The Corner

What a Shame

Andrew Sullivan writes:

Hatred of open and proud homosexuals is intrinsic to Islamist fundamentalism, as it is to Christian fundamentalism. The struggle against both is the same one – at home and abroad.

I’m sorry. But:

1. Even if hatred of homosexuality were intrinsic to Islamist and Christian fundamentalism, the fight against Islamic fundamentalism isn’t about homosexuality. It’s just not and no matter how much you care about the issue, it won’t ever be.

2. Islamic fundamentalism and Christian fundamentalism aren’t the same thing. They can both be “bad” but that doesn’t mean they are the same. Depending on what you mean by Christian fundamentalism, I don’t think it’s bad. I certainly don’t think it’s bad if you go by Andrew’s expansive use of the phrase. But even if I did, I would recognize some important differences between the two. Like: Christian fundmentalists have not constructed a grand theological construct to justify mass murder in the modern era. No followers of Jerry Falwell are suicide bombers. This is not a minor distinction. Christian fundamentalism gave birth to the Protestant reformation, individual liberty, the American nation, the modern American university, and the like. This is not a minor distinction either.

3. Writing things like this makes it nearly impossible to defend Sullivan from the charge that he lets homosexuality color his perceptions of every other argument and issue.

Addendum: It occurs to me that a charitable explanation of Sullivan’s statement is that he’s trying to persuade liberals — gay or otherwise — to understand the threat from Islamic fundamentalism in terms they can appreciate. Alas, Andrew’s recent diatribes against fundamentalism don’t really jibe with this interpretation. And, besides that wouldn’t absolve the slander or inaccuracy.


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