Burn This Article!

How could you not, after reading it?

Well, 9-11 weekend has gone by, and although Florida's Pastor Terry Jones didn't wind up incinerating any Korans, plenty of other folks did.  In other parts of the world, a great many far more honorable American flags went up in smoke in response.

Most people didn't burn anything, partly out of a desire not to show unwarranted disrespect for someone else's "holy" book, flag, or whatever.

Fair enough.  No doubt there are parts of the Koran that don't deserve to be immolated.  Those blank pages at the front and rear, for example - no need for them to go to waste.  Save a tree!

The most cursory examination shows, however, that there are many parts of the Koran for which there is no better or more just fate than being consigned to the flames.  As a courtesy, we provide a selection of the most inflammatory passages here.

Simply print out this article, and light a match!  Have no fear of offending anyone - because anyone who would be offended at the desecration of these particular passages is an uncivilized barbarian unworthy of consideration or concern for their feelings.

America has had relatively few problems absorbing the majority of our immigrants who claim the name of Islam precisely because they don't follow these parts of the Koran.  We have trouble with anyone, whether born into Islam or converted, who takes these passages seriously enough to act on them.

The issue is not with Islam per se; our problem lies with people who consider the Koran as written to be their definitive rule of faith and practice.  That's why it's appropriate to burn the offending passages and leave the rest alone.

The best way to do that is to read these passages one by one, explain why they're fit for the fire (it should be pretty obvious), and light it off.  By the time you get to the end, your audience ought to understand that although perhaps many of the people who claim to be Muslim have no interest in committing violence, Koran-based fundamentalist Islam is a religion neither of tolerance nor of peace... which makes it intolerable.

Slay them wherever you find them...Idolatry is worse than carnage...Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God's religion reigns supreme. - Surah 2:190

Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it. - Surah 2:216

Believers, do not make friends with any but your own people...They desire nothing but your ruin....You believe in the entire Book...When they meet you they say: 'We, too, are believers.' But when alone, they bite their finger-tips with rage. - Surah 3:118, 119

What are you waiting for?

Forbidden to you are...married women, except those you own as slaves. - Surah 4:20, 24

Seek out your enemies relentlessly. - Surah 4:103

Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends. - Surah 5:51

Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme. - Surah 8:36

...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them... - Surah 9:12

Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them. - Surah 9:121

Allah enjoins you concerning your children: The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females. - Surah 4:11

Call in to witness from among your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men, then one man and two women from among those whom you choose to be witnesses. - Surah 2:282

If you fear highhandedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. - Surah 4:34

Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued. - Surah 9:27

Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home. - Surah 9:73

Read other Scragged.com articles by Hobbes or other articles on Foreign Affairs.
Reader Comments
Hobbes, it looks like you have read the entire Koran. Were there any passages that mitigated any of this?
September 15, 2010 2:29 PM
I cannot claim to be an expert on the entire Koran, but thanks. :-)

The thing with the Koran is that just sitting down and reading it is not sufficient. Islam has something called the doctrine of supersession. This means that the Koran contains blatant contradictions, and that's OK; the later ones override the earlier ones. Unfortunately, unlike the Bible, the Koran isn't even remotely in chronological order; you have to dig deeper into theological research to know what's what.

You can find a general summary explanation here:


The bottom line: Sure, there are lovable and sweet parts of the Koran. Unfortunately, they were written first, and are superseded by the violent and vicious ones written later on. It's almost the exact opposite of the Bible, where the genocidal violence commanded in the Old Testament is explicitly countermanded in the New.
September 15, 2010 3:31 PM
A-ha! I see; so, if I were to find any positive sounding quotes from the Koran, it would be safest to just assume they were later superseded by violent and nasty ones, and that "true Muslims" don't believe them to be relevant -- "True Muslims" only believe the violent and nasty bits of their holy book.

