Cultures of Incitement

by Andrea Elizabeth

When I think of the Muslim “problem”, the main thing that comes to my mind is the culture of incitement. They work themselves up into a frenzy that can only be relieved by torching something. Lest we point fingers too much in their direction, I think we can find many cases of how this is done in other circles too. And not just Christian ones.

Whenever one group is pitted against another group, the leaders who try to pep up the base and incite them to go conquer the other group. Before I read about the years before the Revolutionary War, I thought that the Colonists mutually were all mad at the Redcoats because of an automatic reaction to “atrocities” across the board. Turns out there was a lot of propaganda promulgated by the founding fathers laying the groundwork to motivate people to rebel. Yesterday while watching the Cowboy game, George told me that teams are so equally matched nowadays that it’s usually the team with the most adrenaline that wins. Rocky and I call it the eye of the tiger.

This is not to say there isn’t a problem of lethargy and a tendency towards que sera sera that must be combated. Sometimes framing things in simple, black and white terms is what it takes to get people to put a bad thing to an end. Deciphering too much fine print can wear a person out before they get started. It’s complicated. So complicated that I don’t trust most people to sort it out comprehensively enough to justify how upset they’re making people.

People talk about the evils of Sharia law, and I agree, but to talk about how bad Muslims in general are is too simplistic and inciting. My son’s university has a huge Muslim population, and a good portion of his friends are Muslim. I appreciate how modestly they dress and how they have a more moral sense about them than many of the white folks he encounters. While fear and abuse is part of their religion, I think there are elements of a desire and love for a distorted view of God and proper living that is respectable. People want rules and structure and a holistic view of religious life that Islam provides, and I think that is why it gets a foothold in other regions. Christianity is seen as lax and pervaded by secularism. Not that we deserve to be torched, but if Orthodox are going to preach that we don’t believe in a God who torches people either, then neither should we. Literally or figuratively.

Now have I just torched people who verbally torch people? Maybe so. Please forgive me, here’s a cup of cold water.