- The Washington Times - Friday, October 10, 2014

Stardom is undeserved for one so willfully blind to Islamist misanthropy

“Liberals have really failed on the topic of theocracy,” said atheist author Sam Harris on Bill Maher’s HBO talk show last Friday. He was specifically referring to the Islamic theocracy, since liberals are actually quite good at beating up on the imaginary Christian theocracy that’s supposedly going to leap from the heartland and take over America, any election now. “The crucial point of confusion is that we have been sold this meme of ‘Islamophobia,’ where every criticism of the doctrine of Islam gets conflated with bigotry toward Muslims as people. That’s intellectually ridiculous.”

Mr. Maher agreed, saying that “liberals need to stand up for liberal principles,” such as “freedom of speech, freedom to practice any religion you want without fear of violence, freedom to leave a religion, equality for women, and equality for minorities, including homosexuals.” He noted that “when you say in the Muslim world this is what’s lacking, then they get upset.”

Fortunately, actor Ben Affleck was on stage to demonstrate exactly what Mr. Maher and Mr. Harris were talking about. He went nuclear on Mr. Harris, sarcastically asking, “Are you the person that understands the officially codified doctrine of Islam?”

Mr. Affleck couldn’t believe anyone would doubt that criticism of Islam is mostly a result of unreasoning prejudice and hatred. “You’re saying that Islamophobia is not a real thing? It’s gross! It’s racist! It’s like saying, I’m not your shifty Jew!” he shouted.

“We have to be able to criticize bad ideas,” Mr. Harris pointed out. “And Islam is the mother lode of bad ideas.”

“Jesus! That’s an ugly thing to say,” snarled a disgusted Mr. Affleck.

It’s not too often that you see someone proving his opponent’s point in real-time as vigorously as old Ben is here. He exemplified bullying and intimidation to silence critics by accusing them of having the lowest possible motives for whatever they’re saying. He sought to turn legitimate criticism into illegitimate bigotry by insisting that all criticism of Islam is an attack on every single Muslim.

Of course, there’s also the old dodge of saying that only a fully accredited Koranic scholar is qualified to say anything about even the most obvious wrongs perpetrated in Islam’s name. Either you’re the person who best understands the “officially codified doctrine of Islam” in the entire world, or you need to shut up about all the oppression of women, mistreatment of religious minorities and violent atrocities. Actually, Mr. Affleck, there are quite a few people in the world who do say they understand the officially codified doctrine of Islam, and support all the bad stuff. Why don’t you invite them to a debate and explain how they’ve got the Koran all wrong?

Mr. Affleck has a well-reviewed new movie called “Gone Girl” in theaters, and critics say he gives a fine performance in it. You know what else he gave a pretty good performance in? A movie called “Dogma” from a few years ago. It was a vicious satire of the Catholic religion, in which Ben played a homicidal angel. Has he apologized for that movie, and made amends by donating all the money he was paid for it to Catholic charities? If not, would he be willing to star in a similar satire of the Koran?

I’ll bet he wouldn’t, and one of the reasons is that he knows his life expectancy would become very short afterward. Ben Affleck may be the Liberal Bully of the Week, but he knows who the grand masters of bullying are.

Rusty Humphries, a nationally syndicated talk-radio host, is a contributor to The Washington Times.

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