Would We Trust Us to Instruct?
Disagreements would arise later in the conversation, but Mark Shea makes a point that too often (nearly always) goes unexplored:
Two-year-olds Zola and Veronica Kruschel waddled through Folsom Street Fair amidst strangers in fishnets and leather crotch pouches, semi and fully nude men.
The twin girls who were also dressed for the event wore identical lace blouses, floral bonnets and black leather collars purchased from a pet store.
Fathers Gary Beuschel and John Kruse watched over them closely. They were proud to show the twins off.
“They will see more than the kids with moms and dads in Iowa,” said Beuschel, who wanted to expose his children to San Francisco’s diverse community. “Every parent has to decide for themselves what is right for them. And I respect that. And we decided that this is right for our children.”
Beuschel and his girls were at the 22nd Folsom Street Fair, an annual leather event in San Francisco’s South of Market district, which showcased outrageous costumes, fetish attire, and a community obsessed with bondage, whipping, and spanking.
Now, when The Billion see such things and recoil, we have a choice. We can say: “They hate us for our freedom” or we can allow the dim suspicion to enter our minds that all is not well here in the Greatest Nation on God’s Green Earth and that others are noticing the rot. In keeping with Zippy’s point yesterday, there is a sharp distinction to be drawn between “understanding” and “justifying what the enemy does”. But if we refuse to understand how we look, we will continue to talk as though things like the Folsom Street Fair and the blasphemies of Madonna and Christopher Hitchens (which we richly reward) are not marks of failure we regret but achievements to which we aspire–much as the residents of Sodom no doubt were filled with civic pride about their Way of Life.
Quite simply, as we ourselves knew until fairly recently, such things are very rightly and properly worthy of the hatred and disgust of *any* sane person, not merely of Muslim radicals. It is a mark of the sickness of our culture that it is both necessary and dangerous to one’s reputation to point this out. You risk being called a “fascist” or a “theocrat” to say it. Which is why so many don’t. 9/11 was a great gift to the enemies of the Judeo-Christian tradition, because it provided them with the means to label every point of commonality between Judeo-Christian morals and Muslim morals as “Christianist” and to imply that anybody who has a moral objection to something a Muslim would object to is a budding tyrant.
I thought something similar when I noted Sahar Zahedifar’s use of the term “religious conservatives” to refer to reactionary powers in Iran. I don’t know whether that usage is a device in Zahedifar’s hands, but I’m sure that its potential for exploitation is not lost on those deceived by evil within our own culture.