Ethical Quote Of The Week: GOP Senator And Presidential Candidate Lindsey Graham


You know what, I’m not your candidate. I don’t want you to vote for me. I couldn’t disagree with you more.”

-South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham during an election event in Des Moines, Iowa, after an Iowan Republican in the crowd.suggested banning Islam.

Later Graham said, “He’s got a right to say whatever he wants to say, but I have an obligation to the Republican Party, to the people of Iowa and the country as a whole to be firm on this. I’m not buying into that construct. That’s not the America that I want to lead.”

I will await the first Democratic Party candidate who demonstrates similar integrity with an equivalent reply to a supporter who advocates banning hate speech.

I suspect I will wait until the stars turn cold.

54 thoughts on “Ethical Quote Of The Week: GOP Senator And Presidential Candidate Lindsey Graham

  1. I agree, BUT how do you reconcile this with the emerging push on the other side to make churches toe the line on same-sex marriage at the risk of losing tax-exempt status if they don’t do so? It just seems like everyone runs scared at the idea of possibly restricting a religion with a legitimately lousy ideology, but no one is afraid to try to crush one that doesn’t really fight back.

      • Not quite a rumor, Jack, with respect. I called it a “push” because of the recent article by Felix Salmon at Fusion advocating exactly that, and some similar articles that have followed in its wake. Sorry if I was not clear there. I think you are MOSTLY assuming right, it is a very contentious can of worms to open and I think such a measure fails at least two if not all three prongs of the Lemon v. Kurtzman test (governmental action must have a primarily secular purpose, must neither advance nor inhibit religion, and must not foster excessive governmental entanglement with religion). That said, I also believe that weakening of traditional religion is on the hard left’s long-term agenda, and I believe there are gay couples out there who, for whatever reason, would be willing to act as “test cases” to try to force the bigger “resistant” denominations like the LDS, the Catholics, the Southern Baptists, etc. to perform a wedding, and, upon refusal, to pursue getting their tax status revoked as part of a civil rights suit. That might not necessarily work at the Federal level, since the Civl Rights Act of 1964 does not extend to orientation, but several state civil rights statutes (like NJ’s Law Against Discrimination [LAD]) do. I can see all kinds of headaches for everyone arising from taking this next step, and potentially everyone ending up less free.

        • But really Steve, who’s Felix Salmon? He’s not a lawyer, and he’s not American: he literally is out of his depth, his league and his mind. he can’t push anything, because no policy-maker pays attention to him, or should.

            • Revoking tax exempt status for all churches (let alone those that teach that marriage is only between one man and one woman) would require legislative action.

              • As we were just reminded, the action of legislatures and votes can be quickly undone by five votes one way or the other. It could very easily start with one same-sex couple approaching a Catholic church for a wedding, being rebuffed, filing suit, complaining to the tax authorities, and it just snowballing from there. That couple already has four SCOTUS votes in their pocket, since the four liberal justices vote as a bloc. They just need to persuade Kennedy to change EVERYTHING.

                • What sort of legal arguments, under current law, would such a couple use to get a church’s tax exemption revoked?

                  • Not sure the couple would do it directly. More likely they would refer it to either the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice (which should probably just be renamed the Department of Law), or the Department of the Treasury, who in turn would file their own complaint to revoke the status due to failure to uphold constitutional rights.

                    • So why has that not already happened via religious discrimination claims against institutions who refused to marry couples from the “wrong” faith?

                  • That’s kind of a broad question, and hard to answer on the fly without knowing particulars about how many such weddings were requested, how many turned down and for what reasons, and what redress the couple then sought (usually they just find a church that will give them what they want). I have known Catholic people who got married in Protestant ceremonies after they refused to promise to procreate and things like that. That probably couldn’t result in a challenge, come to think of it, because that would involve the government interfering with the internal doctrines of a religious institution, which is a clear failure of the Lemon test.

                    However, in the current political climate, with gay marriage becoming the defining civil rights issue of the day and everyone jumping on the bandwagon (my Facebook feed looks like the Confederate Army went to war with the Skittles factory), I can easily see couples being emboldened enough to try to force the issue, the current partisan Department of Justice being partisan enough to take the case, and the judges too scared or too partisan to defend the First Amendment.