Whereas, when I see nasty quotes in Christian scripture, it would be best to assume they were present in the Old Testament only, and superseded by more positive revelations in the New Testament. "True Christians" only believe the kind and enlightened parts of their holy book.

I think I understand where you're coming from. Although I have to wonder what you think Jews believe.
September 15, 2010 4:03 PM
You're welcome to assume whatever you like, I suppose; it would be far smarter to read the writings of Muslim scholars to see what they think about their own religion. You'll find that's what they say.

Regarding the Bible, it's slightly more complicated than that; the genocidal passages were not only overruled later, but even as written were given only for a specific time and place, not as general commands as in the Koran.

Don't believe me? The proof is simple enough: Who is killing people on religious grounds on a daily basis? That is the inescapable fact that even Muslim writers admit.

September 15, 2010 4:44 PM
"the genocidal passages were not only overruled later, but even as written were given only for a specific time and place"

Hobbes, I've attempted to make this point in dozens of debates over the years. Every single "savage command" in the Bible is specifically directed at the children of Israel for a specific time and purpose and not an indefinite order of how to live indefinitely.

Great article, by the way.
September 15, 2010 4:57 PM
@Hobbes, I've seen several things from several different Moslem scholars. Everyone seems to interpret these religious texts in order to have them revealing whatever it is they want to believe.

@lfon, that is one interpretation of the Old Testament kill commands (which I wasn't even thinking of when I wrote what I did -- I was considering the Jewish belief in the superiority of Jewish souls). It is not the only one, as nowhere in the OT is it spelled out that the commands to wipe out even little children (at least the male ones) applied only to that one specific time and place. Another valid interpretation is that that is how God prefers His chosen people to wage war. Does it actually say otherwise? Or is that just what you want to believe?
September 15, 2010 5:14 PM
And please, no "you have to read the WHOLE XXX" explanations. These are a cop out. Every religion uses them. It's a simple ploy; get yourself a massive tome and then tell anyone who disagrees with whatever you want them to believe that they have to read the WHOLE thing in order to understand one little command. As if God really wanted only those with doctorate level theological degrees to be able to tell whether or not it was OK to kill their neighbors for having sex. Hogwash, and a lazy argument.
September 15, 2010 5:17 PM
"as nowhere in the OT is it spelled out that the commands to wipe out even little children (at least the male ones) applied only to that one specific time and place."

Ha! Figures that the one example you use WAS in fact applied only to one place and time.

There's no need to say "read the whole thing". In your case, it appears you haven't read ANY of it. (In this case, you want Exodus. You could have it read inside the next hour, if you hurry)
September 15, 2010 7:49 PM
Werebat, you are setting up straw men so as to avoid the point.

Do Jews, in fact and in practice, believe that their holy book commands them to slaughter the infidel wherever he may be found? Obviously not, aside from a handful of nuts instantly imprisoned by their co-religionists.

Do Christians, in fact and in practice, believe that their holy book commands them to slaughter the infidel wherever he may be found? Obviously not, aside from a handful of nuts instantly imprisoned by their co-religionists.

Do Muslims, in fact and in practice, believe that their holy book commands them to slaughter the infidel wherever he may be found? The nightly news gives us the answer.

What you and I believe about the Koran is not terribly relevant. What matters is what Muslims believe about the Koran - and that is made evident in their actions. When they change their actions, I'll change my conclusions.
September 15, 2010 7:54 PM

If every Muslim's job is to slaughter as many infidels as possible, they're doing a pretty poor job of it. I've had hundreds of them as students and not one of them has even tried to slaughter me.

I will concede that most terrorist acts committed in the name of religion in the modern world are perpetrated by Muslims. I question the assertion that this is because of anything inherent to Islam.

What Muslims BELIEVE about the Koran is important -- and indeed made evident in their actions -- but does what even most modern Muslims believe prove the inherent nature of Islam? The same could have been said of the Catholics in their own times of terror (regarding the Bible, of course).

