This straight-talker is no Humpty Dumpty:
But if the reactions to the death of Tiller mean anything, the “Christian Taliban,” as conservative religious figures are often called, isn’t living up to its namesake. If “Christianists” were anything like actual religious fascists they would applaud Tiller’s murder as a “heroic martyrdom operation” and suborn further mayhem.
Radical Islamists revel in death. Just witness the videos that suicide bombers record before they carry out their murderous task or listen to the homicidal exhortations of extremist imams. Murder — particularly of the unarmed and innocent — is a righteous deed for these people. The manifestos of Islamic militant groups are replete with paeans to killing infidels. When a suicide bomb goes off in Israel, Palestinian terrorist factions compete to claim responsibility for the carnage.
There is no appreciable number of people in this country, religious Christians or otherwise, who support the murder of abortion doctors. The same cannot be said of Muslims who support suicide bombings in the name of their religion.
Yet speak of the disproportionately violent strain in Islam to a “progressive” person and you’ll be met with sneering recitations of millennia-old Christian crusades or Jewish settlements in the West Bank. As for conservative Christians’ contemporary political endeavors, lobbying to ban the teaching of evolution in schools or forbidding same-sex marriage simply does not threaten society in quite the same way as the genital mutilation of young girls or the bombing of the London transit system.
I happen to support a legal regime that would, in Bill Clinton’s famous words, keep abortion safe, legal and rare. I hold no brief for the religious right, and its views on homosexuality in particular offend (and affect) me personally. But it’s precisely because of my identity that I consider comparisons between so-called Christianists (who seek to limit my rights via the ballot box) and Islamic fundamentalists (who seek to limit my rights via decapitation) to be fatuous.
So Pro-Life Christians are not the same as Islamic terrorists, but then again, we are living beyond the looking glass, where words mean whatever Humpty Dumpty says they do:
Humpty Dumpty took the book and looked at it carefully. `That seems to be done right –’ he began.
`You’re holding it upside down!’ Alice interrupted.
`To be sure I was!’ Humpty Dumpty said gaily as she turned it round for him. `I thought it looked a little queer. As I was saying, that seems to be done right — though I haven’t time to look it over thoroughly just now — and that shows that there are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents –’
`Certainly,’ said Alice.
`And only one for birthday presents, you know. There’s glory for you!’
`I don’t know what you mean by “glory”,’ Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘
`But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.
`When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
`The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master — that’s all.’
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They’ve a temper, some of them — particularly verbs: they’re the proudest — adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs — however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!’
`Would you tell me please,’ said Alice, `what that means?’
`Now you talk like a reasonable child,’ said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. `I meant by “impenetrability” that we’ve had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you’d mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don’t mean to stop here all the rest of your life.’
`That’s a great deal to make one word mean,’ Alice said in a thoughtful tone.
`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.’
`Oh!’ said Alice. She was too much puzzled to make any other remark.