                    • What you are suggesting is utterly impossible. It is impossible that the Catholic Church could ever loose its tax-exempt status for refusing to perform homosexual weddings. Utterly impossible. This is not to say that is impossible for the Church to loose its tax exempt status for other, tangentially related reasons…

                      The Catholic Church, and really all churches, have a back door around this issue entirely. The churches could simply refuse to perform any “wedding” at all! A tried and true method already practiced throughout Europe.

                      The Supreme Court ruled that it is unjust to deny any couple equal access to the bundle of legal rights known as “marriage”, under the 14th and other Amendments. The Catholic Church has no right, independent of the state, to grant this bundle of rights to a couple. If it should ever be constitutionally ruled that the church must provide this civil service, officiating a union according to state law to anyone who asks, it could simply refuse to provide these civil services to even its own members. No one could conceivably argue discrimination for refusal of service, if service is refused to all!

                      What the Catholic Church claims, however, is insight into a purely natural phenomenon. Marriage, it teaches, is a natural union, that binds baptized Christian heterosexual couple for life (and unbaptized couples for life in most instances, but I digress). The church claims unlimited and nearly exclusive right to regulate marriage for all human beings, in particular its members.

                      Through technicalities of Canon Law, the Catholic Church devolves some authority to the State for just regulation of the marriages of non-Catholics (age restrictions, etc). It reserves regulation of marriages among its members for itself, but still requires Catholics to participate in marriage procedures under civil law, when they do not conflict with moral law.

                      In Europe, many countries reserve the distribution of marriage rights entirely to themselves. In these countries, the Catholic Church requires a civil service to gain civil marriage rights, before it will officiate the couple’s *real* wedding during its religious marriage service.

                      In the United States, it requires couples to obtain a civil marriage license prior to the ceremony, and then witnesses the union on behalf of both God and State. Should any or all of the United States ever require that the church witness unions regardless of orientation on its behalf, it will simply cease to witness marriages on behalf of the state.

                      The Catholic Church would instead require even Catholic members to be married before a judge in court or justice of the peace at city hall.

                      The church’s exclusive prerogative over its religious rights is protected absolution strongly by the First Amendment. Now it is still possible that vindictive busy bodies would still strip churches of their tax exemption. Discrimination due to denial of civil marriage ceremonies, however, could never be the immediate legal cause for denial.

                      Even if tax exemption were revoked, while it would cause some hardship, Christian doctrines states “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”. Most Christians would simply shrug and carry on. The state has done worse (ask Mr. Sebastian for instance…)

                    • If it should ever be constitutionally ruled that the church must provide this civil service, officiating a union according to state law to anyone who asks, it could simply refuse to provide these civil services to even its own members. No one could conceivably argue discrimination for refusal of service, if service is refused to all!

                      What would be the basis for such a ruling?

                      It is fair to say that the state is prohibited from preventing people from marrying for having the “wrong” religion. And yet, religious institutions refuse to provide this civil service for this exact reason, and still keep their tax-exempt status

                      Why should it be different in the context of SSM?

                    • The right to “marry” only extends to the civil benefits afforded marriage under state law. A couple denied a marriage ceremony is by their preferred clergyman is not denied their rights, because they are free to seek these rights from an alternative source. The First Amendment protects, absolutely, the clergymen or church’s right to practice their religion, even to the potential exclusion of others.

                      A couple of mixed faith denied these rights by a civil judge would have a slam dunk case, however.

                    • During the Protestant Revolution and Enlightenment, the issue over authority to recognize weddings came first came to collide. The Catholic Church’s refusal to recognize Henry VIII’s annulment for instance, denying him the ability to marry a fertile queen, helped prompted the Church of England to break away.

                      In the 1800’s, European governments claimed exclusive rights to recognize civil marriages, in part in reaction to the religious violence. They were interested in legal unions free of religious influence, to allow the orderly succession of princes and leaders, and other matters of property, law and family. Many countries refused to allow ministers to marry on behalf of the state, requiring civil magistrates to perform this duty, to make this distinction clear.