I'm sure lfon and others would protest if I asserted that the actions of the Catholics in their worst moments were indicative of what the Bible actually tells Christians to do -- of the inherent nature of ("true") Christianity. The argument would go that those Catholics were reading the Bible wrong, or weren't reading it at all, they were just believing whatever they were told by their clergy, etc. Never mind that they were at the time the vast majority of what the world saw when it looked at "Christianity".

Might we be similarly wrong in judging Islam based on the actions of its most violent members today? Especially considering the undisputed fact that modern Islam suffers under many of the same morally crippling conditions -- and here I primarily refer to a lack of separation between church and state -- in the lands where it dominates that Catholicism did in its own bad old days?

I realize I am deviating from your article here, but more on that below.

For what it's worth, I think you would also be wrong to change your opinion of the *inherent* nature of the teachings of Islam simply because Muslim terrorists stopped doing their thing. What a group calling themselves "Muslims" believes the Koran tells them to believe and do is only about as relevant as what a group calling themselves "Christians" believes the Bible tells them to believe and do.

The original article here is, in my opinion, a straw man in and of itself. Here we have a lot of nasty looking quotes from the Koran. I'm sure they're all real, although I'm not sure about context. We've all seen similar compilations of nasty looking quotes from Jewish and Christian holy books. I'm pretty sure we can agree that these are lazy attacks on Judaism and Christianity (although in some cases the defenses given by the respective faiths are not very satisfying); in a similar vein, I find this attack on Islam to be a lazy one. Perhaps I should have simply said so from the start.

It may be that Islam is indeed an inherently violent religion, more so than any other in the world today. I am inclined to think that it is more the current incarnation of Islam, on a world scale, that has violent tendencies. I am confident that, safely separated from all state power in every country where it dominates, worldwide Islam would change dramatically, due to necessity. In a different political climate, in a different time, and practiced by different people, it might be as harmless as Christianity.

I could be wrong -- but a list of nasty quotes from the Koran isn't going to be enough to convince me when I know I can produce similar lists for other faiths.
September 15, 2010 9:33 PM

"if I asserted that the actions of the Catholics in their worst moments were indicative of what the Bible actually tells Christians to do"

I'm glad you brought this up because it makes my point.

At the time of the Crusades and Inquisitions, most Catholics didn't believe the Bible. Not because they didn't want to, but because they couldn't read it. Remember, it was written in Latin. The very few that could read Latin couldn't buy a copy of their own and the church copy was kept chained to the lectern.

Not being able to read the Bible for themselves, what did they believe? They believed - this is very important - what their LEADERS told them the Bible said. They believed more in the papacy than the Bible BY FAR. If the papacy said to kill someone, that person was to be killed. God, and the Bible, were mere tools used to create an unknowable atmosphere of religiousness - a cloud of confusing language and sanctimony - that swirled above their heads.

None of the reasons given for the Crusades or Inquisition are anywhere in the Bible. If you knew the Bible, in whole or part, you would not make such statements. If you knew history, even, you would not make such statements. History itself demonstrates my point since many Catholics stopped being Catholics the second they could being reading the Bible for themselves.

As an aside, Catholic aggression rapidly decreased (as did the parish) when the Bible was made available "to any common plow boy" by the wonderful work of men like John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Martin Luther and of course Gutenberg. Once the commoners were able to read the Bible for themselves, they realized that many ecclesiastical tenets of Catholicism were not of the Bible, and in fact many were directly contrary to the Bible.

You're shooting in the dark, I think. Best to call it a day?
September 16, 2010 6:59 AM
I've enjoyed reading the interesting and thoughtful dialogue.

I do find it ironic how skeptical antagonists love to apply their own spurious rules of literary interpretation. They really think that they know more about Bible doctrines than those who actually read it. Strange indeed.

