Religious or Secular Revolutions


February 1, 2011  by David Rosman  Columbia, MO

Tehrir Square

An estimated 300 to 500,000 demonstrators

It started in Tunisia and spread to Algeria, Egypt, Syria, possibly to Saudi Arabia. It is a demand for democratic governments to replace the dictatorships, theocracies and fascist leaders. With democracies comes the possibility of theocratic-political parties taking control of governments by popular vote.

A possibility? That is an answer my crystal ball is just not willing to answer. There is talk about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Algeria. Syria’s religious factions are harder to distinguish. The Saudi royal family has a throat-hold on the state religion and laws. As bad as theocratic governments may seem, it is the price paid when democracies appear and the basic freedoms Americans take for granted become universal.

Daniel Philpott, Monica Duffy Toft, Timothy Samuel Shah’s upcoming God’s Century, Resurgent religion and global politics, suggests that it is democracy that is the cause, as least in part, of the resurgence of religion, and not just in the United States. They are able to site multiple instances where new democracies that include the freedoms of expression of beliefs and politics seem to fertilize the growth of religion and religious political movements.

Should we, as Americans, be worried about the Muslim Brotherhood and their counterparts world wide? How about possible  elections of the nations in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where the religious extremists win?

From what we have witnessed in Tunisia and Egypt, no and most likely not. Even if the Muslim Brotherhood represents 20 percent of the Egyptian population, as claimed by al Jazeera, NPR and CNN, they still need to create a coalition of parties including moderates and seculars to make the new government work.

Because most of the information we have received concerning the Muslim Brotherhood has come from the Mubarak led Egyptian news services, we need to take the stories with a grain of salt. All we know for sure is the organization is banded in Egypt as an opposition party.

The Brotherhood’s official English Web site has made some bold statements as of late. “MB confirms it will not take leadership positions in the upcoming gov’t.” “MB will support liberal candidate such as Dr. ElBaradei, to lead a national unity gov’t.” “MB is calling for truthful and pure democratic gov’t that protects freedoms and human rights.” Why should we not believe them?

There are also some warnings to the United States: “MB reminds [the] US of its stance during Ukrainian and Iranian uprisings, and asks to support Egyptian people not the falling regime.” “MB: US position towards uprising will determine the actions of any upcoming gov’t regarding US interests in the region.”

I believe that the Brotherhood may be right concerning Iran. For those of you who were not around in 1978, during the Iranian uprising, the United States miscalculated badly. We did not recognize the new government, did not properly negotiate for the release of American hostages and remained loyal to the Shah of Iran until it was too late.

As for the Ukraine, there have been some minor diplomatic and political conflicts. However, I have not been able to find something on the scale of Iran or that involving religious conflicts that involved the United States directly. There were problems that involved Russia, lacking any U.S involvement. I have written the Brotherhood for clarification and await their response.

From http://www.ikhwanweb.com/

(c) Muslim Brotherhood Web site

Take a close look at the pictures of the protests in Cairo and Alexandria during afternoon prayers. Less then 10 percent of the men and women are participating. This is not a mass religious uprising against a secular government. It is a secular uprising against a perceived dictatorship. Against a leadership that has made promises in the past that had been ignored or were simply lies.

The question then turns to Syria and possibly to Saudi Arabia. Will the ruling families and political parties finally see the light and allow for open and free elections, even if it means the possibility of a theo-political movement winning controlling power? How about Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Libya) and their great leader Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi; how long will it be before this leader either dies or the people in his nation overthrow Qadhafi’s dictatorship since 1969?

As democracies overtake the “single ruler without-end” governments, Christian and Muslim evangelicals will swoop in to spread the Word without fear of government retaliation. As religions grow and spread, the religious influence on those governments will increase. Want an example?

You won’t like it. Really, you will not  like the example at all. Honestly, you will hate it. OK, I give in. The example of the over influence of theology of government is… You really will not… OK

The United States of America.

I told you you would not like it. However, many of the legislative decisions being made in the federal and state houses are based on religion and not on human need. Women’s right to chose. The death penalty. Human sexuality. The existence of the Constitution itself has been deemed Christian, though it was not. Even the definition of patriotism has been put into question by those who believe that being a good American means your faith is the same as the majorities. Or at least those who have the power and think they are the majority.

Americans have no right to demand that the people’s choice in any nation be the same as our choice. To each democracy their own and if that is the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, duly elected by the people with a Constitution approved by the people, who are we to say it is wrong.

What did Jesus say about stone throwing?

David Rosman is an award winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in Communications, Ethics, Business and Politics. You can read more of David’s commentaries at ColumbiaMissourian.com and New York Journal of Books.com.

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About David Rosman

David Rosman is an award winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in Communications, Ethics, Business and Politics. You can read more of David’s commentaries at ColumbiaMissourian.com, InkandVoice.com and NYJournalofBooks.com.
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