Posted: September 4, 2014

Religion, that’s what.

The unbelievable violence that ISIS dishes out in the name of its god is inhuman. But maybe the key to defeating these slaughterers is to use their god against them.

I grew up in a period when the IRA was very active. I saw for myself the aftermath of two London bombings…the Harrods bomb and the one in Hyde Park that blew up guardsmen and their horses. At that time many people wrote that if the overwhelmingly Catholic members of the IRA were threatened with excommunication from their church for such atrocities they might think twice. But, of course, the distant, uninvolved Vatican was never prepared to threaten such a punishment. So the killing went on until saner minds saw it was leading nowhere.

I truly believe the way to combat ISIS (Or ISIL or IS or whatever they are calling themselves today) is to turn their religion against them.

I have no religion. But I do not deny anyone the right to believe whatever they believe…unless it results in the barbaric behavior and violence towards others that drives groups like ISIS. Their fight is a religious fight and the weapon to defeat them is not a US fighter jet or Kurdish fighters on the ground. It is Islam.

The peaceful followers of that religion, worldwide, need to stand up and declare that ISIS (and all terrorists fighting under the banner of Islam) do not represent their religion. They need to make it clear that their religion does not acknowledge ISIS’s right to even belong to that religion. If there is an equivalent of excommunication in the Islamic faith then it needs to be enacted against all members of ISIS. If there is not such a punishment embedded in the teachings of Islam, the most respected leaders of the faith globally need to make powerful statements of rejection of ISIS and its goals and methods. They must also state categorically that any Caliphate created through violence will NEVER be recognized by other Islamic nations and by the religion itself. If the ISIS fighters are denied the martyrdom in which they believe and which they seek, maybe the cause will seem a lot less attractive.

It seems right now that the only way to stop ISIS is through military action. But we must recognize that this is exactly what the terrorists want. They are fighting in the name of their god in the misguided belief that that god wants the entire world under Sharia Law.

It’s time their god joined the fight…its time his followers defended their own beliefs which are far removed from the version touted by these vicious, animal-like disciples. The voice of that god can only come from Islamic leaders who have the respect of the vast majority of peaceful followers of Islam. Let’s be hearing from you guys. You cannot be silent any longer. You cannot turn a blind eye to atrocities committed in the name of your god…that effectively means they are committed in your name. Don’t call on American military might to solve this problem – even if many of us recognize the appalling responsibility that falls on Bush and Cheney for having set this catastrophe in motion – call on your god. If you truly believe in him, then you cannot stand by and see journalists and innocent villagers beheaded or tortured on your behalf.

At the same time, Americans need to stop perpetuating the notion that we are at war with Islam. Ever since Bush made a limp attempt to say this is not a war between Christianity and Islam, that idea has not truly penetrated the American conversation. In the minds of too many Americans this is a war against Islam…because they wrongly believe that groups like ISIS represent that religion. We are in a fight against unthinkable violence…just as we were when we fought Hitler and his championing of the Aryan Race…nothing more. And it’s time the religion that is being abused, misrepresented and degraded defended itself.

Deny the Islamic State the use of the word Islamic…and it will simply be in a state. A failed one.


It is if you are a peaceful follower of Islam. Come on Christian America-do not impose your god on others. You become a little more like your enemy by doing so. It’s time to separate violence from religion – no god would ever advocate barbaric murder. It’s time to embrace diversity of religion in an intelligent world. And only religious leaders can do that. Meanwhile, those of us who follow no god can only watch this insanity wondering how many more humans will die fighting over whose imaginary friend is more powerful.


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