I do my best to give the individual enough credit to have their own beliefs, regardless of what their teachers claim. Fortunately, for the rest of the world, many Muslims that I know do not accept the radical dictations of certain imams. Interpretations of the Quran are being reappraised. The Gospel is having an impact, as well as modernism. The impact of Biblical morals can be seen in how Sadam's army was quite releived to have been captured by the US during Desert Storm. Human dignity was finally given place.

There is also the arena of free speech and freedom of conscience which says a lot about the nature of Christianity and Islam. The arguments which led to the Bill of Rights were based on the Bible, whereas the Quran does not seem to provide any real framework for these basic liberties.
September 16, 2010 10:37 AM
@J Paul

Very well said. I liked this particularly:

"The impact of Biblical morals can be seen in how Sadam's army was quite releived to have been captured by the US during Desert Storm. Human dignity was finally given place"

That is absolutely right. 'National Civility' was a major result of our Christian founding. America has always and continues to set the standard for how people, businesses and governments should treat each other both in times of war and peace.
September 16, 2010 10:53 AM
"Fortunately, for the rest of the world, many Muslims that I know do not accept the radical dictations of certain imams. Interpretations of the Quran are being reappraised. The Gospel is having an impact, as well as modernism."

That's really the hope. In theory, Islam should be able to mature itself, as Catholicism did before it. It needs a Reformation, and that can only be done by Muslims.

Until then, though, to accept followers of the Koran is just as foolish as Queen Elizabeth accepting followers of the Pope.

Don't take my word for it. Read this analysis by the Center for Security Policy and prepare to be frightened out of your wits.


Interesting echoes in Section 6 of Petrarch's article

"...Those who advocate the imposition of shariah in America must be considered ineligible to serve in the military, or hold state or federal office, insofar as Article 6 requires them to swear an "oath.to support this Constitution" - not any other legal code, like shariah. The same disqualifier would appear to govern with respect to immigrants or would-be naturalized citizens."
September 16, 2010 12:17 PM
After watching the back and forth, I thought this might stimulate some comment:

America's founders did not intend for there to be a separation of God and state, as shown by the fact that all 50 states acknowledge God in their state constitutions, often right up front in the preamble:

Alabama 1901, Preamble. We the people of the State of Alabama, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution ..

Alaska 1956, Preamble. We, the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land...

Arizona 1911, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution...

Arkansas 1874, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government...

California 1879, Preamble. We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .

Colorado 1876, Preamble. We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe .

Connecticut 1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy ...

Delaware 1897, Preamble. Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences .

Florida 1845, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty ... establish this Constitution...

Georgia 1777, Preamble. We, the people of Georgia, relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...

Hawaii 1959, Preamble. We, the people of Hawaii, Grateful for Divine Guidance . establish this Constitution

Idaho 1889, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings ..

Illinois 1870, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors .

Indiana 1851, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to chose our form of government ..

Iowa 1857, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Iowa, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings ... establish this Constitution

Kansas 1859, Preamble. We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges . establish this Constitution.

Kentucky 1891, Preamble. We, the people of the Commonwealth of grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties...

Louisiana 1921, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy ..

Maine 1820, Preamble. We the People of Maine .. acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity ... and imploring His aid and direction

Maryland 1776, Preamble. We, the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God or our civil and religious liberty...

Massachusetts 1780, Preamble. We...the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe...in the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction ...

Michigan 1908, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom ... establish this Constitution

Minnesota, 1857, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings

Mississippi 1890, Preamble. We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.

Missouri 1845, Preamble. We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness .. establish this Constitution ..

Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution ..

Nebraska 1875, Preamble. We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .. establish this Constitution

Nevada 1864, Preamble. We the people of the State of Nevada, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom . establish this Constitution ..

New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience .

New Jersey 1844, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors .

New Mexico 1911, Preamble. We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty ..

New York 1846, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings .

North Carolina 1868, Preamble. We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those

North Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain...

Ohio 1852, Preamble. We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common ..

