E pluribus diversity?

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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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Government and military officials have issued statements since last week’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, that have nothing to do with the reality of what occurred, what is occurring and what our enemies would still like to have occur all over the United States. Listening to them leads to the conclusion that these people were handed talking points because they are all saying pretty much the same thing: that we shouldn’t jump to conclusions, stereotype or give in to paranoia.

As the quote says, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey is a good man and a faithful soldier. That’s why it is difficult to believe he wasn’t forced to say on the Sunday news programs, “As great a tragedy as this was, it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well.” Gen. Casey also spoke of his “concern” that a “backlash” might take place against Muslim soldiers, although there has been little that could reasonably be called a backlash since Sept. 11, 2001.

The purported shooter, Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, was unimpressed by our diversity. In fact, it may have been diversity that set him off. Maj. Hasan and other Muslim extremists don’t practice diversity. They mostly practice Shariah law, which backlashes against anyone who won’t submit to their fundamentalist view of the world.

The U.S. State Department’s Web portal, www.america.gov, provides a perfect example of the problem. The site bills itself as a place to “meet the people” and “explore the values and ideas that define the character of the United States.” But when it comes to American-Muslim organizations, that often means providing a U.S. government stamp of approval to organizations purportedly linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Why do so many American leaders seem ashamed and apologetic about America? Holding to the view that America is unexceptional and that no idea, policy, belief or practice is to be preferred over any other is not diversity. Rather, it is thin gruel; unappealing and unappetizing, and it robs us of our strength.

Did diversity build and sustain America through world wars and economic challenges? No, it was a firm set of principles held by patriots of many races who were willing to pay the price in money and blood. These days, we seem to be increasingly confronted with people who are the political equivalent of shoplifters: They want the benefits without paying the price.

If you are unwilling to part with the money you earned while building a business, or a life, to fund a life for others who refused to do so, are you selfish? As a way of punishment, should your hard-earned money be given over to those who didn’t earn it?

If you have a particular faith (Christian) you are to be discriminated against and silenced. Your sacred symbols - from crosses on a desert mountain, to Nativity displays in public places - are banned. You increasingly are forbidden to pray publicly “in Jesus’ name,” but Muslims can speak of Allah and Muhammad anywhere they like, and who is foolish enough to try to silence them?

Apparently, “diversity” is not for everyone, and even if it were, what does it mean? To those who wish to impose it, it seems to mean that no one can any longer speak of truth, or even seek it out, because according to the rules of diversity, there is no objective truth. Thinking so makes you a fundamentalist, unless you are a fundamentalist Muslim, in which case you are to be accommodated, pacified and given special rights - like ritual footbaths, prayer rooms and prayer times at public schools and universities that would probably be denied and challenged as violations of church-state separation if a Jew or a Christian were to make requests unique to their faiths.

I grow weary of having to tolerate everything when none of those making such demands seems willing to tolerate much of what I believe. Shouldn’t diversity be a two-way street instead of a roadblock?

Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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