Ask Matt Labash
Muslims praying. Photo: Getty images/Agence France-Presse Muslims praying. Photo: Getty images/Agence France-Presse  

Ask Matt Labash: Rethinking the Religion of Peace, and photographic evidence

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Matt Labash
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      Matt Labash

      Hi, welcome to “Ask Matt Labash.” I’ll be your host, Matt Labash. The idea for this column – if idea isn’t too strong a word – is that it is not a column at all. Rather, it’s a conversation. One in which I do ninety-five percent of the talking. If you did most of the talking, you’d have to watch my eyes go dead and my attention wander until it was my turn to talk again. So trust me, it’s better this way.

      For those unfamiliar with me from my day job at The Weekly Standard, I’ll give you a capsule bio by way of introduction: I have the gift of wisdom. Does that sound arrogant? I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention. I didn’t choose wisdom. It chose me. If I had my druthers, I’d have chosen another gift, perhaps the untold riches of Lil’ Wayne, whose teeth are made of actual diamonds, or to be the sexiest man alive, like Rachel Maddow. But wisdom is what they gave me, so wisdom is all I have to give back to you.

      This is not, you should know, a mere advice column. If you need advice, I’ll give it. But the only rule here is that there are no rules. You can ask me a question about anything that’s on your mind: current events, pop culture, media, theology, string theory, fishing tips, wicker repair. The only limits we have are those of your imagination. And those of my knowledge base. Which is considerably limited, truth be told. So try not to ask me anything that requires research. Though they tell me I have access to Google on this computer if we need it.

      If all goes according to plan, ours will not be a traditional writer/reader relationship. It’s more complex than that. I might empathize or cajole. I might educate, instruct, or inspire. I might pretend to answer your question while actually reporting you to Social Services, since you’re a dangerous person who should not have contact with children. I might tell you to climb up on my shoulders, that you’re not heavy, you’re my brother. Or I might tell you that you are heavy, and that you should hop down until you lose a few pounds. I might just sidle up behind you, put my big strong man hands on the small of your back, and whisper in your ear the words of the poet, Kenny Rogers: “We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?”

      To which you’ll say something like, “I can’t, I’ve got to go home and wash my hair.”
      To which I’ll say something like, “Shhh. We’ve got tonight babe, why don’t you stay?”
      Wherever this takes us, our journey begins now:

      <i>Matt Labash is a senior writer with The Weekly Standard. His first book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Fly-Fishing-Darth-Vader-Evangelical/dp/1439159971">Fly Fishing with Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys</a> will be published next month by Simon & Schuster.</i>

EDITOR’S NOTE: Have a burning sensation? Consult your doctor. Have a burning question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.

Dear Matt, Since the Boston Marathon bombings, I’ve heard many commentators say that we should not let this one incident color how we feel about Islam. Has it changed how you feel about Islam? — Sharon K.

Ahhh, I see what I’m supposed to do here: rise to the bait. To slake the bloodlust of Judeo-Christian troglodytes by taking some Muslim scalp. That’s how it works, right? They send one of ours to the morgue, we send one of theirs to death row. They take three of ours with a pressure-cooker in a backpack, we take two of theirs with some highly charged words in a faux-advice column.

But if you came here to see me set flame to the Religion of Peace ®, then I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place. For as Jesus Himself said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush.” Wait, strike that. Got the holy books from my comparative religion class mixed up again. Turns out that was the Quran. It was Jesus who actually said, “Blessed are the cheesemakers.”

The point here is that we needn’t let a few bad apples spoil the bunch. We all have some difficult patches to account for in our holy books. And religions don’t kill people – individuals do. True, if you watch the regular vanilla news, as opposed to say, reading CAIR press releases or David Sirota columns in Salon, it might not have escaped your notice that most of the extracurricular killing of innocents for its own sake seems to happen under the banner of the Religion of Peace ® . Which is not so much an Islamo-problem, as a problem of scale.

The National Counterterrorism Center’s 2011 numbers demonstrated that about 70 percent of the world’s 12,533 terrorist murders that year were committed by Sunni Muslim terrorists. There are about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and there are nearly 7 billion people in the world, proper. So sure, Muslims are punching above their weight, terrorism-wise (70 percent of terrorist acts are attributable to those murdering in the name of a religion subscribed to by 23 percent of the world). It’s enough to make us ecumenically-minded types wonder when Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists are going to get off their fat asses and pitch in a little. (Islamic cultures throughout the ages are already responsible for pioneering astronomy, algebra and filicidal honor killings — do they have to do everything around here?)

But that’s the short game. The long game is that if the Islamoterrorists ever have their way — subjugating the world and bringing it under one shiny, happy Caliphate — there’ll be fewer infidels to kill, and those ratios are bound to drop precipitously. Then, without Islam to kick around anymore, those Presbyterian extremists are going to have a lot of explaining to do. While Religion of Peace ® extremists can get back to more peaceable domestic enterprises, like throwing homosexuals off tall buildings or stoning adulterous 13-year-old girls in soccer stadiums. In their idealized future, killing 8-year-old boys watching their dad run a marathon through the streets of Boston will no longer be necessary.

So to answer your original question, no, it hasn’t changed how I feel about the Religion of Peace® at all.