If you’ve never heard of Steven Crowder, please accept my apologies in advance.
He recently posted a piece on his Louder with Crowder site about the Qur’an that is simply too funny — and sad — to pass up. But not funny in the way that Crowder, a former Fox News contributor and conservative comedian, might hope.
In the piece, Crowder and co-author Krystal Heath attempt to present “5 Reasons The Qur’an Can Never ‘Coexist’ With The Constitution… Ever.” Keep in mind that Crowder is a pretty hardcore Christian who uses his site to promote a lot of the conservative talking points. He’s smart enough to go beyond “Jesus says soooo!”… but, all the same, it’s not terribly sophisticated stuff. After all, when your site responds to discussion of non-discrimination protections for gay customers with NAZIS! or abortion decisions with HOLOCAUST!, you might have been better off sticking with the straight-up religious defense.
Crowder is especially concerned with the political aspects of Islam. And that sheer hypocrisy is where this gets funny, since every one of his criticisms of Islam applies equally to… well, I’ll let you see if you can spot it.
First on their list:
1. It disallows free speech. First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law… abridging freedom of speech.” Qur’an: “Allah likes not the uttering of unseemly speech in public, except on the part of one who is being wronged…” (4:49) And, free speech expressed in the form of cartoons of Muhammad is a very, very bad idea. Unless you want to… you know. [Prepare to die.]
Turns out, though, that Crowder’s favorite Holy Book, full of rules dictating the most minute aspects of a person’s life (like facial hair trimming and fabric choices) also curtails free speech. And you don’t even have to look past the Ten Commandments — the Ten Commandments! — to find proof:
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
That, too, is a form of censorship.
Oh, and since we’re on the topic of imagery, let’s see what Crowder’s God has to say about that (also in the Ten Commandments):
You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
At this point, I think two things are pretty obvious: The Qur’an is certainly not the only kid on the block with an ax to grind against free speech or freedom of expression. And Crowder may need to take a remedial Bible class.
This wasn’t an anomaly. The second point is as compelling as the first:
2. Women are to be second-class citizens. Nineteenth Amendment: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” Not only do many Sharia adhering countries not allow women to vote, they also don’t allow them to drive, or be educated, or hold government offices. War on women, maybe? To quote the Qur’an: “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.” (Sura 2:282). If you’ve got a strong stomach, check out this lengthy list of anti-woman verses from the Qur’an. Muhammad wasn’t too kind to the ladies…
The fact is, while we take our rights for granted, until pretty recently, these weren’t givens at all. Women’s rights were a radical notion that changed century upon century of tradition. The Nineteenth Amendment to our Constitution is just that: an amendment.
So if we’re going to judge a religious book by what its adherents do, Christianity is certainly in no better shape than Islam, as women’s rights are a relatively recent advent in the Christian world.
But Christianity fares no better when we turn to the Bible itself, either. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 reminds us how women are to be seen but not heard, for it is “a shame for women to speak in the church.” 1 Corinthians 11:6 tells us how women should be covered — being uncovered also considered shameful. Ephesians tells women to submit to their husbands; so does Colossians 3. As the Bible tells it, women are to be veiled, silent, and subservient — and that’s not even getting into the Old Testament rules about rape (like how a rape victim can be married off to her rapist, forever, for the right price), or how a father can sell his daughter as a sex slave, etc.
All of which kind of sounds like the status of a second-class citizen to me.
Speaking of slavery, that’s actually a point Crowder makes: that the Qur’an allows it. But, again, this is equally true of the Bible, which devotes a lot of time to laying out how it’s to be done and to whom. (Your own people? Not cool, unless we’re talking women. The heathen around you? Have at it — they can be possessions you hand down through the generations, like so many family heirlooms). There’s no redemption in the New Testament, either. On the contrary, slaves are told to obey their masters.
But it’s Crowder’s last point that’s the best.
5. Freedom of religion. According to the US Constitution’s First Amendment, Americans are guaranteed, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It can probably go without saying, considering the hundreds of Christians who’ve been brutally murdered by ISIS due to their faith in Christ, but the Qur’an doesn’t make quite the same allowances. “slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush.” (9:5) In fact, the Quran contains 109 passages that call Muslims to war against those who choose any other faith. Does that sound like a loving God or maybe, could it be… [Satan].
I find this one particularly noteworthy for a couple of reasons. First, there’s the cognitive dissonance between complaining on one day that Islam doesn’t allow freedom of religion… and then posting yearningly the very next day that China is cracking down on Islam — unlike the nincompoops in America!
They’re not tolerating Islam at all. That simple. China sees what’s happening to the West… They see it, and they’ve decided to stop any kind of political Islamic plague before it grows out of control.
In other words: China learns. Unlike our inept government, it realizes, ‘Hey, Islam wants destroy us.’ It realizes that Islam is political in nature, not just religious. Don’t get me wrong, communism is terrible, but it’s also what absolves China from the shackling burdens of political correctness. They’d rather survive than be politically correct.
I mean, a complete reversal on the importance of religious freedom in one day? That’s pretty impressive for sheer shamelessness, even by Louder with Crowder standards.
At this point, I can’t help but admire the ignorance, willful or otherwise, of just how accurately Crowder’s objection also describes his own faith. Again, we need look no further than the Ten Commandments to illustrate this:
Thou shalt have no other gods before me
Not exactly a call for religious freedom.
The point is also reiterated in the New Testament by no lesser person than Jesus. And this has been taken pretty seriously by Christians throughout the years — not only toward practitioners of other faiths, but even, and heartily, against their fellow Christians. Just ask the Cathars. (Oh wait…)
The Bible is full of stories showcasing intolerance toward other faiths, and Christian history is a long, sordid reenactment of that.
So when it comes right down to it, any and all of Crowder’s points are equally applicable to Christianity (and plenty of other faiths as well). It’s amusing in a sense, but mostly unfortunate, that someone could so self-righteously pontificate on the failings of another belief system and how it’s incompatible with freedom… while adhering to a text that exhibits all the same shortcomings.
It becomes far less amusing, though, when you see how happily he would strip away the religious liberties of other people — all because they want to take away his liberties. In trying to illustrate just how intolerant and incompatible with freedom a hardline interpretation of the Qur’an (the only one he seems to think possible) would be, Crowder reveals just how intolerant and incompatible with freedom his own ideas are.
You know what they say about stones and glass houses…
(Image via Shutterstock)