11 December 2011
My secular fatwa against the Florida Family Association
So a cable channel makes an effort to show Americans something resembling the real life of this nation's Muslims -- or so I'll assume, not having watched the show -- and for this sponsors are reportedly getting boycotted by some charming outfit called the Florida Family Association, with one of them, the Lowe's department store chain, actually pulling their ads as a result. The FFA boasts on its own website that Lowe's is just the latest advertiser to pull out under their pressure, though only that chain's capitulation has captured the news media's attention. The Association's main complaint seems to be that any show about American Muslims must interrogate its subjects about sharia law. To show American Muslims who don't obsess over sharia, the Floridians contend, makes the program "propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law." The TLC channel, however, is under no obligation to pander to Islamophobic paranoia. The All-American Muslim show is not an investigative report, nor need it be. Advertisers should not punish TLC for failing to fuel the Florida fanatics' hatred. Nor should those sponsors be punished who support other programs deemed immoral by the FFA vigilantes. Executive director David Caton's raving against "secular progressives" pretty conclusively brands him and his organization a greater threat to this country than all but the furthest fringe of American Muslims. Any member of FFA is more obviously un-American in his or her intolerance than the average U.S. Muslim. A Christian theocrat is self-evidently a greater threat to the United States than a Muslim theocrat, especially when he doesn't have to resort to bombs or guns to advance his agenda. Like terrorism, boycotting is a form of asymmetrical warfare, waged by people who aren't as vulnerable to the market than the institutions they attack. Pushing back in a proportionate manner against unjust boycotters is difficult, but entities like the FFA should not be immune when they can do such damage. Caton and his acolytes should be just as vulnerable, just as accountable in their pocketbooks, for such presumably dangerous opinions as the groups he boycotts. Threatening violence, as some Muslim idiots may well have done already, would only stroke these people's persecution fantasies. A way should be found to make them suffer in the way they make others suffer, through loss of trade or measures that would make it financially unfeasible for them to continue operations. Ideally, this sort of warfare shouldn't happen in a democratic republic, but until these Christians learn the Golden Rule someone should teach them a lesson.