The New Faces of Intolerance Have No Mirrors

Rowan county clerk Kim Davis is shown in this booking photo provided by the Carter County Detention Center.  Reuters

Rowan county clerk Kim Davis is shown in this booking photo provided by the Carter County Detention Center. Reuters

When you think of religious extremism, you probably automatically think of the turbaned man.  With IS and Boko Haram doing their thing, running amok, killing, raping and enslaving like it’s just another day at the office, it’s understandable that you might think of them first.  However, it’s a problem if you think they’re the ones guilty of such.  We’ve got our own home-grown version of it going on right here, right now.  It’s so far nothing as violent as its foreign counterpart but troubling none the same.  Call it extremism-light.  This new face of intolerance is a petite and bespectacled homemaker standing all of 5’5”.

Kim Davis was released from jail today, the judge’s reasoning being that since licenses were flowing uninhibited right now, he didn’t see any reason for Mrs. Davis to remain behind bars.  This decision came down even while the brunette martyr remained resolute in her belief in what she was doing.  Of course, the judge bars her from doing anything to hamper the administering of licenses to those legally able to obtain them, under penalty of arrest, again.

It occurred to me that our religious zealots are a lot slicker and more aesthetically pleasing to the eye than those hardcore, brutal bastards overseas.  Ours are well-versed, polite and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Case in point, hundreds were on hand for Davis’ release as she was joined on stage by Mike Huckabee who, surprising no one, supports her decision and any future action she might want to take.  Again, no revelation; Huckabee has had religious extremist emblazoned across his forehead for a bit now.

In addition to Huckabee, nominee-hopeful Ted Cruz was also on hand.  Now Cruz, I never took to be that religiously extreme-his father notwithstanding-but he is in other ways.  And we’ve seen how extremists tend to “get together” for their own particular agendas.  Even Pat Robertson, who some might call the epitome of religious extremism in America, got on board.  But I wonder whether any of them, to the last man or woman, has a good mirror in their home.  See, after all of this went down later on in the day, along came Lindsey Graham, calling Iranians, religious Nazis.

Now, you can’t argue the fact that the Iranian regime is a brutal one; but that’s not the point.  The point is that we, some of us, routinely think a certain way about groups of people, usually foreigners or others different than ourselves, and the way they’re behaving even while almost doing the same thing in our daily lives, right here.  That’s what’s happening across the country, slowly but very surely.

The point is that no extremists, here or abroad, see themselves as they really are.  It’s like they have funhouse mirrors in their homes that are perpetually kind and forgiving.  Instead of seeing an intolerant and sometimes outright evil human being, they see a reflection of one on the path of God and one who will ultimately change the world for the better.  They all see themselves in a battle; a fight for the souls of those to be conquered, either through violence or bureaucracy.

I don’t know.  I guess the real point is a question and that question is if the Iranian’s are religious Nazis then how long before we’ll be able to lay claim to that very same moniker?  I’m thinking not long if we keep up at the rate we’re going.

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