The Brazen Corruption of Breakfast

When Bo Rama speaks, you can predict the few things that will happen as a result: his biggest admirers will swoon over how smartly informed and refreshingly thoughtful his comments are; his biggest detractors will bluster about the odious treachery of the same; most people won’t pay attention, but when the reactionaries get cranked up, the admirers will be joined by a chorus motivated in just as knee-jerk a fashion by the personality of the reactionaries, though no better informed about the integrity of the comments in question, and with just as deep a disregard for their context.

At the latest annual National Prayer Breakfast, Bo Rama defended Islam from being broad-brushed as extremist ideology by pointing out how people have used the cloak of Christianity for very bad things. In this case, the accuracy of the historical details doesn’t matter. The important point here is that the vague notion of “the Crusades” has been buoyed as a result, as eliciting a trigger as there are opinions about what they were.

A knack for professorial patronization is a benchmark of any president. The degree to which one deploys it should be met with equal scepticism. By restating implicitly that the so-branded War on Terror is a fight against forces who misuse religion for their purposes, Bo Rama advances a basic falsehood that no one in the kindergarten from 5-year-old to faculty is going to question.

The political beauty of the categorical, “Ours is not a fight against any religion.” is that it is absolutely true, even if some may disagree. The big lie, however – that this or any war has anything to do with trying to keep people safe from oppressive ideology – remains customarily unexamined.

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