                      It was, I believe, in this era that the Catholic Church begrudgingly began to allow the state to partially regulate marriages. It was not for the benefit of the state, but rather the souls of the those who would approach the state in lieu of the church. Under Catholic law, the Church could theoretically bind all Protestants to marry before a Catholic priest. Their predictable refusal to do so, and the subsequent false marriages entered into by Protestants, would contradict the Catholic Church’s mission to bring all of humanity to heaven. The church thus now permits non-Catholics to marry validly without its direct blessing, although still requires Catholic marriages to be witnesses by a priest.

                      In Catholic theology, and in the theologies of many other Christians, there exists no right to marry on demand under all circumstances. Marriage is, at a minimum, subject to certain natural standards, such as one man and one woman. That some sects would add as an absolute bar marriages between mixed faiths is unfortunate, but not inconsistent.

                      To account for the vagaries of religious expression, most modern countries recognize as marriages any union, now between any couple of any gender, temporary or permanent, in sickness or convenience. Their goal, like that of the Enlightenment era nations, is an orderly organization of families without direct religious interference.

                      This free recognition of unions conflicts with the views of many religions, such as those who view remarriage following divorce or gay marriages as naturally impossible marriage unions.

                      The state can only guarantee that certain rights exist; but cannot not compel any religious recognition there of.

  2. Lindsey is correct . . . in theory. But is he correct in practice? The problem of ISIS could be solved, at least temporarily, if Barack Obama would arrange to kill the 22,000 ISIS badasses now operating in Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Tunisia. But, of course, Obama doesn’t have what it takes to do something as important as that.

      • Slipping into false analogies. ISIS can point directly to their source material for direct commands of what they do. The kkk cannot( unless their source material is different than the Christian bible)

        • The “direct commands” are and have been subject to varying interpretations. Manson thought the White Album contained direct commands. There are direct commands in the Bible that rational people choose not to take literally. You know…

          Matthew 5:29-30 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. (30) And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

          The same applies to the Koran.

          • Is that one of the verses the KKK cites to harm black people?

            The nature of the commands, quantity, and context make all the difference.

            No, Christian texts are no where near the islamic.

            If the worst a Christian can do is interpret texts for self-mutilation in regards to removing temptations, I’ll take that 50,000 times before even the “more benign” Islamic commands…

            No analogy.

            • (which is exacerbated: One HAS to apply loose interpretation to get malice from the New Testament, One HAS to apply very imaginative interpretation to keep Islamic texts from sanctioning mass murder.)

                • It makes plenty of difference between direct, clear cut commands, and items that are more interpretive in nature. I know anti-religionists think religions all suffer equally from the same drawbacks.

                  They don’t however.

            • I was nice and just used the New Testament. The Old Testament certainly has KKK-worthy instructions within..But so what, Tex? Commands in religious texts are not direct commands, they are relays at most. The most unreasonable can be and are ignored. A devotee of a religion that chooses to discard the unreasonable demands is no less a member of that religion than one who takes them as literal.

            • On material that the KKK could use to justify white supremacy over black people:


              “20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
              21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
              22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
              23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
              24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
              25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
              26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
              27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. –Genesis 9:20-27”

              “The story’s original objective was to justify the subjection of the Canaanites to the Israelites,[4] but in later centuries, the narrative was interpreted by some Jews, Christian, and Muslims as an explanation for black skin, as well as slavery.[5]”

              • That is definitely a great example of a text that requires additional imaginative interpretation that I allude to. The sign off “the story’s original objective….” certainly bolsters my claims (from other discussions) that when Christianity *returns* to its original principles after straying away, good happens, when Islam *returns* to its original principles after straying away, evil happens.

                Just so we don’t continue to labor under the notion that I believe Christianity has some spotless record, that isn’t at all what I’m arguing.

                I am merely stating that the equivalency of Islam and Christianity simply isn’t there when we want to make claims like “ISIS is to Islam as KKK is to Christianity”. You see, KKK *diverged* from original texts or took some serious mind-pretzels to interpret what they wanted (while a larger portion of Christianity condemned Southern interpretations of scripture); ISIS *returns* to original texts to get what they want (while a disturbingly large percentage of Islam, according to a recent survey, generally approves of ISIS’s conduct).

