, all having attained siva jnana (the highest state in Shaivism)- along with brahmins and kings. They are depcited in reliefs in Shaiva temples in South India. The vaishnava traditions are similarly broken down, if you care. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna explicitly states that vaishyas, sudras, and those born of papah yoni (impure wombs) attain him if they come forward with devotion. He did not include mensheviks or lemurs; perhaps another avatar will be kind enough to be so inclusive (out of spirtual generosity, not political correctness). Buddhism also has everyone from so-called outcastes to kings attaining nirvana.

    Cheers

  12. Posts like 152, 153 and 159 implicitly assume that Hinduism is defined purely by priests and not by the laity. Why is this a given?

  13. Why is this a given?

    Because the Hinduism that is discussed is simplistically treated as a religion – which it is not. The misundertanding runs deep. That’s why.

  14. “Razib – that argues more against your position than for it, no? That is there are a few exceptions, but the Catholic position is that by and large you have to be a Catholic to be saved.”

    Razib is right when he quoted the Catholic Encyclopedia..(Not that i get along with him, we’ve had our arguments) but on this one he’s right. One cannot change quotes from the Bible (this is in context to people who google on and quote something from a scripture and pretend they know ALL)… whats important is what the church teaches and practices…. and it teaches that just because you are Christian it does not give you a passport to salvation….and that if a person is kind, honest, compassionate and bla bla bla, he/she too is as eligible to salvation as anyone else from any other faith….

    So to those who smugly remark “Dont confuse the current western tolerance as christian tolerance..”..well, it indeed is Christian tolerance.