Bud Day was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, but he has a long history of heroism before that. He first went to war at age seventeen (I think), in World War II. He was in that war, and the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. If you have seen him speak, as I have, you would know who Bud Day is and why he is so important — and why we all in the end must depend, for certain tasks important for our survival, on those who are like Bud Day.
Let’s start with his remark: “The Muslims have said either we kneel or they’re going to kill us.” Is this, as one news report self-assuredly says, a “gaffe”? Is it incorrect? What do the texts of Islam teach about how non-Muslims are to be treated under Muslim rule? And we already know that the duty of Jihad is that of removing all obstacles to the spread, and then the universal dominance, of Islam. Does it say to “make them kneel”? Well, not in that precise genuflecting mode, but in essence, of course it does.
For what does it mean to say, as the Qur’an does, that non-Muslims must either be killed or converted or, where they belong to the category of ahl al-kitab, the People of the Book, that is, Christians and Jews, may stay alive, may even continue — in a restricted and insecure manner — to practice their own religions? We know that the status of these Christians and Jews under Islamic law is that of “Protected People.” This bland phrase is used by Muslims entirely unselfconsciously, as if they simply do not realize, or hope that we won’t, that what those Christians and Jews are being “protected from” are Muslims themselves — should those Christians, or should those Jews, not comply with all the “terms” of the “agreement.” And there is no agreement, of course: it’s simply a Muslim diktat. This status as “Protected People” means that they must accept their status as dhimmis. And then that status comes with a whole host of political, economic, and social disabilities, of which the best known is the Jizyah, the payment by non-Muslims to support the Muslims and the Muslim state. Indeed, this was the reason for treating the Zoroastrians of conquered Sassanian Persia, and the Hindus (after tens of millions had been massacred), as “honorary” People of the Book who could stay alive and be treated as dhimmis — and thus continue to supply the Jizyah which the Muslim overlords required.
Along with the Jizyah, there were rules about clothing, including at some point the requirement, imposed first in Baghdad, of a yellow star for Jews and a blue belt for Christians. Why, just a few years ago the Taliban was insisting on orange robes to be worn by Hindus, for, a Taliban spokesman said, “their own safety.” Non-Muslims could not ride horses (a prohibition equivalent to telling someone today he cannot use a car), but only donkeys, and had to dismount if crossing the path of a Muslim. New churches and synagogues could not be built; old ones could not be repaired without the permission of Muslims; church bells were not allowed, and indeed, any symbolism that drew attention to these non-Muslim houses of worship was forbidden. Non-Muslim males could not marry Muslim females; the reverse was not true, for the non-Muslim females were not equal to, but often treated as chattel by, the males in Muslim societies, and so a non-Muslim female was no threat to a social order that always and everywhere required that Muslims be on top.
This is what should be stated by those who wish to defend — or at the very least not to abandon — Bud Day. Is the McCain campaign up to it? So far it has shown no signs of being able to coherently explain, or even to quote, the easily-retrievable Qur’anic passages — a click away — that they should bring to public attention. They should do this for no other reason than to show that they know their Qur’an, and that they intend, if attacked, to bring out more and more such items from Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira. This would show that they intend to perform that most important of tasks for those who would be entrusted with the responsibilities of rule — that is, the ability to usefully instruct those whom one claims to be able to intelligently protect.