The Corner

Re: Re: Still Willfully Blind

I think Ramesh’s take is plausible, but unlikely.  If Obama is making a moral claim, as Ramesh infers, he would essentially be saying that our Western understanding of depravity ought to be, and is, the universally applicable standard, and that on this measure Hasan’s acts were so heinous that no appeal to a divergent religious tradition could justify them. I happen to believe the moral claim is true, but I don’t think Obama would make such a claim. His history of moral relativism, cultural relativsim, and Islamophilia wouldn’t allow it.

Ramesh does not say why he takes Obama to have been making a moral claim as opposed to a claim about the content of religion (i.e., a claim about whether Hasan was correctly interpreting Islam). At the risk of being presumptuous, I am going to guess Ramesh is confining himself to the four corners of Obama’s speech at Ft. Hood. But if we go outside the speech, Obama has a history of attempting to reinvent Islam, bleaching out the scriptures that call for violence against non-Muslims. This tendency was on display in a major way in Obama’s Cairo speech on Islam and the West, when the president both misstated scripture and avoided mentioning disturbing scripture that gave context to the verses he’d misstated. In my mind, Obama’s Ft. Hood speech continues this project: It’s part of a continuing effort to have the nation see Islam as Obama wishes it to be seen; it’s not an attempt to make a universal moral case that is very clearly at odds with Islamist ideology.

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