                • There’s a lot over time that Christianity has done outside of scripture. Think back to Martin Luther: The founding of the Lutheran Church was in part a return to scripture; the Catholic church was selling favors to the faithful that would ostensibly but their loved ones out of purgatory and into heaven. Luther’s point boiled down was “I won’t say I know better than my superiors in the Church, I just ask they refer to scripture.”

                  But Tex has a really valid point: Islam was written in such a way as to actively enable people to do what fundamentalists do. To that: It’s a matter of dates: When the bible was penned, Islam didn’t exist. I often wonder if both religions had been as firmly entrenched as Christianity was when the Muslim books were written how different the two would be. But that’s a matter for historians: What we can do is look at past actions note that the actions of Islam don’t diverge greatly from the path of Christianity, adjusting for their start dates, and so the difference isn’t in the religions, the difference is in the world around them.

                  • Well, there’s a lot more to it than that, and if you care to go waaaay back to 1988 and read Benjamin Netanyahu’s book “Terrorism: How the West Can Win,” he lays it out better than most folks. In case you’re not interested in reading it, though, the main point Bibi makes is that Islam is a lot more bound up with government and civic life than either of the other Abrahamic faiths – Christ died on the Cross and Moses died before entering the promised land, but Mohammed founded a state and governed it for a period of time.

                    I’d also add that, partly due to the coming of Martin Luther and all that followed, the West separated church and state at the end of the Thirty Years’ War. No such separation occurred in the Islamic world. Although there are a few modern exceptions like Turkey, there are still a dozen or more states where the Koran is the constitution. Islam also has an easy way of resolving contradictory passages in the Koran – the later passage controls, and, for whatever reason, a lot of the harsh, kill-everyone-who-doesn’t-agree-with-us stuff comes later.

                    Christianity also spread, at least for the first 300 years, as a non-violent faith, only turning violent after it became the faith of the majority by Constantine’s victory at the Milvian Bridge. Islam was a fighting faith from the get-go, and if two decisive battles at Yarmuk and Kadisiya had gone the other way, I submit the history would have been very different.

        • This is a crazy argument that you are having with Jack. What matters to the vast majority of religious people is how their religious leaders and history have interpreted religious texts. Even those who do read texts regularly skip the unpleasant parts and focus on what is meaningful to them. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But it is a fact that Christianity (and Mormonism) adopted the idea that Whites were the chosen people of God — and used that interpretation to sanction slavery, and later discrimination against Blacks.

          • “This is a crazy argument that you are having with Jack.”

            I know, right?

            “What matters to the vast majority of religious people is how their religious leaders and history have interpreted religious texts. Even those who do read texts regularly skip the unpleasant parts and focus on what is meaningful to them. And there’s nothing wrong with that!”

            No doubt, but a strawman.

            “But it is a fact that Christianity (and Mormonism) adopted the idea that Whites were the chosen people of God — and used that interpretation to sanction slavery, and later discrimination against Blacks.”

            Just so we don’t labor under the notion that I think adherents to Christianity have a spotless record, let’s clear that out of our thinking. This assertion is, however false as a universal affirmative; even if you adjusted it to a “semi-universal” affirmative, it is false. There was a component of Christianity that took some loosey-goosey interpretations to justify their economic system, while the majority of Christianity differed with them. We see how that schism played out. When Christianity returned to it’s original principles, good happened.

            When Islam returns to its original principles, a lot of people are murdered.

            No doubt, Christians have murdered in the past as well.

            But that’s not the argument being advanced. I’ve merely noted that when we want to draw equivalencies between “radical” Christian groups and radical Islamic groups, it doesn’t exist…Christians bent on murdering of the faith *CANNOT* find a single original principle to justify such (without out-of-context interpretation or wild-analogy-making-interpretation), Muslims bent on murdering for the faith *CAN* (and without any need for interpretation, the commands are explicitly open-ended).

            I have no issue with condemning the practices of divergent Christians when it comes to perpetrating horrors on their fellow man. But I do take issue when false equivalencies are made.

            • My argument is not a strawman — for most people, religion is a living, breathing part of their every day lives. What matters more — what a text may or may not say (following over a thousand years of different translations) or what people actually believe? The same holds true for Islam, or any other religion.

