Irony can be defined by the incongruity which occurs when actions of a group mirror the behavior of a people whom they fear and despise most. Following the 9-11 tragedy, our united front was focused mainly on eliminating the terror breeding grounds established by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The Taliban imposed a form of government that was unacceptable and offensive to most Americans. Absence of democratic process, equality, Islamic law and the utter subjugation of women in their culture were the antithesis of what we deemed a free society. Their total domination of media, organized rebellion against a government they considered tyrannical and Islamic ideological purity seemed so unpalatable to the Christian crusaders of the mighty USA and the George W. Bush military machine.
Yet, as the Republican Party slides down the slippery slope towards Old Testament principles, the Conservative movement mirrors the Taliban more than they realize. The Teaparty can often be referred to as the Tealiban
The dangerous policies and religious doctrinal mandates are far more similar than either group would willfully acknowledge. In the areas of vaccination and vital medical care, religious denial of science and the subjugation of women and the proclivity towards a culture obsessed with guns, American Fundamentalists and Taliban Extremists are hardly discernible.
The Koran and the Old Testament treat women as sinful creatures by nature. The image of Eve as temptress in the Bible has resulted in an extremely negative impact on women throughout the Judaeo-Christian tradition. All women were believed to have inherited from their mother, the Biblical Eve, both her guilt and her guile. The Koran has many quotes such as this Al-Tirmidhi 3272 – “When Allah’s Messenger was asked which woman was best he replied, ‘The one who pleases (her husband) when he looks at her, obeys him when he gives a command, and does not go against his wishes regarding her person or property by doing anything of which he disapproves’.”
In the eyes of the Draconian religious zealots, women are simply vehicles for reproduction, and should only provide enjoyment and servitude for men. The unbelievably chauvinistic and restrictive fundamentalist laws of both the Taliban and the disregard for equal protection for American women by Judicial Magistrates are becoming hard to decipher.
The American Fundamentalists are very much against science and medical progress much like the Islamic government of Afghanistan. Recently, a Pennsylvanian couple who believe in the power of prayer over medical care lost their second child by eschewing medical attention. States like Washington and Oregon are seeing a resurgence in Pertussis due to a fundamentalist-driven hysteria against vaccines. The fallacy of autism being caused by vaccines plus the unwillingness to interfere with god’s plan are beyond dangerous and should never be acceptable in modern America.
Because women are simply unclean and sinful beings, they have far less protection than men in Taliban society. Laws regarding the healthcare and well-being of Afghan women are so restrictive, they suffer much higher mortality rates due to pregnancy and childbirth. In Afghanistan, perhaps the only thing more dangerous than being a woman is being a pregnant woman in need of medical care. A 2002 survey counted 1,600 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. The cause of death was most often hemorrhaging or obstructed delivery, both preventable if skilled health care is available.
To make matters worse, foreign aid administrators, who provide vital vaccinations are treated with suspicion and unwarranted violence by the Taliban. Ten foreign medical workers were murdered because they were believed to be spies, while simply trying to administer polio vaccines to the very poor. Americans simply choosing to ignore the proven scientific benefits of vaccines and willfully putting their children and others at risk is certainly a step in the wrong direction as well. If vaccines and science are viewed as suspicious and interfering with “god’s will,” society is well on its way to massive medieval medical malpractice.
The American leaders of megachurches and fundamentalist sects often rally against their perceived threat of a tyrannical government by encouraging more gun ownership within their congregations. “Blessed are the Peacemakers? Absolutely. Make mine a .45 Colt with a 5 1/2 inch barrel.” This comment and many like it have been commonly overheard in sermons all over the Bible Belt where guns and god go hand and hand. The Taliban often sacrifices children by using their religion to justify violence.
I’ll just say it in plain English. Most of all the world’s plight of inequality, violence and atrocities committed against humanity are attributed to RELIGION. The societies who enjoy the highest standards of living and happiness are the LEAST RELIGIOUS. As a country founded upon the principles of separation of church and state, one of the most important steps to averting misery in this country is to stop kowtowing to the demands of fundamentalist insanity and stop the madness of Biblical thought that so greatly resembles those who we are fighting against halfway across the world.