Oklahoma 1907, Preamble. Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty ... establish this

Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I. Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences .

Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble. We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance

Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing

South Carolina, 1778, Preamble. We, the people of the State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution

South Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties . establish this

Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience...

Texas 1845, Preamble. We the People of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God

Utah 1896, Preamble. Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution .

Vermont 1777, Preamble. Whereas all government ought to ... enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man ...

Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI ... Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator . can be directed only by Reason ... and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other ...

Washington 1889, Preamble. We the People of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution .

West Virginia 1872, Preamble. Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia .. reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God .

Wisconsin 1848, Preamble. We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility

Wyoming 1890, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties ... establish this Constitution .


After reviewing acknowledgments of God from all 50 state constitutions, one is faced with the prospect that maybe, just maybe, the ACLU and the out-of-control federal courts are wrong!

"Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants." - William Penn
September 16, 2010 2:30 PM
@lfon, I am not sure what your claims against Catholicism do to invalidate anything I just said. Indeed, many Catholics were not reading their Bibles; I said so in my last post.

@Hobbes: "In theory, Islam should be able to mature itself, as Catholicism did before it." Agreed. And I would argue that in many ways Catholicism has continued to mature; as an institution it has been around for longer than any one branch of Protestantism. A wise Protestant would not fully discount the modern Catholic church.

@Nate, I could be wrong but I don't think any of your examples specifically mention Jesus Christ. Wouldn't Jesus be of some small importance to people who were trying to found a "Christian" nation? If I'm not mistaken, these quotes refer to the "natural God", a sort of fuzzy Unitarian type thing, rather than anything specifically Christian.

Check out this article: http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/amr/amerc.htm

Notice, in particular, the wording of the treaty with Tripoli negotiated under Washington near the end of the article:

"As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion -- as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [i.e., Muslims] ..., it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries"

Curious words, indeed, to be coming from a "Christian" nation.
September 16, 2010 5:20 PM
@werebat - very good point! You are correct, there is a vast difference between belief in (a) God and belief in Christ. It is very hard to tell after so long, but I suspect that most of our founders either believed that there was a God or believed that social order was better when people believed in a God.

Didn't Tydings point out that it's good order and manageability for society if people believe there is a God who cares what they do? They act better.

When the founders talked about natural law, I do not think they mentioned Christ, only God.

Scragged pointed out that belief that God wants suicide bombers to kill people helps leading terrorists recruit cannon fodder. I think it would be harder to recruit bombers without that.

It matters what believers think God wants them to do. Werebat is right - state constitutions mention God, not Christ.

Would it be correct to say that American is / was a Godly nation? If not a Christian, since Christ is not mentioned in the constitutions or on money? That doesn't help much, tho, suicide bombers believe in God or they wouldn't do it.
September 16, 2010 5:50 PM
One might also argue that the God/Christ argument is a bit weak as almost all Christian doctrine espouses the doctrine of the Trinity, which in essence makes God/Christ the same.

But, it's splitting hairs.

The religious doctrine prevalent at the Founding was based on the Bible. The Bible is inherently "Christian". The lack of explicit mention of Christ by the Founders doesn't imply a lack of Christianity... They wouldn't see a separation (speaking generally, not about the specific beliefs of any one individual).
September 17, 2010 10:31 AM

I shared the article I sent along with a (classically conservative and very Catholic) uncle of mine, along with the gist of this conversation. With his permission, I post his response to me here, as I think he had some insights worth sharing:

* * * * *

I would make a distinction in defining "Christian America" between an "Official Christian America" and an "Unofficial Christian America". I cannot see any evidence that the founding fathers of the US tried to make Christianity the official religion of the federal government. They went out of their way to avoid having an official religion. As your article noted, many of the states had official religions before the founding of the nation and continued to have them afterwards. There would not have been a nation had the federal government to choose among them. It was best simply to avoid the subject and to let everyone practice as he wished, at least as was consistent with the laws of his state at the time. By the end of the colonial era, there was quite a bit of religious tolerance in the 13 colonies. Maryland, founded as a Catholic refuge, had become Protestant, but not without some political religious struggles. Eg. Nota bene the name of its capital. Rhode Island had had the nation's first synagogue.

