Avoiding politics and political arguments is a passion of mine, but total avoidance would require something like a monastic life (which at times sounds fairly appealing, given the vacuity of American politics). Add a bit of religion to the mix and the results are positively toxic.
While I do not know much about Tea Partiers other than that they seem angry and fearful (always a bad mix), I have gathered that the Tea Party is loosely affiliated with the religious right. This would make sense because the religious right feeds on anger and fear. They are always under siege or threatened in some way, and the world is always in the process of going to hell. This is a highly effective organizing and animating principle, given that fear is one of our more powerful evolutionary inheritances.
Bill Hutchinson, writing for the New York Daily News, confirmed my sense of connection with his story “Tea Party Leader Mark Williams Says Muslims Worship a Monkey God.” The vitriol on display is remarkable:
A National Tea Party leader protesting a proposed mosque near Ground Zero set off a firestorm of anger Wednesday by saying that Muslims worship “the terrorists’ monkey god.”
In an e-mail to the Daily News, Williams was unapologetic – saying his comments were specifically aimed at the terrorists, which he described as “the animals of Allah.”
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Muslim rights group, pointed out other offensive statements Williams has made about Muslims on his Web site, including calling Islam “a 7th Century Death Cult coughed up by a psychotic pedophile.”
I have heard the “monkey god” and “animal” stuff before, but these epithets have usually been hurled at evolutionists. It is nice to see that we now have some company in scorn, even if most Muslims believe — along with many Christians — in special creation.
But I am baffled by the seventh century death cult and psychotic pedophile comments. Is it possible that Williams knows something about the life of Muhammad or Islamic cultures that historians and ethnographers have missed? Given that learning is not the strong suit of people like Williams, I have serious doubts.
Williams clearly has issues and I am sure there are many who agree with him. Where can I find a monastery?