ISIS is Muslim and Westboro is Christian, Deal with It.

An article in the Atlantic about ISIS really made my day. It was coherent, well researched, and ruthless.

The writer touched on some issues that I think are particularly salient especially since they pertain to more than just Muslims.

When discussing ISIS many people like to point out that they are extreme and unusual and thus illegitimate. President Barack Obama is fond of this and has made mention of it multiple times in an obvious attempt to mitigate racist reactions.

The reality, though, is that ISIS follows the Koran quite closely and is not without its scholars. To paraphrase from the article, the best any critic could do is to say that core texts and teachings are no longer valid today but this ultimately means admitting the Koran requires an update which is apostasy by many counts.

Majority opinions do not negate minority opinions in the land of religious exegesis. The hermeneutics of holy books is only limited by what cannot be cited or reasonably understood within them. When the prophet of your holy book unabashedly sanctions crucifixion and slavery then it is reasonable to interpret your faith as one that condones them.

Christians are also victim to this reality and equally reticent to disabuse themselves. Gay Christians and their supporters have tried similar tap dances around biblical realities.  Many scholars have built up an entirely new message around the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, claiming it is not about sexual deviance but rather ‘hospitality’, whatever that means. But this is not the only story they need to account for. In numerous places, both in the Old and New Testament, the Bible is clear on God’s stance on homosexuality.

There is nothing unreasonable about calling the Christian god a homophobic douche-bag. Doing so, however, would mean admitting that their religion (Christianity) has no place for LGBT people or their personal social beliefs. As a result, it becomes necessary to obfuscate and reconstruct their religion’s narrative on sexuality.

In the same way Muslims in much of the world cannot accept that their religion could be practiced with so much violence. But rather than admit this delusion steps in to rescue them from the labor of critical thought.

Why ISIS exists is a more complicated question and one I am not prepared to answer. But that ISIS’s practices are Koran sanctioned is beyond a doubt. True believers of the Christian god are no less honest or literate when they demonize non-normative sexuality or command women to submit to men.


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