On the other hand, philosophically, ethically, morally, historically and culturally, the US had its roots well entwined in Christianity, the people saw themselves as a Christian collective. The French and Indian Wars had been fought partly with religious motivation: Catholic vs. Protestant. Washington and Adams were only two of the many founders who were practicing Christians.

Most importantly, in my view, the US even following independence had not developed a national identity as we see it today. Group identification was still with the state or, in the case of New England, the region. Examples of this feeling is seen in:
1. The major presence of the federal government in the different states was the postal service and the customs posts.
2. The state militias were larger than the national army. E.g. The war of 1812 was fought mainly by the state militias, and New England opted out.
3. Alexis de Tocqueville made his major generalizations about the American democracy by examining the various states, not how he saw Washington. [Not that he excluded Washington, for he knew also that there would be an inexorable pull toward centralization].
4. Until the end of the Civil War, even federal documents referred to the "United States" as plural and not as the singular.
Thus, if you wanted to get an accurate view of the link between Christianity and American governance, you would have to look at state and local laws and not at Federal law.
September 17, 2010 5:50 PM
The hatred towards Islam and The holiest of Allah's revelations to the holiest of His Prophets Hazrat Muhammad PBUH - the Quran is well known of Jews in particular and Christians in general. Muslims naturally cannot reciprocate with an identical reaction as they believe in the Bible (the original script, without distortions) and the Torah ( Unchanged) too. From my exposure to the most subscribers to the Scragged.com, for the last few months, it appears that they are never interested in digging to find out the root causes; why Muslims are against American government (and so Americans) or Israel( and Jews); NOT AGAINST CHRISTAINITY OR JEWDISM.Following write up from a non Muslim may be an eye opener for you all M/S Hobbes, Werebat, Ifon, Petrarch,.. .The message is not that difficult to get home if you all remove the blockades you have intentionally built up within you.

By Eric Margolis, Sun.

NEW YORK September 10, 2010

"America's strategic and economic interests in the Mideast and Muslim world are being threatened by the agony in Palestine, which inevitably invites terrorist attacks against US citizens and property."

Media. 2 September, 2001.Eric Margolis. Sun

Ever since 9/11, readers keep asking me my views on these attacks. I have been barraged with emails until my head spins.

One of the most colorful theories comes from Gen. Hamid Gul, former director of Pakistan's intelligence agency, ISI. He insists that 9/11 was staged by Israel's Mossad and a cabal of rightwing US Air Force generals.

I inspected the ruins of the New York's Twin Towers, atop which I often dined, right after the attack. Downtown Manhattan was enveloped by a hideous, stinking miasma from the attack. I have never smelled anything so awful. It took me days to scrub the foul odor off my body. As a native New Yorker, I was shaken to the core by 9/11 - but hardly surprised, as I had predicted a major attack on the US nine days earlier.

While visiting the Pentagon to consult on the Mideast, I also inspected its outside wall hit by the third hijacked aircraft.
I saw photos of the impact site and could not understand what had happened to all the aircraft wreckage. There was almost none.

In 1993, I was hijacked over Germany on a Lufthansa flight bound for Cairo. The Ethiopian hijacker took us all the way back to New York City. The hijacker was threatening to crash our A310 jumbo jet into Wall Street.

Our flight was shadowed by US F-15 fighters that had orders to shoot, if necessary. Where, then, was US air defense on 11 Sept. 2001?

A day after 9/11, I was asked on CNN if Osama bin Laden was behind the attack. `We have yet to see the evidence,' I replied. I maintain this position today.