              • This is meaningless. Either organizations have core principles or they don’t. At some point the “No True Scotsman” is no longer a fallacy.

                Religions have X quantity of Core Beliefs that HAVE TO be followed to be an actual “member” of that religion and not just a lip-server. Various tenets may carry different weights, but at some point, if a group begins drifting from the Core Beliefs, it IS NOT PART of the original religion any more but is a “heretic” cult or a whole new religion.

                ISIS DOES NOT STRAY from Islamic core principles. The KKK DOES STRAY from Christian core principles. Now please, just quit equivocating.

  3. You’re absolutely right. The idea of banning thought/ideology is abhorrent. I’m not especially a fan of Lindsey Graham, but he’s right in this case.

  4. If Graham’s response was truly spontaneous rather than a set-up between a speechwriter and a stooge (just saying; it has happened), I’ll take another look at him.

    • It did trouble me that his first assertion of responsibility was to the Republican party, rather than to the constitution.

      • Maybe a loose interpretation of “…and to the country as a whole” could include the Constitution?

        It would seem his list started small and ended big.

        • I forgot to specify the quote (you’d think in a post this short, there wouldn’t be more than one item of discussion: surprise!). Mine was taken out of party affiliation context, which was careless – and stupid – of me. It was this one I’d like to hear more of, from anyone up for office: “You know what, I’m not your candidate. I don’t want you to vote for me. I couldn’t disagree with you more.”

          Now to have a similar slapdown for time-wasting, provocative (for no good reason but to sell papers/web space) press questions. For comedians’ hecklers there is only one way out — his death or yours. For why-ning three-year-olds — survive it.

  5. This is a response to this: Michael Ejercito’s comment.

    Here’s a short list:

    I’ve deleted out most of the verses which *merely* discuss violence in general, some contextually “excusable”, some just supporting verses for the more direct exhortations to violence, some were internal punishments.


    Quran (2:191-193) – “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing…but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)” (Translation is from the Noble Quran)

    The verse prior to this (190) refers to “fighting for the cause of Allah those who fight you” leading some to believe that the entire passage refers to a defensive war in which Muslims are defending their homes and families. The historical context of this passage is not defensive warfare, however, since Muhammad and his Muslims had just relocated to Medina and were not under attack by their Meccan adversaries. In fact, the verses urge offensive warfare, in that Muslims are to drive Meccans out of their own city (which they later did). Verse 190 thus means to fight those who offer resistance to Allah’s rule (ie. Muslim conquest). The use of the word “persecution” by some Muslim translators is disingenuous (the actual Arabic words for persecution – “idtihad” – and oppression – a variation of “z-l-m” – do not appear in the verse). The word used instead, “fitna”, can mean disbelief, or the disorder that results from unbelief or temptation. This is certainly what is meant in this context since the violence is explicitly commissioned “until religion is for Allah” – ie. unbelievers desist in their unbelief.

    Quran (2:216) – “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”

    Not only does this verse establish that violence can be virtuous, but it also contradicts the myth that fighting is intended only in self-defense, since the audience was obviously not under attack at the time. From the Hadith, we know that this verse was narrated at a time that Muhammad was actually trying to motivate his people into raiding merchant caravans for loot.

    “Quran (4:74) – “Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.”

    The martyrs of Islam are unlike the early Christians, who were led meekly to the slaughter. These Muslims are killed in battle as they attempt to inflict death and destruction for the cause of Allah. This is the theological basis for today’s suicide bombers.

    “Quran (4:95) – “Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame, etc.), and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit (at home). Unto each, Allah has promised good (Paradise), but Allah has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit (at home) by a huge reward “

    This passage criticizes “peaceful” Muslims who do not join in the violence, letting them know that they are less worthy in Allah’s eyes. It also demolishes the modern myth that “Jihad” doesn’t mean holy war in the Quran, but rather a spiritual struggle. Not only is this Arabic word (mujahiduna) used in this passage, but it is clearly not referring to anything spiritual, since the physically disabled are given exemption. (The Hadith reveals the context of the passage to be in response to a blind man’s protest that he is unable to engage in Jihad, which would not make sense if it meant an internal struggle). According to the verse, Allah will allow the disabled into Paradise, but will provide a larger reward to those who are able to kill others in his cause.

