The recent blog post (over)exercising my right of free speech at Mohammed’s expense sure got Anonymous’ shorts in a knot. (See below, “I See Your Intolerance and Raise You,” and the comment that follows.) Getting trashed by a reader is almost as much fun as an appreciation, because no matter what sets them off, the reply is often an amalgam of arguments only tangentially related to the original sentiments, if at all. Anonymous did not disappoint.
Let’s begin with his choice of screen name: Anonymous. He must have sat up all night thinking of that. Granted, the Internet grants even me a fair measure of anonymity; at least have the courage to use a name that could be recognized later so people would have some sense of who you are. What does “Anonymous” tell anyone? “Pussy” was already taken?
As for his argument, his logic is tenuous, at best. (I have too much respect for women to deduce this writer is anything but a male.) He begins with “Ah, so Muslims have a monopoly on terrorist acts, torture, and abuse of those beholden?” Does that appear in my post, or in anything else I’ve ever written? I’ll guarantee it doesn’t, because I don’t believe it. More heinous acts have been justified, and continue to be justified, in the name of religion than for all other reasons put together. Just because Muslims didn’t invent religious evil and don’t hold the franchise doesn’t mean they can’t be taken to task for it.
The rest of his diatribe is a rant against Catholicism. I don’t know where he got his hard-on for the Catholic Church; maybe his last payoff check from the archdiocese didn’t clear. It doesn’t matter. I don’t have a whole lot good to say about that church, either. Everything he said is true. So what? The piece that set him off wasn’t about Catholics. They’ll get their day in the barrel. In fact, they have already, as some of you who received my pre-blog rants may remember.
He doesn’t talk about Muslims much, but infers some comparisons by introducing Catholics into a reply to a piece about Islam. It doesn’t take a major leap of faith (sorry, couldn’t help myself) to see him falling into a logic fallacy perfected by Republicans: I don’t like what you said, but can’t defend my position, so I’ll say your guy is just as bad, everyone does it, therefore what you accused me of can’t be that terrible. Lowering the bar for intelligent argument by too easily accepting that line of thinking could someday lead to Danny DeVito playing center for the Celtics, so we won’t go there.
There’s a lot more to pick on in his reply; I’m moving to a new home and pressed for time, so I’ll stick to two distinct items. Most of his comments are geared toward the pedophilia scandals that have shamed Catholics in recent years, and the money spent buying silence while those responsible were shuttled from parish to parish to prey on other unsuspecting children. There are not words strong enough to condemn the priests who abused those children, or the church officials who allowed this to continue.
That being said, I can’t remember a single instance of any Catholic clergyman, priest, monsignor, bishop, cardinal, you name it, advocating pederasty. I dare anyone reading this to name me one example of any ordained Catholic getting up in front of a crowd and inciting them to bugger little boys in the name of Jesus. Blowing yourself up as a way to kill innocent children is touted as the way to martyrdom and seventy-two virgins by certain Muslim clerics. Not mainstream, true, but how long do you think a priest could remain frocked if Sunday’s homily extolled the benefits of polishing Father Dick’s special chalice?
At least Anonymous has a sense of humor. Toward the end he attacks the Catholic Church’s record toward women by documenting its (admittedly true) abysmal record on the treatment of women, concluding with, “women have it made within this church, sign me up!” Given the choice between being a Catholic woman and a Muslim woman seems pretty clear; he had to be kidding, right?
I know, he never said Muslims were better, or even as good. He sure implied the hell out of it, though. Coupling his arguments to mine leaves him at least as open as me to a verbal bludgeoning, if only to get him to pay attention and read what’s written, not what isn’t. No essay is intended to be a comprehensive listing of what irritates me; I wouldn’t have time to do anything else. Criticism of what I wrote is welcome; I’m always happy to learn something new. Anonymous sniping of what I didn’t write because I didn’t write it is chickenshit.