Tea Partyers are playing rope-a-quote with the Quran . Not that they’ve read it; they’ve just picked out ‘the good bits.’ So in honor of Ramadan, here’s the first in a series on what the Quran really says. Try this for a start:
When God delivers the city into your hands, you shall smite every male with the edge of your sword… You shall save alive nothing that breathes, but shall utterly destroy them all.”
Oops, sorry, wrong book. That’s Deuteronomy 20, from the peace-loving passage in verses 12 through 18. Here’s the right one:
Slay the unbelievers wherever you come upon them.
Ah, that’s more like it: Quran 2, part of verse 187. Phew. They really do want to kill us.
Or do they? Here’s the quote in context:
Fight in the way of God with those who fight with you, but aggress not: God loves not the aggressors. And slay them wherever you come upon them, and expel them from where they expelled you; persecution is more grievous than slaying. But fight them not by the Holy House unless they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, slay them.
It helps to know that these verses are very specific: they refer to the conquest of Mecca, from which Muhammad and his supporters had been expelled eight years earlier. And they are bound about with conditions: only if the unbelievers persist in aggression, for example, and only after a truce time expires, and only if they break pre-existing agreements. Which might be why only eight people were killed.
Meanwhile, over in Deuteronomy 20, it continues this way:
Of the cities of these people which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall utterly destroy them. Namely, the Hittities and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizites, the Hivites and the Jebusites.
That’s a lot of people. And this is far from the only kill-em-all order in the bible. There’s plenty more in Judges and Samuel, just for starters. Look up the word “destroy” in a biblical concordance, and you’ll find one of the longest lists it offers. The entry for peace is barely a quarter as long.
In short, there’s nothing on warfare in the Quran that hasn’t been said at far greater length, far more times, in far more detail and far worse terms, in the Holy Bible that the Tea Partyers hold so dear.
So one more Quranic quote (9:7) seems apt:
So long as they go straight with you, do you go straight with them.
Let’s try that: going straight with each other.