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Heads We Win, Tails You Lose…

John on February 4, 2006 at 10:31 am

Yesterday I wrote about the cartoon wars saying that when it comes to this rumble of creeps, “A pox on both their houses!” Many commentators, including Christians I respect like Michelle Malkin, seem to have jumped on the “it’s about free speech” band wagon without first looking to see who is driving.

Today things look a lot clearer. I had not read it yesterday, but as it turns out Victor Davis Hanson’s latest excellent piece makes clear who the sides are in this cartoon conflict:

Now the Islamic world is organizing boycotts of Denmark because one of its newspapers chose to run a cartoon supposedly lampooning the prophet Mohammed. We are supposed to forget that it is de rigueur in raucous Scandinavian popular culture to attack Christianity with impunity. Much less are we to remember that Hamas terrorists occupied and desecrated the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in a globally televised charade.

I also note today that National Review’s atheist gadfly Andrew Stuttaford has a post in the Corner daring Hugh Hewitt to read this piece by Matthew Parris in the London Times. If you have any remaining doubts that this is a war between jihadists and atheists, this should put them to rest. Parris’ piece is an argument for the importance of ridiculing all religion as a means to secularize the world.

That’s the bottom line which I feel many fine pundits are still missing. This isn’t the West vs. Jihadists, it’s European atheists vs. Jihadists. There’s a big difference. Christian bloggers who have jumped on the “free speech” band wagon with only the best intentions, have aligned themselves with European secularists who see this as an important battle in their war against religion.

Michelle Malkin, who I greatly respect, has a video up using the famous line: “First they came for…” Of course I’m revolted by the jihadist idea of free speech and it’s almost worth making a deal with the devil to beat them back. What this misses however is the fact that once the secularists win this round, they’ll be gunning for us in the next. If you doubt it, read Parris’ piece.

That’s my problem with taking sides in The Great Cartoon Conflict. No matter who wins, Christians lose.

Update: Dr. Andrew Jackson at Smart Christian has offered his respectful critique of my position. In the same spirit I would like to respond:

I certainly agree that this is a clash between democracy and totalitarianism. And I sincerely hope the totalitarians lose that conflict.

But as I’ve noted, Victor Davis Hanson, Matthew Harris and (from my earlier piece) Reuters all agree that this is simultaneously a clash between Enlightenment secularists and religion (a particular religion in this case, but that is really beside the point). So I can’t help but hope the secularists lose as well.

Before buying Danish, I think we would be wise to recall that up until five minutes ago, the Danes considered American Christians a group of benighted troglodytes. I don’t suppose that will change once the moment passes.

So while I do not lack the courage to denounce the Jihadists as the beasts they are, I am inclined to let the Danish secularists defend their soulless vision of utopia on their own. If the choice is between abandoning freedom or abandoning faith, I’m inclined to do neither.

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Category: Secularism & Socialism |

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