Defending the Indefensible

This isn't the kind of headline you usually see here, but there's a reason today. First, the headline:

Afghani mullah rapes ten-year-old girl; family wants to kill her


The story is every bit as horrific as the headlline leads you to believe, but that's not my point here. After all, the atrocities committed in the name of religion are limitless.

It is the kind of thing I'll share on my Facebook page, though, and here's the response I got from Ben Eastwood, the Progressive Party's candidate for Secretary of State:

 Ben Eastwood Whats up with all the anti muslim posts infecting facebook lately? There are thousands of girls right here in America that are raped, abused and murdered by supposedly christian attackers, so why are there posts condemning islam, when our own rape culture is not exactly a shining example. Jeesum. Yes it is a tragedy, but it is hardly news worthy,

 Yes, you got that right. “Nothing to see here, folks, just a little girl raped by a religious leader.”

Oh yes, and someone who points out the crimes of religious leaders is, in Mr. Eastwood's eyes, “anti-Muslim”!

 If you've been paying attention you've heard about the child rape scandal in the Catholic Church all across the world. Not only were the crimes rampant, the magisterium of the church, right up to the very top, did everything they could do to cover them up.

 I have to wonder if Mr. Eastwood considers those of us who have criticized the Catholic Church for its crimes to be anti-Catholic.

If anyone's anti-Muslim here it's not us, but the man who apparently believes that child rape is the very essence of Islam.

And if Mr. Eastwood wants to tell us which child rapes are newsworthy in his view and which ones are not, well, we're all ears. 

11 thoughts on “Defending the Indefensible

  1. … Is a true fringer and recent washashore with a paper thin understanding of Vermont and its history.  He has a soft spot on his head in his heart for secession, as well as for racists like Ron Paul.

    Eastwood, like washashores Williams, Wagner and the still dead Naylor, has all the answers for we benighted Vermonters.  Certainly, as a candidate for Secretary of State, Eastwood should explain why he tried to and failed to get Sec’y Condos to ignore Vermont election law in favor of his fringer presidential candidate, Rocky Anderson.

    Like most seceshers (I’m looking at you, Peyton), Eastwood believes that without any track record to speak of, he should start out in governance somewhere near the top.

    I’ve read Eastwood’s reasonings before and the guy makes Emily Litella look like a Mensa candidate.  

    Pay no attention to the village idiot, Jack.

  2.   Islamophobia is a growing problem in our country.  The increase in hate speech directed against Muslims has resulted in violence and persecution because of the false claims about their culture and religion that have become all too common on our facebook feeds.  Unfortunately, it is no longer just coming from the far right fringe, but even moderate and progressive voices have begun to promote this sentiment, much to my dismay.  On Thursday, Green Mountain Daily editor, Jack McCullough posted an article to his facebook page that used the brutal and horrifying rape and threatened “honor killing” of an innocent young girl to vilify the entire Muslim culture.  The article claimed that these activities are a”feature of Islamic culture”  and “an endemic trait of Islam”.

     Making denigrating and disparaging remarks about an entire culture based on the acts of a few fringe elements meets the definition of hate speech. This article uses the horrible tragedy, and suffering endured by an innocent girl to trash all Muslims.  That is reprehensible both in its crass insensitivity to the victim, but also in its use of this tragedy to foment more distrust and ethnic hatred.  By making this about the Muslim Culture, the article goosestepped across the line.

     When I read the article I was stunned, both at the brutality of the crime perpetrated and the reaction of the family, but also because of the way this horrendous occasion was being used to further inflame the brewing anti-Muslim sentiments growing in our country.  I was incredulous that Mr. McCullough, who has a reputation as a straight shooter with integrity, would post such a reprehensible article.  Maybe he didn’t read it and was incensed by the headline? I don’t know.  In any event, I responded in a very human way, by commenting on the anti-Islam slant in the article, and the use of rape to denigrate the Muslim community, the double standard in how we treat rape based on culture, and I commented in a very human way, off the cuff.

     I admit, I could have chosen my words more carefully,however, in the moment, faced with such horrific usage of child rape to promote fear and distrust of an entire culture, I answered hastily.   For that, and any misunderstandings caused by that, I apologize.

    Mr. McCullough defended his support of this islamophobic article in a post on his blog entitled Defending the Indefensible.  His so called defense is in the form of an ad hominem attack.  He then included an interesting reference to the catholic church,  As we know, based on the numerous news reports and lawsuits, that there is some concern that the Catholic church has engaged in an institutional cover up of child rape within its own body. However the article never tries to say that this is a “feature of Catholic culture” or is “endemic to Catholics”, nor should it.  This is the very double standard I so ineloquently tried to point out.   While there is evidence of a concerted institutionalized cover up in the main stream catholic church, as he claims, there is nothing to indicate that the Muslims who practice similarly heinous crimes are anything more then the westboro baptists of the Muslim world yet the articles are far different in their tone and content.  Child rape is abhorrent, institutionalized child rape is abhorrent.  Using child rape to cast hate upon a culture is abhorrent.

     Mr. McCullough then asks a couple pointed questions.  To answer, I do not think criticizing the catholic church for their complicity makes you anti Catholic, but if you were to take it to the next level and use it to disparage all Catholics, it would.  Likewise, if the article had stopped at just making the point about the mullah and family, then it wouldn’t be anti Muslim, but because it goes above and beyond and claims rape is common within the entire culture, it becomes anti-Muslim hate speech.  The ONLY man that claims child rape is the very essence of Islam is the author of the article Mr. McCullough posted.  My continued and consistent point has been the very opposite. To the other question,  Any child rape case is newsworthy, except the ones that exploit the tragedy to promote hate of an entire culture.  Then it becomes hate speech.

     I regret my choice of words.  I was trying to soft shoe the issue, and didn’t want to have to come right out and say it directly.  I mean, this is Jack McCullough, a voice of progressive reason, how can I come right out say “hey, that’s hate speech?”  Unfortunately, in trying to be understated, I left myself open to interpretation.  I should have written “Using the horrific rape of an innocent child to denigrate an entire culture is despicable.  By doing so, the article you posted is hate speech.”  and left it at that. It is a shame that instead of taking a moment to denounce the use of rape to incite distrust and hate of all of Islam, Mr. McCullough instead chose to Defend the Indefensible.

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