In a remarkably ignorant piece for On Faith, Qasim Rashid explains why a secular society is a bad idea, basically borrowing his talking points from the worst of the Religious Right:
Secular laws alone cannot bring about peace and justice on earth. While secular governance is important, without personal Godliness it is incomplete. Morality cannot be legislated. Secular laws cannot limit the wandering eye of a would-be rapist as he scopes his next victim — instead the burden is placed on women to avoid getting raped. Secular laws cannot limit the greed of the super wealthy as they pound the poor with extraordinary interest rates advancing perpetual poverty and misery. Secular laws cannot hold accountable those who wage illegal wars in which hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians die — instead the burden is placed on the helpless who are left to deal with the emerging terrorist groups.
That’s a big word salad with no nutritional value.
Secular laws, if they’re well-written and upheld, can absolutely punish those who violate the rights of others and harm innocent people — and deter them from acting on their impulses. Sure, it can’t stop them from thinking about it, but I’ll take thought-crimes over real crimes any day.
In America, hate crimes, broken homes, alcohol abuse, and violent gun deaths are rampant despite our secular Constitution. China is a world leader in human-rights violations as an anti-theist state. Consistent in all these scenarios is the absence of the role God plays in our lives.
To paraphrase that, a secular government doesn’t make everyone awesome… so let’s throw God into the mix! As if that wouldn’t make everything worse…
Does Rashid have any idea what theocracies look like? Has he ever heard of Saudi Arabia? Or ISIS? (Trick question! He has! But they don’t represent real Islam, he claims.)
I’d love to know what nation ruled by a Holy Book he’d like to live in…
There’s also a difference between a nation that essentially forces atheism onto everyone and one that allows it as an option.
Let me make his point better than he did: You would hope people have some personal morality that keeps them on the straight and narrow. Some people get that with God. Some of us can do it on our own. But faith is no virtue and God certainly doesn’t make people better. I would much rather live in a place where secular law says “murder has severe consequences” than a place where God will supposedly hold your crimes over you in the afterlife.
And then there’s this kicker:
If there is any hope for civilization, for an uplifting, ennobling, and worthwhile human community to emerge from the current cacophony of strife, debasement, nihilism, and fanaticism, we must all revert to God and reform ourselves.
What he never mentions in the piece is what punishment he’d bestow on those who refuse to accept his God in this strange new world.
Or what happens to believers who make mistakes.
Or which God we should all accept. (Something tells me the Fox News crowd isn’t supporting him on this one…)
Or any statistics that support his point of view.
Meanwhile, sociologist Phil Zuckerman wrote an entire book — with citations and numbers and facts — about what the least religious nations on Earth can teach the rest of us.
Rashid’s entire piece is just garbage, even for religious fare. You expect that kind of nonsense from conservative Christians, but it’s surprising to see from a Muslim who ought to understand better than anyone the horrors that exist when certain religious dogmas get taken to an extreme.
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