Sunday, June 15, 2014

Republicans, religion and rattlesnakes

Lord knows, I was relieved Saturday when Iowa Republicans came out bravely in their platform against Sharia Law, although admittedly by a narrow 404-401 margin. (The party's annual state convention was wrapping up in Des Moines; its various factions being so nice to each other this year that it was almost scary.)

Iowans have a long record of amicable relations with Islam --- Cedar Rapids, after all, is home to the Mother Mosque of America, dating from 1934 and the second-oldest in the Americas (the oldest was built in 1929 in Ross, North Dakota, of all places). But you can never be too careful.

I figure those good old boys and girls got a look at the map here, which I swiped from my friends at Tricycle although it had appeared in The Washington Post and elsewhere previously. In green states, including Iowa, Islam is the second largest religious tradition (behind Christianity, which leads everywhere).

Tricycle was featuring the map because it suggests that the West is turning saffron --- or Buddhist. I think I'm in favor of that.

Remember that we're talking about tiny percentages here --- by some counts there are roughly 2.6 million Muslims in the United States and Iowa ranks about 29th in numbers, with an estimated 214 Muslim adherents per 100,000 people. And as others have pointed out, there are a variety of problems with the data collection techniques used for the Religions Congregations and Membership Study on which the map is based.

Plus, if I'm remembering correctly, there are roughly four times as many "nones" in the United States as there are adherents to all of the minority faith traditions considered here --- Baha'i, Buddhism, Hindu, Islam and Judaism --- combined.


Elsewhere on the platform front, our GOP friends were less noisy, but consistent --- coming out again in favor of a constitutional amendment imposing "traditional" marriage and against Planned Parenthood, which the party would like to see banned from teaching sex education and "promoting promiscuous behavior and abortion" in public schools.

All in all, it was a peaceful convention, the first in many years, featuring such great thinkers as Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum.

But since it is Fathers Day, I feel obligated to honor my daddy's political convictions by repeating his admonition --- Republicans are a lot like rattlesnakes; you can chop the rattles off with a hoe, if your aim is good, but if that sucker nails you on the ankle the bite is still poison.


Anonymous said...

I always enjoy your writings with this one being no exception!

mem said...

I was a delegate Saturday; never stay for the platform "discussion" but was a bit puzzled by this plank: "We support the definition of manure as a natural fertilizer." Have to wonder what this 2014 RPI platform is fertilizing?