Bin Laden denied he or al-Qaida was behind 9/11 and the death's of nearly 3,000 people. The plot was hatched in Hamburg, Germany and Madrid, Spain, not in Afghanistan. A Pakistani, Khaled Sheik Mohammed, claimed he was the mastermind - after being tortured by near-drowning 183 times by the CIA. ( Khalid Sheikh was captured in Pakistan by local agency, but he is not Pakistani, incorrect assertion .)

While denying involvement, Osama bin Laden did say he believed the attack on New York was in part motivated by Israel's destruction of downtown Beirut during its 1982 invasion of Lebanon that inflicted some 18,000 civilian deaths.

Tapes that appeared to confirm bin Laden's guilt were clumsy fakes. They were supposedly "found" in Afghanistan by the anti-Taliban Afghan Northern Alliance, which was created and funded by Russian intelligence.

I had met Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and told CNN viewers that he was not the man in the tapes.

After 9/11, Secretary of State Colin Powell promised Americans the State Department would issue a White Paper detailing bin Laden's guilt. Afghanistan's Taliban government asked for this document before it would extradite bin Laden, as the US was demanding. The White Paper was never produced, and the US ignored proper legal procedure and invaded Afghanistan. We still wait for evidence.

I remain uncertain that Osama bin Laden was really behind the attacks. Much circumstantial evidence points to him and al-Qaida, but conclusive proof still lacks. One thing is certain: the attacks were planned and mounted from Germany, not Afghanistan. Of the 19 hijackers, 15 were Saudis, two from the United Arab Emirates, one an Egyptian and a Lebanese.

By the way, I've said ever since 9/11 that the danger and size of al-Qaida has been vastly exaggerated - as an explosive report this week by the London's esteemed International Institute for Strategic Studies has just confirmed. Al-Qaida, dedicated to fighting the Afghan Communists, never had more than 300 members at its peak.

Today, according to CIA chief Leon Panetta, there are no more than 50 al-Qaida men in Afghanistan. Yet President Barack Obama has tripled the number of US troops in Afghanistan to 120,000 because of what to calls the al-Qaida threat. What is going on?

Many people abroad believe al-Qaida is an American invention used to justify foreign military operations. I do not share this view. Osama bin Laden was never a US agent, though his group indirectly received funds from CIA to fight the Communists.

Back to 9/11. I still cannot understand how amateur pilots could manage to maneuver in low to hit the World Trade Center and Pentagon. As a Pakistani intelligence agent told me, "if they were really amateur Arab pilots, they would have crashed into one another, not the World Trade Center!"

The arrest of Israeli "movers" filming the attack and dancing with joy, and the subsequent arrest of groups of Israeli "students" supposedly tracking the would-be hijackers remains a deep mystery. So does the immobilization of US air defenses.

The US 9/11 Commission was a whitewash, as are all such government commissions. They are designed to obscure, not reveal, the truth.

A 2006, a Scripps Howard/Washington Post poll found that 36% of the 1,000 Americans sampled believed the US government was behind 9/11. Many Americans still do not believe the official version of 9/11.

Neither do many Europeans. The entire Muslim world believes 9/11 was the work of Israel and far right American neocons, led by Dick Cheney.

If the official story about 9/11 is true, the attacks caught the Bush administration asleep on guard duty. Bush's incompetent national security advisor, Condoleeza Rice, brushed off serious warnings of the impending attack and actually cut spending on anti-terrorism just before 9/11.

The White House and media were quick to blame Muslims who hated America's lifestyle and values, launching the concept of "Islamic terrorism" - i.e. that the Muslim faith, not political issues, prompted the attacks.

This dangerous canard has infected America, leading to a rising tide of Islamophobia. This week's continued uproar over a Muslim community center in downtown New York, and a Florida preacher's threat to burn Korans, are the latest doleful example of cultivated religious hatred.

The suicide team that attacked New York and Washington made clear its aim was: a. to punish the US for backing Israel's repression of Palestinians; and b. what they called US "occupation" of Saudi Arabia. Though they were all Muslims, religion was not the motivating factor.

