Friday, July 05, 2013
Muslim Brotherhood Ousted in Egypt
The Egyptian Army on Wednesday removed President Mohammad Morsi from office. He was arrested along with about three hundred Muslim Brotherhood officials, some of whom had been elected less than a year ago. The new Egyptian constitution was suspended. This statement is based on newspaper and internet articles I've read in the last two days. I have to assume that they are probably accurate.
What I don't know is the nature of the regime that was overthrown. One writer called it a fascist regime. He cheered the Army's action in ousting Morsi and his followers. Another writer called it repression of a democratic government, and predicted that the Islamists will conclude that democracy is not the way to go in achieving political power and the ability to reform the society and the economic system of Egypt.
Perhaps neither interpretation is useful in understanding Egypt and predicting the future of that ancient country. I think of an analogy here in the United States. I tend to think of the Muslim Brotherhood and its program of Islamizing the country to a numerous and vocal sect of American Christianity, the Southern Baptists. The SB's, like the MB, take their religion very seriously. SB's believe that the Holy Bible is the Word of God. It supersedes all mere earthly laws, in particular the US Constitution. I have never met a Muslim Brother but I'm pretty sure the group adores and believes the Holy Quran just as the SB adores and believes the Holy Bible. Muhammad didn't write the Quran by himself. Muslims believe that he was the last prophet of God and that God spoke to the people through Muhammad. Some of his followers wrote down the lectures, sermons, and teachings of the Prophet. In the same way, SB's believe that various prophets and other writers were inspired by God when they wrote the various books of the Holy Bible.
Let me make one thing clear. Most SB's and, I believe, also most MB's are not devoted to imposing the life style described in their holy books on the rest of us. The activists who go into politics vowing to change everything and recreating the society that existed at the time their holy books were written or compiled are a minority. They're very active and determined, but they are a minority. In Egypt these activists won control in a recent election. Similarly the activists here have won control in a few States of the union.
Now, suppose that you are a deeply religious person and you have gained political power. Your holy book (Quran or Bible) is the ultimate authority for what is right, fair, and just. You will therefore advocate and try to enact laws based on principles set forth in your holy book, rather than laws favored by a majority of the people. The majority, for example, may favor allowing homosexual couples to marry if they choose. Your holy book forbids that. Furthermore, your holy book advocates that such couples, who openly display their homosexual life style, should be stoned to death. Another example is the desire of a woman to get rid of her pregnancy. Again, the majority would give her the choice of ending it. Your holy book expressly forbids the killing of the fetus in the womb and advocates the stoning of anyone who participates in such an act.
Unlike Egypt, our Southern Baptist Brotherhood has not taken over our entire government apparatus - just the House of Representatives. However, the Brotherhood is very influential in several States. Today Texas is trying to impose more restrictions on abortions, to move us closer to the ideal as set forth in the Old Testament. There is resistance to that attempt. I doubt very much that the Texas National Guard is set to oust Governor Perry and most of the State legislators and put them all in jail.
What's left? I assert the analogy between Morsi of Egypt and Perry of Texas. Both men represent governments that put religious belief above public judgment. Both governments should be gotten rid of by being voted out of office when the next election occurs. It is a bad precedent for an army to change a government by force, no matter how incompetent or unrepresentative that government may be. Democracy requires that the people must suffer the consequences of electing a bad government, must understand that they have elected that government, and vote it out at the next election.
My conclusion: As bad as the government of the Brotherhood is, be it it Muslim or Southern Baptist, the remedy is to make the voting public suffer until the next election.