Monday, September 30, 2013

A Theocrat is a Theocrat is a Theocrat

File Photo
If you were tuned into politics during the 2012 Republican primaries, you are likely familiar with the antics of the fanatical Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann (shown left, devouring your soul). You know, the Michele Bachmann who denies anthropogenic climate change, wants creationism in public
schools, and believes vaccines cause physical disablities? Right, that one.

Well she's out of the spotlight now, but that hasn't stopped America's #1 would-be theocrat from spreading her message of right wing extremism at home and abroad. Earlier this month, Rep. Bachmann was among a delegation of Republican representatives visiting Egypt for the first time since the ouster of President Muhammed Morsi. Rather than tread lightly through what is obviously a complex international issue, Bachmann chose to publicly praise the Egyptian military for their recent coup d'etat. Her statement read, in part:
“We have seen the threat that the Muslim Brotherhood has posed around the world. We stand against this great evil...We remember who caused 9/11. We remember who it was that killed 3,000 brave Americans.”
"[The United States and Egypt] have that common enemy, the terrorists who have shown themselves so recently in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood...We don’t have a choice. They must be defeated.”
This is a seriously confused statement, so bear with me while I try to unpack it. First and foremost, it should go without saying that the Muslim Brotherhood has precisely no connection to Al Qaeda, and played no role in the September 11th terrorist attacks. Furthermore, Bachmann appears to confuse "Muslims" - the ordinary people that many of us interact with on a daily basis - with a sort of "common enemy," presumably Islamic extremists.

To that end, Bachmann may be surprised to learn that the Egyptian military has frequently employed the use of religious language in order to motivate its soldiers to mow down scores of peaceful protesters. The New York Times reports:
"The recourse to religion to justify the killing is also a new measure of the depth of the military’s determination to break down the main pillar of Mr. Morsi’s support, the Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, after ousting Mr. Morsi in the name of tolerance, inclusiveness and an end to religious rule, the military is now sending religious messages to its troops that sound surprisingly similar to the arguments of radical militants who call for violence against political opponents whom they deem to be nonbelievers."
“When somebody comes who tries to divide you, then kill them, whoever they are,” Ali Gomaa, the former mufti appointed under President Hosni Mubarak, is seen telling soldiers in a video made by the military’s Department of Moral Affairs. “Even with the sanctity and greatness of blood, the prophet permits us to fight this,” he said in the video, likening opponents of the military takeover — implicitly, the Brotherhood — to an early Islamic sect that some scholars considered to be infidels, and thus permissible to kill."
Bodies of Morsi supporters, gunned down by the Egyptian military.
There are no innocent parties here. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the current military regime in Egypt have failed to capture the spirit of the revolution that swept them into power. Rather than enact desperately needed economic and political reform, both of these governments have thus far opted to rule in the name of a deity at the expense of their people. And as for Representative Bachmann's casual acceptance of the use of lethal force to quell civilian protests (in the name of Allah) - well, all I can say is I'm glad she's not my Commander in Chief.

Theocratic rule takes on many forms, but at its heart it remains fundamentally antithetical to the ideals of representative democracy. If nothing else, this extraordinary story serves as an essential reminder that it is our duty to support the separation of church and state - at all costs.

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