For some reason Asra Nomani's piece today in the Washington Post brought this idea back to my mind: on the one hand liberal, progressive and 'secularized' Muslims, and on the other liberal, progressive and 'secularized' Christians (myself among the progressives)--and nearly all Jews with brains befitting them--are fighting the same battle, although not at the same stage.
The progressive, etc. Muslims are now fighting to separate mosque from state, both here in the West and in their native countries. We now fight to maintain and strengthen the separation we have between church and state. I at least like to think that those of us who are God-, or religiously, oriented understand that separation to be absolutely vital, not only for human freedom of mind (also necessary for technological progress) but also to allow real religion to flourish as it does here where no religious body has been (since 1833) nor will ever be again part of the state establishment. Upwards of four centuries before our First Amendment stated, "Congress shall make no law..." a poet who was himself a friar wrote these words:
When the kindness of Constantine gave Holy Church endowments
In lands and leases, lordships and servants,
The Romans heard an angel cry on high above them
"This day has[the church] drunk venom
And all who have Peter's power are poisoned forever."
If Will Langland could see the corrupting nature of religion and state in the same bed in a time when a different arrangement could hardly be imagined, what excuse do any of us have, with most of the European churches now being near-empty shells as a consequence of that very connection?!
No, those who fear such separation are not afraid on God's account nor for fear of not saving we innocent sheeple but for fear that they won't be able to terrify and enrage their 'flocks' into giving them hefty incomes for doing nothing but terrifying and/or enraging them--that is, with no more reason to 'fleece' the sheeple they actually may have to go and figure out how to earn more honest livings! I say this is so for both Islamist rulers and imams on the one hand and for the far-right Christendomist (new word) preachers, publicists and noisemakers on the other!!
One distinguishing characteristic for them all seems to be a reluctance to 1) use their imagination, especially on behalf of anyone without bursting purses and/or pockets and 2) to use, still less encourage others to use, the rest of their minds except what's necessary to pull the plows so that the massas can keep making money!. Minds awake tend to ask so many seditious and blasphemous (really meaning 'inconvenient' and/or 'difficult for me') questions, don't you know? So they fight tooth and nail against having to actually engage new information and ideas and lie to their flocks that they must consider even such thoughts as blasphemous and possibly damning!
Maybe, Asra, you remind me of these things because self-criticism is also a necessity for engaging the new information, which in turn gives rise to growth and progress for both individuals and societies as a whole.
As for all the should-be hedgerow (or sand-dune?) hollerers, listen up: the hands of many of you are stained, yea, caked (for some) with the blood of others you have either urged to bloodshed or whose blood you have goaded others to shed and that blood will, without your repentances, drag you down to the lake of fire!
And when you stand before the Throne, what will you say to the God Whom we have all been commanded to love with all our hearts, souls, strengths and minds?! Think about it and I hope you charlatans lose plenty of sleep over it!!