Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Linguistic stupidity

This article on growing Islamic terrorist threats in Canada appeared a few days ago in the Ottawa Citizen. What caught my eye was this quote from a Mountie:
"What we're facing is a violent Islamist born-again social movement," comprised mostly of young, second- or third-generation immigrants with a secular background, he told the Conference Board of Canada gathering of security, industry and government experts.
This must be one of the dumbest expressions I've heard yet to describe the phenomenon of totalitarian Islam, and it's coming from someone who's actually paid to think about it. I guess it's too much work to actually find out where that expression "born-again" comes from. Here it is, in John 3:
3In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

4"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

5Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
It's an exclusive claim made by Christians, and deals with their claims to salvation, but here it's being casually slung about as a shorthand term for "deracinated fanatic". The guy might just as well call them "Muslim Crusaders" for all the sense his statement makes. But I guess there's nothing new under the sun; I remember when the most fossilized Marxists in the Soviet Politburo were referred to by the press as "conservatives". You know, just like William F. Buckley, Jr. So just to keep things clear and easy to understand, we have violent terrorist wannabes, "emotionally motivated, motivated by images: rapes, murders, arrests creating moral outrage." And they're "born-again". You know, just like, um, George W. Bush - same thing. Everything clear now?

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