As the CIA's former bin Laden expert Michael Scheuer rightly observed, the Muslim world was furious at the US for what it was doing in their region, not because of America's values, liberties or religion.

These motives for the 9/11 attack have been largely obscured by the whipping up hysteria over "Islamic terrorism." The planting of anthrax in New York, Florida and Washington soon after 9/11 was clearly designed to promote further anti-Muslim furor. The perpetrators of this red herring remain unknown. But the anthrax attack hastened passage of the semi-totalitarian Patriot Act that sharply limited the personal freedoms of Americans and imposed draconian new laws.

Faked bin Laden videos and audio tapes. Planted anthrax. An intact Koran implausibly found at ground zero. Evidence in a hijacker's bag that had somehow failed to make his ill-fated flight. Immediate claims that al-Qaida was behind the attacks. Those amateur kamikaze pilots and collapsing towers.

Perhaps most damning, tapes taken in London of meetings between President George Bush and PM Tony Blair revealed a sinister proposal by the US president to provoke war with Iraq by painting US aircraft in UN colors, then buzzing Iraqi air defenses until they fired on them, thus providing a "casus belli." Bush also reportedly told Blair that after Iraq, he would "go on" to attack Saudi Arabia, Syria and Pakistan.

In 1939, Nazi Germany dressed up soldiers in Polish uniforms to provoke a border fire-fight to justify Berlin's ensuing invasion of Poland. Bush's plan was of the same ilk. A president who would contemplate such a criminal operation might go a lot further to achieve his imperial dreams.

As a veteran journalist, to me, all this smells to high heaven. There are just too many unanswered questions, too many suspicions, and that old Roman legal question, "cui bono" - "to whose benefit?"

On 28 February, 1933, fire, set by a Dutch Jew, ravaged the Germany's parliament, the Reichstag. While the Reichstag's ruins were still smoking, Adolf Hitler's government declared a war against "terrorism." A "Decree for the Protection of People and State" was promulgated suspending all legal protections of speech, assembly, property, and personal liberties. The Reichstag fire allowed the government to round up "terrorism" suspects without due process of law and made police powers near absolute.

Sound familiar? Here's another startling coincidence. Two years before 9/11, a series of mysterious apartment building bombings in Russia killed over 200 people. "Islamic terrorists" from Chechnya were blamed.

Panic swept Russia and boosted former KGB agent Vladimir Putin into full power. Russian security agents of FSB were caught red-handed planting explosives in another building, but the story was hushed up. A former FSB agent, Alexander Litvinenko, who tried to reveal this story, was murdered in London by radioactive polonium.

Similarly, the Bush administration's neocons shamelessly used 9/11 to promote the invasion of Iraq. Just before the attack, polls showed 80% of Americans erroneously believed Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. Dr. Goebbels would have been proud.

So what, in the end, can we conclude?

1. We still do not know the real story about 9/11.
2. The official version is not credible.
3. 9/11 was used to justify invading strategic Afghanistan and oil-rich Iraq.
4. The attacks plunged America into wars against the Muslim world and enriched the US arms industry.
5. 9/11 boosted pro-Israel neoconservatives, formerly a fringe group, into power, and with them
America's totalitarian far right.
6. Bush's unprovoked war against Iraq destroyed one of Israel's two main enemies.
7. 9/11 put America in what may turn out to be a permanent state of war with the Muslim world - a key
goal of the neoconservatives .

But I've seen no hard evidence to date that 9/11 was a plot by America's far right or by Israel or a giant cover-up. Just, perhaps, the Mother of All Coincidences.

In the end, it may just have been 19 angry Arabs and a bumbling Bush administration looking for someone else to blame.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2010

September 20, 2010 12:22 PM
Oh for goodness' sake, a Truther! There must be something in the water over there...
September 20, 2010 4:13 PM
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