The Strange Harmony Between Secular Left and Radical Islam

Comedian secular leftist Kathy Griffin's publicity photo of her holding a bloodied, severed "head" of President Trump – in ISIS style solemnity – is the most recent real-life reductio ad absurdum of tragic, shocking, seeming support of the secular left for Islamism, the violent and political distortion of Islam.

Paul de Vries is an exclusive CP columnist.
Paul de Vries is an exclusive CP columnist. | (By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)

An earlier real-life reductio ad absurdum was evident in the 2010 secular leftist defense of the construction of a "victory mosque" at Ground Zero in NYC, my town. In line with a centuries-old tradition of Muslims building mosques where they score military victories, the Ground Zero mosque was to mark the "victory" of a team of militant Muslims killing themselves and 2,606 precious men and women at the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. The proposed location for the "victory mosque" was an integral part of Ground Zero because a part of one of the jets commandeered by the 9/11 suicidal-murderous Islamists crashed down exactly in that location. Nevertheless, the secular left pushed long and hard for zoning changes and funding to enable the "victory mosque" construction.

Those of us who objected because of the inappropriate location and symbolism of the proposed mosque were called "intolerant bigots" and "Islamophobes" – charges we were able to disprove easily. After all, we knew of the addresses of 250 mosques throughout NYC, all operating freely and without opposition. In the end, the proposed Ground Zero "victory mosque" was cancelled. Its promoters realized that their misguided plan was a public relations disaster. Thank God!

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The puzzling question remains: "What do the secular left and Islamists have in common?" Moreover, why are these two groups frequently drawn seemingly to harmonize on actions and plans so easily? After all, the disparities between the secular left and Islamists are truly overwhelming.

For example, please consider three huge differences between the secular left and Islamists.

First, the secular left have little or no place for God in their worldviews – they are generally agnostics or atheists. In contrast, the Islamists have a robust theism, and they are willing to endorse even suicide and murder for their god Allah.

Second, the secular left overtly endorse liberty, while Islamists devote themselves to the oppressive sharia law.

And third, people in the secular left generally have quite relaxed views of body modesty, sex, and abortion that are not at all shared by Islamists.

So, where is the seeming harmony between these disparate groups coming from? What could these two divergent groups have in common that enables their frequent, seeming public harmony?

This strange partial support and seeming harmony are certainly worthy of careful sociological research – which probably has not yet been done. So, let me briefly suggest a few hypotheses that sociologists might investigate to explore this unexpected collaborative match between these contrary groups:

1. The secular left, in spite of their public rhetoric for liberty, are de facto supporters of authoritarian thinking. They want all their own views to be affirmed as "settled" by everyone else – much as Islamists desire. For example, just now a farming family in Michigan is prohibited from selling fruit at the East Lansing Farmer's Market because they turned down a request from a same-sex couple to hold their "wedding" in the family's orchard. There was a time when the freedom of conscience was protected – even for hospital nurses who opposed abortions and military draftees who refused to shoot guns at people. Wise leaders can be creative in finding positive alternatives to avoid violations of people's scruples, but neither the secular left nor Islamists seek to protect their victims' good consciences.

2. The secular left repeatedly ignore the dignity and eternal value of each human being, endorsing elective abortions even up until the birth of babies. Similarly, Islamists trash the dignity and eternal value of any person they can justify calling an "infidel"! Babies, children, and civilian adults have all been ruthlessly and horrifically killed in public places.

3. Most of the secular left and Islamists are also committed to identity politics rather than to principled politics and program politics. Both groups urge people to vote based upon their ethnicities – not on the enduring values of justice, compassion, and accountability.

4. Perhaps most revealingly, the secular left and Islamists reject Biblical teachings, including true liberty, justice, and compassion for all in a society that both honors and trusts the living God.

So, things are not as they seem. These four areas of similar action relate to issues of tremendous importance. The secular left and the fundamentalist Islamists surely seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrums of belief and behavior. Nevertheless, these two groups seem also to share at least these four significant and defining points of reference and action.

To be clear, what we have said here about the secular left is not generally true of other leftists – such as Christian leftists whose anchor in the Bible differentiates them from the secular left on all these points.

Now let us beware of this dangerous seeming harmony between the secular left and Islamists. I doubt that any good can come from the points that they have in common. In fact, much harm has already been done by the cover given to the Islamists by the secular left. Could the harmony of their causes become a wake-up call for the rest of us?

Dr. Paul de Vries is the president of New York Divinity School, and a pastor, speaker and author. He is a specialist in Biblical hermeneutics and ethics and a life-long advocate of Biblical activism.

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