But ever since I gave up Christianity at 11, I've been made conscious, perforce, of some of the difficulties that not being in the majority religion can bring. Not too long after that I met my lifetime friend Anil, who was the other non-Christian in my sixth-grade class, and which made me ever more conscious of the ways in which belief in Christian doctrine is subconsciously expected. So I tend to be a little more sympathetic of the ACLU's position about religious instruction in school and the like than a lot of "conservatives". An awful lot of what I see people, conservatives, say about other religions and beliefs seems to me to be, charitably, ignorant; often it seems flat out bigoted.
Thus, when I read this article in powerline, and came upon this:
The Associated Press has seemingly tried to make the riot at least somewhat comprehensible by describing the Basilica of the Annunciation as "one of Christianity's holiest sites." But Christianity doesn't really have "holy sites" in the way that, say, Islam does. And, while Nazareth is of course famous as Jesus's home town, I'm sure that not one Christian in a hundred has ever heard of the Basilica.
That was a stopper.
"Christianity doesn't really have 'holy sites' in the way that, say, Islam does."
This seems just a bit hard to credit, at least if we admit Christianity includes Catholicism and the various Orthodox sects. You know, from outside, the hajj and the many pilgrimages to the Holy Land (and the people who go to Jerusalem to do the Stations of the Cross) seems awfully similar. The Shrine of Imam Ali and Saint Peter's --- hard to see much objective difference.
In fact, from my point of view, it's a little hard to figure out just what their point was. Unless it's that, well, Christianity's a real religion and Islam's just a fake.
The point about "one Christian in a hundred" rang a little odd too. Maybe it's true --- but I'm willing to bet there weren't a lot of Lutherans from Waseca in Nazareth that day. I suspect that the Christians in Nazareth were a lot more generally aware of the Basilica than one in a hundred. Should they have rioted? No, but the main thing it seems to me to suggest is that there's a general impulse-control problem in the area.
As I say, though, it points out one of the strains of "conservatism" that make me confident I'm only a conservative fellow traveller. Too many conservatives seem to base their "conservatism" on the notion that "if it's different, it's bad." An "inside the beltway" mentality can cripple us --- whether it's inside DC, or inside Minneapolis.