Why do Americans increasingly distrust the establishment media? Aside from its rampant and ever-growing record of dishonesty, deceit, and unfairness, there are articles such as this one, featuring such spectacularly poor reasoning that it is astonishing that even The Atlantic let it get through their system. Are The Atlantic’s editors, and its audience as well, such limited thinkers that no one caught how ridiculous this piece is with its leaps of logic, ad hominems, and logical fallacies by the bushel?
Beinart should beware, as he commits himself to the proposition that all opposition to jihad terror and Sharia oppression constitute a desire to restrict Muslims’ religious freedom. Would he, then, agree with attorney Mary Chartier that to prosecute those who mutilate girls’ genitals is restricting Muslims’ religious freedom? That would open the door to a host of other exercises of Muslim religious freedom that Beinart might not find so appealing.
Much more below.
“When Conservatives Oppose ‘Religious Freedom,'” by Peter Beinart, The Atlantic, April 11, 2017:
On March 28, Pamela Geller, co-founder of the group Stop Islamization of America, wrote a column on Breitbart that offered Donald Trump some advice: “Clean house.” Paul “Ryan has got to go. James Comey, too,” she urged. Then she added a more obscure name: “What’s Eric Treene still doing there?”
Treene, the Special Counsel for Religious Discrimination in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, is at first glance an odd Breitbart target. For starters, he’s a conservative evangelical Christian. His denomination, The Presbyterian Church in America, opposes abortion and gay marriage, and ordains only men….
Despite all this, Treene has become a reviled figure on the Trump-era right. His sin: defending the religious freedoms of American Muslims. Treene, declares Geller, serves as an “errand boy” for “Muslim Brotherhood operatives,” by which she means the leaders of America’s major Muslim organizations.
Beinart’s quotations don’t match his claims. Treene isn’t “reviled,” and he isn’t criticized for “defending the religious freedoms of American Muslims.” Note how Beinart repeats Geller’s charges without examining whether they’re true or false; this is a tried-and-true Leftist tactic: present opposing views as if they were self-evidently false, without bothering to refute them. Beinart doesn’t tell his hapless readers that Treene at the Justice Department was repeatedly kowtowing to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), both of which have demonstrable ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Apparently Beinart thinks that if you don’t cozy up to terror-linked Muslim groups, you must want to restrict Muslims’ religious freedom.
And it’s not just Geller. Treene’s work has also come under attack from his fellow Christian conservatives. When the Justice Department filed an amicus brief defending a Muslim prisoner’s right to grow a beard in 2014, Robert Spencer, who the National Catholic Register has called the “foremost Catholic expert on Islam in our country,”accused Treene and his colleagues of believing that “wherever Islamic law and American law conflict, American law must give way.…
Beinart doesn’t bother to mention that the defense argued that “inmate beards could pose a security risk to guards and the public.” Such details would interfere with his “conservatives want to restrict Muslims’ religious freedom” narrative.
An article in the conservative Catholic magazine Crisis slammed Becket’s support for the mosque in Murfreesboro. So did a Tennessee-based Christian group calledProclaiming Justice to the Nations, whose president sits on the President’s Council of the powerful National Religious Broadcasters association. And this March, the NRB came out strongly against Becket’s position, declaring that “Islam” and “sharia” are “absolutely antithetic [sic] to freedom of speech, freedom of religion or freedom of the press.”
This shift in public opinion has left pro-Muslim Christian conservatives vulnerable to populist challenge.
Here again: is what Beinart’s targets saying ipso facto false, as he would have you believe, or are there good reasons for taking these positions?
Legitimate concerns about mosques? No, for Beinart it’s all bigotry. Yet four separate studies since 1999 all found that 80% of U.S. mosques were teaching jihad, Islamic supremacism, and hatred and contempt for Jews and Christians. There are no countervailing studies that challenge these results. In 1998, Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, a Sufi leader, visited 114 mosques in the United States. Then he gave testimony before a State Department Open Forum in January 1999, and asserted that 80% of American mosques taught the “extremist ideology.” Then there was the Center for Religious Freedom’s 2005 study, and the Mapping Sharia Project’s 2008 study. Each independently showed that upwards of 80% of mosques in America were preaching hatred of Jews and Christians and the necessity ultimately to impose Islamic rule.In the summer of 2011 came another study showing that only 19% of mosques in U.S. don’t teach jihad violence and/or Islamic supremacism. Specifically: “A random survey of 100 representative mosques in the U.S. was conducted to measure the correlation between Sharia adherence and dogma calling for violence against non-believers. Of the 100 mosques surveyed, 51% had texts on site rated as severely advocating violence; 30% had texts rated as moderately advocating violence; and 19% had no violent texts at all. Mosques that presented as Sharia adherent were more likely to feature violence-positive texts on site than were their non-Sharia-adherent counterparts. In 84.5% of the mosques, the imam recommended studying violence-positive texts. The leadership at Sharia-adherent mosques was more likely to recommend that a worshiper study violence-positive texts than leadership at non-Sharia-adherent mosques. Fifty-eight percent of the mosques invited guest imams known to promote violent jihad. The leadership of mosques that featured violence-positive literature was more likely to invite guest imams who were known to promote violent jihad than was the leadership of mosques that did not feature violence-positive literature on mosque premises.” That means that around 1,700 mosques in the U.S. are preaching hatred of infidels and justifying violence against them.
Sharia meanwhile, mandates death for one who “mentions something impermissible about Allah, the Prophet, or Islam,” (‘Umdat al-Salik 011.10(5).) Freedom of speech and of the press? Not quite. And as for freedom of religion, yes, Sharia guarantees it, as long as the subjugated non-Muslims “pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29).
Conservative Christians who remain committed to religious freedom for Muslims, and even a Christian-Muslim alliance based on shared conservative views, face a fundamental problem. They have fewer and fewer supporters in the pews. The University of North Carolina’s Charles Kurzman notes that between 2001 and 2010, according to an average of nine polls taken during that period, 29 percent of Republicans expressed negative views of Muslims. If you average the nine polls taken since then, the figure jumps to 58 percent. White evangelicals harbor more negative views of Muslims than do any other religious group. Seventy-six percent of them, according to a February Pew survey, backed Donald Trump’s travel ban.
Note the sleight of hand. Do people’s negative views of Muslims mean that they want to restrict Muslims’ religious freedom? Of course not.
This shift in public opinion has left pro-Muslim Christian conservatives vulnerable to populist challenge. In 2014, Robert P. George, a Becket board member, wrote a manifesto in the journal First Things entitled “Muslims, Our Natural Allies.”
He was immediately attacked by Spencer, who along with Geller co-founded Stop Islamization of America. Intellectually, it’s not much of a contest. George is the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton. Spencer lacks any academic affiliation, and does not even have a PhD….
This, Mr. Beinart, is known as the “argument from authority.” It is classified as the weakest of all arguments, and it’s easy to see why: any fool knows that being a professor with a PhD doesn’t automatically mean that in any dispute with a non-professor without a PhD, the professor will be correct. There are idiots with PhDs, especially nowadays, and geniuses without them. Beinart doesn’t bother to address the substance of my criticism of George; in fact, he links in his piece only to the last of my six-page article, which contained my summation but no evidence — as if to suggest that I hadn’t presented any. In any case, Beinart doesn’t seem to have a PhD either; that means that if a PhD disagrees with him on anything, he will have to apologize and retract his statement. Again, any fool could see the fallacy in this. But there are fools, and then there is Peter Beinart.