    Quran (4:104) – “And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain…”

    Though a direct licence to wage retributive war or possibly defensive war (which may be justifiable), it is another stark contrast to Christianity which continually exhorts it’s adherents to suffer stedfastly and return no violence.

    “Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

    No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle.

    “Quran (8:15) – “O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. (16)Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey’s end.”

    Though interpretable as sound battlefield tactics, why exactly are the Muslims making war on unbelievers again?

    Quran (8:39) – “And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah”

    Some translations interpret “fitna” as “persecution”, but the traditional understanding of this word is not supported by the historical context (See notes for 2:193). The Meccans were simply refusing Muhammad access to their city during Haj. Other Muslims were allowed to travel there – just not as an armed group, since Muhammad had declared war on Mecca prior to his eviction. The Meccans were also acting in defense of their religion, since it was Muhammad’s intention to destroy their idols and establish Islam by force (which he later did). Hence the critical part of this verse is to fight until “religion is only for Allah”, meaning that the true justification of violence was the unbelief of the opposition. According to the Sira (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 324) Muhammad further explains that “Allah must have no rivals.”

    “Quran (8:67) – “It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he had made a great slaughter in the land…”

    Total equivalency to Christian texts there….(sarcasm added)

    “Quran (8:59-60) – “And let not those who disbelieve suppose that they can outstrip (Allah’s Purpose). Lo! they cannot escape. Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy.”

    “Quran (8:65) – “O Prophet, exhort the believers to fight…”

    “Quran (9:5) – “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.”

    According to this verse, the best way of staying safe from Muslim violence is to convert to Islam (prayer (salat) and the poor tax (zakat) are among the religion’s Five Pillars). This popular claim that the Quran only inspires violence within the context of self-defense is seriously challenged by this passage as well, since the Muslims to whom it was written were obviously not under attack. Had they been, then there would have been no waiting period (earlier verses make it a duty for Muslims to fight in self-defense, even during the sacred months). The historical context is Mecca after the idolaters were subjugated by Muhammad and posed no threat. Once the Muslims had power, they violently evicted those unbelievers who would not convert.

    “Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

    “People of the Book” refers to Christians and Jews. According to this verse, they are to be violently subjugated, with the sole justification being their religious status. Verse 9:33 tells Muslims that Allah has charted them to make Islam “superior over all religions.” This chapter was one of the final “revelations” from Allah and it set in motion the tenacious military expansion, in which Muhammad’s companions managed to conquer two-thirds of the Christian world in the next 100 years. Islam is intended to dominate all other people and faiths.

    Quran (9:73) – “O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.”

    Dehumanizing those who reject Islam, by reminding Muslims that unbelievers are merely firewood for Hell, makes it easier to justify slaughter. It also explains why today’s devout Muslims have little regard for those outside the faith.

    Quran (9:88) – “But the Messenger, and those who believe with him, strive and fight with their wealth and their persons: for them are (all) good things: and it is they who will prosper.”

    Quran (9:111) – “Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Quran: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.” How does the Quran define a true believer?

    Quran (9:123) – “O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.”

    Quran (17:16) – “And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction.”

    Note that the crime is moral transgression, and the punishment is “utter destruction.” (Before ordering the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden first issued Americans an invitation to Islam).

    “Quran (25:52) – “Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness…”

    “Strive against” is Jihad – obviously not in the personal context. It’s also significant to point out that this is a Meccan verse.

    Quran (47:3-4) – “Those who disbelieve follow falsehood, while those who believe follow the truth from their Lord… So, when you meet (in fight Jihad in Allah’s Cause), those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives)… If it had been Allah’s Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight), in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the Way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost.”

    Those who reject Allah are to be killed in Jihad. The wounded are to be held captive for ransom. The only reason Allah doesn’t do the dirty work himself is to to test the faithfulness of Muslims. Those who kill pass the test.

    “Quran (48:17) – “There is no blame for the blind, nor is there blame for the lame, nor is there blame for the sick (that they go not forth to war). And whoso obeyeth Allah and His messenger, He will make him enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow; and whoso turneth back, him will He punish with a painful doom.”

