From the attack on Rushdie to threats against the FBI, belief in the absolute threatens us all.
Glendower: I can summon spirits from the great depths.
Hotspur: Well, me too, or anyone can do it too; But will they come when you call them?
The man who attempted to kill author Salman Rushdie with a knife.
The lawyers who allegedly told a Latter-day Saint bishop in Arizona not to call the police when a member of his ward confessed to years of sexually abusing his own children.
The leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention, which has been under federal investigation for years, allegedly covered up sexual abuse by members of its own clergy.
Republican members of Congress – including Utah Rep. Chris Stewart and Sen. Mike Lee – who publicly jumped to the angry conclusion that the FBI had no reason to serve a search warrant on the former guy majestic pleasure dome at Mar-a-Lago.
The man who attacked the FBI office in Cincinnati with a nail gun, and people threatening federal agents and staging armed demonstrations in front of federal installationsall because they believe former President Donald Trump is beyond question and above the law.
The Trumpublicans who all but destroyed the party of Reagan, Bush and (gulp) Cheney, replacing it with a movement that openly seeks to destroy democracy, following the fascist playbook of amassing power by promising to hate the same people whose you are afraid – especially women, LGBT people, black people, immigrants, teachers, librarians and people who can read.
The common thread running through all of this reprehensible behavior is the dogmatic belief of religion or politics – or, more dangerously, a mixture of the two – that a certain religious tradition or a particular leader must be believed, obeyed and revered no matter what. he is coming.
Americans are more likely to see than in the case of Rushdie, who was under threat of death since 1989, when Iran’s Supreme Leader declared Rushdie’s novel “The Satanic Verses” a blasphemous attack on Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, and put a bounty on the author’s head.
In England, where he mainly lives, Rushdie was protected by Scotland Yard and knighted by the Queen. In the United States and other Western countries, he has been honored as a courageous defender of freedom of thought and freedom of expression. What he is.
But Rushdie also wins support from Westerners because those who threaten him are, in our eyes, weird extremists who dress weirdly. Not ordinary Muslims but radical religious fanatics with no respect for individual freedom or responsibility.
There are many circulating. More than some Americans might care to admit.
Neither The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nor the Southern Baptist Convention has, at least recently, struck a blow at any of its detractors or lapsed members. But the apparent tendency of these religious traditions, as well as that of the Roman Catholic Church, to protect themselves rather than protect children from the most heinous of abuses runs far too deep a common thread among those who claim to represent the Almighty. on earth.
Americans are generally supporters, fans, adherents, but not worshipers, of their favorite politicians. Richard Nixon’s party abandoned him for far less serious sins than Trump’s. Jimmy Carter went from the refreshing voice of a new generation to a weak 98 pounds in less than four years. George HW Bush lost his base when he raised taxes. Barack Obama and Joe Biden have drawn much criticism from their own party for not being liberal enough, both losing influence in the process.
Only with Trump, the January 6 insurrection, the continued calls for armed uprisings and civil war, open advocacy of Christian nationalismthe ugliest parts of religion became the ugliest parts of politics.
The automatic assumption by Trump supporters that the FBI has gone totally rogue is not worthy of officials. It’s not that the FBI’s history is so flawless. This is clearly not the case. Serious congressional oversight is needed.
But open calls from some Republicans to destroy the FBI rather than allowing him to bring down, or even question, their lord and savior is something Republicans worth their salt should view in horror.
No potential political rival, Republican or Democrat, can, or even apparently wants, to summon demons from the immense depths and, like Trump, expect them to actually appear. And looking for a politician who could amass such power in response is not something we should aspire to.
Perhaps the model here is not Shakespeare’s Glendower but Tolkien’s Gandalf, who said, “Some think that only a great power can contain evil. But that’s not what I found. I have discovered that it is the small everyday actions of everyday people that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.
It seems a lot more fun.
George Pyle, opinion writer for the Salt Lake Tribune, used to think it was funny to volunteer as a Salman Rushdie decoy. Not anymore.