If you read last week's piece under the same title, you probably know where this is going. If you're bothered by a culture that seems to have spawned an over-representation of violent, reactionary sociopaths, you may want to read on. Or maybe not.
I ended that piece before turning my attention to Mr. Ben Affleck. I try to keep these exercises under 700 words, last week's was over 800 and I hadn't even finished with Mr. John Oliver.
If you watch Bill Maher or keep up with current culture, you may have seen, read or heard about about a disagreement between Maher and Affleck over the way we reference Muslims.
First, remind yourself that whatever you see on TV is there for your entertainment and not necessarily anchored to anything in the real world.
Second, the reality-or actuality-is that Affleck and Maher are probably not as far apart in their thinking as their so-called, heated dispute might have indicated.
As a talk show host and stand-up comedian, Bill Maher pushes the envelope to stay topical, relevant and interesting. He never issued a blanket fatwa on all Muslims, but correctly pointed out that some-if not most-of the major conflicts in the world are rooted in Islam.
Maher's featured guest, Sam Harris suggested that all religions and philosophies contain some bad ideas, but that Islam is the "mother lode of bad ideas."
Affleck takes a safer, tempered approach expressing more socially acceptable, politically correct sentiments. It has been rumored, after all that the names, "Senator Affleck" and "President Affleck" have caught Ben's fancy.
I hereby endorse Matt Damon for vice president.
Nicholas Kristof, appearing on the panel with Affleck looked to his right for his notes, and pulled out the name Malala as an example of "good" Muslims.
The youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Mulala Yousafzai is indeed good. She's inspirational, but her story also underscores the violent, reactionary culture of the Taliban, now an almost moderate sect of Islam.
Liberal pundits like Sam Seder see it here were quick to pounce on Maher's extreme views. Is it really true that 800 million Muslims think death is an appropriate punishment for leaving the religion? Maybe not, but let's crunch some numbers.
There's about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and the best guess is that only about 10% of them are what we call, "radicals" or "jihadis." These are the ones who go to sleep dreaming about planes crashing into our skyscrapers and get up early for bomb school.
If my math is right, that means that there's about 160 million Muslims out there who want me dead. And that's over and above the people who want me dead because they know me.
Chortle at your peril. They want you dead, too.
Add to that 10% about another 10% of Muslims who would describe themselves as Islamist. They believe all that crazy shit, they're just not willing to strap on the exploding vests.
That makes about 260 million Muslims who want America plowed asunder, with about half of them willing to actually do something about it. That's a problem.
Do 800 million Muslims think death is the appropriate punishment for leaving the religion? I still don't know, but it seems that about 260 million of them do and I'm going to give the rest of them the benefit of the doubt.
Egypt is a pretty typical Muslim country where 95% of its population of about 93 million are Muslims-that's about 80 million Muslims in Egypt. About 90% of those 80 million Muslims in Egypt agreed that death is an appropriate punishment for leaving the religion. Maybe it's less, some may have been showing off.
About 90% of the adult women in Egypt have undergone what they euphemistically call female circumcision. Spoiler alert, it's genital mutilation and it's dangerous and barbaric.
When asked, about 78% of British Muslims thought that Danish cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard should be prosecuted for his "blasphemous" depiction of the prophet, Muhammad. In 1998, a fatwa-death warrant-was issued against Salman Rushdie because of his portrayal of Islam in his book, "The Satanic Verses."
So, what about the 1.3 billion Muslims who aren't completely crazy? Do they matter? Did the 90% of Germans not in the Nazi Party matter to 6 million Jews?
The Old Testament tells us to stone a man who works on the Sabbath. It tells us to stone a man who layeth with another man. Most of us have gotten past all that, especially using the word, "layeth."
Nowhere in the Bible, though does it instruct us to kill everyone who doesn't believe what we believe. If it did, and 260 million Christians believed it, we might want to round them up and give them a good talking-to.
It's a conundrum for Liberals. It's tough to speak out against the mistreatment of women, gays and smart people while using gentle, euphemistic phrases about their oppressors. It's tough to champion freedom of the press and try to negotiate with those beheading our media.
Shit, I've gone way over my word limit again. More next time.
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