When James Comey was busy exonerating Hillary Clinton he said that “intent” could not be shown. At the time I thought this missed the point because of a particular statute that didn’t require intent but simply “gross negligence.” I further thought Comey was being too clever by half in referring to “extreme carelessness”, rather than using the indictable term. I rested my case, so to speak. I was satisfied that I had seen completely through the subterfuge.
But just the other day I heard one astute commentator (oh, for more of them!) say that he wondered how Comey ever passed the bar exam. He said that Comey referred to the absence of intent to break the law; which, as he pointed out, is not the standard. The standard is whether there is intent to do something which breaks the law. Notice the vital difference. Let me illustrate it by imagining a case in a local court.
“Sorry your honour I admit to stealing my neighbour’s bike but I didn’t know it was against the law.”
“Mr Blackguard, ignorance of the law is no excuse,” responded his or her honour.
I missed this telling point at the time. And why wouldn’t I? None of the practised and learned commentators gave me a heads-up.
What I’m saying is that it is hard to get to the whole truth. When you think you have it, you might be missing something. Most present-day reporters and commentators simply lack the ability to explain things fully, accurately, and lucidly. Often bias and political correctness then weigh in to completely muddy the waters.
Recently I read an article in a prominent newspaper on Islam and terrorism by a seemingly well-qualified expert. He asserted this near the end of his article: “Killing innocents isn’t condoned by any religion…” There it is again. Ignorance, bias or political correctness strikes to hide the truth.
Take the those words “killing innocents”. Presumably the writer of the article would not mind adding, among other impositions, maiming, beating or incarcerating innocents. OK then, are decent homosexuals innocents? Are decent apostates innocents? Are decent blasphemers innocents? If they are, to this day, there is a state-sponsored religion that would punish them egregiously.
Take the phrase “isn’t condoned”. I might be a stickler, but I want my religion to condemn killing or punishing innocents, not merely to refuse to condone such acts. In my experience negative constructions are used by writers when they lack the confidence to put the case positively. This is a worry when killing people is at stake. With acknowledgement to Orwell, I prefer to describe my coffee table as black not ‘not un-black’.
Take the idea of religion being given the active role of not condoning. Religion itself does not speak or act. Scripture speaks and those who claim to interpret scripture speak and act. In the case of Christianity there is the Bible, including the words of Christ, and there are hierarchies of priests, peaking with the Pope and heads of other denominations.
It is clear to me that Christianity, through its scripture and the words of its priests, condemns killing. It is not at all clear to me from reading parts of its scripture and listening to numbers of its preachers that Islam can equally be held up as condemning killing. Only a short time before the massacre in a gay night club in Orlando an imam, visiting that same city, was informing his ‘congregation’ that death was the right (and kindly) punishment for homosexuality.
According to the verbatim words of Allah in the Koran, Mohammed is the very model of a man to emulate. This model of a man apparently thought it justifiable for those badmouthing him to be killed. Thus he condoned a man’s killing of his wife on that account.
There are countless other examples of contemporary hate preaching and scriptural virulence which contradict the assertion that Islam doesn’t condone the killing of innocents; depending, of course, as I suggested above, on your definition of innocents.
I wonder what Islam the writer had in mind. Did he have in mind a particular, only-known-to-him version of Islam? Is he an expert on Islamic scripture or on the activities of Islamic preachers around the world? I’ll guess. No, no and no are the likely answers.
He hoped that his unsupported and unsupportable assertion would be ingested as fact. He carried the unwary further away from the truth. I haven’t identified the article. It is not important. It’s the same old guff. We have Islam and then its perverted alter ego. The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is given a whole new religious twist in the tortured minds of apologists for Islam.
Truth is one while error is many, is far too declarative a saying for my liking. We are led astray not only by downright errors but by tendentious claims, muddled thinking, politically correct obfuscations, and by half-truths and incomplete truths. Searching for the whole truth is a noble endeavour. Massed against it is an endless stream of misinformation and specious reasoning.