Religious Practice Versus Imposition

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Earlier tonight an acquaintance said he had heard that during Ramadan in Dearborn, Michigan, there's a high school football team that does their football practice from 11:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. because some of the devout Muslim players can't eat or drink anything during the daylight. He said this without any judgment at all. It looked like he felt absolutely neutral about it.

I said, "in other words, the Muslims are imposing their practices on non-Muslims." I said it with a face that clearly displayed disapproval.

He was casually dismissive. "Well, other religions do crazy stuff too," he said.

I said, "they don't impose their stuff on me. Are there religious people who impose something on you? Or try to get you to grant a concession? Or try to make your values yield to theirs? To practice a religion is personal and private. If someone wants to go without food, what do I care? They can go right ahead. But when it impinges on people who are not members of the religion, that's no longer religious. It's political. So all the high school students who want to play football at that school have to practice in the middle of the night because Muslims are thrusting their Islamic practice into the non-Islamic public sphere. Those non-Muslim kids have to disrupt their normal sleep cycle because the Muslims won't bend and the non-Muslims will. And step by step, inch by inch, orthodox Muslims gain one concession after another as our tolerant culture yields to their intolerant culture. Is that okay with you? It's not okay with me."

I had to leave, but this brief conversation inserted an idea I got from Bill Warner. And my acquaintance looked like he heard something he had never even thought about. I wish I'd had time to explain to him that religious supremacism is the belief that a particular religion is superior to others and entitles members of the religion to control or dominate non-members. That's what these Muslim football players were doing.

But maybe it was better that I didn't go into any more detail. Sometimes less is better. Sometimes it's actually more effective to let things sink in a little at a time.

Given how many people are becoming aware of the disturbing nature of Islamic texts, these kinds of brief conversations must be taking place all over the free world. Let's keep it up. We should think in terms of small bits and long campaigns.

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