Q. So, remind us again how you felt when Barack Obama was elected, Dr Clam.
A. "At first he thought it was a creature of more fantastic shape than he had yet seen on Perelandra. Its shape was not only fantastic but hideous. Then he dropped on one knee to examine it. Finally he touched it, with reluctance. A moment later he drew back his hands like a man who had touched a snake. It was a damaged animal. It was, or had been, one of the brightly coloured frogs. But some accident had happened to it. The whole back had been ripped open in a sort of V-shaped gash, the point of the V being a little behind the head. Something had torn a widening wound backward - as we do in opening an envelope - along the trunk and pulled it out so far behind the animal that the hoppers or hind legs had been almost torn off with it. They were so damaged that the frog could not leap. On earth it would have been merely a nasty sight, but up to this moment Ransom had as yet seen nothing dead or spoiled in Perelandra, and it was like a blow in the face. It was like the first spasm of well-remembered pain warning a man who had thought he was cured that his family have deceived him and he is dying afer all. It was like the first lie from the mouth of a friend on whose truth one was willing to stake a thousand pounds. It was irrevocable. The milk-warm wind blowing over the golden sea, the blues and silvers and greens of the floating garden, the sky itself - all these had become, in one instant, merely the illuminated margin of a book whose text was the struggling little horror at his feet, and he himself, in that instant, had passed into a state of emotion which he could neither control nor understand. He told himself that a creature of that kind probably had very little sensation. But it did not much mend matters. It was not merely pity for pain that had suddenly changed the rhythym of his heart-beats. The thing was an intolerable obscenity which afflicted him with shame. It would have been better, or so he thought at that moment, for the whole universe never to have existed than for this one thing to have happened."
From Perelandra, by C. S. Lewis, the scariest book I have ever read.
I have to say that at the moment I feel a bit about organised religion the way that Ransom feels about the universe. I feel it would be better, given the things that are done because of it, that it didn't exist at all. Intellectually, I am still with Christopher Isherwood and the post before last, of course, and with all those posts by earlier versions of myself in support of our (imperfect, human) attempts to approach God through organised religion; but emotionally, I am feeling that the whole sorry mess belongs in the dustbin of history.
Obviously any religion that allows its adherents to vote for Barack Obama is of no value. A fortiori, any religion that encourages this sort of thing is an abomination.
So smash, smash, smash, the infamous thing, he emoted foolishly. All your poetry, all your architecture, all your beautiful artistic and philosophical achievements, are worth less than Suleiman Dauda's pain. Die in a fire, you toxic meme, you ideological equivalent of the Unman torturing Venusian frogs.
I am ashamed to say that it is not primarily reading about the destruction of Baga that is making me feel this way today.
It's the other thing, you know, the one where the white people died.
Now, I am more inclined towards Sharia than most westerners I know. I like the zakat; I think usury is abhorrent; I would love to see the secular arm enforcing a month of public fasting and abstinence; I know Islamic law would at least move the goalposts in the right direction as far as abortion is concerned; and am down with stoning as an appropriate punishment for my adulterous ex-uncles. If you were to organise an islamic political party and put forward candidates in free and fair elections, there is a reasonable chance that I would be pissed off enough with the major parties to vote for you. It would be an informed decision, and I would have reconciled myself to living with the bad bits of Sharia as well as the good bits.
But, I am not happy with having the crappy bits of Sharia imposed on me by default, in a piecemeal fashion. I did not vote for that. We do not live under Sharia, so we should not have to adhere to islamic blasphemy laws. We have a duty, when people go beyond asking us nicely to obey their rules to killing us for not obeying their rules, to push back.
|Dante and Virgil see Muhammad in Hell|