Who are the religious extremists? Karl Rove, Billy Graham, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Sarah Palin, various ayatollahs, imams, bishops, rabbis and other clerics, heads of theocratic and Zionist states, television preachers?
We all have opinions about extremism. My opinions are generally colored by my objection to theocracy. Religious foolishness considered rules and guidelines by individual religious people should never be the foundation for a nation's laws. Of course, our governments are informed by our cultural experience and our cultural experience is informed by our religious beliefs; but, we all know where the line should be drawn.
Well, intelligent, analytical people know how to draw the line. Smart people (like Karl Rove) who allow the manipulation of religion for personal gain are dangerous, and not-so-smart people (like Sarah Palin) who actually believe crap like "abstinence is the only way to prevent teenage pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases" are their handmaidens.
The American Born-Again movement is probably the most dangerous religious movement on the planet. In the past 30 years they helped elect a series of Presidents (one in particular, twice) who have endangered our nation's security and our standing in the world AND our economy.
The second most dangerous religious movement in the world is the Taliban, operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Their implementation of sharia law, with the blessings of the American right, is nothing short of terror.
Recently, the following video was distributed. It shows a 17-year-old girl being publicly flogged by adults. This is on the level of 17th Century American justice for women and lesbians accused of being witches. And that is how we should think of the Taliban (and their apologists and supporters): as 17th Century thinkers who need to be kept out of power and disenfranchised.
The video is disturbing:
Read more at Jihad Watch here, where some translation is offered.