I had an Ah Ha moment reading an article which was about watching media dance around ethnicity and religion issues when an event like the Fort Hood shooting occurs.
Basically, that everyone is bend over and twisting around to avoid stating the obvious – that Muslim populations in Western countries that participated in the “War on Terror” after 9/11 are essentially goading these groups to become radicalized and violent. Essentially creating terrorists in our midst.
And this would seem to be a reasonable and even obvious conclusion – when you look at many examples in history of a minority group that’s oppressed, made to be second or third class – they tend to fight back and fight back with violence.
History and current events are rife with examples of one dominate religion or ethnic group stomping on the necks of a minority religion or ethnic group with the result being if not civil war, then prolonged violent outbursts, more suppression and the seemingly never ending cycle which basically stops progress and development in it’s tracks.
Except that I can think of two minority groups that are deemed at best second class citizens, who are limited in their participation and one of whom has active and vocal opposition in being included in basic rights.
And I belong to both minority groups: Atheists and Queers*.
Atheists are limited in their participation in Western society in that they are, if honest, unelectable to public office – not to mention being attacked as Christmas haters every December. Funny enough, Queers are electable in some areas, and so largely don’t share this handicap.
But what Atheists and Queers do share is a public portrayal as:
– lacking in any morals and ethics
– arrogance and self absorption
– perpetual teenagers rebelling against the authority of god, regardless of how old you are or how long you’ve been either or both.
These three charges are so patently foolish on the face of them, that I don’t even feel the need to delve deeper.
For the purpose of this post, what’s interesting to me is that neither atheists nor queers have used terror tactics to forward or achieve their respective agendas.
Both groups have used legal means – lawsuits, protest, education and awareness campaigns and grassroots community building/outreach.
Where atheists and queers part ways is that atheists are largely trying to have existing laws be enforced (that separation of church and state) and queers are trying to have existing laws be consistent with each other – equal access to and treatment under the law applying to all subordinate laws like marriage, military service, immigration, non-discrimination in housing, employment and basic rights that everyone else takes for granted.
So, I am not saying that religious and ethnic minorities do not have a hard time in Western countries.
For me, when gay marriage was up for debate in parliament, it was very difficult to listen to politicians and my Prime Minister say that I and my fellow queers are undeserving to fully participate in society for no clear reason that they could or would articulate.
I imagine it’s similar for law abiding Muslims to listen to politicians spew their war on terror rhetoric – and I tend to agree that you can’t fight terror by becoming a terrorist. This war on terror has been a bigger boondoggle than the US War on Drugs – too bad they don’t find a way to make Peace on these things or at least détente.
But, if queers and atheists – who span all religious and ethnicity – can avoid becoming what our accusers make us out to be – arrogant, immoral, perpetual rebels – then other groups and individuals in those groups can too.
* Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgendered and kinky straights. I hate using the acronym LGBT because to me it sounds like a sandwich, and with more groups wanting to be part of that group, then it just looks like a bizarre text thing or alphabet soup, so I prefer the more encompassing Queer.