    Contemporary apologists sometimes claim that Jihad means ‘spiritual struggle.’ Is so, then why are the blind, lame and sick exempted? This verse also says that those who do not fight will suffer torment in hell.


    Bukhari (52:177) – Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”

    Bukhari (52:256) – The Prophet… was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, “They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans).”

    In this command, Muhammad establishes that it is permissible to kill non-combatants in the process of killing a perceived enemy. This provides justification for the many Islamic terror bombings.

    Muslim (1:33) – the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah

    Bukhari (8:387) – Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah’. And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally.”

    Muslim (1:30) – “The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah.”

    Muslim (1:149) – “Abu Dharr reported: I said: Messenger of Allah, which of the deeds is the best? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Belief in Allah and Jihad in His cause…”

    Muslim (20:4645) – “…He (the Messenger of Allah) did that and said: There is another act which elevates the position of a man in Paradise to a grade one hundred (higher), and the elevation between one grade and the other is equal to the height of the heaven from the earth. He (Abu Sa’id) said: What is that act? He replied: Jihad in the way of Allah! Jihad in the way of Allah!”

    Muslim (19:4321-4323)

    Three separate hadith in which Muhammad shrugs over the news that innocent children were killed in a raid by his men against unbelievers. His response: “They are of them (meaning the enemy).”

    Muslim (19:4294) – “When the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) appointed anyone as leader of an army or detachment he would especially exhort him… He would say: Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war… When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them… If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.”

    Tabari 7:97 The morning after the murder of Ashraf, the Prophet declared, “Kill any Jew who falls under your power.”

    Ashraf was a poet, killed by Muhammad’s men because he insulted Islam. Here, Muhammad widens the scope of his orders to kill. An innocent Jewish businessman was then slain by his Muslim partner, merely for being non-Muslim.

    Tabari 9:69 “Killing Unbelievers is a small matter to us” The words of Muhammad, prophet of Islam.

    Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 990

    Lest anyone think that cutting off someone’s head while screaming ‘Allah Akbar!’ is a modern creation, here is an account of that very practice under Muhammad, who seems to approve.

    Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 992: – “Fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah.”

    Muhammad’s instructions to his men prior to a military raid.

    Saifur Rahman, The Sealed Nectar p.227-228 – “Embrace Islam… If you two accept Islam, you will remain in command of your country; but if your refuse my Call, you’ve got to remember that all of your possessions are perishable. My horsemen will appropriate your land, and my Prophethood will assume preponderance over your kingship.”

    One of several letters from Muhammad to rulers of other countries. The significance is that the recipients were not making war or threatening Muslims. Their subsequent defeat and subjugation by Muhammad’s armies was justified merely on the basis of their unbelief.

    • Tex, that’s an admirably thorough exegesis … especially for a “short list”. I am grateful to you for saving me a lot more work and have attributed it to you (under your Ethics Alarm guise) in an extended argument with acquaintances who are students in a Comparative Religion class – who subscribe to Beth’s idea that there’s nothing wrong when “those who do read texts regularly skip the unpleasant parts and focus on what is meaningful to them” — who have the stunning idea that all the scriptures are benign at heart. Or at least equal in bloodthirstiness, Buddhism included (it does have a history of selective violence that go against all its texts, violence that is increasing in outbreaks in this century). Not sure your excerpts and commentary will change minds — the young are SO stubborn, aren’t they? Not like us! — but at least they will be coerced into reading them if just to take the challenge of being able to brush them off as easily as they can those of their own faiths.

      I’ll let you know what happens.

      • Ooops, to be clear, that wasn’t my exegesis…snarkily hiding the link behind a google hypertext caused me to not give credit….the linked website did all the explanations except those in bold, which were my minor additions…

        Islam is not, at its core, a peaceful religion in terms of founding principles.

        • No it’s not. It has largely been perverted to make it less sociopathic, just as Christianity has largely been perverted to make it more so.

          The Mormons have a convenient answer – a Prophet with a direct line to God, and a God that can change His mind about even core tenets of faith when they become inconvenient.

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